Defining Fatherhood: Dad Bubbles & Mainstream MediaWhit Honea
In terms of fatherhood, I’ve been told, I am fortunate to live in a bit of a bubble. I say fortunate because that bubble is filled with my fellow Dad Bloggers (figuratively, I can’t imagine the odor involved with the literal), and despite our many differences on a number of things, when it comes to the involvement, interaction, and emotional availability that we share with our children, it is so much preaching to the choir.
It is generally accepted by those within the community of online parents that dads writing about the evolution of fatherhood are more likely to be a part of that change than apathetic recorders of it. That is, we practice said preaching to the choir, and as such the feedback we receive from each other is based on the simple understanding that the stereotyped dads of yore (where yore equals the media of today) are nothing but dust in the wind.
And yet, I am always hearing that such views on fatherhood are special, out of the ordinary, and other things that would suggest I have a much larger blog audience than I do. These views can be found in Facebook replies, comments on sites like this one, and, of course, in mainstream media (pause to shake fist toward sky).
Last week I had the chance to hang out with two separate groups of dads, one was a table full of bloggers, and the other was a group of guys that had never heard of a dad blog. I realized, in hindsight, that I had been given an opportunity to test both sides of the fatherhood equation, and the results may surprise you. Here is what I found:
The Dad Bloggers
On Thursday night I met up with a group of dad bloggers in my area because we had been talking about getting together since the Dad 2.0 Summit, and we figured four months of planning was sufficient for meeting in the middle of our 15 mile radius. I was joined by Charlie (How to be a Dad, Night of the Living Dads), Tommy (Life of Dad), Jay (Dude of the House), Zach and Bryan (both from 8BitDad), and we sat around talking about blogging, kids, music, movies, dads in the media, and the ridiculous price of a pitcher ($20 for a pitcher of beer?). The night was relaxing and enjoyable.
The Guys That Never Heard of a Dad Blog
On Friday night my family and I went to our friends’ place for an evening of Pixar movies and pizza making. During the better part of Cars 2 I sat around a fancy bottle of Argentinian rum with four other guys — three of whom I had never met, and we discussed kids, music, movies, dads in the media, and the influence of the United States on South American politics. The night was relaxing and enjoyable.
Both groups talked frequently about parenting and fatherhood, and I didn’t notice any difference in the passion and attention involved. In fact, there was never a single moment that made me think the “regular” guys looked at fatherhood any differently than those in my bubble — they just didn’t have the desire to write about it. Fair enough.
However, I did find it interesting that the dad bloggers tended to address conversation topic first and then spin it through their respective dad lens, whereas the other guys tended to use our common ground as fathers to segue into other topics. I chalk that up more to familiarity and setting than the defining attributes of blogging and non-blogging dads. The fact that it was the only item of note should say even more.
In conclusion, my findings aren’t going to rock the world of fatherhood, dad blogging, or pitcher pricing, but they do show that our bubble full of dads isn’t cohered solely from the sticky side of interwebs. The evolution of fatherhood, and the subsequent disgust over negative stereotypes being portrayed in the media, is bigger than the internet. It is special and fast becoming ordinary.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
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