Who’s “Traditional” Anyway?

I like our family's traditions, thank you very much

When I hear about efforts like those of a group called “One Million Moms” trying to take down a business and a celebrity because they want to “protect” their children from “non-traditional” families, the first thing I think is, “Isn’t life hard enough without hating families that don’t look like yours?”

One Million Moms, part of the conservative group The American Family Association, is a group of self-proclaimed “Christian moms” tasked with the mission of purportedly standing up for children and families.  OMM’s latest effort is to ask women across America to call their local JCPenney store manager and ask them “to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson immediately to remain neutral in the culture war.”

The good news is this — that effort has fallen flat on its face.  OMM isn’t neutral and by calling on JCPenney to find a spokesperson more acceptable to OMM (read: straight, not gay) is hardly remaining neutral in any war.  So I was excited to see that a couple of people I know pretty well from Babble Voices, Tracey Gaughran-Perez and Doug French, call for a nationwide Shop In to show support for JCPenney’s decision not to cave in to the anti-gay sentiment of the OMM effort.

You see, while I am Christian and am in what some might call a “traditional” marriage, our family is far from what OMM would consider OK to them.  My husband and I are of two different faiths who are each on their second marriage with children who “look like us” and who “don’t look like us.”  We’re a family with stepchildren,  a child by adoption from another country, and family members who fled Germany in World War II who remember that intolerance isn’t always what you think it will look like.  When some group starts talking about wanting to keep things “traditional” it’s not a stretch to wonder when a family like ours will show up on their hit list.

Sure, I had a little problem with JCPenney a few months back when they chose to sell a T-shirt that I felt didn’t send the right message to girls like my sixth-grade daughter in terms of being pretty vs. being smart.   But I give them a lot of credit for making a decision on who they thought represented their brand and sticking to it, without falling victim to someone else’s faux culture war.

Their decision to stick with Ellen DeGeneres is completely on board with the family values here in the PunditFamily household.  And I’ll definitely be talking with our daughter about the importance of celebrating all loving families no matter how they’re formed and how standing up for families — like ours — who don’t exactly mirror the so-called traditional image is, is crucial for all families.

Joanne Bamberger writes the blog PunditMom, and is the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (on sale now at Amazon!), a bipartisan look at how women online will be a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 election!  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Image via Joanne Bamberger.  All rights reserved.



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