Poor Auntie Amy. Her four nieces and nephews adore her. She takes them on fun excursions to places like the dinosaur museum. She buys them designer clothes their parents won’t dress them in, and buys them snacks their parents won’t let them have. So why is Auntie Amy so sad?
Because corporations and retailers aren’t giving her the recognition she deserves.
Auntie Amy is a PANK, or Professional Aunt with No Kids, a term coined by Canadian PANK turned New York City entrepreneur Melanie Notkin. As she told the CBC, PANKs have “been rather ignored and unacknowledged in that so many marketers focus on moms as if all women are moms, and we do feel devalued and often less than.” Notkin, who runs the website savvyauntie.com, says PANKS are “incredibly important to the economy . . . . so it’s important for everyone to recognize what she gives and what she offers.”
Recognize me! Acknowledge me! wail the PANKs. They feel left out because the smiling woman in the dishwasher detergent ad in their favourite magazine is clearly a mom and not a smart, savvy auntie.
It’s jaw-dropping and frankly pitiable, this notion that women should feel bad because they’re not being pummeled with more advertising. Apparently it’s not enough that we’re already assailed by marketers exploiting our every ethnic, religious, sexual and hair-colour persuasion. Now some of us should be sold stuff because our brothers and sisters have kids and we don’t.
Is it a latent need to feel special or wanted? Perhaps PANKS want to be loved by the corporations the same way they love their nieces and nephews. They just want to be part of the family. As Notkin puts it on her website, “many of us, among the most well educated, most financially independent, who had expected love, marriage and children, remain single and/or childless as our fertile years wane.” But hey — flatter our earning power and we perk right up!
Still, she might be on to something — no matter how pathetic their cries for adulation, PANKs reportedly spend $9 billion every year on their not-my-children. So it may be time to rethink those ad campaigns on the Lifetime Network. Choosy Moms choose Jif? How about savvy aunties? They choose Jif and bring along some baguettes to spread it on. And Charmin — time to change that cartoon Momma bear to an Auntie bear. Slim her down, give her a trendy, expensive necklace and some sexy pumps – she’s a PANK bear now.
You’ll do wonders for your bottom line. But more important, you’ll boost the self-worth of aunties everywhere.
And now, click the button to view BoB’s exclusive clothing line for the overbearing Auntie: