Amazon Mom to Amazon Family
Citizenship Parents

Put the Amazing in Amazon

Amazon should be thrilled. They have been given a gift by the online parenting community that allows them the opportunity to correct outdated branding and to become a leader in marketing to families, but Amazon doesn’t get it. Rather than say thank you, or even acknowledge the gesture, the retail giant is sitting quietly and, apparently, waiting for the storm to pass—a storm, they will soon realize, that isn’t going anywhere.

The problem in question is the name of Amazon Prime’s membership program for parents that they call “Amazon Mom” despite their own language claiming it is intended for parents and caregivers of all stripes, a tired and lazy approach to branding that is far too common—oh, it’s a parent thing? Just add “mom” to it. Mom means parent.

What Amazon didn’t stop to consider is that moms aren’t the only people that provide for children, and when you choose to focus on them, specifically, you are telling dads, grandparents, foster parents, and any other potential caregiver that they do not matter. You are telling families without a mother that they do not matter. The truth could not be further from such suggestion. People matter. Families matter. Marginalizing their efforts takes away from what should be an inclusive, dare I say “family” environment, and makes it uncomfortable for everyone.

And you are also telling moms that they have to do it all—the old tropes of gender stereotype once again finding unnecessary reinforcement in the very setting that should be deeming them passé—moms take care of the child and clean the house, and the lingering implication is that dads are off in a cave somewhere, most likely decorated in early power tools and Cheryl Tiegs posters.

Why is this news now? Simple. The passing of Oren Miller, a prominent dad blogger and founder of an online fatherhood community with over 1,000 members, had championed the petition requesting Amazon Mom change its name to Amazon Family (petition created by Jeffrey Harrington), and in the shadow of his recent death his friends are picking up the fight. That isn’t to imply that they, we, do not support it 100%, only that Oren was louder, and we do not care for the sudden sound of silence. We do not think his quest should go unfulfilled. He was not tilting at windmills.

The request is not unfounded. The same Amazon program is called Amazon Family in every other country. The request is not made out of anger. The petition and those promoting the signing of it are polite and genuine. The request is being made because changing the name is the right thing to do. It doesn’t make any sense to call it Amazon Mom, and it never did.

We really like Amazon, and it would be pretty cool to know that they like us, too—all of us. The opportunity is theirs for the taking.

Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.