What They Don’t Know: The Dad Movement Has Never Been Stronger

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About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer (www.robertduffer.com) is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.


  1. Great write-up — keep fighting the good fight. For the next decade or so there will be a large segment of people who will continue to be threatened by a dad who is involved and always there. Let ‘em, it’s for our kids and families.

  2. Andrew Pollom says:

    Rob- Clearly their is a resurgence of fathers and involved, active fatherhood. And yet, in my work with college students, I do see the continuing trends of students that grew up without father’s. Granted, that trend does not (anecdotally) appear to be growing, but I also don’t see it decreasing. At least not among many of the students I serve everyday. And then there are those homes that have fathers but not “dads- meaning someone who is designated as the father figure, but that is not involved in the life of their children. Basically, an adult male roommate. I wonder what more we all, as involved and active fathers, might do to keep this dialogue alive and more importantly, to bring it to the masses- correcting if you will, the reports of the media? Furthermore, what could we do collectively, to challenge our male counterparts to take a more active role in the lives of their children and to raise our children now to understand the need for involvement with their future children one day? Really a great post. I appreciate the collective that you have begun here.

    • Andrew, I acknowledge there are serious issues with single parent families and bad fathers in general, yet the focus of the media has always been on this negative aspect. Quite frankly, it’s an easy sell. The heavy lifting involved in promoting Dads in a favorable light leaves little for the Media to skin its teeth into. No pulitzer prize will be awarded for uncovering great fathers. So there lies the problem from a public perception standpoint. These deadbeat Dads and their ilk will get the attention as long as the ratings/sales rise in tandem. I can’t fathom any serious research has gone into how many “good” fathers are out there. Again, there’s no profit nor scholarly accolades to be obtained from such an endeavor. But we, those of us who have chosen to be engaged with our children and write about it, are making an impact by taking up the role the mainstream media chooses not to. Through social media and other grass roots venues, the message has begun to gain traction. Kids deserve better fathers. And Dads deserve to know they’re not alone.

      Vincent | CuteMonster.com

    • That’s a question as old as fatherhood, Andrew. One way of turning fathers on to the wonderful experience of parenting is to try and engage them through the anecdotal, by sharing our stories. It’s more effective than telling people what to do, I’d think. The challenge is how to initially connect, to share. The father experience is not well represented and that’s something we, as father writing about fatherhood, are changing.

  3. Great article. Fathers are becoming more and more hands on and that is a trend that is and will continue to rise. All of us great dads coming together and sharing has inspired many others to strive to be the best parents they can be. Thanks for including us in the post and we look forward to sharing many more parenting tips & experiences along through the journey of parenting. Thanks for sharing

  4. If you don’t mind, I’ll just add the link to the group. All blogging dads are welcome: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dadbloggers/

    Great article.

    And thanks!

  5. The fact that we have to be referred to as a “movement” or that there’s a Year Of us or not of us is just annoying. But it’s still good to know (and help spread the word) that there ARE lots of other involved fathers out there. Not emasculated, not out-of-work so they have to babysit, not “Mr. Moms”, but Plain Old Good Dads.

    I look forward to all seeing how all the kids of these POGDs turn out. I think they’re gonna be pretty awesome.

    • The “movement” and “year of” stuff is just basically for people that need milestones…mostly the media. Really though, it’s the best kind of “annoying” – it shows us that people are thinking about dads, and, well, if there’s just one year they think dads will be around, it makes the next year even more sweet to be able to say “we’re still here!”

      (And thanks for the mention, Robert!)

      • I agree that its classification is annoying, Zach and DD, as if it were something emergent. I admit to negative connotations with the word, despite using it (I can’t shake its pairing with bowel). The “movement” has more to do with external perspective than anything we’re doing intrinsically, as a whole or individually. “POGDs” is something…

        • LOL. I’ll go ahead and fake-trademark “POGDs” in case it becomes a viral sensation. POGD™

          And yes, The Dad Movement is bigger and stinkier than other movements, often requiring the lighting of candles. And a second flush.

  6. One high point for dads this year that you missed was the outcry, petition, and pretty significant result with those “Dad Test” Huggies commercials. I don’t remember a time a major brand responded to criticisms about how it negatively portrayed dads like that before, not just with lip service about “loving dads” but actually spending a ton of money revamping a whole ad campaign.

  7. I think the the biggest difference between the Dads / Mens movement and the Moms/Womens movement is that we celebrate our victories and the sucesses, where as the the Moms and Womens movement celebrate their losses because there is much more power in that.

  8. Gizzard Stone says:

    This is awesome! So much negativity about dads bouncing around the Internet and among dad bloggers. Thanks for pulling this together.



  1. [...] fathers are opting for part time work is for family, not economics. This is in line with what we’ve been noticing about dads in the U.S. It’s a lifestyle choice. A majority of the dads interviewed for the [...]

  2. [...] a link to a post by Robert Duffer ( @RobertDuffer ) over at The Good Men Project titled ‘What They Don’t Know: The Dad Movement Has Never Been Stronger‘. The post seeks to call attention to the fact that despite the perception in the mainstream [...]

  3. [...] on what we’ve been seeing on this trend, check out this piece, which might need a new title: What They Don’t Know: The Dads Movement Has Never Been Stronger. /* post_widget("#but1"); Filed Under: Good Feed Blog Tagged With: census [...]

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