The Conversation About Dads Just Keeps Getting Bigger: A Response to the New York Times on Dad 2.0


We are creating the change we want to see with how dads and men are portrayed in the media. 

Several years ago, back before The Good Men Project was what it is today — before it was a website, before it was even a published book, or film, or series of events, or an international conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century — Tom Matlack and I were sitting in his office, talking about men. “The way men are portrayed in the media is not good,” Tom said passionately. “It’s either buffoons, or adulterers or cheaters or villains…look at Madison Ave. When was the last time you saw a man in a television commercial portrayed as a smart, capable dad?” We weren’t the first to have that conversation, of course, and we won’t be the last. Flash forward to today’s New York Times, where there is an article titled “Fathers Seek Advertising That Does Not Ridicule.” The article talks about Dad 2.0, a 3-day conference of over 200 bloggers and media professionals along with 44 brands and advertisers. The same conversation is happening, but it is bigger in scope, involving more men, dads, people, advertisers and media than we could have ever imagined.


I was at Dad 2.0, representing The Good Men Project as one of the Keynote Speakers there, on a panel where I talked about creating content, building a media company and how content gets distributed out across the web. Looking out across the sea of faces from my perch on the stage, I joked about how I knew most of the people in the room only by their Avatars. How nice to see they were real people — multidimensional, complex, passionate, guys who cared about their kids and talked about their lives. Men who opened up, with the truths as they knew them to be. Living, breathing, caring humans – not the one-dimensional stereotypes that so often get shown in the media. Not a single person there was the bumbling, incompetent dad you see in the media. That does not mean they did not have questions and concerns about their role as fathers or how to be better parents. But the guys I ran into at Dad 2.0 are not just talking about how dads roles are changing, but actually living it, by being great dads. Men were not only exchanging pictures of their kids, as the article points out, they were sharing heartfelt war stories, looking for advice, calling and texting their kids back home. Every time I heard another side of the story about how the dads were talking about parenting, I was struck by how the conversation about dads felt as important as any conversation I’ve ever had.


I was also struck with a sense of “My, how we’ve grown.” Many of the dads mentioned in The New York Times article are dads we have worked with over the years – Charlie Capen, Doug French, Chris Routely. Many more were at the conference and have helped us talk and blog about the conversation through the years we’ve been at it — Jim Higley, Al Watts, Jason Avant, Lance Somerfeld, Kenny Bodanis, Jason Greene, Chris Read, RJ Jaramillo, Whit Honea, Carter Gaddis, Andy Hinds, Jeff Bogle many, many others.  At last years conference, we were there for the conversation about Huggies – we connected our most outraged bloggers directly with both the PR company and the client at last years Dad 2.0, and later worked with Edelman in putting together a roundtable of dads a few weeks later. This year, I had the pleasure of talking with the brands directly this year. The brands who want to be a part of the conversation about Dads are all those we see as true partners – Dove for Men + Care, who we’ve been working with for years, Huggies, Clorox, Toyota – with new potential partnerships with brands like Honda, ConAgra Foods, Turtle Wax and Maclaren Strollers. We believe in the brands who are committed to telling the story about how dads – and men – are evolving in true, authentic ways. And that, in turn, gives us a chance to tell the brand’s stories in new and creative ways as well.


The New York Times article quoted Rob Candelino, vice president for marketing at Unilever, who focuses on the Dove Men + Care product line. Mr. Candelino described the Dove Men + Care target customer as “a father, or an expectant one, who is in his late 30s and married, cares deeply about his role as a father and mentor, and is as comfortable having a tea party with his daughter as he is having beers with his friends.” And in a post we ran called “This is What Real Fatherhood Looks Like”, we couldn’t agree more:

Photos Credits: (Main Image) Dad 2.0 Facebook page, (tea party) Chris and Sammie in “This is What Real Fatherhood Looks Like.”

About Lisa Hickey

Lisa Hickey is CEO of Good Men Media Inc. and publisher of the Good Men Project. "I like to create things that capture the imagination of the general public and become part of the popular culture for years to come." Connect with her on Twitter.


