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The Problem with Father’s Day and why it Sucks

Well, well, well. We are just months away from the ‘holiday’ that is more celebrated than Jesus’ birthday. The one holiday that surpasses the slaughter of turkeys and this country’s day of ‘independence’ combined. Which holiday might that be you ask? Father’s Day.

How do People Remember Father’s Day?

Is it the plethora of Father’s Day commercials offering discounts on tools, clothing, buffets, and such? Does your mother remind you about Father’s Day? How about your friends? Or maybe even pops himself? No one? Okay. Father’s Day USUALLY runs on a Sunday. There are no football games to look forward to watching. The NBA finals are usually over, so how could we forget this day? Regardless, if you’re a baby daddy (more on that later) or a husband, it should be your special day, right? RIGHT?!

Commercial Depictions of Dads

Trust, there are no sour grapes being spewed or imaginary Molotov cocktails being hurled at mothers who do a great job. However, as a father myself, I don’t see the same level of fanfare given to Father’s Day the same way it is given to Mother’s Day. The next time you visit to your nearest CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Duane Read, etc, pay attention to the differences between the cards. The sentiments for the fairer sex tend to be soft, warm, endearing, and usually contain strong words of praise for mothers. On the other hand, you may notice many of the cards for dads are less endearing and lean more on the side of buffoonery.

Media Representations of Fathers

I’m all for a sense of humor but when it comes down to something like an ode to dads around the world, it makes me put things into perspective. That said, let me ask you this: Is Peter Griffin, Homer Simpson, Stan Smith or Randy Marsh really how fathers are to be depicted? In all honesty, I used to think Al Bundy was the coolest dad despite the bathroom humor, his obsession with the ‘nudy bar’, the witty shots taken towards his neighbor Marcy, cannons fired at the super plus sized women, and occasional vitriol for his sometimes wretched family. In spite of these things, one thing was undeniable – he was a provider, protector, and did whatever he could for his family. He sold women’s shoes to provide a living for his family and all he wanted when he came home was a beer and some ‘me’ time. But I digress.

My question is this: why are the less redeeming qualities of the aforementioned and other caricatures the modern day symbols fathers? Has the notion of Father’s Day become so dumbed down and cartoonish that it’s now somewhat of a parody? And if so, why? Who is to blame?

I remember watching a television special (on either BET or TV-one) hosted by Anthony Anderson and LaLa Anthony. It featured the who’s who of celebrities paying homage to their mothers. I’ve seen it twice thus far, so I assume it’s televised annually. That said, I have yet to see a similar broadcast for dads. I wonder why this is. Has society lent a hand in our perception of the value of fathers? What about our court system? What about those mothers who go to great lengths to ensure the fathers are vilified in their children’s eyes once the romance is over?

Father’s Day Shade in Schools

Quick story. I remember when my son was in pre-school. Every time Mother’s Day came around he always came home from school with a card made for his mom. I thought this was awesome. However, a mere 4 weeks later it was the opposite.  I had asked his teacher, “Did anyone make Father’s Day cards?” as I stared at my sons nearly empty cubby containing nothing but a few papers. His teacher instantly became a deer caught in headlights. His response was, “Oh..oh..uuh, yeah I’ll have him make one for you.”  I wasn’t upset or anything, but I was slightly dejected.

I was very involved in my son’s life. Every time I’d arrive to pick him up he’d sprint across the room and jump into my arms. On the following Monday I received a card.  However, the fact that I had to mention something about it left me a little miffed. Come to find out, my son was the ONLY child who made a Father’s Day card.

Where Have all the Great Dads Gone?

I remember growing up watching shows such as Good Times, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, Growing Pains and they all had upstanding men who set good examples of what a father should be. Fast forward to current times and you have shows that feature very little, if any, fatherly or strong male presence. In the instances there are, the woman plays a stronger figurehead in the household.

Reality TV shows have done nothing to help soothe the numerous cuts and wounds that have been put there. Don’t get me wrong, there are some men out there who are scum bags. Apart from husbands who likely get little acknowledgment beyond a tie, what about the fathers who provide and care for their children despite no longer being in relationships with the mother? How about those dads who are only left with paying child support despite a valiant legal effort to get their rights? Where is their badge of honor? Do they get to have ‘Happy Father’s Day’ cards and praises heaped upon them?

I’ve heard some brothers jokingly refer to Father’s Day as “Happy Child Support Day” and “Happy Baby-Daddy day”. It’s sad but unfortunately true. Maybe one day, just one day, ALL Fathers in this day and age will get their just due.

Peace and Happy Fathers day to all the brothers out there. Celebrate it. You deserve it. Salute!!

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One Comment

  • Tamiflu

    I’m an opinionated person and I LOVE other opinionated people! It’s not ego driven. It’s driven by the love of IDEAS! Lots of opinionated people like to talk to people with differing views because it’s fun to consider all the angles of a problem and develop your understanding and thinking. Sometimes another’s point of view shifts our thinking, which is exciting, and sometimes it doesn’t. But even when our minds aren’t changed, it’s still interesting and intellectually stimulating.

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