I remember when I first started The Dadabase three years ago on May 23, 2011, one of my main agendas was to positively rebrand fatherhood in media. I was very forthright about it in my very first Dadabase post, “Welcome To The Dadabase“:
“I admit that much of my inspiration as a daddy blogger is to rebrand fatherhood as the glorious thing that it is. I’m tired of dads being represented by goofy schlubs who don’t remember their wedding anniversary until the last minute and who don’t know how to behave in public without making a mess of something.”
Since May 2011, I have been publically documenting when companies get “dad ads” right (like Robinsons) and when they get them wrong (like Robitussin).
If part of my role in media as a daddy blogger has been to help make it taboo for companies to bash dads and continue portraying them as bumbling idiots, then I feel my job is about done by now.
The ad proclaims, “For all the times they’ve answered our call… Isn’t it time we celebrate Dads?”
I feel like Dove has finally hammered the final nail in the coffin as far as putting to death this idea that dads are unnecessary or useless, as media has had a habit of portraying things for the past several decades.
For dads, it has always come down to respect.
Plus, I feel that things are balancing out now to where companies realize they literally can’t afford to bash dads like they use to.
History has now shown us that a diaper company who releases an insulting dad ad must expect major social media backlash. The Huggies backlash of 2012 will forever serve as bookmark in the hard lesson of dad-bashing advertising.
It’s so easy these days for anyone to be labelled a bigot or a racist on Twitter; because after all, it makes news headlines now when it even appears someone might possibly say something out of context that could slightly hint at them being either of those things. (See Stephen Colbert.)
Similarly, there is now an army of very involved dads who won’t hesitate to “Twitter shame” the company if tcompanies dare make the boneheaded move to portray a dad as a bonehead.
Like me, many of these dads immediately publish a blog post about it to spread the word that “so-and-so company” hasn’t gotten the memo than in 2014, you can’t get away with that stuff anymore.
“I think one of the most masculine things a father can do for his son is to communicate with him clearly and regularly; from the day to day to the big picture stuff. Therefore, it has been easy for me to be a fan of RJ Licata’s blog–and now his book. A good father is a good mentor. That’s why this book is special. It’s a glimpse of what hands on fatherhood looks like, fleshed out in the form of 100 lessons.”
I easily celebrate any fellow dad who publically and positively portrays fatherhood. Something I’ve learned in the 4 years of writing about you/to you is that I care less now about how the media so obviously makes dads out to be idiots.
These days, my focus is on spotlighting any entity that shares my passion of reinforcing the positive examples of fatherhood.
For example, I was pleasantly surprised to see the healthy relationship between the father and son the movie, About Time, that I recently wrote to you about.
It’s subtle, but it’s a big deal to me.
I read a fantastic article recently, called “Why Fatherhood Matters,” by Stephen Marche, which proclaims that fatherhood has never mattered more, as the definition of masculinity has evolved through generations:
“Only fatherhood is indisputably masculine, which is why when you ask men when they became men, they usually answer when they became a father or lost a father.”
He goes on to declare fatherhood as a marker of class.
The way I feel, this is one of the most important times to be a dad. And let’s face it… it’s also one of the coolest times to be a dad.
Fatherhood is masculine.
I just don’t see how a man can be more manly that being a good father- and by “good father,” a huge part of that is how well he communicates with his child.
To me, that is perhaps the most important aspect of being a father.
So while I could easily go on all day about all the times I’ve missed the mark in life, I can at least feel positive that I’m doing one thing right:
With today being a special day, Father’s Day to be exact, Mommy decided to make our family some of her magical vegan cupcakes.
You got lucky. She let you lick the cake batter from the mixing bowl.
To keep the chocolate “mud” from getting all over your clothes, Mommy and I decided it was best that we strip you down to just your diaper.
Immediately afterwards, Mommy went upstairs to fold the laundry.
That meant it was just you and me.
That’s when things got weird…
You placed the mixing bowl in the middle of the kitchen floor, then begin circling it while holding your spoon to your forehead. (Technically dangerous, though things often are when you’re on my watch.)
It didn’t help that you were by that point “toddler drunk” from the mix of the sugar and the missed nap.
I had a feeling I needed to capture this on video. I couldn’t have known what was about to happen during those 38 seconds I recorded you.
So, actually, here ya go…
Watch the clip of what happened:
That’s right. In the middle of your ancient tribal dance, you gave me the gift that keeps on giving… as you put it, “It was a gas!”
Thank you for my coffee cup. Thank you for my new swim trucks and t-shirt. Thank you for the cool dinosaur Father’s Day card you picked out especially for me.
And while I’m at it, I guess I might as well thank you for the… hilarious memory, too!