Elementary school leaves an indelible mark on children whether they realize it or not. A Brit went viral this week for sharing a shockingly sexist song that her niece sang in school.
Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom falls on March 27. Sophie Hill, a Ph.D. student at Harvard University, went viral this week for sharing the lyrics to an incredibly sexist mother’s day tune. She tweeted, “my 5-year-old niece was given this song to sing for Mothers’ Day at her CofE primary school… ?.” CofE stands for the Church of England.
“My Mum” comes from the UK company Out of the Ark Music, and its lyrics are something to behold. In the first verse, the mother is described as “grumpy” and “upset.” That alone is a little strange, but it’s nothing compared to what comes next.
Very, Very Problematic
The second verse begins, “my mum’s ever so clever, she may not have a degree, but she can help with my homework.” This is comically sexist. Like, a song on Futurama poking fun at sexism wouldn’t be this blunt. The same verse also says “sometimes she even shouts! But I still know that she loves me,” which is also just a strange way to honor mothers.
Then we get to the third verse. “She does the cleaning and shopping and makes a wonderful tea!” To review, mum excels at domestic tasks, has a short fuse, and isn’t college-educated. The fact that kids in 2022 are having to sing this is utterly perplexing. The song endorses the idea that women exist only for the service of their children, and should be loved because of their usefulness. There are layers to this putrid onion.
A Proper Apology
Once the song went viral, Out of the Ark has issued an apology. “We are aware that the song ‘My Mum’, published by Out of the Ark Music decades ago, has been the cause for some concern, and for that we are truly sorry.” While it seems the song stems back decades, it’s still a horrible look.
The apology continues, “We recognize that the lyrics in the song are outdated, inappropriate, and don’t reflect the invaluable and different roles women play in society…It also does not represent our current values and ethos as a company.” Despite this, the company says it cannot influence how schools use the song.
On the bright side, this transparently sexist song is a teachable moment. Schools should endeavor to vet songs before distributing them year after year. But wow, we’re still trying to get over how shocking this song is.