Apparently there are fathers in the world who don’t like to be perceived as bumbling fools.
The hapless, bumbling father is a stock character in product marketing. He makes breakfast for dinner and is incapable of handling, or sometimes even noticing, a soggy diaper. He tries desperately to hide the crumb-strewn, dirt-streaked evidence of his poor parenting before the mother gets home.
This is an image that many fathers who attended the Dad 2.0 Summit — a meeting of so-called daddy bloggers and the marketers who want to reach them — have come to revile. They are proud to be involved in domestic life and do not want to serve as the comic foil to the super competent mother.
I suspect the real problem here is that the fathers attending the Dad 2.0 Summit are lacking self worth and humility. Basically, these men are being made to feel bad by commercials that portray them as bumbling fools.
First, we are all bumbling fools from time to time. Men and women alike. Embrace it. Revel in it. Self deprecation is a beautiful thing. Make the world a better place. Be the clown.
I was in the supermarket yesterday, looking for a “heavy mango” and a “ripe avocado.” Could I have handled this mission on my own?
But instead I asked two different women to help, explaining to each that I was likely to screw things up if left to my own devices.
My wife once sent me to the supermarket for a mango and I came home with a papaya. We didn’t even know it was a papaya until we took a photo of it and asked the readers of my blog to help us identify it.
There’s nothing wrong with being the bumbling fool from time to time. There’s even less wrong with pretending to be the bumbling fool if it means getting a little assistance when needed.
More importantly, if a commercial is capable of making you feel bad about yourself, the problem is not with the commercial but with you. Who cares how a laundry detergent commercial portrays a father in an effort to sell more soap? It doesn’t effect me. I know who I am, and more importantly, I know what kind of father I am. Happily, I am incapable of being threatened or harmed by a 30-second commercial, and I would like to suggest that the fathers at the Dad 2.0 Summit embrace the same mental framework (but only after changing the ridiculous name of their conference).
If these men were ten years old, their complaints would sound something like this:
“No fair! The Campbell’s Soup Company is making that mommy look super smart and making that daddy look silly and dumb! That hurts my feelings! Tell them to stop!”
As adults, they instead choose to gather for a conference at a hotel, assign their conference a “2.0” moniker in order to sound forward thinking and then self-importantly label the whole thing as a “summit,” which according to Webster’s Dictionary is “a conference of highest-level officials,” which this is definitely not.
Grow up, gentlemen. If you find the image of a super competent mother threatening, the problem is not with the advertiser but with you.