Dumbing Down Dad
We’ve all seen the television commercials, sitcoms, and movies that portray dads in a less than stellar light. Sometimes he is the lovable, but can’t-tie-his-own-shoes kind of ignoramus. While other times good old dad is just too enthralled with his own pursuits to be bothered to help his wife or children in any way. Either way it’s clear that the media thinks it’s perfectly fine to portray fathers as second-class family members that don’t contribute much, and are generally seen as an extra child for the mother to raise.
When did all of this dad-bashing start? It’s not that easy to pinpoint the exact moment, but it is safe to say that somewhere along the way from the 1950’s vision of “Dad the Hero” to present day’s “Dad the Moron”, our society got duped into believing that men are not only inferior, but expendable.
Who needs men anyway? It’s a fair question. Women can support themselves (and children) financially on their own now, and according to the media, the children of today are much more quick-witted than their fathers could ever hope to be. The problem with the “Dumb-Dad” drum that the media keeps beating, is that after awhile it has begun to seep into our culture, and may be effecting the modern family dynamic in negative ways.
First off there are the obvious possible effects like the potential for increased divisiveness between sexes, and the loss of respect by the younger generation for the patriarchal role in the family. While these and other effects are on their own, worthy reasons to stop portraying dads in this light, it is even more interesting to note the effect that the “Dumb Dad” archetype has had on men themselves.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Could it be that the “Dumb Dad” sentiment has caused many younger men to throw away the notion of family and lifelong commitment altogether? The answer seems to be a clear, yes! In fact the numbers of men who don’t expect to marry at all have been increasing.
Among other issues, Dr. Smith discusses the many risks associated with marriage, “Lots of men I spoke with were keenly aware of the dangers of divorce, and worried that if they were married and it went sour, the woman might take everything, including the kids. “
So what’s next? Is it over for the modern-day Dad? Identifying the problem is just the beginning. We as a culture should now focus on how to bring men back into the family structure, and how to build a positive image of fathers in the media.
Here are a few organizations that are trying to do just that:
*This is the first in a 4-part series on what the modern media is teaching our society about fathers and men in general. Future articles will also focus on action we can take to help support men as fathers in our society. Please subscribe to our newsletter to be notified of updated on future articles.
[contact-form-7 id="2981" title="Untitled"]
Men on strike http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yzUECFwU3U#t=139
Media Study http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ILVL_MLwqI
Photo credit Flickr Creative Commons User jbcurio