Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dads Don't Do Doo-Doo?

It used to be that dads were seen as kindly, sentient beings like Ward Cleaver who provided economic power while serving as the eminent authority on just about anything...including discipline. While the Beav's dad comes to mind, but there were countless media examples of this type of father. Somehow, though, we got to the Al Bundy/Homer Simpson/Peter Griffin role model, and dads became widely stereotyped as what blogger David Holland calls "Doofus Dads." We became the punchline for everything from ineptitude handling diapers to feeding infants to understanding teens (well, OK, I'll give you that one) to that hopelessly dim dad featured in the AT&T ads who cannot quite get the concept of wireless internet (where's my cable?")...and it's not just me who thinks so. Kevin Metzger, author of a blog named "Dadvocate" (what? you thought only "mommies" had interest in things like Pinterest and blogging?), began to rail on about depictions in the media of dads as "clueless dolts."
Chris Routley, another affronted member of the male parenting society posted a petition at specifically to encourage advertisers to knock off the limiting stereotypical depictions. The now infamous Huggies commercial (see the news story below) that boasted its diapers had handled the "toughest test imaginable" (bumbling fathers) got immediate and sometimes vitriolic comments and was forced to withdraw the ad after the onslaught of complaints about the illustration of dads as incompetents. The aforementioned AT&T ads got similar complaints concerning its portrayal of fathers as technologically impaired...hopelessly so, in fact.
This brings me to the reaction of some of the mothers who have responded to the ads: many think the ads are merely funny and feel that men should lighten up a bit. I cannot think at the moment of a single commercial that endorses a product by implying women are less intelligent than, say, a load of laundry, so maybe the guys have a point. Sure, there are plenty of incompetents out there, but such an overgeneralization seems a bit unfair.
But then again, every promotional announcement for clothing, makeup, hair products, etc. aimed directly at women seldom use "ordinary" models; rather, it is generally someone who could squeeze into that size 00 or someone who already has perfect skin or has hot guys breathing heavily the moment she walks in the room.
That's unfair, too.
For the record, I changed diapers when they were CLOTH, and we had to rinse them out in the toilet before putting them in a container containing enough ammonia to melt eyeglasses. So, don't tell ME I'm, a doofus (though in a fashion sense, I am hopelessly outdated).


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