Happy Doodle-Google-Bike-Day-Celebration-Thing-Yay!

(there’s no way a kid that young on a trike can keep up with a fully-grown adult)

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 11.16.45

In an unusual turn of events, I’m actually inserting a picture to this post, rather than link you to the origin of that picture on the Internet; you can tell that this is an important issue for me.

I’m not going to rant and rave about how Mother’s Day is an over-commercialised pseudo-celebration which mainstream society places the emphasis of on isolated events of breakfast preparation instead of a celebration of existing maternal characteristics or, Heaven forfend, an encouragement of women to take a more active role in their own employment and economic freedom, while simultaneously discouraging men from preventing them from doing so, because that’s far too obvious for a classy, intelligent blog like this one. I’m going to rant about how bloody confusing Google’s celebratory Doodle is.

My honest first impression was that today was some form of ‘Bike Day’, in which people across the world would be encouraged to ride bikes with their families, killing both the ‘familial bonding’ and ‘getting some bloody exercise at last’ birds with one stone (which never works because you can’t communicate effectively while you’re riding a bike and those capes in the picture are more likely to result in physical harm, not physical benefit).

But sadly, this is not Bike Day; I think confusion arose because the focus of this Doodle is on the bikes; there are three bikes, and only one women of mothering age. Therefore, is it not likely to assume that the emphasis is on the bikes? Also, there is variation across the bikes, with the younger child on a tricycle and the other people on larger bikes, suggesting that it is the bikes who have universal appeal, and so are deserving of a place on the world’s largest search engine, compared with the single mother figure, who only really represents white mums with two kids who like riding bikes. I feel that the mother they have chosen is not representative enough of all mothers to make the focus clear.

And I know that you can’t represent everyone in this way, but surely the standard media response, of taking numerous people from an unusually equal mixture of ethnic and social identities, would have fitted in better here? Also, that would have meant the number of mothers outnumbered the number of bikes, driving a nail into the coffin of my fictional Bike Day.

Also, the Doodle seems weirdly noncommittal; this may be a problem with celebrating mother’s day in general, which appears to be a celebration of values only meaningfully defended about sixty years ago, but the Doodle simultaneously suggests that women’s primary function is to their children – as this mother is pictured alongside some kids – but that mothers are also encouraged to leave the house and do fun stuff, like riding bikes. I’m not sure if Google is supporting ‘traditional’ female values of motherhood, or ‘modern’ ones of independence and freedom, and this is problematic if Google are supposed to be encouraging this event, but aren’t clear what element of it they’re supporting.

This Doodle also has nearly nothing to do with Google; unlike clever attempts, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Doodle, to unite the letters g-o-o-g-l-e with things that look nothing like those letters, the Mother’s Day attempt is basically a picture in front of the Google lettering, with the mother’s head filling the round bit of the ‘g’ if you’re pushing it.

If they were going to go for a bike motif, surely the answer is to place the bikes over the logo, so the wheels make the ‘o’s? They could have done a mother and child riding on a tandem bike like that, or something! Anything! And no way am I annoyed about the design of it because I lost a Google Doodle-drawing competition in year eight in school.

But the specific design of this title is fairly irrelevant, almost like the day itself: if you want to tell your mum that you’re grateful for her, don’t phrase is as a celebration of ‘motherhood’, as that suggests women can only be defined through their relationships with their children, and that other people more broadly can only be defined by how they relate to you, you selfish bastard. But whatever you do, try not to pick holes in online awareness-raising ideas that have good intentions; you might end up looking like a prat on the Internet.


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