On Dad Parts And Mom Parts And The Internet, Oh MyCatherine Connors
Hey, so. You remember how we asked that whole ‘WHITHER THE DADS?’ question over at the Salon? (If you didn’t see it, you should totally go check it out. A bunch of very smart people weighed in on whether the rise of moms in popular culture meant that dads were facing cultural marginalization. Or something. Anyway, it seemed an important question, because parenthood in popular culture – and certainly social media culture – seems to be, you know, all about the moms. Also, their boobs. Boobs come up pretty frequently in discussions about motherhood, and you know how that kind of thing can end up monopolizing a discussion. Anyway. MOVING ON.)
Anyway, that whole question about dads, and the culture, and social media and stuff? I think that I answered it. Or maybe I just raised more questions. I don’t know. I wrote the aforelinked piece before I hosted the salon, which means that I maybe answered questions before I asked them, or asked questions before I asked them again, which means that this is very probably discursively confused, but still. IT IS NONETHELESS IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS.)
Here’s part of what I wrote. You’ll have to click over to the full piece to get the full argument (you should totally do this) but this should give you the gist:
Mommy bloggers are a thing’ in a way that dad bloggers — nobody ever calls them daddy bloggers,’ which is another topic for another time — simply are not. But what does that mean for dads who blog? Are they just a minor part of the vast mom blogging community? Or are they their own specialized community? But if they are their own community, couldn’t we also consider them a thing,’ in some sense? But can dad blogging be a thing’ in the way that mom blogging is a thing’ if dad bloggers don’t have the events, the media coverage, the royalty, and the whole industry that moms have? Does it even matter? Why are we even talking about this?
I would argue that it does matter, for two reasons. The first reason is this: Dad blogging matters as a phenomenon in and of itself because it points to a shift in how we understand fatherhood, and, arguably, in how men practice fatherhood. Dad bloggers narrate their experience of fatherhood, and in so doing they legitimize, and even celebrate, the public practice of fatherhood. That this is a public act is important: Dad bloggers are saying to the world, loudly and clearly, that fatherhood is something to be proud of. This is something worth talking about. This is something to praise and evaluate and celebrate and share and discuss, out loud and in public. This is something that changes both the discourse and the practice of fatherhood: When so many men are talking publicly about changing the diapers, does it not make it more likely that men changing diapers becomes more of a cultural norm?
I go on to outline another reason – I won’t spoil it for you – and also to problematize those reasons – because it just wouldn’t be interesting if I didn’t – but it all boils down to this: dad blogging matters. Maybe not in the kind of flashy, boob-flashing way that mom blogging matters, but still. That’s for the best, I think. Mom-parts are germane to conversations about motherhood. Dad parts are just, you know, not.*
Go hug a dad blog today. And tell that dad blogger to never, ever post about his genitals.
*Except for when it comes to vasectomies. And circumcision. And, I suppose, procreation. BUT STILL.