  1. Marvin Walters says:

    I have belonged to search groups searching for misplaced dads like Linda Burton has mentioned above.I at one time searched for a Daughter in Germany myself and found her. It took many years of quite a bit of hand written letters in the old days and thousands of hrs in modern times. Not all dads are runners. Some from the military do not know they are dads. I still assist others in searching for dads. I freelance at the moment but I can lead people to various search sites that search for dads. . marv USA

  2. My husband is so fed up with the men-as-household-idiot portrayals in TV ads. A few weeks ago we saw an ad (I think it was for laundry detergent) with a Dad as the spokesperson. He was folding laundry and was interrupted by his young daughter asking to play and he said, “sure, honey, when we’re done with this” and then returned to talking about the product. No buffoonery. No second-fiddle to a Mom. Just a Dad folding laundry. At the end of the ad my husband and I looked at each other in amazement and both said, “That’s a first!”

  3. Thanks for sharing! I’m new to the SAHD thing and glad I have been able to find support with such a great group of dads online. Keep up the good work!

  4. Great viewpoint, Lisa. It’s amazing the momentum this little tribe has generated over the last year. I’m so proud to be a part of it.


    • Lisa Hickey says:

      I hope you give yourself a lot of credit for being the dad you are. If your son is a better dad than you, it will be because you bestowed that gift to him.

  6. It is great to see the word is getting out and perceptions are changing among the public which is driving the marketing as well. I hope to be able to make Dad 2.0 next year and putting some faces to some of these avatars as well!

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Yes — that is what excites me most — the actual change we are creating. Let’s not wait another year to connect again!

  7. Hey Lisa,

    Truer words were never typed! We are all a part of a wonderful movement – a movement that is moving faster than we think! I look forward to connecting more with you and doing my little part here in Canada to help promote what REAL dads look and act like!


  8. Thank you for this, Lisa! I wish we’d had longer to connect at Dad 2.0, but I look forward to many conversations to come. 🙂

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Yes, that was a whirlwind! I got to talk with you slightly longer than Carter Gaddis, who introduced himself between the 2nd and 4th floor on the elevator. At least you and I were sitting when we chatted. Hope to have you be a contributor, Chris, and yes, let’s certainly keep the conversation going.

  9. This is a great post. It seems like people are really starting to see things from our point of view now. Not all dads are work centered or totally clueless around their kids. Thank you for posting this and remember in May is National Daddy Daughter Tea Date, even though it can be celebrated any day.

  10. We appreciate the mention! Even though I know what “real fatherhood” looks like and the most important person that ever needs know this message is my 4 year-old,…it’s wonderful to see pieces like this in the mainstream media recognize and echo what so many of us (including the moms/partners that love us)- dads can be a nurturing, competent, and capable partner in the parenting equation.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Thanks Lance,

      Obviously I agree. It’s sad that we have to define what “Real Fatherhood” looks like, but it’s certainly not the guy in the 3-piece suit holding the baby at arms length. It’s guys who are committed to being some of the most amazing parents I’ve ever seen.

      Thrilled to have connected with you and NYC Dads in the early days and having our paths keep crossing on this great journey.

  11. Below is a list of Dads names that we are searching for, from ww2 to date, We have been searching for our Fathers in hopes we will one day get to know who he was and what he looked like…….A to Z list of who we are searching for:
    ALTON (First name unknown) was based in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire around 1945
    Arlington (surname unknown) stationed in or around the Norwich, Norfolk area 1943

