I know this might sound bitter & someone is bound to take it the wrong way and bash me for being a horrible feminist (the irony) But. I have no time for #DadGoals.
Men do not deserve or need praise for performing basic caregiving duties. Dads are parents, not babysitters. They don’t ‘help out’ or ‘give you a break’ they raise their children. Or at least they should, but that’s a whole other post.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time on the internet to come across some article or status hero-worshipping a man just for being a Dad. It’s not just celebrities who are a part of this new(ish) trend. The #DadGoals tag on Instagram has 12,964 posts and rising, at least 90% of those photos have been submitted by ‘normal’ people.
I’m sure you remember when Chris Hemsworth made a pretty basic dinosaur birthday cake. That was a sweet moment, of course, it did make me smile. I’m sure he is a fantastic father and his children love him dearly. But, I can’t help but wonder, if it was his wife who’d produced that would she have been afforded the same accolades? No way. In fact she would probably have been accused of being disorganised for not getting a professional cake ordered in time.
A common example of the kind of thing that gets under my skin happens when a Dad is going about his daily life. Maybe he’s in the supermarket pushing or carrying his kid(s) and minding his own business.
You can guarantee at least 1 person will give him ‘that look’, you know the one I mean. They’ll go all misty eyed and smile at him thinking; ‘What a guy’, ‘Role model’, ‘Father of the year’, ‘#DadGoals’. I say bullshit.
He’s not doing anything special. He’s parenting at a normal, everyday level. He’s not a dog or a child who needs your praise or approval and (listen up fellas) if he does crave that attention he should grow up.
Before you lynch me…
I understand that having positive male role models in the media is good for young men. I appreciate and enjoy the fact that celebrities aren’t afraid to let their guards down & speak out about their love for their children. It is a good thing that men feel they can express themselves and not be afraid to be real and sensitive.
Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with posting a gushy status about how much you love your own Dad or what a great job your partner does with you kids. I’m not saying we can’t appreciate and value each other of that it isn’t nice to give an receive encouragement or praise.
Treating normal parenting as something that deserves an olympic medal does not just discredit mothers it devalues fathers. In my opinion, rather than building up ‘the father’ hero-worship creates a culture where they are patronised.
If you still think I’m a man hater – this part’s for you.
When you celebrate basic caregiving you are not normalising the role a man plays in his children life. You’re saying that the bare minimum is something children and women should bow down to.
A great Dad doesn’t need your approval or your #DadGoals hashtags, it’s embarrassing that you praise him like he’s a halfwit. A truly wonderful Dad does great things when no-one is looking, as well as when the cameras are on. Just like a great Mum does.
He also does normal, everyday, gross things. He cleans sick, makes dinner, washes laundry. He’s not a child he’s a grown up. He’s a parent. Nothing more, nothing less.