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Why Dads Care About How We are Portrayed in the Media

Isn't it time the media dropped the dumb dad act? The media portrays caring dads as second-class parents. Is this still acceptable?

Twice this week, I've had the opportunity to speak out on behalf of the modern day-dad, on both TV and Radio. And it’s funny, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And although it’s nice to be invited to have my say on the plight of modern fatherhood, as part of a panel or on my own, I still think the prevailing view in society is that dads are second class citizens in the parenting world.

Take today, for instance. I was invited to be on a radio show in Toronto where the topic was how dads are portrayed in the media. The host, Jim Richards ("The Showgram," Newtalks1010), jumping on the popularity of Cheerios new #How to Dad commercial, took the position that it shouldn't matter how men/dads are portrayed in commercials. He thinks it doesn't affect them. But we know that it does. A blog devoted to these types of commercials (Stupid Man Commercials) says that it does. And hundreds of pages written on the topic of "smart" moms and "stupid" dads say that it does.

Yes. I think most dads are big boys that can take a ribbing at our expense, but there is a bigger issue here. It’s not how dads perceive themselves, it’s how their wife’s perceive them, and more importantly how their children perceive them. Kids watch commercials too, and if they are constantly bombarded with 15 or 30 second segments where moms are queens and dads are dorks they start to believe it. Maybe this is why teenagers think their parents are stupid? Because that's the way we (well more dads than moms) are portrayed in the media.

Commercials are a big part of our everyday lives and you can't tell me they don't creep in to the collective consciousness of society. Their prevailing negative plot lines that depict dads that are incapable of following directions, or cooking Kraft Dinner, or caring for their kids for a few hours set us up to fail - in our day-to-day lives and even in a court of law. You know the courts give more moms custody of their kids in divorce cases. Why do you think that is? Because a caring dad can't care for his kids as well as a caring mom, even if he stayed at home with them from the day they were born.

Why is it that some dads are still kept out of delivery rooms and others aren't allowed to participate in rewards programs for certain products? Well, we're an afterthought, even though study after study proves our worth to the family unit. Great dads should be celebrated and we're not, simply because the media is still stuck in an era where moms stayed home to care for the kids and dads "disappeared" to make a living.

Certainly, there are many cases where moms are the primary caregiver and dad is either nowhere to be found or goes to work and clocks out the second he gets home. But I will argue that the dads who do contribute equally to the care of their children are growing in numbers and they don't appreciate being portrayed as fools just so someone can sell some Eggo Waffles or a credit card.

It’s time for a change. And I for one am willing to fight for a dad's right to be portrayed as a loving, caring parent who is involved in all aspects of the raising of his child, and not an imbecile.

Caveat Venditor: "Let the seller beware."

I'm not the only one. There are millions like me, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

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Reader Comments (1)

Dad's getting portrayed as bad role models in the media has become the norm. I think with the economic recession and more dad's losing their jobs, or even choosing to walk away from careers, and becoming stay at home dads has brought forth some emphasis on the father's role in a family structure. I think this is a good thing and the role of the father should be portrayed in a positive light because fathers, and mothers a like, have a lot to do with a family structure and should be given credit just like the mothers of the world. Not to say mothers don't work hard and don't deserve their credit, but the role of the fathers has really been undervalued in the media like you mention above. Hopefully as time goes on, negative connotations will become positive.
Thanks for a great article!

August 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRicky

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