Cultural Storytelling (or, Changing Depictions of Motherhood?)

Please see my Storify embedded below! Be sure to click the “read next page” button when prompted to view the whole story.

Curation Through Storify Debrief
I already use curation tools (Diigo, Pinterest) but appreciated learning a new tool, Storify, in the process of completing this assignment. There was a lot I liked about the tool (drag and drop functionality, ease of use, ease of embedding in several formats including slideshow) but more that I didn’t, at least how I needed to use it for this assignment.

My first complaint was the inability to embed the videos from the site into Storify despite the availability of an embed code in the former. The only way to incorporate those videos is how I did them here, where you have to click the link to get to the video. I went back and searched YouTube for the videos but I could not find them all. This was very frustrating and silly considering an embed code is available! My next complaint is in regard to text editing. I noticed several times — with great frustration — that weird things happened when I copy/pasted text to move it around. One way to reduce the times you run into this is to make a new content box for virtually every line of text. In the future, I’d be very reluctant to do any Storify in which I wanted to incorporate much text.

I feel like it would have been much better just to create a blog post and embed my videos within it rather than bothering with Storify. That said, I will keep Storify in mind for other projects I work on, especially those where I would like the end result to be a slideshow.

It didn’t make sense to incorporate these or these or these into my Storify but they are too fun not to share.

6 Replies to “Cultural Storytelling (or, Changing Depictions of Motherhood?)”

  1. Hi D’Arcy!

    This was a pretty stellar collection. Your videos choices were strong and well supported by your comments. One thing about curation that I found to be tough was the creation of an argument with words and media, but yours was exceptionally clear. The organization of the collection and supporting research allows your readers to take the formula found in these commercials and apply them to the one they see elsewhere, which I always think is the sign of a good argument.

    For the sake of clarity, in the paragraph that begins “I observed” consider moving the parenthetical note about fathers to the end of the sentence. Right now it splits up the description of mothers’ roles within the sentence. Also, there’s a repetition of the word “typically” within the parentheses, but that may have been purposeful. I really like your use of parenthetical comments in your writing; it lets us see little glimpses of your personality ☺

    I think your conclusion touches on the cyclical nature of influence, which can be a frightening thing. We subconsciously/consciously want to become what we see on TV, and TV works to present the values and ideals that our culture have deemed normative. I also wonder in these situations, who has to break first? Should the impetus be put on commercials to show progressive families, that we in turn emulate? Or is it on us as a culture to change our norms, and thus change how advertisers market their products?

    Writing things:
    3rd paragraph – Consider replacing your semi-colon with a colon, as the second half is an explanation, but not an independent clause.
    Long paragraph above “Keep Baby Close” – There’s a stray quotation mark in the middle of the long quotation.
    There’s a weird font change that happens immediately after “Keep Baby Close” and continues for the rest of the Storify collection. Does is indicate a different section of the collection?
    2nd to last Storify paragraph – In the quotation, I think “my” is meant to be “may”

  2. D’Arcy,
    Like all the other comments, I also thought that your curation was the BOMB! Humorous, on point, relatable and enjoyable! I actually watched several commercials over again. There was also conflict – real vs ideal, and how reality is very often NOT portrayed in commercials.

    Depth of message
    Writing Standards
    None noted.

    Quality and appropriateness of media
    Media was very appropriate and moved story along.

  3. D’Arcy, I’m going to agree with both Dave and Skip when I say that you’ve created a strong example of curation. I really appreciate that you chose a subject that is near and dear to your heart. I can imagine it probably made curating a lot more fun, especially considering the humor in the newer commercials (the Clorox ones get me every time!).

    As someone who just spent many hours watching social guidance films, I liked how you identified the shift in how commercials are starting to depict motherhood. The ideals you noted in many of the commercials seem to go hand-in-hand with how mothers were portrayed in social guidance films from the early 1950’s: a perfect housewife, “thin…perfectly put together…calm…maintain[s] perfectly clean and well-designed homes…” The only real difference I see between the films and these modern commercials is the age of the mother, which makes sense considering how women are beginning to wait to have children until later in life.

    Ultimately, I found your message to be very clear and relatable! You certainly seemed to cover your topic adequately, although had you more time, it would’ve been fun to briefly touch more on the father’s role. In particular, I couldn’t help but think of Pantene’s Strong is Beautiful campaign where dads [attempt to] do their daughters’ hair. So, in short, well done. It was a pleasure reading your cultural storytelling curation!

  4. I’ll second Dave’s comments about this being a strong example of curation on several levels. First, your archive is tightly focused on a compelling question–commercial depictions of of how views of motherhood have changed over time. Not being much of a TV watcher (after having been raised on it since the early days of TV) I was not familiar with the Luvs commercials, and I’ll admit to being pleasantly surprised with the comparatively more honest and realistic depiction of motherhood displayed there. (“Comparatively” in stark contrast to some of the commercials from my formative days as shown in Keriann’s post about women’s roles in society. Pretty chilling stuff.

    Additionally, your curation topic was clearly illustrated with the examples you chose and with your well-researched commentary. The latter is an exemplary instance of curation in this context. You’ve been able to observe a sociocultural trend, find examples that illustrate your point, and create a narrative that is really the essence of what curators at all levels do–drawing together resources from a variety of sources and creating a compelling story that is engaging and informative. Really well done.

    And, like Dave, I appreciate the fact that you included some related material in your closing. I’d probably argue that it really does fit your narrative in the wide angle view, but including it in this manner makes your main narrative much more compelling.

  5. First of all WOW!! Boy do I feel like an under-achiever! This was great. With the exception of the last commercial, I like how they were all brief so as not to be overwhelming. I would say this is an example to us all as to how to do a curation site. I have had no experience with this before and had much trepidation with it. I have seen many of these commercials before, and as a father of twins I find great entertainment in them. I think that humor aspect in them isn’t so much as an “out” but as humor, plain and simple. When you are a parent and you see these commercials it IS laughable and entertaining and gives me something to laugh about. Honestly, would we pay much attention to them if they constantly showed us what parenting and households were like. We already live that! To conclude: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! What a great ending to your post. The Fiat commercial is hysterical!! However, to get back to portrayal of the ideal, the mother fits that despite her settings. White, blonde, fit. Sure, she talks about her changing body but doesn’t exactly match it. Again, well done. From now on, I am going to wait for your posts so that I have a better idea of what to aim for.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Dave. I appreciate your praise! Do remember, though, that there’s more than one way to skin a cat… While I don’t support the skinning of cats, I do support others tackling tasks in different ways than I do! I also really appreciate your perspective on the humor. Maybe I am being too cynical of advertisers. I really love the humor as well!

      I’ve made a few small tweaks to the Storify in response to your thoughts.

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