    BOROWSKI. Henry married in Preston 8th April 1944 was in Company F, 405th Infantry Regiment
    BROOKS, Thomas E was in or around Bad Aibling Bavaria.
    BURGER, Derl based in Upper Heyford around 1953/54.
    BURKE, Henry J based at Mountreathment near Montrose born 1917 brother Leo, sister Lucy Dukas.
    CARNELL, Walter (possibly also went by the surname McKinnon or McKinney) from Elizabeth, NJ and is African American. Possible based at Chiseldon, RAF Fairford and Upper Hayford.
    DOAN,Jack Stationed in mendips, Somerset mid 1944
    DOSTER, John from San Francisco, California, USA sailed from Southampton, believed aboard the Queen Mary in 1945 had something to do with trains with American troops aboard, travelling from Tewksbury to Worcester.
    DOWHILE, James (*sounds like surname*) possible he was based in Budigen or Hanau, Germany.
    Eustace, Tim is searching for his GI Dad Possibly a Captain in the US Navy stationed in Tremough, Penryn, Cornwall or a Dutch Officers were trained at Enys House in Penryn.
    GASCOIGNE (No first name known) was in St Ives, Cornwall, England in 1952.
    Bob” or Robert. Habiera family searching for an African American Soldier stationed in France, September 1945
    “Cisco” believed to have been attached to the USAAF 8th or the USAAF 9th and was Ground Crew.
    HAMM, Herman (known as Pete). Regular Army of the U.S, Serial # 67-067-360
    HAYNES, Walt member of Ground crew stationed at RAF Chelveston Airbase approx 1955-1957
    Herman (Christian name), possibly SWENSON (surname) Northwest of England around 1945
    HILL, Hubert Lee based around Poole, Dorset and was last seen Feb/March 1944
    JACKSON, Joseph A First Base Post Office in Sutton Coldfield.
    JEWELL, Barry Adam and Jewell, Dewey Barry served in the Air Force, The 603rd AC&W Logroll’ers and stationed in Germany at Hof, Giebelstadt and Husum
    JOHNSON, Jimmy (James) from Little Rock, Arkansas was at Grove Base (519) near Wantage, Berkshire in 1944

    KING, Allan or Robert Allen stationed in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England during 1943-1944 believed to be a Ninth Armoured Division soldier
    KOCH, Don originally from California, but moved to Colorado was based at Horsham St faith near Norwich
    LAND, Morris from Brooklyn, New York, and was stationed at Holton Park, near Wheatley, Oxfordshire, England during WWII
    LAVELLE or Raphael, Joe from New York and of French descent. He was an American merchant seaman visited Liverpool at the end of 1943/44
    LEVY, Charlie (spelling may vary) from Ohio and stationed in Regensburg, Germany
    MAYO, Herman based at Fairford Park Hospital, Gloucestershire, during 1945
    MICHELL, Dan or Don. (spelling may vary Mitchell, Donald, Daniel) believed he was stationed at Ready Barracks around 1960
    PAINTOR, Bill (spelling may vary or could be William) he was in the South West of England in at least summer and autumn of 1944 possibly Gloucester or Muller building, Bristol.
    POWELL was with Company B, 24th Engineer Battalion, 4th Armored Division and in Johonson Barracks Fürth/ Germany 1964- 1966/67
    PRINCE, Don from springfield, NY before 1943 stationed in Bristol, England
    ROBINSON or ROBERTSON or similar, S/Sgt Gayle (Sp?) Last seen in Edinburgh September 1944 on furlough at the American red cross service club.
    RUSSELL, John based at Greenham Common UK from 1968 to 1971

    SLIGHTER, SLYDER or SNYDER, Melvin or Marvin stationed in North Devon, England training for the D Day landings in 1944
    SMITH, Sydney “Sid” also had a nick name “Long Henry”. *Other possible surname RICHARDSON* BRITISH stationed in Fliegerhorst, Germany during 1946 and until the 1950s (Manchester Barracks at Goslar)
    SMOAK, (Staff Sergeant) Jimmy/Jimmey/James possibly based at Manston in Kent February 1953 and was with USAF
    SNAPE, May looking for “George” who was based at Burtonwood airbase in Lancashire 1944-1945.

    TUCKER, Eugene possibly stationed in Orly-Villeneuve le Roi in France or in Paris or its suburb 1945- June 1946
    WALKINSON, Bill a Technical Sergeant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Around the time May/June/July 1945 he was staying in Heerlen at a rest centre (possibly American Red Cross Service Club) in the Southern part of the Netherlands.
    WEST, Daniel Lee based in Bentwaters between 1980- 1983. Daniel was in the 81s

    WHITE (WHYTE or similar), Eddie. Nickname “Whitey” based in Northamptonshire around 1944.
    DOG TAG: 34252538 T42 430


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