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Media’s Influence on Father’s Day: Vulnerability and Top Surgery

Father’s Day: Celebrating Dads Who Defy Stereotypes

Father’s Day was inspired a century ago by a Civil War veteran who raised six kids as a single dad. But the mainstream media didn’t want to talk about those kinds of dads in 2023.

Coverage ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday celebrated dads who are sensitive, gender nonconforming, and pregnant.

MSNBC: “Katie Phang’s Message to Dads”

Many of us grew up in a time where tired, old gender roles dictated that men couldn’t show their emotions for fear of being perceived as weak or even too ‘feminine.’ Tired, old social norms forced men to hide their emotions and suppress their feelings. …

In this time of intolerance, we should encourage everyone to say goodbye to old harmful gender stereotypes and allow them to freely express themselves. To be vulnerable and open and to embrace and celebrate that open vulnerability.

CNBC: “Here’s the No. 1 Phrase Dads Are ‘Sick of Hearing’ on Father’s Day, Says Parenting Expert—What To Say Instead”

When my son was in kindergarten, his class celebrated Father’s Day with a song written by the teachers. It went a little something like: “Oh, my dad is big and strong!”

This chafed against my better judgment. When I told the head administrator that I felt the song was a stereotypically masculine message to impart to young kids, her response was: “Oh, it’s just a sweet, harmless song.”

But as a father and author of “Better Boys, Better Men,” I’ve spent years studying conversations around gender identity, masculinity and society. I’ve found that there’s one message in particular that many dads are sick of hearing on Father’s Day: “Thanks for being our rock.”

So this year, instead of telling dads how strong and emotionally bulletproof they are, consider saying: “I’m grateful for the time we get to spend together, and I want to know more about how you’re feeling.”

New York Times: “Daddy, Are You an Influencer?”

Unlike some dadfluencers who lean into tired tropes of fatherhood—dads are hapless morons who can’t do anything, while moms are exasperated, overbearing multitaskers—[Kevin] Laferriere and [Evan Kyle] Berger are intentional about focusing on the universal fact that parenting is hard, regardless of who is doing it. “You’re going to make mistakes. That’s where the ‘dumb dad’ aspect comes in,” Mr. Berger said. “But we’re not about the weaponized incompetence that you see in a lot of dad content.”

They both recalled a cleaning product commercial from their childhoods that depicted a mom coming home from work, clearly tired, to find her husband scaling a fish in the kitchen, proudly claiming that he had “dinner handled” as fish guts flew everywhere.

“Like, really? What picture are we painting of what a father is supposed to be? We don’t do those types of jokes,” Mr. Laferriere said. “We get enough material from being involved parents who make mistakes like everyone else. It’s healthy for us to talk openly about this stuff. Screwing up, looking stupid. It’s relatable.”

Also relatable, albeit more fraught, is dads complaining.

NPR: “Navigating Pregnancy as a Dad”

In 2013, [Kayden Coleman] had just had top surgery—a double mastectomy—and had temporarily stopped taking hormones for the procedure. Coleman, who is transgender, said doctors had told him he couldn’t get pregnant. A few years later, assuming that he’d been taking hormones long enough to avoid another pregnancy, he found he was expecting again.

Today, he is raising two young daughters.

Coleman shares his experiences with fatherhood and pregnancy as a transmasculine person on social media, hoping to change perceptions and expectations. …

“I experienced a lot of pushback and discrimination within the medical system based on preconceived ideas of what a pregnant person is supposed to look like,” he says. …

Both pregnancies were difficult because he “spent more time fighting for autonomy over myself to just get an equitable space comfortable enough for me to give birth” and didn’t get a chance to “actually enjoy the process of being pregnant. …

“For those of us who identify more on the masculine spectrum, just because we identify as such does not take away our desire to have kids. If we have the body parts to do so, why not?”

Your tax dollars at work
NPR Exploits Father’s Day for a Trans Lesson: ‘Navigating Pregnancy as a Dad’https://t.co/xml5nQMhv2 pic.twitter.com/bTm0Y9GEbx

— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) June 18, 2023

In addition to masculinity, the media used Father’s Day to take on some of their other favorite villains, including racism and former president Donald Trump.

CNN gets a Father’s Day community note about a misleading article they did. https://t.co/o4felRy8IU pic.twitter.com/eExky09IhB

— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) June 18, 2023

Newsweek: “Donald Trump and Joe Biden Had Very Different Father’s Day Messages”

Shortly after the Father’s Day message, Trump reverted to his common tactic of using social media to hit out at the criminal investigations that have been launched against him, while continuing to claim the 2020 election was rigged.

Can the media take one holiday off?

Opinion: This Fourth of July, covid-19 is forcing us to confront America’s many weaknesses https://t.co/BSoGhjnLbb

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 4, 2020



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