What are mornings like in your house? Are they serene or crazed? If you identify with Team Crazed, how do you feel about being marketed to because of that?
I was thinking of this after several alert readers sent me a link to Organic Valley’s recent commercial on mornings. It starts off mocking the Women-In-Commercials world, in which mornings start with yoga, and “journaling, in my journaling nook.” Then it cuts to real life, where real women don’t have time for all that. We are rushed! We often skip breakfast! We need a portable breakfast shake with 23 grams of sugar! (albeit organic fair trade sugar, natch).
There are some good lines. What is up with the tiny spoons in commercials? I have to say, though, I am skeptical (and not just because I journal in my journaling nook — though I did spend a lovely 30 minutes writing out on my porch on Saturday). First, I have seen hundreds of “real” women’s schedules — real, busy professional women with families — and I know that plenty of people do exercise, or journal (or do other me-time activities), and make a real breakfast that does not have twice the sugar of Lucky Charms. No one has to do these things, and most people don’t do all of them, but these women are no less real than anyone else.
Second, Organic Valley notes that it is basing the stats in its commercial on a survey of real women — which it is! But like all surveys, this one can be twisted in a way to make it sound like life is more “cray” than it is. I followed their invitation to find out what real women’s mornings are like at RealMorningReport.com.
First, the headline figure is that 45 percent of women skip breakfast at least once during the workweek. Of course, that means that 55 percent — the majority! — eat breakfast every single day. Also, at least once can mean, you know, once. And it turns out that another 20 percent said they eat breakfast 3-4 of every 5 workdays. In other words, 75 percent of women are regular breakfast eaters.
The commercial talks of women checking work email before they get out of bed. Did you catch the number? It was 21 percent, and that was the combined proportion who said daily (5 percent) or sometimes (16 percent). In other words, 79 percent never do. That could be a different headline: 4 in 5 women would never check email in bed! Or, only 1 in 20 women often start their days with work email. Very different story.
And finally, that whole bit where the woman says only 16 percent of women would use the hashtag #blessed to describe their mornings? This was not a yes/no question on #blessed. This question gave multiple options, including #metime, and #carpediem (to say nothing of “other”). So of course #blessed is going to get a low percentage. That was built into the survey design.
Mornings are not always smooth and wonderful in my house by any means. But I do take issue with people trying to shape the public conversation in a way that implies the life of a working woman is inevitably harried. It is not. Also, it takes 5 minutes to scramble two eggs. Or something like 90 seconds in the microwave. You could do a quick crow pose while waiting…
Photo: Where I journal — a semi journaling nook