After discussing the assumed role of a mother and maternal instincts in class, this clip of Phineas and Ferb came to mind. In this episode of the children’s cartoon, The villain Dr. Doofensmirtz builds a giant baby as a part of his plan for citywide domination, but his plan falls apart, as he did not expect “the power of the moms”. As soon as the robot baby begins to wail, every mother in the city drops what she is doing and marches across the city to the crying baby. Those in the middle of construction work, dentistry, and presentations, all leave what they are doing to stop the unknown crying baby. They all sing about being a good mom, about all of the motherly tasks they can manage, and about how they cannot resist the sound of a crying baby. All of the men and women who are not mothers look on and smile as the mothers respond. Even the giant robot mom responds, even though she cannot have biological motherly instincts.
I realized that programs like this instill in children at an early age the expected gender roles of parents. It shows that if you do not respond naturally to a baby, or if you do not intuitively know what to do in maternal situations, then you are not a good mom. It shows through the moms’ song the expectations of a woman (to act maternally and perform motherly duties), regardless of her personality, preferences, or job. The title of this episode, “The Mom Attractor”, does not refer to the giant baby, but interestingly enough, it does anyway, as the creators of the show portray that a crying baby, human or robot, will get the absolute attention of any mother within earshot.