Debate Magazine

Being Fatherless on Father's Day, and Other Musings

Posted on the 15 June 2014 by Starofdavida

Being Fatherless on Father's Day, and Other Musings

See? Power tools.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been inundated with television commercials advertising golf clubs, power tools, red meat, and other articles that are supposed to define American masculinity. Images in clothing catalogs and magazine ads impart the message that real fathers are men who are married to women, can fix cars, and frequently make barbecues in their spacious backyards. Internet popups tell me that I should remember to buy those tickets to the game on Sunday, as if I could forget when Father’s Day is.
I know that the above paragraph reads as incredibly bitter, particularly in light of the fact that my dad died a year and a half ago. But in all honesty, I really don’t resent the existence of this holiday. I understand that most people have fathers, and just because mine isn’t here anymore doesn’t mean that other people should be kept from celebrating the contributions that their fathers made to their lives. I mean, Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day, while we’re on the subject) always struck me as a little inane, even when my father was living. Children should be celebrating their parents every day of the week, not just on one arbitrarily chosen day in the spring. But I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the idea of Father’s or Mother’s Day.
It’s just that things tend to get tricky when you have people who don’t have a parent, or have one who is absent in mind or body. My elementary school had an annual mother-daughter event around Mother’s Day, and I always felt bad for one girl on my bus whose mother had passed away and another girl in my grade whose mother had walked out on the family. I’m sure that Mother’s Day was tough enough for them in the first place, and mother-daughter events like that could have only rubbed salt into the wound. At this point, I’m a big girl, and I can get over not having a father on Father’s Day; had my dad died when I was younger, I’m not sure if it would have been as easy.
My dislike of Father’s and Mother’s Day goes beyond feeling bad for parentless children such as myself, though. It really bothers me how the media takes these days as an opportunity to pigeonhole the sexes and idealize very specific, gendered behaviors. Men are masculinized, women are feminized, and we all end up losing out because of the stereotypes that are reinforced in people’s minds. I know very few people who could accurately be characterized by the traditional images of men and women that the media pushes around Father’s and Mother’s Day. Case in point: my mother, a carpenter’s daughter who does most of her own repairs and keeps a tool box next to her shoeboxes, could figure out how to use a power tool better than my father would have. Why didn’t I see any commercials for Home Depot gift cards around Mother’s Day? She would use it better than he ever could have.
Father’s Day advertising also becomes problematic in its portrayal of the family as a unit with two straight parents of different sexes living in the same home. Marginalizing families that are structured in different ways, these ads make single parents, same-sex parents, and all sorts of other types of families look like they don’t belong. This is 21stcentury America. We all belong, no matter how far we deviate from the traditional family structure.
Is it kind of annoying to have a day celebrating fathers when you don’t have one? Yeah. Not gonna lie. Seeing images of the family I once had plastered all over television, magazines, and even the sides of buses can hurt, and I’m not going to sugarcoat that. But Father’s Day also bothers me because of the sexist overtones that advertisers capitalize on. No, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the existence of Father’s Day, but the holiday will have to have a big makeover before I’ll start to grudgingly like it.   

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Pull Apart Cinnamon Roll Bread

    Pull Apart Cinnamon Roll Bread

    Who doesn't love cinnamon rolls? Not many people I would assert. I saw this recipe for a Pull Apart Cinnamon Roll Bread on Pinch of Yum a while back and had... Read more

    14 hours, 33 minutes ago by   Mariealicerayner
  • $500 Weekend Blowout

    Well a month ago our $1,000 post was very successful, a number of sales took place and it brought about members engaging with one another to get some deals... Read more

    16 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Worldwide
  • Proliferation of Hate and Intolerance

    Proliferation Hate Intolerance

    Paul Brass provides a wealth of ethnographic and historical evidence on the causes of Hindu-Muslim violence in India in The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence... Read more

    17 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Dlittle30
  • Unpacked Book Trailer

    Unpacked Book Trailer

    Introducing…The Unpacked Book Trailer!!Back in December, my friend and filmmaker Andrew MacCormack and I got to together for a chat at my cottage in Stanley... Read more

    17 hours, 43 minutes ago by   Moduffycobb
  • Currently....


    Happy Friday folks bitches! Time and Place: 4:24 p.m. At my computer in my home office looking at my dog and counting down 36 minutes until happy hour. Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Brisdon
  • ETSY MIX of the Week

    ETSY Week

    1 | Hoop earrings are making a comeback. These solid ones with the v shaped cutout are very pretty (umya, $56.89) 2 | A gorgeous birch wood plate to serve and... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Myparadissi
  • Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2017 – Day Five – The Finish Line

    Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race 2017 Five Finish Line

    MARCUS SCOTNEY AND CAROL MORGAN WIN THE BERGHAUS DRAGON'S BACK RACE 2017 Marcus Scotney put aside injury concerns to lead from the front on the final day and wi... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Abichal

Paperblog Hot Topics