Dads – Lovable Buffoons or Total Deadbeats?

Yes, this website is called Queens “Mamas”. Yes, our primary readership are mothers but it is time for a change. The extraordinary population that we have been leaving out for quite some time are Dads. Below, a Queens dad lets us know whats up from his side of the parenting fence. If you as a father would like to contribute to this website, please contact us! your voice matters too.

If memory serves me right, I remember growing up watching the likes of Danny Tanner (“Full House”) and Carl Winslow (“Family Matters”) as examples of both single and married fathers doing right by their families. Widower Danny Tanner was an excellent role model for any young parent. While Carl Winslow was not only an equal to his wife in their roles as parents, he even took Steve Urkel under his wing. You couldn’t ask for a more inspiring portrayal of positive male role models. But what has happened since then?

It seems like these days fathers find themselves either being depicted as parentally-challenged idiots who find changing a diaper akin to solving a rubik’s cube, or selfish individuals who spend little to no time with their kids. Even mainstream media found these depictions ridiculous enough to make short fathers-day stories on media’s modern father figure image (CBS, 2006). Recently, dads have had enough and fought back against a blatantly biased Huggies commercial (CNN, 2012). But is that enough? It sure seems like we’re fighting an uphill battle for respect.

Now obviously this post isn’t to be portrayed as the civil rights fight of a lifetime, but it can’t be brushed aside either: there are very real consequences of such bias, perhaps none more important than in how the US family court system is tilted against men (HuffPo, 2011). A bias that many lawyers and even women will privately attest to.

Changing perceptions of day to day people is one thing, speaking to the larger bias is something else. But perhaps there is hope. After all, we live in an age when you have alternative media and dynamic ways to connect with other parents. If you were to turn away in disgust from TV and movies that depict dads in negative light, where would you turn? Parenting magazines perhaps? As blogger Andy Hinds told HLNTV (12/5/12):

“I thumbed through a couple issues before I realized something that struck me as peculiar: Although the magazine title was gender-neutral, the content was directed 100% toward moms. The only article about dads was one that offered advice to moms about how to whip us recalcitrant layabouts into shape. There were a handful of images of males; but instead of parenting, they were shown watching TV, being pediatricians, or preparing to service Mommy in one of the salacious sex-after-children articles.”

Even when there are small victories of pro-father pride it seems like those sentiments are only entertained on Fathers Day. When fathers are recognized, it feels like a pat on the head. As a single father taking care of my boys women often smile at me and say “Awwww” and otherwise cheer me on like I’m the “little engine that could”. When I tell them I have full custody, they’re taken aback as if the concept is alien to them. Why should this be?

Unsurprisingly, the tide hasn’t completely turned around for fathers and just like any stereotype, the work to re-imagine the current image of fathers in our society will take nothing short of a revolutionary effort. But it should be said that the majority of fathers who seek justice in the media and court systems aren’t involved to spite an ex or because of competitive drive… we want to be equals with moms. And why shouldn’t we be?

By Josmar Trujillo – Awesome Single Dad – Rockaway NY