On this lucky Friday, the discourse of dads as incompetent in the home looms large (h/t to Soraya Chemaly for the link):
There’s a good chance if you receive — or give — a Father’s Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a farting, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the TV remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.
Such cards are top sellers among the 87 million Father’s Day cards that will be given this year. But just who are these dads, and what decade are they from?
The greeting card image of Dad as lazy, incompetent boob is increasingly out of sync with today’s fathers, many of whom spend as much time packing lunches and helping with homework as their own fathers spent in the Barcalounger.
But stereotypes sell, greeting card companies say. The Father’s Day bestseller for NobleWorks Cards, a New Jersey-based publisher, says, “Keep Calm We Found the Remote.” The next bestseller shows kids surrounding Dad as he opens a card misspelled as “Happy Farter’s Day.” The third-biggest seller shows “The Evolution of Dad” from ape to caveman to a guy hunkered down in front of the TV.
I suggest these cards reflect the continued belief in the breadwinner-homemaker (or breadmaker – homewinner, as I keep trying to type) model of family organization. Implicit in these cards is another figure, the stay-at-home-mom, or at least the perfect Angel in the House.
It’s exactly why I am hitching my rhetorical wagon to the phrase, “working dad,” in which both worker and father are fully integrated into our core identity.
Much more on this come.