Single Dads Are Not Extinct

This evening I was watching television while eating dinner with my single mother, (a regular occurrence), when a Whirlpool commercial came on, here it is:

Although this commercial did not yell “single dad alert”, it brought to my attention how maybe there is an equality issue for the single fathers in the World who are raising children alone. Single fathers are unlikely to be recognized and also believed in that they too can raise a child single handedly. This week, we have discussed the different personality traits and communication styles of males and females. This topic, brought to my attention that maybe it is more difficult for a male to be naturally inclined to be a mother figure and a father figure. In this commercial it shows the struggles of not being a perfect dad, burning food,  neglecting to show up to sports games to support the child, and other struggles. Being a single mom is a regularaly praised topic, praising mothers all over the nation for doing the best they can. However, single dads is something that is increasingly becoming more common and may deserve an equal amount of praise. According to the The Atlantic- The Rise of the Single Dad there are more than 2.6 million single father households in the United States.  This article also discusses the unfairness of child custody cases always going to the mother because it is “best for the child”, never considering the father just because they may lack maternal instincts.

I found this commercial interesting to be brave enough to praise dads in general and also single dads; a rare sight. This is a gender difference in equality with men and women. What are your thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Single Dads Are Not Extinct

  1. Hi Madeline!

    This was a great topic of discussion that relates back to chapter 7! It is interesting to really sit back and think about all the advertisements, and commercials that always tend to portray single mothers taking care of their children. It was nice to see this ad with a single father raising his kids. I agree with you that it is such a brave commercial for Whirlpool! Its also very touching. I do believe that fathers can take on the world with their children and be successful. They have the same abilities (and some even have more than single mothers) to take care of their children on their own and give them a happy life. I am glad that Whirlpool made this commercial because it is exposing the world to the other side of single parenthood! How awesome!

    Also, the details that you added about custody battles and the number of single fathers raising their kids here in America was intriguing! That is something that is never really talked about or followed up on!

  2. I have dealt with this topic first hand, having grown up with a single mother for a good part of my life. On the reverse side, someone that I know very well, a father of twin boys, dealt with a custody issue that is hard for everyone to handle. It is very sad to me that being a male means you don’t have rights to your children. That somehow makes the mother more qualified to take care of them and have custody of them. In the long run that may not even be the case. You do see parents that have joint custody, but for the most part, the children are with the mother the majority of their lives. For young boys, that may not be beneficial because when it comes down to everything, boys really do need a father figure in order to teach them things that mothers genuinely can’t. There are certain bonds that are formed between a father and a son that get tampered with when the justice system has their blinders on about custody.

  3. I really think this is something that should be talked about more. I know I hve heard many personal stories where judges automatically custody to or are more ikely to side with the mother concerning the child. I think fathers are just as capable. I know when I visited my father as a child, he couldn’t figure out how to tie my hair in pig tails, but other than that was amazing. Single dads are almost never represented in the media like on tv shows in films. I think single parents of each side struggle and should both be represented and acknowledge for all their hard work, regardless of their gender. Sex or gender does not predict parenting styles or techniques or the love thy will have and give their children. It is time we see and appreciate both roles in single parenting.

  4. Hi Madeline,

    It always makes me happy whenever I see media messages such as this because they tell us about the reality of our changing world. When I was growing up, my dad would struggle every time he had to take care of my sister and I for a few days if my mom had to go away for work. He felt so out of place because he wasn’t used to keeping up with all the responsibilities my mom had to take care of. Whenever she got back, I could see how relieved my dad was because it was just a lot of work!
    Our textbook explains in Chapter 5 that masculine speech communities have as one of their features the tendency of being abstract when they talk about their feelings or personal experiences. I know this to be true with almost every man I know, including my father. But this doesn’t mean that my dad doesn’t have a soft side; he is serious when he needs to be serious and lovely when we need him to be lovely.
    I really like how this commercial reflects the role that men are embracing as single fathers and how it also calls us to, as you say, praise dads for their efforts.

  5. I really like that people have been bringing up single fathers because I think it is something over looked. I think women who are single mothers struggle but I think it may be a little harder for men since they don’t have maternal instincts. I do think that women have been playing the victim card with a lot of things too much. I know thats probably not great to say but its kinda true. You see more ads about single women or women being a victim of something but how often do you see things about men? Not often. I think men have to struggle to keep that manly attitude and they try not to play a victim in any situation because its seen as weak. So I applaud the men for letting us women almost always take the spotlight.

  6. I think this is a really cool issue to bring up. In my opinion, single dads are definitely becoming more ‘mainstream’ in today’s culture. When I was growing up and my parents divorced, I got really lucky and was able to have a 50 / 50 arrangement with them. Whenever I would spend time with my dad’s, a lot of people assumed he was a single dad. I remember when he took me to a grocery store when I was still pretty little, and a lady actually came up and asked him if his wife died! I highly doubt that this would happen now (I’m surprised it even happened then), but I think that commercials like these make the single dad topic seem more normal and less of a taboo.

  7. Madeline,
    This topic has been something that I have considered before as well. It has always seemed unfair that 9 times out of 10 the father won’t be granted custody of his children even if he may be able to provide better care for them than the mother. Having just discussed the male/female equality it is expected that in our society people would assume that single dads are few and far between, but like you said, that just isn’t the case anymore. I am curious to see if there will be a shift in the near future when it comes to awarding custody, or even just recognition of the presence of a single father figure. I think that now more than ever we are beginning to see a push for gender equality from the feminine perspective, but I think that it is important for everyone to remember that equality is not just for one gender or sex, it is for all of us.

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