Mother’s Day and its capitalist shadow
Lottie Woods discusses Mother’s Day through the lens of Commodity Culture and capitalism, focusing on how best to show our gratitude.
Capitalism has become an almost dirty word – the capitalist, a soulless figure which looms behind every aspect of modern life. At its core, Mother’s Day is all about love and gratitude. It is a time to reflect upon all our mothers and mother figures do for us, and to thank and celebrate them accordingly. Whilst this holiday began with the purest of intentions, like much else it has been subsumed by Commodity Culture, becoming an extremely hot market. One cannot walk down the high-street without being reminded of the next consumer-driven affair, with “Mother’s Day” plastered onto every shop window. There is no respite at home either, as each advert, email and social media post encourages you to “show you care” through a different consumer product.
We often become so preoccupied with finding the right gift that we spend more time scrolling online than considering what it is we are actually grateful for.
We often become so preoccupied with finding the right gift that we spend more time scrolling online than considering what it is we are actually grateful for. Nor is this communicated through the gift itself; despite what companies may tell us these mass-produced products do not hold any kind of special, pre-packaged message. It is in this way that gift-giving under capitalism often feels superficial. Even more problematically, it is thought that the more money you spend on a gift, the more you must value the person receiving it. Those who cannot afford expensive gestures may then feel they cannot communicate the true extent of their gratitude.
With this being said, there is nothing wrong with purchasing commercial products. Many of us are not prepared to swear off consumerism forever, and certainly no Mum would begrudge receiving a bought gift. Though, it is important to remember that regardless of what capitalist society tells us, the best way to show your thanks on Mother’s Day is not necessarily through pricey consumer objects – or consumer objects at all. Rather, effort and thoughtfulness communicate your appreciation best. A handmade, heartfelt card says a lot more than a piece of jewellery. Equally, cooking your Mum’s favourite breakfast, or baking her favourite cake, is a loving – and well-received – gesture. You may even want to pick some flowers to go with it.
So yes, Mother’s Day has become commodified. But this does not mean it should be boycotted. It simply requires a little more effort for the occasion’s true meaning to be revived.
So yes, Mother’s Day has become commodified. But this does not mean it should be boycotted. It simply requires a little more effort for the occasion’s true meaning to be revived. Moreover, you will not be burned at the stake for buying your Mother’s Day gift. It is still a nice gesture, especially when paired with a sentimental message. Though, equally, you don’t have to succumb to Commodity Culture if you do not wish to – and for what it’s worth, the extra effort is not likely to go unnoticed.