Active Fathers

Are Fathers The New Minority Group?

My most popular (well, my most read post) so far is the one entitled Dear Mums, Please Talk to Your Husbands, followed by What’s The Definition of Parenting? Has The Dictionary Has Got It Wrong? in third spot and the relatively new one 11 Sexist Onesies to Offend a New Dad (and 2 That Are Okay) in sixth place.

When I look at categories that I have chosen for all my posts, Active Fathers is on top of the list with Sexism Against Dads in third spot. I have recently discussed with my writer’s group that my humorous posts get very few hits whilst my activist posts seem to get lots.

And to top it off, the posts with the most comments are the same two that are in the most read as mentioned above. I know why this is the case;

Fathers are the new minority group. Let me explain.

Parents Magazine

Last year Parents Magazine (USA) released 12 issues and 25% of them had mothers on them, with none having fathers on them. Traditionally one might think that a Father’s Day special would show a happy father on the cover, but no, not a single issue showcased dads.

Parents 2013 01 January Parents 2013 02 February Parents 2013 03 March
Parents 2013 04 April Parents 2013 05 May Parents 2013 06 June
Parents 2013 07 July Parents 2013 08 August Parents 2013 09 September
Parents 2013 10 October Parents 2013 11 November Parents 2013 12 December

 

On the magazine’s Facebook page I saw this;

parents magazine facebook 12 signs you're a momNow it says parent in the preamble but mom in the title. And the post itself only has mothers’ comments. Of those “12 signs you’re a mom,” most of them if not all are signs that you could be a dad as much as you could be a mum so the title “12 signs you’re a parent” could easily have been used.

Mamamia Parents

The Australian women’s online magazine, media website, blog post aggregator, and gossip central Mamamia set up individual Facebook pages last year to promote different aspects of their website including the tab they call Parenting. Whilst you can hover your mouse over the Parenting section on the menu and see a Fatherhood sub-header, the display of mums only is rampant on this page.

Take a look at the header of the Facebook page. All writers for Mamamia (and Mamamia Parents) and all mothers. Surely there is a dad amongst their writers who could have been represented here. Even if the page is aimed solely at mothers (but then you have to question why the non-gender specific Parents gets used), the absence of fathers promotes the mindset that dads are not really that important a parent to include, and that their absence is okay.

Mamamia Parents mothers only

iVillage Australia

I have been published twice by iVillage Australia and am very active on their website and Facebook page discussions. Possibly I am the only dad who is a regular reader/commenter, and that might be because of the perceived exclusion of dads on websites and Facebook pages like this.

Take a look at their Facebook page’s header. Recognise anyone in that montage? You should. Some of the photos used for the iVillage Australia are the exact same as the ones used in the Mamamia Parents Facebook page’s header. In fact, most of the writers write for both publications seeing they are sister publications (or should that be non-gender specific sibling publications?)

ivillage australia mothers only

I have brought it to the attention of those who post the updates and memes (like these sexist ones) on both the Mamamia Parents page and the iVillage Australia page that if they are supposed to be for parents, then they need to stop with the (how good am I?) mum only memes and start sharing parenting ones that both mums and dads can enjoy.

One of the pages, I can’t remember which (but I will find it) tagged me in a response and apologised and said that they would be more mindful in the future, and more inclusive of fathers. A pro-dad meme was shared later that evening followed by another a day or two later, but it wasn’t long before they started resorting back to addressing mothers only.

Mamamia (main website/Facebook page)

When the news broke about that mother driving her kids into the ocean in Florida back on the 6th March 2014, Mamamia gave a brief discription of the incident as they normally do on their “news in under 5 minutes” post of the day.

pregnant mum mom florida beach

Fathers killing kids often get caught on these pages before all the details are known. Husbands killing wives are there too. Random men killing random women (that’s not intended in the pejorative way) are headlined too.

But as soon as more details are known, there are endless stories about how we need to end this senseless killing by men. And then we are all tarred with the same brush. All of us men. But not this Florida mum. The fact that a mother was trying to kill her kids is swept under the carpet. It is forgotten about.

Constantly talking about violence against women, especially talking about dads killing mums, without promoting all those balanced stories where modern dads are evolving to be just as active in their children’s lives as how mothers traditionally have been is the driving force behind keeping those dads who are not active in the online community of parenting away.

How can we change this? How can we get dads more active online in parenting communities? Well we could start showing them on the covers of parenting magazines. And not just the one issue every five years.

We can include dads in montages used for headers of parenting websites. We can include dads in discussions and conversations. Instead of parenting pages starting a discussion with “can any mums help with this dilemma?” they could ask if any parents can help, or leave out the salutation altogether and simply ask “can you help with this dilemma?”

Then dads will start to help out with solving problems. Dads will be part of the community of parents, and dads can rejoice in the fact that society is taking them seriously with their relationship and their interaction with their children. After all, Dads Are Parents Too.

To find out more about the featured image, click here…

5 replies »

  1. I love your article! I wrote a book about fatherhood (a year from publishing) to mentor and encourage men to be more involved raising their children. Little did I know when I began how much the cards were stacked against men. You point out some of those. Courts, society, TV, all tend to give the advantage to women when all else is equal.

    On the other hand, since I started blogging about fatherhood about 8 months ago, I find it difficult to find the men that need to hear our advice. Parenting magazines don’t pander to men because we aren’t attracted to them. Nor are we drawn to parenting discussions in general.

  2. Darrell – Well done. I love this … I’d love to have you visit my blog. I have a big audience that could (and need to hear) your message. I love the part (and point) you make about the cover of Parents magazine. Just as society has changed to have more fathers involved at home, the media and laws need to support them. It’s interesting to try and sit in your shoes. As a woman we want equality at the office so I can see why men could want (and do deserve) the same at home.

  3. First and foremost, I admire your usage of the magazine covers. Second, Men live in a society where being a father is considered a burden and not a badge honor. Thank you for shinning light on this significant issue.

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