First off, happy belated Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms out there. Seriously, we couldn’t keep this civilization thing going without you guys (seriously), and I hope you all were honored like queens yesterday and treated to your favorite breakfast food and brunch beverage in bed. Moving on. Next, let me tell you about something that really, really pisses me off about the condescending way the media treats a contingent of mothers out there.
It may be hard to believe, but before the mid-1990s, there was no such thing as a “soccer mom.” Well, wait, let me correct myself. Yes, there were lots of mothers of soccer players. So far as I know, all of the game’s legends like Pele, Maradona, Garrincha, Beckenbauer, etc., were naturally born to women (though they all played like they were created in a lab). But the term “soccer mom” had no symbolic meaning until recently. Why did the media create one?
Because that is what they do. The media is in the story-telling business, and no one wants to listen to a yawner. So, they need to use generalizations and “buzzwords” to spin their yarns. Instead of explaining why a voter’s socio-economic situation and repressed religious influences might cause them to cast their vote a certain way, the US media just slaps a moniker on everyone. Here we have the “religious right”, and opposite them are the “bleeding heart liberals.”
Look out for the “war hawks” and somebody please donate some deodorant to those “tree huggers.” I personally don’t care if you are a “Neo-Con”, “Blue Dog”, or a Blue Neo-Con Dog (which sounds delicious for some reason, but only with extra sauerkraut), I just care about soccer. So, why am I pissed about the media hijacking the sport’s name to create a definition for one stereotype? Maybe because I find the term sort of dismissive and thus I find its use disturbing.
There are a lot of moms and dads who drive their kids to sporting events (practices and games) all the time. Every day. They do it (hopefully not because they want to live vicariously through their kids but) because they want their kids to experience the character building lessons that can only be learned by playing youth sports. They want their kids to be competitive and have fun in life, and so far as I know there is no better place to teach a kid than a soccer pitch.
So, what is the stereotype of the “soccer mom” that steams me? Well, according to Wikipedia, the phrase “soccer mom” refers to a “middle-class suburban woman who spends a significant amount of her time transporting her school-age children to their sporting events or other activities.” The definition implies the “soccer mom” doesn’t do anything else. All of us who had and have (and those folks who are) soccer moms though know they do a ton more than tote the kids from game to game.
They also cheer for us when we score, whether on the pitch or off it.
OK, that last part sounded weird in retrospect…
In short, they aren’t “soccer moms”, they’re our moms.
So, be careful about what you say about our mamas…