In your deeply offensive of the day, a Washington real estate ad insults working moms. The ad in question features the image of a woman overwhelmed by two children next to the image of two, full focused men in suits. The caption reads, "Part Time Agent Vs. Full Time Professionals: Who Would You Rather Represent You." I don't even really know where to start with this. To attack working mothers is more than just an anachronism, it's completely illogical. Fathers work too. Fathers have domestic duties as well as professional ones. This isn't new, but what is new is being able to acknowledge, without prejudice, that women are just as capable of having jobs AND families, as men have been doing since the dawn of humanity. To suggest otherwise is obviously to suggest that women are less capable than men.
The disgusting ad comes to us courtesy of the Costello and Costello Real Estate Group, which is based in Issaquah, Washington (20 minutes away from Seattle), who appear to have troublingly sexist ideas about what it means to be both a parent and a professional. Mashable points out that Costello and Costello's website lists multiple female employees, and that the profile of Jeff Costello, the firm's broker and partner, mentions in great detail that he is a father who enjoys spending time with his children, doing activities such as enjoying "the outdoors, camping, and boating," and "getting involved and being active in his kids’ hobbies, whether it’s ballet, soccer, or swimming."
I wonder then, how he has all that time left to run a company? Maybe it should have been Jeff in the ad, being attacked by children, rather than the woman, who, for all we know, is a wonderful multi-tasker, mother and business woman.
Meanwhile, the firm seems to have released an apology for the ad on their Facebook earlier this week, but now their Facebook page has mysteriously disappeared. Mashable managed to record the apology:
"The Costello Team would like to apologize for our last marketing piece and we take full responsibility for it. We have received a flood of emotionally charged messages and phones calls, and we thank you for your responses. As sons of a single working mother and agents trying to build a family business, these reactions were difficult and important for us to hear.
There are thousands of professional agents working in our area who are also dedicated mothers, including several members of our team. Our original hope with this message was to show the value of having a full-time agent in a competitive market, but we completely failed. We have the upmost respect for moms and working mothers, and we know that the job of a mother is far more demanding than what we do as real estate professionals. Again, we are truly sorry. It was not representative of the company we wish to be."
It's nice that the company was able to admit fault, but the apology still reads as rather superficial and tone deaf. It's not about the "job" of a mother being more demanding than a real estate job, it's about the fact that women are devalued professionally for choosing to have children, and devalued morally for refusing to have children. It's not a competition about whose job is the hardest, it's about respecting that women, like men, are able to carry on effectively in a professional environment even when they do have a family at home. Meanwhile, all normal people be like: