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Where Are All the Dads in Parenting Magazines?

Where Are All the Dads in Parenting Magazines?

When Wired magazine came out with a “Geek Dad” themed June cover, Jezebel writer Katie Baker was quick to charge that Wired was ignoring mothers and alienating women. She takes issue with a general-interest publication apparently implying that women can’t be geeks who engage in fun science and tech activities with their children.

And it’s a fair criticism, especially given the pervasive cultural stereotypes that women aren’t good at math or science. But it’s also a little hypocritical – after all, how often do magazine stories focusing on parenting talk about being a good father at all?

As Mike Adamick and Brian Reid point out, more often than not, parenting websites and magazines seem to ignore the fact that fathers are parents, too. “Parenting” seems to be synonymous with “motherhood” – to the point where, often, the two terms are completely interchangeable. And ads aimed at parents aren’t much better – usually implying that men are incapable of cleaning up spills, changing diapers, or doing laundry, and that their wives are always cleaning up after them and fixing their messes. (Apart from being generally demeaning to men, these ads completely ignore the reality of same-sex couples with kids.)

It’s not just parenting magazines, ads, and websites, though – even scientific research often seems to completely dismiss the idea that men have an impact on children’s development. Study after study examines mothers’ influence on everything – throughout the past century, mothers have been blamed for causing their children to be obese, anorexic, schizophrenic, gay, and even autistic due to poor parenting.

But what about fathers? Fathers, it seems, almost never share the blame when children suffer from poor parenting – and they rarely seem to get much credit when they do everything right, either.

While maybe it would have been better for Wired to talk about “Geek Parents” and include articles from both men and women – is it really a problem to focus on fathers for once? It’s only one issue of the magazine. Who’s to say they won’t do a “Geek Mom” issue in the future?

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Photo credit: Jiunn Kang Too

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32 comments

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6:43PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

I think this article brings up a good point. When it says, " And ads aimed at parents aren’t much better – usually implying that men are incapable of cleaning up spills, changing diapers, or doing laundry, and that their wives are always cleaning up after them and fixing their messes. (Apart from being generally demeaning to men, these ads completely ignore the reality of same-sex couples with kids.)", it made me realize how true it is. Mothers are thought to have to be at home and also responsible for a child's growth.

10:04AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

most guys are out at work and women home cause men are sexest beings thinking the women should be at home, that's why.

9:27PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

I know so many great dads. I was blessed to have a great dad myself.

7:23PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

This is a real travesty. Men put a lot of time and effort into helping their children survive and teaching them about life. Men are not just pocketbooks ...we have love for our children too!

The law and current legislation, the media, the police and self help groups are women oriented. This breeds a poor place for our children to grow up in. Alienation and expulsion are common for men. Many never see their children again after divorce. Suicide is very common for men not being included in their children's lives. It is time to change this.

Why not start here and now?

6:38PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Not only are Parenting Magazines at fault here, but if you'll watch the average commercial selling a "family" type product, the father is almost ALWAYS depicted as the idiot of the family with the wife and EVEN the kids having to go around behind him, cleaning up his messes! This has hardly changed since TV has been around!

6:05PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

I was born in the late 1950's and in those deys the father's worked and the mother's atayed at home and were the caretakers. Over the years the costs of mortgages have risen and it takes both parents working to support the family. Over the years probably much slower than the women have liked the men have started to do chores around the house and help with the raising of the children.. I believe that this is beneficial for the children to have more contact with their fathers.

5:16PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

My dad was not the best parent in the world in some ways and I vowed to be better than him in that respect. According to my daughter, my plan worked.

4:40PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Ask "Julia" where is the father of her child?

4:21PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

It's been a LONG time since I picked up a Parenting Mag. but you are all correct in your feelings. But if Dads aren't included in the Magazines , well they ought to be! And maybe the fact that the mags are going out of business could direct the articles to the internet. I personally do not know why younger people have such a repulsion to READING.

I didn't graduate from college, didn't graduate from High School (got my GED) but I always thought I would be able to anything I wanted as long as I could READ the rules and Manuals to do the job. I was a single mom and raised four children, worked as a bookkeeper, construction worker, Realtor, Lead Counselor, Phlebotomist and human service worker. I was able to do all those things because I could read, and research.

4:02PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Just when I had thought our society was finally evolving to a better level of understanding, I see this! Of course Dads are "real" parents! Children love their Dads just as much as their Moms, Just Ask Them! I do think carrying a baby in pregnancy and actually giving birth, creates a mystical bonding experience between a woman and her child. But these days, I think most men choose to be there in the delivery room when their child is born, and participate in any way they can. I breastfed both my sons because I believe it's better for the baby, but I'm sure, if he could, their Dad would have been overjoyed to do some of those 2 a.m. feedings. So stop the Dad-slamming! The Fathers I know care deeply about their children. We should encourage them to be involved (as if most of them need it). Maybe men hold back because they're afraid to trespass on what has traditionally been female territory? Our society should learn to speak of "parenting" in a gender neutral way, and start acting on the assumption that men are CARING PEOPLE who love their children just as much as Moms.Oh, and Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

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