In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with mom and not dad, although education, consumption, security are common interest for both women and men.

In Japan, we have 主夫 - housekeeping husband. We say 教育ママ、教育パパ- child- education-obssesed mama, papa, and 育児ママ、育児パパ-nursing mama, papa.

Are there any linguistic, cultural or any thinkable factors to suffix “mom” to common or mutual social concerns such as education, politics, occupation, finance, consumption, and lifestyle?

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    Because the respective men are literal, not idiomatic :)
    – Kris
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:30
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    I don't know about Japan, but here in the US, in houses where one parent has a full-time job and the other does not, then it is most often the woman (Mom) who has charge of the children and their extracurricular activities, and who is more actively engaged in their managing their day-to-day lives (including petitioning on their behalf, of politicians, school boards, PTAs, etc). In other words; these women define themselves by being a "Mom", as the father might define himself by being a salesman or banker or coach or whatever.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:32
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    @Kris, not sure I take your point? Soccer mom et al are labels for social phenomena, for which there are no (disclaimers: essentially, yet, etc) corresponding categories for men. Yochi is asking why we have female labels but not male labels. So surely explaining their origins (which necessarily entails describing the imbalances) is simply proper etymology, relevant to the question and appropriate for the site?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:20
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    @Josh61 Please note, Amy Chua is an American (of Asian descent) and her book was written and published in English. Oct 30, 2014 at 19:37
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    On the other hand, you almost never hear the expression "deadbeat mom," so dads still get a special shout-out in at least one regard.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 17, 2014 at 21:23

4 Answers 4


Why are moms being targeted? Because, as Robusto said, they are an important demographic.

In every election since 1964, female voters have outnumbered male voters. Even though the population of adults eligible for voting is 50% male and 50% female, women vote significantly more often than men. In the 2000 election, women's votes carried 18 of the battleground states.

Therefore the thinking is that the women most likely to vote are the demographic most likely to influence the election. Security dads are a smaller and less important demographis than security moms.

It also must be noted that it is seen as less threatening to label the (voting, as well as other) behaviors of women than men. The stereotype here is that women are single issue voters while men are not.


Yoichi-san, the moms in question represent a voting or purchasing demographic, a subset of women's influence in America. It is not a literal expression but a figurative one. Advertisers, politicians running for office, pundits bloviating about them, all refer to them by various modifiers as a way to define them for exploitation: mainly, how to win their votes or sell them something. Some women may accept such classification willingly or enthusiastically after the fact, but the categories don't exist until some of the above-mentioned groups create the definition artificially.

It is analogous to Richard Nixon calling his likely voters "the silent majority" in an attempt to position his policies as appealing to those who were not agitating for change: a marketing concept, nothing more.

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    Ok, but this avoids (or begs) the question. Why create classifications for moms but not dads? Why target women and not men? What do these women have in common with each other that they do not share with their male counterparts (to whom they are actually married)?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:04
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    (Also, it's worth pointing out that the term soccer mom may have been adopted and promulgated by commercial and political groups, but it certainly wasn't coined by those groups; it was coined on the ground, in suburban America, as a heuristic.)
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:12
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    Robusto, I understood your answer; what I was asking for was a rationale for this parsing. In other words, Yochi asked for a why, not a what. To be clear, I, personally, do realize moms are specifically parsed out and sought after by commercial/political interests. I am even of the opinion that I know the reason. What I am saying here, however, is that that reason (or a different one, or several different ones) is not evident in your answer: in other words, your answer doesn't respond to the question (it merely brushes it aside, or re-asks it in different words).
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:55
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    I'm not American, but I'm curious about one thing. If "moms" are the most sought after demographic groups for marketers, advertisers, politicians etc. Why do some of these terms carry negative collocations? I'd hardly think a Walmart mom is a flattering or winning slogan. They all seem slightly derogatory to me. I have a feeling that they are primarily slogans which have been tagged onto mothers by newspapers and journalists.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:57
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    To my way of thinking, the why is implicit in the what. You obviously disagree. But to state it more baldly, the reason women are categorized in this manner is that the various groups mentioned want to have an easy handle for them, especially one that will resonate with the media and, even, with women themselves.
    – Robusto
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:59

Because moms are (typically) the more active parent. They (more often) take children to and from soccer games, "hover" (helicopter) over their children. "Battle Cry of the Tiger Mother" was written (and performed) by Amy Chua, and not her husband (who was he?), etc.


As Dan Bron implied, the reason is that descriptors like these are intended to indicate that the term is the primary identity for the person in the group. A "soccer mom" is someone whose primary identity is that she is the mother of a soccer-playing child.

Whether or not it matches reality, it's widely believed that there is a substantial population of women whose primary identity is as a (particular kind of) parent of a (particular kind of) child, but that the population of men like this is much smaller. You do occasionally hear terms like "soccer dad" or "stage dad" but they are rarer.

You might, for instance, identify Venus and Serena Williams' father as a "tennis dad," but there isn't the same sense that he represents a common demographic.

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