Are all babies born to do something great?

“IMBORNTO” is a March of Dimes campaign that is just over. It seems to me sad in a number of ways. In particular, what it presents in the way of a moral understanding of greatness is sorely lacking, or at least it seems so to me. We need everything we can get to advocate moral goals for the United States and other western countries.

In addition, the representations of babies practicing something they might be born to do are problematic in a ways that will be very familiar to readers of this blog.

So first, the morally impoverished video:

and then the babies:

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15 thoughts on “Are all babies born to do something great?

  1. Oh, so, I can either be a great ballerina or learn to be a great cook…–__– Why are ads like this still being made? Greatness should be limitless yet the potential of children is being hindered by ridiculous gender and class norms.

  2. Besides the sexist role models, I would criticize the whole idea that everyone is going to be great.

    Few of us are great in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Why do we raise children with great expectations which in so few cases have anything to do with the reality of contemporary society and with the often unpleasant facts of human nature?

    Why don’t we raise children not to be great, but to be caring, aware, rational, just and realistic?

  3. SW: I’d put it differently: being “caring, aware, rational, just and realistic” is a way of being great that we need to promote. As it is, the thing seems to me to appeal to the narcissistic.

  4. So, the first thing I noticed was that the dark skinned children are both ‘born to be’ manual labourers, while the pale skinned children are ‘born to be’ artists, dancers and rock stars.

  5. Nick,

    Are you confident that if they had be reversed, that you wouldn’t have noticed that the dark-skinned children were born to be entertainers, while the pale skinned children were born to be productive professionals, like architects and chefs?

  6. Wasn’t looking to take a shot, truth be told.. It was an honest question, meant to challenge a bit.

  7. AJK: I am confident, yes. Were I not, the point still stands, I think? (That is, I don’t see ‘entertainer’ as having a connotation of poorly paid/manual profession, in the way that some aspects of labourer/cook do)

  8. What’s that line from The Clash, “I know that my life make you nervous/I tell you I can’t live in service/like a doctor born for a purpose”? (Rudie Can’t Fail, from London Calling)…or that other line of theirs, “Greatness is truly reserved for the upper class”? (Mag Seven, from Sandinista)…

  9. Thanks for posting this. I had seen the Born to Cook and Born to Build ones, but I had been sort of vaguely hoping that the rest were less stereotypical. But…of course not.

  10. Well, my husband is a fabulous cook and much better dancer than I am. Fortunately, this sort of gender stereotyping did not put him off… Otherwise I would have to cook. And that would not be so great for the family.

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