As I made it clear in my review of the Robitussin commercial “Coughequence #8 Waking The Baby,” dads are trivialized in media, especially in commercials targeted towards women. One of the worst parts about dads being reduced to just standing there and/or making a mess is that this familiar and toxic concept is so easily received by audiences.
If the roles were reversed in that commercial, and it was the mom who coughed and woke the baby, leaving the husband to put the baby to bed alone, it would probably come across as bizarre to viewers.
But since it was the token unshaven dad, it goes unnoticed.
I think it’s weird in the commercial how the mom and dad are putting their baby to bed together, anyway. Why are they doing that? In my version of reality as a dad, Mommy and I took turns back when you were that little.
The only reason the dad was even there was to wake up the baby, creating a plot device in which Robitussin saves the day. So actually, the commercial would have been better had the dad not been there to begin with.
And so the subliminal message continues: Dads just get in the way when they do show up.
Fortunately, The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer evidently disagrees with that marketing approach. He believes that dads are very important, especially to their kids.
It’s the 30 second ad at the top of this page, by the way.
I liked it so much that I checked out the feature The Today Show did on it:
In this clip, Matt Lauer asks Eric Snow, Executive Director of Watch D.O.G.S., to explain just why dads are so important. His reply is fascinating:
“Study after study demonstrates that a child with a positive adult male role model actively engaged in his or her life is twice as likely to graduate high school as a child who doesn’t and is going to develop more socially, mentally, physically and academically… Dads make a huge difference.”
I get it that not every child has easy access to a positive adult male role model who is willing to be actively engaged in his or her life. That’s why I’m a sponsor for Men Of Valor, a mentoring program for children whose dads aren’t in the picture.
Every other Thursday night, you see me leaving right after dinner and you ask, “Daddy going to see his friend?” I mentor a 17 year-old boy.
I do this because I know the difference I can make by helping him develop more socially, mentally, physically, and academic, just by my presence and engagement as a positive adult male role model.
As the picture clearly demonstrates, you felt quite comfortable with Dave. Mommy held Avery and Dave held you.
(Just to be clear to anyone else reading this letter, I’m the guy in the green vest and Dave is the guy with the red shirt.)
Before we left their house, Dave gave you one of his business cards; he’s a Realtor in the Nashville area. You played with his business card all the way home.
Then once you got home, you placed his card in your little boy wallet with Mommy’s zeroed out gift cards. As I put you to bed that night, I asked you what your favorite part of the day was. Your response:
“When Leaf hold you.”
I should translate. Your refer to Dave as Leaf, and “you” means “me.” Your favorite part of the day was when Dave held you.
Even now, as I write this, you are upstairs asleep, with Dave’s business card underneath your pillow.
That’s right: You sleep with his card under your pillow. You really like Dave.
I think it’s cool to see how you gravitate towards other dads. It’s clear that to me that you find so much value in masculine role models.
As for the most part, you’re stuck with me. I’m familiar, predictable, safe, and normal. I’m vanilla.
As a daddy blogger, I take special effort to criticize when husbands and dads are negatively stereotyped in pop culture. Just the same, I will not be silent when I see the same thing happening to women and moms.
Here’s the irony though. If the very majority that the show attempts to satirize simply doesn’t watch the show, I can’t imagine that the program would be renewed for a second season. Mathematically it just wouldn’t make sense.
It would be nothing short of bigotry and bad taste to substitute the “C” for a “J” for Jewish or “A” for Asian. But because Christian women are the majority, they are evidently fair game.
But most importantly, according the trailer for GCB, the “Christian” women who serve as the protagonists are materialistic, back-stabbing, husband-stealing, plastic surgery obsessed gossips.
Do some women like that exist in Christian circles? Yes.
I guess I’m asking non-Christians an important question here: What is the true perception you have of the majority of Christian women you actually know in real life?
Despite there always being some not living up to major aspects of their faith, in general, is that really how Christian women should be generalized and therefore portrayed?
If so, would it be acceptable to make a show a sitcom about American Muslims who are training to be terrorists, instead of portraying them as honest, righteous, hard-working people; like the kind of Muslims I know in real life?
Ultimately, the entertainment industry wants to produce what makes money. If it takes mocking Christian women to do the job, then they will. Similarly, if they can make money off of 19 Kids and Counting on TLC, which legitimately features actual Christian women, then they will.
I don’t believe Hollywood is evil; they just want to be successful and profitable.
What’s more relevant to consider here is if there is a large enough audience out there willing to support the venture. And I just don’t imagine good Christian women wanting to watch GCB.
My wife, who is a good Christian woman, has already informed me she definitely will not be watching the show. But who knows? She’s only one of millions who feels the same way.
The newest US Census shows that one third of stay-at-home parents are dads. Yeah, for every two stay-at-home moms, there is one stay-at-home dad. That’s a lot, actually.
I’ve pointed out before that companies are really missing out by not doing more “dad ads” in highly read publications, like Parents magazine.
So when Baby Orajel decided to feature a dad ad in the January issue, I spotlighted them, promising to do the same for any other companies who were brave (and smart) enough to acknowledge the relevance and buying power of fathers.
While there were no dad ads in the February issue of Parents magazine, I am pleased to announce that the March issue features two of them!
On page 130, Huggies is not only running a dad ad, but also doing a contest on their Facebook page where you can nominate a dad to prove that their Huggies’ Leak Lock stop leaks better.
I appreciate that Huggies acknowledges how normal it is for dads to be actively involved in changing their kids’ diapers.
Turn back to page 111 and you will see an ad for Vick’s NyQuil and DayQuil, making a reference to the concept of “Super Dad.” I like that.
It means a lot to me as a dad to see that men are being deemed in our society as more relevant than ever before.
At the same time, I’m very aware that that the “dad tax” exists. The concept is that fathers have to work harder at most parenting tasks in order to be considered an equal parent, as compared to a mother.
Liu, a stay-at-home dad, explains how he is often mistaken by strangers as a dad who is “babysitting” his own kids during the day.
He points out how it’s still not a legitimate concept, especially to older generations, that a man could be the daytime caretaker of his children without it being a substitutional, sub-par arrangement.
However, now that a third of stay-at-home parents are fathers, and now that companies are starting to feature more dad ads, it’s becoming pretty obvious that we aren’t simply babysitting, we’re being active fathers.
Sure, we can’t give birth or breastfeed, nor would we want to (!), but there’s a lot we can do beyond stereotypical examples like having tea parties with our daughter or showing up to all of our son’s ball games.