Doofus dads: Are we biased against fathers?

Fathers are tired of being portrayed as clueless caregivers. Can you blame them?

By Jenny Charlesworth
Doofus dads: Are we biased against fathers? Photo by Lisagagne,

Do dads get a bad rap? Absolutely, says 66 percent of the fathers surveyed in a recent U.S. report.

Turn on the TV and all you see are dads out of their depth. Remember the hapless HUGGIES dads (from the abruptly cancelled "Dad Test" campaign)? Or what about the dummy dads seen on primetime over the years (Married... with Children, Everybody Loves Raymond, Up All Night)? Apparently focus groups would rather see a doofus dad bumble through a diaper change than watch Mr. Mom multi-task his way to parenting Nirvana.

So it's no surprise that many fathers say they're facing an "anti-dad societal bias" where they're expected to behave like Chris Rock and his clueless dad crew in What to Expect When You're Expecting.

But Adweek has good news. In "The Demise of the Doofus Dad in Ads(and Rise of the Superdad)," writer Heather Chaet discusses the changing tide in advertising when it comes to the portrayal of modern-day dads. As more fathers become the primary caregiver at home, marketers are being forced to change their tune to get on side with Mr. Mom. It might be about tapping into dads' growing purchasing power at home, but it comes with a happy side effect: breaking down the doofus dad stereotype.

Clearly it's time to ditch outdated attitudes about dads and parenting. Marketers will play a role in this revolution but the rest of us aren't off the hook. Do you notice when ads belittle dads? Does it bother you when fathers don't get their due? I really hope so, because dads deserve as much respect as, well, the next mom.

This article was originally published on Jun 11, 2012

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