On this Father’s Day, my Facebook feed is filled with more platitudes of love and thanks than I have seen in a long time. Dads are getting props all day long. Not just biological fathers but also step dads, fathers in law, and dads of friends. I’ve even seen a few baby daddy posts that would not qualify as an audition for Maury or Dr. Phil.
So, if we on social media see that dads are worth some gratitude, then why can’t the regular media see it? Why is it on every sitcom and commercial that has a father in it does that father have to be portrayed as a bumbling oaf? Some of these characters are not that far evolved from Cro-Magnon man. Seriously, I expect them to drag their knuckles on the floor as they walk and club their next meals to death.
Why has this become the norm? Why is this acceptable? Is it backlash for the fifties and sixties when women were equated intellectually with the children they raised? Is this a case of “how do you like it now?”
I get it. After years of being told we’re weak, stupid, and only good for one thing, it is tempting to flip that script. It feels like redemption and comeuppance. But, is that who we are as moms, women, people, and society? Do we want to raise our sons thinking society expects nothing from them as men and fathers? Do we want to raise our daughters to expect nothing out of her partner?
Parenting isn’t 50/50. Neither are relationships. It’s give and take. Sometimes, Mom does more. Sometimes, Dad. Mom isn’t always going to have the answers. Same for Dad. You know why? Because no one “always” or “never” anything.
So, for these shows and commercials that show the fathers as nothing more than DNA contributors I have something to say to you. Stop degrading fathers. Stop downplaying the roles and importance of dads in the lives of their children. Step-fathers aren’t always abusive or creepy. And unmarried fathers aren’t always deadbeats. I don’t know who hurt you, writers and producers, but you should seek therapy for your daddy issues.
As for the fathers I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life, thank you all for the lessons you’ve taught me. Thank you for showing me what men and fathers are supposed to be like as partners and teachers. Thank you for not believing the hype of media and accepting the role they have tried to force on you like a bad suit.
Happy Father’s Day.