The #boymom problem
Parents have been pioneers of influencer marketing since the earliest days of blogging. The landscape has certainly changed over the years, but throughout it all, moms and dads have been on the forefront of influence.
Here at Obviously, we work with thousands of moms and dads who share their fun, stylish, and often hilarious families with us. However, I recently started noticing a trend that I found a bit troubling.
The bio on an influencer's Instagram profile is one of the main ways we identify who they are and where they fit into our brand partnerships. Most parents call out the fact that they have kids right there in the bio, making it easy for us to tell whether they're a good fit for partnerships with family-oriented brands. That's all great -- what's started to bother me is how they share that they're parents.
"Boy mom." Two words that are seemingly innocuous. Having a son can be especially exciting for a mom, who may be exposed to rambunctious playtimes with trains, trucks, and dinosaurs for the first time. However, as I saw this phrase more and more often in influencer bios, I suddenly realized that I was very rarely seeing the words "girl mom."
As we so often do here at Obviously, I turned to the data.
Instagram shows just over a million uses of the hashtag "#girlmom" as of 12/13/17. Not too shabby, right?
That is, until you see how many parents have identified as a "#boymom." Nearly four million.
I crunched the numbers on some similarly gendered parenting hashtags, like #lovemyson and #raisinggirls. The results remained dispropotionate.
There were 6,894,962 uses of boy/son-positive hashtags vs 2,753,867 uses of girl/daughter-positive hashtags. That's 71.5% male vs 28.5% female. A son is 2.5x more likely to be identified by gender on Instagram than a daughter.
I found this fascinating because it reminds us of the outdated idea that having a son is more valuable than having a daughter. Are these Instagram users and influencers any less proud of their daughters than they are of their sons? Absolutely not. But they may be unconsciously perpetuating the idea that having a son is a point of pride and accomplishment, while having a daughter is not extraordinary. These are ancient patterns that are incredibly hard to shake.
The only case in which girls/daughters had the more populous hashtag than the corresponding boy/son hashtag was #girldad, which can be accounted for by the excitement I mentioned earlier. Having a child that's a different gender than you can be a special and fun experience. However, there are about twice as many #girldad uses than #boydad, while #boymom demolished #girlmom with almost quadruple the usage. Girls are still getting the short end of the stick.
What do you think? Do you identify as a #boymom or #girlmom, and what does that mean to you? Let's start a conversation about what we share about our kids and their genders on social media means.