Last month, as Mother’s Day approached, TV was saturated with pink-hued commercials about how mothers are angelic, other-worldly beings, how they selflessly take care of everyone, how indescribably wonderful they are, how they give and give until there’s nothing left, how we owe them everything (or at least whatever the company is selling on their commercial). Department stores featured t-shirts with “Super Mom” and jewelry with children’s birthstones, and florists stood at the ready, hands out for the fists full of cash for overpriced roses and flowers, because how can you possibly think about the price tag when it comes to your mother, for pete’s sake?
Now, as Father’s Day is coming up, I can’t help but notice the drastic difference in advertising, presentation, and gift ideas for fathers. I was flipping through t-shirts, looking for a gift for Gary, and all I could find were jokes about beer drinking, hoarding the remote control, and “go ask your mother”. Needless to say, I didn’t waste my money on this crap.
Gary is not a beer-guzzling, TV-bingeing caveman with no clue what goes on in our household. I find it hard to believe he’s a rare exception to this stereotype. Gary cooks, reads to the kids, plays Barbies, plays hide-and-seek and Nerf guns, works hard, gets up in the middle of the night when one of the kids is sick, doctors scrapes and cuts and bruises, and ignores his own exhaustion if one of the kids wants to sit on his lap, play, tickle, or tell him an endless story with no plot.
And we’re supposed to honor him with a t-shirt bragging about his beer-chugging skills? Seriously, how far behind the times are these idiots crafting these lame gift ideas? Many Father’s Day gifts, cards, and commercials are either thinly-veiled insults, or straight-up, blatant slaps to dads’ faces. We’re supposed to laugh whimsically at commercials about dear old Dad’s incompetence, stumbling foolishness, gas issues, and cluelessness about taking care of children, a home, or anything, really, besides a cold six-pack.
I can’t understand why more men aren’t angry about this. I can’t understand why more women aren’t angry, either. Mom-as-martyr and Dad-as-jackass stereotypes don’t help anyone. How about parents acting as partners? How about respecting both roles and not placing one on a pedestal and one in the toilet for giggles and kicks?
I think Gary is going to really like his Father’s Day gift this year. He told us not to get him a gift, like he does every year, but Sunflower came to me with an idea, all her own, and I know she’s excited to give this present to him. Rest assured, it’s most definitely not a shirt about his alcohol consumption, and it does not use the ridiculous phrase “man cave”. Believe it or not, gifts without that garbage do exist, if you look hard enough. I just think it’s sad we have to look so hard.