A man turns into a father all at once—no warning, no preparation, no classes. Many a woman starts turning into a mother in her early childhood. After all, she spends many hours pretending that she’s holding a baby, feeding it, changing its diapers, and nurturing it. Her doll is her someday child. At the dinner […]
Four years ago, at the Beijing Olympic Games, Procter & Gamble’s ad campaign was “Proud Spstickonsor of Moms.” I complained loud and long about that one—how leaving dads out in such a glaring way was insulting and demeaning.
Now they’re back, and are ramping up their insulting, demeaning message a few notches. P&G’s campaign for the upcoming London Summer Olympics? “Thank you, Mom.” Excuse me? Only mom? Again? Really? How ’bout “Thank you, Mom and Dad.” Apparently not. As far as P&G is concerned, dads simply don’t exist.
Frankly, I’ve had enough. I’ve spent more than 15 years looking at—and critiquing—advertisers’ portrayals of fathers, and like most dads, I find that the majority of advertising is rather irrelevant to me. But there’s a difference between creating ads that are irrelevant and creating ads that completely deny that fathers exist. (Even Jif peanut butter, famous for their “Choosy Mothers Choose Jif” slogan, occasionally proclaims that “Choosy Mothers and Fathers Choose Jif.”) As a single dad, I do all the shopping for my family and I’ve spent a lot of money on P&G brands over the years. But as far as I’m concerned, P&G no longer exists. I’m taking my wallet elsewhere.
Although this article from the Guardian talks mostly about reaction in the UK to a study showing that new dads may get postpartum depression, I’ve come across many of the Neanderthal attitudes expressed here in my work with fathers in the U.S.
What is your response to learning that there is a treatable but often undiagnosed medical condition that could mean that a baby is significantly more likely to require medical intervention for speech and language development? What if research had found the same condition led to the child being vastly more likely to develop behavioural problems and peer relationship problems? What if it could be affecting one in 30 newborn babies, or about 25,000 children every year in the UK alone, while minimal efforts are made to intervene?
More and more girls are starting puberty early. Some as early as six! If you’ve got daughters–and I’ve got three of ’em–there are a few things you really, really need to know. Let’s start with the good news, some of which I’ve written about extensively.
Girls who have actively involved dads start puberty later than those with less involved dads. In fact, girls who grow up without a biological dad are twice as likely to start puberty young than girls in families where mom and dad are there. (An unfortunate piece of bad news for women who’ve remarried is that a stepfather in the home can accelerate puberty too.)