They ask for diapers in men’s bathrooms, post pictures with puppets, discuss burps and (sometimes) criticize mothers. New fathers wander around armed with online hashtags in search of recognition.
As if the Father Eternity had churned out the puppet. It is the prevalence of the father. The I Ching, the Alpha and the Omega, a new category of holiness. It is online, where the dads claim their own space. Like Daddit, community of the social network Reddit, which has twice as many users as Mommit. But there are also Nuevo Dads, How to Be a Dad, The Daddy Doctrines, Busy Dad Blog. And if most of them are harmless and indeed very tender, with dads posting photos of infants, despairing amidst rivulets and burps, others are behind closed doors: to ironise about mothers sheltered from criticism, denounce their shortcomings, in a paradoxical rivalry. The New York Times did an investigation and discovered a world. “Let’s look for a place where we don’t feel alone, to share our burden. Heroes.
So, while on BuzzFeed the gallery of sexy dads go crazy, the “brotherhood of dads”, as they call it, is also strong on Twitter, with 112 million tweets dedicated in 2014. The stars are mobilizing. Does Ashton Kutcher condemn the lack of changing tables in men’s public bathrooms? Infuria l’hashtag #pottyparity: parity of the potty. Literature is also flourishing in our country. Like The Indigo Child, a story of sick motherhood from which the film Hungry Hearts with Rohrwacher. And a few months ago Marco Franzoso published Gli invincibili, where his mother left.
“Blogger? No, activist”. The paternal pride groups reject the label of mammo, ask for strollers and personalized marketing. Like at the Dad 2.0 Summit held in Houston, where a personal hygiene multinational distributed whiskey samples. In 2012, a well-known diaper company launched a new commercial. “To show that our people can stand up to everything, we took the most extreme test: fathers alone at home, with babies, for five days. Open the sky. The collection of signatures promoted by a father to ask the company to remove it, has unleashed thousands. “They make us feel incompetent. As if we needed a special product to compensate for our ineptitude. They have never noticed, of course, the advertisements for artificial milk, which have always branded inadequate mothers, exploiting their post-partum fragility, leveraging guilt. Incredibly, the company has given in. Changing that spot into a daddy-friendly one. Had they ever done it for mothers, or will it be that we have no time to collect signatures?
They are fighting for their dad’s role to be respected – and it doesn’t matter that until the other day it was they who rejected it. They are suing companies for unequal treatment of parental leave. So Time Warner changed its paternity leave policies, offering fathers six paid weeks instead of two. There’s the National At-Home Dad Network, which every year in Colorado gathers full time dads from all over America for a two-day recipe and psychological support. Even more males are suffering from postnatal depression. True disorder, which according to the site PostpartumMen afflicts every day in the States a thousand new dads. “According to others there are 2,700: one in four dads.
The apotheosis is the dad bod. The “daddy’s body”, a new ideal of male beauty: bacon, falling breasts and rolls. “It was time for society to accept that the body of a man, when he has children, is transformed,” ironized the actress Kristen Schaal at the Daily Show. Yes, we reassure the poor little boys, tormented, they do, by impossible physical expectations. It’s a shame that the female equivalent mombod, who doesn’t just have to stick to the TV and gobble up Pringles to win him over, is only celebrated for as long as you can get rid of it as quickly as you can. The body of a mother is so sexy that if you put a picture on the social while breastfeeding, it is censored.
Why let’s face it, aren’t we exaggerating? Fathers may spend three times as much time with their children as in 1965 (seven hours a week in 2011, compared to 14 hours for mothers, who then dedicate 18 hours to housework), but mothers and children hold them in their arms since the Earth was born, but for them there are no sexy photo galleries, let alone call them heroic. So a study by the University of Massachusetts reports that the income of a woman decreases by 4% for each child, while that of males grows by 6%. Fathers are considered more capable employees than mothers, they have a better chance of finding work. And if they ask for a permit to take care of the children, this is granted with admiration, while if a woman asks for it, she is systematically blamed.
To make the verse to all this was born Dad Magazine. Exhilarating fake newspaper for dad created by the site The Toast. The cover of May has just come out, and reads like this: “Mother’s Day? Why not Father’s Day? Oh, no: that’s already there. (every day). Again: “What we talk about when we talk about lice”, “Straight to remind you what class your son does”, “10 insults to scream at children on the next Christmas holiday”, “Guide to the ointments to put under the nose so as not to feel the stinks”. Waiting for one of the dozens of real new magazines for dad not titled, “How to attach the puppet to the breast.