JudgyBitch: 5 Ways Society Discriminates Against Men. What’s surprising is how surprised people are when they finally hear it.
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In a poorly considered attempt at corporate humour, the retailer, which operates around 300 stores in 20 countries, shared a branded meme on Twitter and Facebook suggesting that the only role that dads play in childcare is telling their kids where mum is.
Fathers across the UK reacted angrily to the suggestion that mums face a long list of demands from their kids (eg “I’m hungry, “I’m cold”, “she hit me”, “can I have?” etc) while the only demand that dads have to deal with is: “where’s Mum?”.
Tom, a father of two and primary school teacher from Worcestershire, who writes the blog Daddy Daydream, described the meme as: “very, very insulting to all those Dads who look after their families.”
Insulting your customers is stupid. Especially when….
According to a survey by Netmums, nine out of ten parents now think that TV dads do not reflect the contribution that fathers make to family life in the real world. Three out of ten went further and said the way dads are portrayed in the media is a “subtle form of discrimination”.
Fatherists. This sort of #misandry should not go unpunished. And it ain’t subtle.
Related: Harvard Business Review: Customers Demand and Deserve Respect
The Lowe’s ad is, unfortunately, all too common in its portrayal of a dad as an irresponsible, untrustworthy, incompetent adolescent whose children must be rescued by a responsible, trustworthy, competent mom. What makes this ad and the LG ad so insidious is couching the portrayal of the dads within humor because, these companies reason, the use of humor makes it perfectly fine to reinforce this notion of dads as poor parents, all in the name of selling products to moms. (As I pointed out in the article, this approach is disrespectful of moms as well.) Indeed, when NFI contacted Lowe’s to voice our disapproval of their ad, Lowe’s simply said they were sorry that we took the ad the wrong way, that their portrayal of the dad was all in fun and meant no harm, and that they had no intention of pulling the ad. Interestingly, we didn’t ask them to pull the ad. Perhaps they were a bit defensive given their receipt of a petition signed by NFI and other organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada that called Lowe’s out on the ad. (For details on the petition, see my previous article.)
At any rate, the #HowToDad campaign turns the tables by showing that dads are competent parents. The campaign transforms Peanut Butter Cheerios into the “Official Cereal of Dadhood.” In doing so, General Mills Canada recognizes that the company doesn’t have to denigrate dads to sell a product. This campaign reflects the growing influence of dads as moms’ partners in raising children in all aspects of domestic life. Dads have taken on a steadily increasing share of the parenting load in recent decades. Dads spend more time than ever with their children generally, grocery and retail shopping for the family, and doing housework (e.g. cooking and cleaning). Dads are also more focused than ever on the desire to balance work and family. Indeed, they’re often more conflicted than moms in this regard.
In addition to the overall portrayal of fathers, what I really appreciate is how General Mills Canada uses humor to portray fathers in a positive light — a stark rebuke to the use of humor in ads like those of Lowe’s and LG. I also appreciate that the campaign uses social media to share this positive portrayal across multiple channels used by people of all ages. The #HowToDad campaign is a comprehensive web-based campaign that, in addition to the ads, includes static images, infographics, and videos (e.g. of dads doing inspirational activities with their children) that visitors can share across multiple social media platforms.
There’s a renewed respect for fathering in Canada and Great Britain these days. I hope that begins to take root here.
JudgyBitch: 5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t. The comment threads on her posts are always interesting.
New Fathers 4 Justice want nothing less than a legal presumption of 50/50 contact for a child with their parents if they split up, and the abolition of the deeply controversial, undemocratic secret court system that still exists within the ‘family’ division despite forty years of inequality and protest.
Such a well-padded protest, though. They’d get more attention to their cause this way.
The Male Suffragists: Are women making the men’s rights movement a force to be reckoned with?
And for what it’s worth, I went back to shaving with one of these. Hey, if it was good enough for my old man…