The Non-Doofus Dad Awareness Ribbon
A year and a half.
I’m gonna say it: I’m suffering from “over-awareness awareness.”
What started out as noble and respectable causes, the use of awareness ribbons on cars and on the Internet has now officially jumped the shark.
Earlier this week I was driving behind a car displaying a “zombie awareness” ribbon magnet, with an image of a rotten brain oozing out.
And another car promoting Labradoodle Awareness. Um, okay. I’m aware. Now what?
So I figured today, I might as well add to the noise. I hereby introduce to you the “Non-Doofus Dad Awareness” ribbon.
One of the re-occurring themes here on The Dadabase has always been an attempt to stigmatize the practice of making dads and husbands out to be idiots; especially in ads and sitcoms.
Yeah, remember the whole Huggies fiasco not too long ago? Oops.
This week more than one person forwarded me an article from Adweek entitled “The Demise of the Doofus Dad in Ads: A backlash against the bumbling father figure is paving the way for Superdad” by Heather Chaet.
It felt good to read such an on-target article reiterating what I’ve been saying for a long time. Here’s the meat of it:
“The garden-variety parent, regardless of gender, suffers from sleep deprivation, wrangles pickups for play dates and hopelessly dodges pointy little plastic things strewn across the kitchen floor…”.
Chaet goes on to point out in her article that for many parenting couples under the age of 30, Mommy is now making more money than Daddy:
“But as the family dynamic has changed, with more women becoming educated and entering the workforce and men sharing more of the load at home, the doofus dad—an increasingly extinct figure in the culture—nonetheless has remained a fixture in some ad campaigns.”
Like many Generation Y dads, I don’t make as much money as my wife; not to mention she has a Master’s Degree and I don’t.
So if I can’t be the main bread winner or the most educated, I at least want to know I can get one thing right these days: being a good dad.
Therefore, it’s never funny or cute for anyone (whether in my private life or on a TV commercial) to portray me as anything less than competent as a husband and father.
No, I don’t have to be drawn up like I’m Superdad. But just as I wouldn’t want my wife to be portrayed in a condescending manner in pop culture as a mom, I don’t want to be an outdated stereotype either.
It’s not just being represented as a Doofus Dad that annoys me. I also loathe being lumped into the categories of Dead-Beat Dad, Absentee Dad, or at best, Would-Rather-Watch-Sports-Than-Spend-Time-With-My-Kid Dad.
Two years ago, fellow Nashville blogger Jon Acuff brought to my attention a sadly familiar tradition in churches with his blog post, “The Wild Difference Between A Mother’s Day Sermon And A Father’s Day Sermon.” And I quote:
“One feels like a Lifetime movie, the other an episode of ‘Scared Straight,’ where high school students are forced to listen to convicts yell at them about their lives.”
So this is why I have created the Non-Doofus Dad Awareness Ribbon. Because I am proud to be a good dad. I am not a doofus.
Sure, I’ve got my dorky side, but I’m a darn good dad; just like every dad out there reading this today.
Hey, it’s pretty much a given that if you read Parents magazine and The Dadabase, you’re automatically one of the good dads; representing the majority, not the stereotyped minority.
So like a kid on the playground trying to get his frenemy in trouble for cussing, I will make better effort to “out” the companies and organizations still doing those stupid dad-bashing ads.
You’re welcome to join me; all you fellow dads who are equally annoyed by these insulting concepts of husbands forgetting their wife’s birthday and being all grossed out over changing a dirty diaper.