Is Fatherhood Dead?
What breaks my heart today is how fathers are perceived by many people as being inconsequential. The press rarely speaks about fathers except in a negative light. Fathers aren’t presented as a necessary element to the family unit. Even though governmental studies have shown how important a father is to a family. Even parenting groups have many articles on the important role of fathers in a family.
If you see an ad about families on television, it usually depicts a woman with her children and the father is nowhere to be found in the ad. I understand that traditionally the mother is the anchor who spends the most time with the children. However, I am led to believe by these ads that fathers are rarely present. Implying to me that fathers don’t have concerns about the welfare of their children. It’s a crying shame. It’s a shame we have been conditioned to believe it really only “women’s work” when it comes to our children
Madison Avenue, But Once A Year for Dad
I understand that Madison Avenue targets mothers because they are the buyers of most products. Especially those ads geared towards children and family needs. But as obvious or subtle as these images without dads may be, I think they give us skewed views. Father’s roles are importance in some cases that benefit the family.
When was the last time you saw a prime-time television ad with a father being represented as a competent part of his family? Dads in commercials are typically portrayed as drinking beer, burning food on the barbecue, incapable of sorting laundry, making a mess in the kitchen. Then fathers are seen freaking out when the teenager asks for the car keys. Any household chore is viewed as turning a small fix-it project into a home disaster. And on TV sitcoms, Dad are almost always played as a doofus whom the rest of the family constantly make fun of him! Did you EVER do that to your Dad?
Even Book Covers
I was once asked to comment on a book cover that was supposed to depict a family and education. It had a colorful illustration that readily conveyed the image of a family. One thing was missing, there wasn’t any father on the cover – only a Mother and two children. My comment was, “Where is the father?” The publisher changed the cover to include a dad. However, the idea that it was acceptable to release a family education book without including a father is a sad commentary. Yet this is the common perception of the family unit by many.
The positive depiction of a family with a competent, caring father is missing from our culture today. Is that okay with you? Maybe boycotting products and programs that depict fathers as irrelevant idiots would be the best gift for Father’s Day. I know I would appreciate it. You may also conversely, support companies that get it right. IMHO if we insist on the portrayal of a responsible, nurturing father who has his family’s best interests at heart, possibly more families (and by extension, humanity) will be better served. Is Fatherhood Dead to you? Is it time to include Dad in our family? Yal I know some are saying, but dad is a jerk. And that may be true and will have to be dealt with on another post.
Happy Father’s Day!