Is Dad Shaming A Thing of the Past?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Making fun of Dad has sort of changed, hasn’t it?
I was recently interviewed about why society creates these stereotypes and it got me thinking.
Are they outdated now that men are more hands-on as parents?
Has the pandemic changed the conversation and dynamic?
There are loads of memes, Tumblrs, Instagram accounts and television commercials devoted to Dad shaming.
“Ad after ad makes doltish Dad the butt of all jokes,” wrote Slate’s Seth Stevenson in 2012. “He’s outwitted by his children. He’s the target of condescending eye rolls from his wife. He’s a dumb, incompetent, sometimes even selfish oaf — but his family loves him anyway.”
A 2011 Huggies ad, for example — which was deleted from the internet after a revolt from insulted dads — claims it put its nappies “to the toughest test imaginable: dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for five days,” implying men are inattentive, hopeless parents who can barely change a nappy!
But why did dads become such an easy comedy target?
After all, for seemingly generations, they were either revered or feared, well my Grandad was!
There’s thankfully been a societal shift since my Grandad’s days – but still according to a new survey women in lockdown are still predominantly doing most of the childcare and home schooling – as Covid-19 crisis could set women back decades, experts fear so I wonder where this leaves dads?
But what are we really laughing a when we mock dads?
The world’s changing. Dad is no longer the default head of the household; part of the humour in ‘dopey dads’ is their effort to cling to a delusional, bygone era in which they were kings of the castle who could come home from work, kick off their shoes and be served dinner by a doting wife who had just popped on some lipstick. Those days are long gone! But in some families – dads still don’t always do their fair share of the housework or childcare.
But then step forward:
Parenting in a Pandemic.
I recently interviewed Elliott Rae about his new book ‘DAD – Untold stories of fatherhood, love, mental health and masculinity’ and he suggested that the pandemic has got men talking about fatherhood.
More men than ever are joining fathers’ groups and showing an interest in what it means to be a dad.
Elliott’s book ‘DAD’ is a deeply moving and inspiring collection of stories that represent the diversity of modern fatherhood and seeks to start a conversation that challenges the traditions associated with masculinity.
It includes 20 powerful and defiant stories about postnatal depression, becoming a new dad during the pandemic, miscarriage, widowhood, stillbirth, co-parenting, childbirth trauma, work-life balance, new dads at work, shared parental leave, being a stay-at-home dad, gay fatherhood and surrogacy, being a stepdad, black fatherhood, raising child of dual heritage, being a single dad, faith and fatherhood, raising a child with autism, gender stereotypes and more.
Each chapter will take you on a journey; you will be immersed in that dad’s world. Underlying each of the dad’s stories is a persistent and driving force of love, defiance, humility, and strength to be the best fathers they can be for their families.
To me this is a ground-breaking book.
Never before have a group of men come together to bare their souls and speak so openly and honestly about their fatherhood experiences.
This book aims to encourage better dialogue between colleagues, friends, and especially within families; between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, dads and children.
So, I think the ‘dopey Dad’ is hopefully a thing of the past.
What do you think?
Check out DAD: Untold stories of fatherhood, love, mental health and masculinity by Elliott Rae here
To read more and explore click on the links: