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Reel Mama: Are you Daddy enough?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Are you Daddy enough?


Photo credit: Lionsgate


Photo credit: Freeimagesarchive.com



Even as Father’s Day approaches, as usual it seems that mothers are getting most of the attention.  Consider last month’s Time article about attachment parenting posing the in-your-face question “Are you mom enough?”  In this week’s issue, David Poniewozik turns the spotlight on dads with “Daddy Issues.”  Why, he wonders, are dads with baby carriers still sight gags in the media?  Why does the perception linger that these dads are somehow not “man enough”?  
The assumption is fraught with age-old stereotypes.  It’s the false perception that the “henpecked” husband has been forced into daddy duty--an insulting prospect for both parents no matter how you slice it.  Or perhaps that dads’s "invading" mommy territory: as Poniewozik points out, the baby carrier in front gives men a slightly pregnant look.  For some absurd reason, this makes people uncomfortable.  
The dads with baby carriers striding toward the camera in slow motion in the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is a spoof of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” in which a line of hip mobsters in sharp suits and skinny ties approaches the viewer.  One is decidedly cooler looking than the other.  The baby carrier spoof was meant to be hilarious, poking gentle fun at a group of dads who long for their glory days, but there’s a cynical message as well, as in “Those poor schmucks!  They gave up the glories of bachelorhood for THIS?!”
Then again, maybe I’ve got it wrong.  Maybe the “What to Expect” slow mo is meant to show the dads as being empowered.  They are owning fatherhood: to hell with what anybody thinks!  I hope so.  Still, it treads a fine line.  
Dads, you are brave, and you don’t get enough recognition.  You’re not a poor schmuck for changing a diaper; you are showing love for your child.  You’re there because you want to be, not because you’ve been tricked or forced.  You understand that these are the glory days, not what you did in high school or college.
This is equal partner parenting, and society needs to get comfortable with it.

3 Comments:

At June 9, 2012 at 6:59 PM , Blogger Andrea H said...

The way society reacts to men who are more involved in parenting is one reason many men don't step up to their responsibilities. It's unfortunate really.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 6:50 AM , Anonymous Mellisa said...

I think more men should step up! Andrea is right though society isn't very accepting of men being the one's to take on the responsibility of taking care of babies. Hopefully as time goes on this will change.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM , Blogger Maryann said...

I just got back from the AutismOne conference in Chicago where there were a group of dads, albeit small, but growing, who are stepping up to the plate every day to help recover their children from autism. I don't know about many other dads, but that is a real father. I couldn't care less about some stupid joke in a movie when I see real men loving their real children. I think the media does a lot more harm then good in most situations.

 

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