Mainstream media calls it a down year for dads, despite all evidence to the contrary
2012 would appear to be a down year for dads, if you only looked at mainstream media. Hanna Rosin published “The End of Men”, developed from a 2010 feature in The Atlantic where she asserted “the modern economy is becoming a place where women hold the cards…the real loser in society—the only one to have made just slight financial gains since the 1970s—is the single man.” It could be inferred, then, that stay-at-home dads were victims of the new economy as well, not the product of conscious and consensual choice. What a bunch of losers. Andy Hinds, who writes the Beta Dad blog and was interviewed by Rosin, wrote a thoughtful response on the Daily Beast to his mischaracterization and the fundamental problem of the book, “that women’s achievements must come at an exorbitant price to men.”
Further marginalizing dads’ changing roles was a forecast for parenting trends in 2013 by Lisa Belkin, the preeminent journalist on parenting issues. Of the 13 parenting trends she listed in the Huffington Post on what “Moms and Dads Should Expect to See in 2013,” one was the equivocal point that “Dads will stay in the picture.”
Men are steadily changing what it means to be a father — valuing life/work balance more than women in many polls, staying home with children more often, ceding the breadwinner role, blogging about their parenting pride and frustration.
Yes, that’s right, great. But what’s this?
Changes like these are incremental, though. It’s one of Zeno’s paradoxes that space is infinitely divisible—you can keep dividing something in half for eternity, never actually arriving at the endpoint. All the talk about fathers will continue to feel that way—getting closer, but not there yet.
Not where? Perhaps it was meant that as a culture we have not embraced the ascendant role of dads, and dads are not yet considered equal. Perhaps.
One of the narrowest pieces on the state of fatherhood was The Washington Times on the rise of absent fathers, ostensibly based on the 2010 US Census. It ran a follow-up to clarify the trend wasn’t limited to poor black men. They called it journalism.
The end of men, the rise of deadbeat dads, the at-home-dad as novelty–not only have these perspectives—and the cultural misinformation that engenders them—grown tired, they’re also limiting.
Dads are more active, involved, and outspoken about parenting than ever before. The conversation on the roles of dads today, and the networks this topic has generated, are so robust and dynamic it is almost impossible to quantify. But we’re going to try. This isn’t about men versus women, or dads versus mom, we’re all in this together. A child wouldn’t need to be told this, yet it must be made clear to hucksters of all shades.
The following list, pulled from resources here at the GMP and from a wonderful Dads group on facebook, showcases a sample of dads that are making major contributions about what it means to be a man—and a father—at this point in our shared history.
Dad 2.0 Summit—Every movement has a conference and this business-minded annual summit brings together marketers and social media with nearly 30 speakers to address “the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood.”
National Fatherhood Initiative—approaching 20 years of addressing the problems of absent fathers and to “To improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.” We’re particularly fond of its blog, The Father Factor.
DadCentric—One of the best out there, this revoultion-minded “junta” is set to “overthrow the outdated notions of fatherhood.”
NYC Dads Group—though its members meet up in NYC, this huge network is international in scope, with one of our favorite blogs and great resources on starting a group.
MEGA SAHD—Mark Greene is a long-time partner of the GMP and a strong voice on men’s issues.
Laid Off Dad—launched nearly a decade ago, when Doug French got laid off while having a newborn, has become legendary. French has become the force behind Dad 2.0, and a leading proponent of the dad blog movement.
Geek Dad—Wired‘s tongue-in-cheek Geek blog is tech/gadget/gamer focused but accessible to all and full of great ideas for ways to engage your children.
8BitDad—Zach Rosenberg and Bryan Ferguson culls the internet for dadcentric content and publishes original content and broadcasts a weekly show of Fatherhood Bytes.
Playground Dad—this digital dads mag founded by Mike Johnson is all about quality time with the kids. There’s always something good on this visual, easily-navigable site.
Dad Labs—For the visual browser, Dad Labs makes some awesome videos ranging from the hysterical to the informative. The weekly show (Wednesdays at 2pm CST) is like “Car Talk” but about parenting.
Cute Monster—This visually beautiful site captures our attention with its content, too, with features tending towards dads with young children.
How To Be a Dad—This self-professed anti-authority on “dadology” tends toward humor via multimedia.
Life of Dad—This relative newcomer tends toward comedy and philanthropy. The Social Network for Dads features blogs, videos, and podcasts.
Mommy Man: Adventures of a Gay Superdad—a favorite of the GMP, Jerry Mahoney’s blog is always insightful, comic, and original.
My Pathetic Blog—Kevin Harris’s tumblr balances the visual with writing that is simultaneously comic and poignant, rarely pathetic.
Devoted Dads, Inc—this support group founded by Philadelphia police officer Brandon Ruff just started up but is making waves in helping single dads assert their legal rights for their children.
The most significant indicator of dads getting their collective voice heard might be the bloggers group that Oren Miller, of Blogger Father, initiated in November 2012. In just one month, it has gathered over 100 dad writers in a group that straddles the supportive and sarcastic. Here is a sampling of the group:
Ask a Great Dad, Active Duty Dad, Canadian Dad, The Rock Father, Fatherhood (squared), Fandads, Daddy Doctrines, Thoughtful Pop, Luke, I Am Your Father, Super Dad Show, Daddy Blogger, Daddy Files, Rob Hatton’s Blog, All for My Baby, Raised by My Daughter, Dad Scribe, Daddy Place, Designer Daddy, Lick the Fridge, Beta Dad, and dozens more. There are many more not referenced here, such as those recognized by Babble in its 2nd annual best of the dad blogs list.
All these men who are writing about fatherhood are not good fathers because they write about it. If only it were that simple. The proof, however, is in the writing. Read them and you’ll see.