Stereotypes of Mothers
Single mothers, young mothers, and mothers in general have stereotypes attached to them. When you walk into a store with your child, depending on which of those stereotypes you fall into, people treat you completely different from the way they would if you were without child. I have ventured out without my son and with him to get my own perspective on how sales people and the general public react to me; I have also observed how people react to other single mothers, married mothers and single people. I volunteered two of my friends to go with me each time to observe how other people acted toward me.
From the reactions observed its obvious that people think that mothers, in general, are kind, loving, honest, and modest. If you see someone walking into a store, mid to late 20’s or older with a child people get the “ahh” emotion. They see the child and they’re automatically compelled to smile and think “isn’t that sweet.” In upscale stores, if you’re dressed accordingly, you are not followed around and the sales people are more than willing to assist you. Some will even stand around and talk to you and amongst each other about how cute or sweet the child is, smile at you, and it gives you a feeling of warmth; you feel welcome. As I shopped this past weekend, I watched how people reacted to mothers, married women with their children. The give a lot of smiles and while greeting the women with children on their way in, they would look at the woman’s hand, to see if there was a ring I assume. If the woman had a ring on, she was showered with smiles and compliments, “what a beautiful child,” “she is so sweet,” “your baby is so good,” and they were more than willing to carry the clothes or products for the women and show them the new items or show them to the items they requested. It was amazing the amount of respect and the help these women get compared to the others observed.
People have pity for single mothers; they think they have it hard and that they’re needy. If you are a single mother and you wear expensive clothes or carry expensive purses or drive and expensive car, people look down on you. They have said to me personally, “why do you have a Prada purse if you have a child and are in school?” like I’m not suppose to be able to afford these things. At the Fendi outlet in DC the sales women were all over the women who came in without children, showing all the new spring and summer styles, offering to show the sunglasses they were looking at in the show case and so on. They wanted to sell; they took them serious as a consumer. Three days later in the same store but with a child, the sales staff reacted differently. They acknowledged women with children and continued what they were doing. The only effort they made to sell to them and help them with what they wanted was a simple, “if there is...