Mike Cruse points out that if we remain tolerant of idiot dad jokes, we’re marginalizing the role that fathers play in the life of their children.
Since becoming a father, I, like many people, have spoken up about dads playing more of an involved role in the upbringing of their children, as well as how the increased involvement is not only being downplayed but even ridiculed by still so many. And being the kind of person who loves to whip out my soapbox from time to time, I never have a problem when it comes to defending fellow dads.
Check out the picture below:
It was taken just this past September at a farm in Massachusetts where they offer apple picking, but only if children, and dads, are under strict supervision.
The man who took this picture, Aaron Gouveia from the Daddy Files, wrote a stellar and pointed response detailing why stunts like this (stunts that companies will claim were all done in the name of jokes and a good old-fashion ribbing) are ultimately dangerous to our sons and daughters, who grow up with the idea of dad being less valuable than mom.
Look, I get that a there are a lot of people who will still say that people need to lighten up or not take things so seriously, and I’m all for a good joke, but if we continue to push these kinds of messages — the message that dad is less than mom — and just write them off as jokes, then we as a society are doing a major disservice to our young sons.
One day those little boys will grow up to be men, even fathers, who think that it’s okay to put less time into raising their children because society said so. Thus, the cycle of diminished male involvement will continue to grow, and for what? A cheap laugh?
Today I read If Men Told Birth Stories on ScaryMommy,com. I hate to even link it, but I think it’s important that people see that much of the struggle many men/fathers are facing begins right at home, and is being perpetuated by the very people who are supposed to be their biggest supporters: their partners.
In the post, the author tries (horribly, I might add) to relate a birth story from the point of view of a husband. Not her husband I might add, just some random dude.
While still speaking as herself the author wastes no time in offending her readership by equating women sharing their birth stories to veterans comparing battle scars saying, “We’ve all been in the trenches and wanna know what happened when a fellow solider was there, too.”
No, no you are not. You are not a soldier. You are not a veteran.
She even went on to pretend the man in her story told his friends the birth process was, “like going to war. It was awesome.” This is offensive on so many levels.
Let me, an actual veteran, say this; giving birth is in no way comparable to going to war. Much like an announcer at a sporting event saying players are “warriors” or are “on the field of battle,” comparing child birth to war is ill advised and, frankly, ignorant.
There are some things in this world that you do not use as a comparison to anything else; and being a “battled-scarred veteran” is tops on that list. You know what else is on that list ? Giving birth!
The entire post was just one men-are-morons yuk yuk joke after another. Listing every single one would literally take up my entire post, but here are a few just so you get my point:
Husband says he was too busy to pay attention to his wife going through active labor at home because he was watching an abs workout infomercial.
Husband stubs his toe on the way out to the hospital and contemplates asking the doctor to check out his foot after caring for his wife because “all doctors are the same, right?”
Husband falls back asleep after wife tells him baby is close to arriving.
Husband talks about the size of his wife’s lady parts, calling them “huge” and then refers to his wife as his warrior princess and his son as his future linebacker.
As I write this post and relay the asinine stereotypes of the author at ScaryMommy.com, I realize her post was not only closed-minded and marginalizing, but it was overtly sexist towards men.
All men talk about their wife’s downtown situation to their friends? We call them by a demeaning pet name? We all envision our sons as a future linebackers? Hey, you’re not a real man unless you like football.
The next time this author wants to write a piece discussing how the opposite sex would react or retell something as personal as a birth story, I think it would be best she maybe, I don’t know–talk to a few men as to hear how they remember their child being born.
Had she done that, I’m confident she would have found more descriptive terms like “breathtaking,” “greatest moment of my life,” “pure joy,” or “no words could explain how awesome it was,” and less war, blood, vampire references, and all things Bro.
Did you see the note at the top of the post? ScaryMommy thinks those offended by their article need to grow up.
We’ve seen some pretty big strides taken to help break down the stereotypes of the idiot dad, but seeing a sexist post like that get 46K shares shows that we have a long way to go. For every hip and cool commercial, like #HowtoDad from Cheerios and the call to celebrate dads with Real Dad Moments by Dove Body Care, we still encounter examples of dads being marginalized on a daily basis.
The role of fathers deserves more respect than to be treated as a punchline in a sexist joke.
Hey, Dads. GMP knows the birth of your children is no joke. We’d love to hear your story for an upcoming feature. Email [email protected] a quick paragraph of your experience.
What is a 21st century hero? Being an engaged and present dad. And we love to show how great dads are. Want more like this? Sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter here.
An edited version of this post first appeared on Huffington Post
Featured photo: Courtesy of author
Apple Orchard sign: Aaron Gouveia/DaddyFiles