A few years ago now, Amazon.com revealed a new membership program they call “Amazon Mom,” and I signed up almost immediately.
Over the years, I’ve felt guilty about it.
Now, I love the program for our household, as do many, many others. I love that I can subscribe to diapers and wipes and get them delivered to our door regularly, at a price that meets or even beats those from the local big-box stores.
“But wait!” you say, “You’re a dad, not a mom! Don’t you mean that your wife is part of the program?”
Well, no. I am. Me. The parent with the penis.
It’s not like I need to be a “mom” to join, anyhow. According to Amazon, the program is “aimed at helping parents and caregivers in the prenatal through toddler years use Amazon to find and save on all the products their family needs.” Nothing there about being for moms only, right?
So why do they call it Amazon Mom, if the program is for more than just moms, you ask?
Well, you’re not alone in wondering, and many people feel like it’s time for a change.
From the day the program started I and many others (and not just dads) have griped about the name. Amazon is fully aware that the name needlessly excludes people, even if the program itself doesn’t. They even address this in the eligibility section of the Amazon Mom sub-site, where they attempt to explain the name:
Despite the name, you don’t need to be a mom to join. Amazon Mom is open to anyone expecting a baby or caring for a baby or young child, whether you’re a mom, dad, grandparent, or caretaker. We just thought “Amazon Primary Caretaker” didn’t have the same ring to it.
Okay, look, Amazon, I love you and all . . . but what a completely bogus explanation.
Are those really the only two choices? Amazon Mom or Amazon Primary Caregiver? Seriously? That’s the extent of the thought you put into how to possibly include the other 50% of parents in the world?
Do you really see dads as just being lumped in with grandparents or other child-care providers who step in when mom can’t? Do you really think that if you can’t include babysitters and daycare workers and Supernanny then your only alternative is to leave dad out too?
Many like myself have contacted Amazon about this issue, usually getting a boilerplate “We’ll pass along your suggestions!” reply, which basically means no one ever will likely read it other than an auto-response robot.
In short, we’ve been ignored. And ignored. And ignored.
Are the majority of parents who use Amazon to purchase diapers and wipes and strollers and toys for young children mostly moms? Probably! I know the numbers are not close to being even. But more and more men are responsible for (or share) shopping for these sorts of things every single day. Why insult these men by forcing them to be in a “Mom” program that could easily be a “Family” program?
Is this a matter of cynical market testing? Do women not join or click on things that don’t have “mom” or “mommy” in the name? Maybe I’m wrong, but I give women more credit than that.
And I have to wonder how long a program for buying business or office supplies would keep the name “Amazon Working Man” before it was recognized as both an insult AND a poor business decision to ignore women in the workplace?
This isn’t an issue of outrage. I’m not losing sleep over it. But it does ignore fatherhood as being a vital and equal role in parenting, and it should change.
Recently, Jeffrey Harrington, an at-home dad from Topeka, Kansas, started a Change.org petition asking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to consider changing the name.
Bezos recently donated $2.5 million towards supporting marriage equality in Washington State, sending the message that Amazon is a company that understands that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Mr Bezos, how about a little bit of follow through on that, by renaming your program for families Amazon Family?
Please join me in supporting his petition by signing and sharing. Maybe, just maybe, someone at Amazon will listen.