Media Dads

26 Sep

hen I got into dadblogging I dove into the larger dadblogging community to see what was out there, what the culture was like. We were still feeling the pain of the Great Recession, many fathers found themselves Stay-At-Home Dads (SAHD’s). Instead of pouring their souls into a 9-5 job for a paycheck, they put everything they had into the 5-9 job of raising their children. For many of them their blogs were a release, and a way of connecting with a broader community of like-minded people, and in doing so they found that one of the things they had in common was the fact that they took exception to the way dads were generally portrayed in the media. These were fathers who were giving everything they had to being the best fathers they could be. They justifiably took a lot of pride in that fact, and suddenly realized that the media at large tended to give fathers (and fatherhood) a bum wrap.

By way of example, check out how the dads are depicted in this movie trailer:

Fathers in sitcoms were typically portrayed as perhaps well-meaning, but ultimately incompetent dunderheads. Fathers in children’s movies rarely played a positive role, if they were present at all (there isn’t a father-figure to be found in the “Toy Story” films). Television commercials were aimed primarily at women/mothers, and if fathers were depicted at all they were shown as absolutely incompetent, facepalm inducing idiots who are completely flummoxed by adhesive diaper tabs, who check sports scores on their phones during their kids’ recitals, etc… In real economic terms, major corporations were investing in mommy-blogs (Disney now owns Babble.com), and reaching out to the mommy-market. Fathers were largely overlooked (as opposed to “men”, who are aggressively marked to by beer, nudie magazines and the NFL).

I’ll be the first person to admit I feed into these stereotypes. I joke with my patients all the time about how without our wives we men would be a bunch of feral animals roaming the streets – it’s the women in our lives who civilize us. Whenever I lecture I show a picture of me and my wife and make the joke “My life is like almost every sitcom or commercial you see on TV — some fat slob married to an incredibly hot chick. Every day of my life is like an episode of ‘King of Queens’ or ‘Accordng to Jim’. I don’t know why the universe works out this way, I’m just glad it does.” Of course I’m joking, but from the perspective of the dad-bloggers who came before me, my jokes are part of the problem.

The King of Queens

At first I thought dadbloggers’ outrage (Perhaps the word “outrage” is too inflamitory, given the current political environment in our country. But I’m about to make another political reference so we’ll go with it.) was a little like sentiment behind current efforts to contain voter-fraud on the national stage – which is to say outrage towards a problem that really doesn’t exist. But now that I was aware that it was “a thing” I was more in tune, and I saw what the dadbloggers were reacting against.

Maybe it’s the scientist in me, but being “in tune” means seing both sides of any equation. As I consume media with a little more of an eye towards how dads are portrayed, my attention is also drawn to portrayals of dads doing it right. Some time ago I posted about how fast my daughter is growing up, and I linked to the following two commercials which I think paint dads in a really good light.

This blog was originally intended to be a celebration of dads doing it right. I realize how self-serving that sounds given the fact that I usually blog about me and my family, but I try to bring in as much external stuff as I can. In that spirit I’d like to share a few more examples of commercials I’ve run across that reflect well on fathers and fatherhood. Watch and enjoy:

This Dorkdaddy.com blogging experiment has put me in touch with innumerable dads who are consistently doing it right. In fact just last week through a mutual friend on Facebook I met a dad who, not even a week after I published what I thought was sure to get me a nomination for “Father of the Year“, published his own bit of digital fathering awesomeness that totally blew mine out of the water (/shakes fist at R.F). They are an inspiration and validation for dads everywhere. If nothing else they are shining examples of the notion that there is very little in the world more valuable in the life of a child than a father who’s all-in.

To all you dads out there doing it right, I salute you.

Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

& Squatch Makes 3

A Daddy Blog

Always Jacked

How To Be A Dad

…and so many more.

-Dork Dad

7 Responses to “Media Dads”

  1. Ron Mattocks September 27, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    …and I salute you. (That Google Chrome commercial is my favorite – been great seeing so many more positive representations in the media.)

  2. TheJackB September 27, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    It is always good to see fathers portrayed in a nice light, but even better to be part of a community of dads that support each other.

  3. Chicken Fried Vogue October 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Stalking you via ihopeiwinatoaster. I’m glad you dug up these positive dad clips. My husband and I have been observing that poor stigma thing for a long time. It’s sad, but you guys are changing that stereotype one blogger dad at a time. Kudos good sir.

    • dorkdad October 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Wa Hoo! A new stalker, and a comment on my blog, AND a reference to where the new stalker found my blog!

      Rapture.

      I recently came across another good dad commercial. Might as well post it here:

      -DD

      • 4eyedblonde October 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        As someone who was raised solely by her very capable and loving father, I am testiment to the value of a father going all in, starting at six months old for his twin girls – cloth diapers, pig tails, buying the “girlie stuff” and all…My dad was the king of going “all in”. But I’m not bragging or anything… 🙂

      • dorkdad October 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

        Did/does he know how much you think of him?

  4. Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    You know, I had the same thought as I wrote that, I wonder if he knows how awesome I think he is? I wrote him a letter years ago telling him that I thought he was a great dad, and gave it to him on Father’s Day…he never acknowledged it. I wondered if he didn’t know how to accept my appreciation. Since then, we have continued to end every conversation and visit with “I love you,” and I never miss an opportunity to hug him.

    He was remarried in my teens and things didn’t go well for me and my siblings (there were three of us), but as an adult and parent, now I’m able to see that he just wanted a break. Even though it didn’t go well, I understand that he was just tired (and rightfully so!). I am a mother of two with a husband who digs in and helps all the time, I don’t know how he did it!

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