"Does it take a dad to write this post?"Doug French
When I was a kid, before Xbox and Movable Type and movable type, I and the many kids who lived on my little dead-end street used to play lots of outdoor group games, like tag and “Red Light, Green Light.” One of our favorites was “Duck, Duck, Goose,” except there was this one annoying girl who liked to circle us endlessly and say “Duck” a few million times. She was trying to milk the anticipation, but really all we wanted was for her to get on with the inevitable, already.
That’s what it felt like when Babble published its list of the Top 50 Dad Blogs. We men finally got our slap on the back. But that doesn’t mean Babble isn’t also guilty of making us wait waaay too long in obscurity–and, in one recent case, marginalizing us entirely.
Ever since its inception, Babble has been a “parent blog for mothers.” And you can’t really blame its editors for going where they perceive the business is. If moms are reading you, you make content for moms, and the mothernado gathers force while the dads sit idly by, watching football and/or scratching ourselves.
Stories about pregnancy, and nursing, and even Moms Who Are Changing the World don’t rankle me a bit. Because they are, and should be celebrated for it. But “Does It Take A Mom To Change the World?” Now you got me rankled.
If you read the whole piece, it’s actually a measured discourse between six women, all of whom could pick me out of lineup. Motherhood, they say, has amplified their concerns about the world. And propelled them with a new immediacy, because the kid who will inherit this world is over there in the bassinet. The things these women have seen and achieved–visiting Bangladesh and Kenya, chinwagging with Dr. Biden at the White House–all speak of the growing influence they wield.
It’s just that provocative headline. As a recovering geometry teacher, I am a logic nerd. And that headline is an implied if-then statement: “If you can change the world, then you are a mom.” The contrapositive of which is: “If you are not a mom, you cannot change the world.” In other words, if you are a dad, you’re not of much use to us.
I can see how this idea might come about, given all the damage men have inflicted over the years. But to say we can’t also effect positive change is probably news to Bill Gates, and Bono, and ClooneyPitt, and Muhammad Yunus, and all the Walesas and Gandhis before them.
I know I’m hyperventilating a bit here, but headlines matter. They attract the attention and linger more in the memory. And to choose that headline is to create the lasting impression that men are here to screw up the world, and women are here to clean it up.
I can think of a gang of dad bloggers who disagree with that, and are putting their money where their lips are by joining our DadBlogger Movember team to help cure prostate and testicular cancer. It might not be much, but it’s definitely something, anything to debunk the idea that Social Media for Social Good is only for Social Moms.
Dad bloggers are lagging in this effort. But we’re working on it, gaining momentum and getting a sense of what’s possible. We might surprise you if you give us the chance. And if some media elements haven’t figured this out yet, the Top 50 Dad Blogger list might be just the goosing they need.