Dadinism: The New Feminism?

There is a rising movement in the parenting world. The redefinition of Dad. The modern father. I support it but in ways I don’t feel I am allowed to be part of it. I am the polar opposite symbolically because my wife is a stay-at-home mom and I am the working dad. Part of me wants to be in the club. To live an example of an ideal and be passionate. To advocate. Instead I try to stand in others shoes and end up pissing everyone off by trying to find the common ground. But every story has three side; yours, theirs, and the truth. Do the modern dads have a point? Are they on the soap box for a valid cause?

Sometimes when I am trying to wrap my head around an issue or a viewpoint I do a little thought exercise of assigning alternate terms or reversed roles. This is fairly normal and political parties do it with news stories all the time. They take an issue that is “hot-button” like ISIS or Michael Brown and find cases or articles where the roles are reversed and the “victims” have done the same thing that they are outraged over. Boom! Hypocrisy and discredit. I don’t think that kind of comparison helps anyone really. At best it makes everyone look equally shitty as human beings.

What may be more helpful is taking more socially settled issues like racism or sexism and switching roles totally around to give an analogy to good guys and bad guys. The recent Super Bowl commercials put a lot of emphasis on dads. Dads were included in the battling mommy episode as the Stay-At-Home Dad group. Rightfully so because there are a lot of dads who are doing a really good job of raising their kids and supporting their family in all types of roles. (I’m not sure Nationwide needed to kill anyone to make their point but it got people talking.) This shift in interest is good news. Modern families really are changing. Reshaping social perception or at least leaving the door open for different roles is important. But men playing the role of the social minority is new territory. A territory that was most recently dominated by women.

I discovered an article that took an advocate viewpoint on a sexism issue and I replaced some of the titles with Dad and Mom. The idea of the article was that there are ten things that create the overall problem of this particular social difference. If you agree with the ten things, then you agree that this “thing” exists. At first I was just having a little fun with words but it pretty accurately sums up some of the personal struggles that lots of families have outside of traditional roles. Take a read through the list below and then the original list is referenced for comparison.

Things Dadinism Got Right 

1. There is a gender system.

Males and females are socialized into Dad and Mom. Dad and Mom behavior is not simply determined by biology. (For the most part but obviously women carry pregnancy so maybe shaky on this point)


2. The gender system is damaging.

Dad and Mom stereotypes can be damaging and dehumanizing to both males and females. (Dads are less likely to play girls games and vice versa? Kids have gender determined toys.)


3. Dads are oppressed.

Dads have suffered various types of systematic mistreatment throughout dad history, and continue to do so in the present. This mistreatment is unjust. If it can be called “oppression,” then dads suffer gender oppression. (Stay-at-home dads aren’t welcomed to mommy’s day out activities. If dads are in public with all of the kids people assume that you are outmanned without a mother nearby. Daddy can’t provide nurture.)


4. Sexism exists

Sexism—hateful, contemptuous, bigoted, or discriminatory attitudes based on sex—is real. Sexism can be institutionalized socially and politically. The stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) identification and critique of mom-ogyny has mitigated it to a degree, though institutionalized mom-ogyny still exists. (Not really comparing moms to misogyny but had to put something in there to make it make sense.)


5. Moms have unjust advantages

Moms have some systematic advantages over dads that they do not have a right to. (More likely to have changing stations in bathrooms, mommys-day-out, maternity leave, etc.)


6. Marginalization of the experience of dads.

Prior to SAHDs, the experience of dad was marginalized in academic and scientific disciplines, and in public discourse. (Dads who resign themselves to the lonely act of stay-at-home dadding are cautionary tales and in need of our pity. Dads should bring home the bacon not cook it in an apron.)


7. Sexuality involves power dynamics

Under the gender system at least, sexuality is intertwined with power dynamics. E.g. mom-dominant, dad-submissive, and mom-active, dad-passive. These power dynamics are not limited to heterosexuality. The link between power dynamics and sexuality can be damaging to people. (Are dads expected to be more passive in the home environment?)


8. There is something wrong with pornography

Pornography can be dehumanizing toward both its users and towards its participants. Even if pornography can be defended on legal grounds, these liberal arguments doesn’t protect it from moral critique. (Okay so they don’t all translate. Hopefully pornos and parenting don’t intersect much. Note to self: move the box under the bed.)


9. There is intersectionality of oppression.

Gender oppression and oppression based on race, sexual orientation, or class, can combine multiplicatively (and sometime supramultiplicatively) into oppression that is more than the sum of its parts. (Definitely true of dads)


10. Beauty standards can be damaging

Beauty standards and objectification can be damaging to dad self-esteem. It would be both practical and moral to change images of beautiful dads in the media in certain ways. (Chiseled and well-groomed dads are making the rest of us feel like assholes. We can’t all be some unicorn combination of Christian Grey and Daddy Daycare.)

  The original list was for “What Feminism Got Right”. Feel free to go and check that one out.

 Interesting to me, was the fact that the arguments work when I replace the female role with dad and the male role with mom. Is the expected societal role in the home opposite of the role expected in the world? Is that the by-product of sexism? I could see some cases where this would create an unpleasant cycle. Moms shouldn’t fear dads as the stay home parent.

The other side of that what-if coin: Are dads trying to steal the last domain where moms feel dominant? I don’t think so but someone will have that thought so I might as well throw it out there. For the moms that may want to latch on to this last idea as a way to defend the last safe haven of women, keep in mind, supporting a difference here is supporting a difference everywhere. Free up parenting for the dads and it is more defensible for women to choose family+career too. 

I work and my wife stays at home. Sounds like the current dynamic supports our decisions pretty straight away so why should we care?   I have four reasons and I tell them all the time about learning all they can and following their dreams. Question everything and set your goals high. No one is born naturally good at anything except pooping in their pants so don’t ever think you can’t learn something that you want to know. I would like to believe that I can back up the talk, live the example, and one day it may require being proud of them for pursuing a career while a husband raises their children. Or maybe they don’t get married. Or maybe they stay at home. The point is that they should have an equal shake at all of those options.

Dads should too.

-Underdaddy to the rescue

Original Text from


Was my Black Friday Experience Influenced by Ferguson Controversy?

Are Ferguson and Black Friday Related?

You may be asking me, “How the hell can you go down a slippery slope of reasoning and tie these two things together? One is a volatile discussion of justice and lingering race issues while the other is a mega-shopping holiday where people trample each other for things that are almost on sale.” I know right? Lets read on and find out.

Maybe I will compare the rioting and irrationality of large crowds?

Perhaps media misrepresentation of what they (whoever they is) want you to believe and what reality is?

No, I don’t have time for that deep thinking philosophical stuff. I will just take a few moments out of your day and let you know some of my thoughts on the issues at hand. As mentioned in the title; Black Friday and Ferguson.

First is Black Friday. We all want to sit on the moral high horse by telling people to be mad at the retailers for not closing their doors and sending workers home to be with their family for the holidays. My goodness, what is this crazy world coming to? No respect for the families. Blah, bubbity blah.

Some simple logic here should clear things up.
1) Some people don’t want to be around family for longer than a brisk lunch. Uncle Ted and his godawful foot odor might be making everyone uncomfortable and work is the only valid excuse. Don’t ruin that excuse.
2) Some people want to work and get the holiday/overtime pay. During the actual holiday work should be easier with a higher holiday pay scale. While I understand that some people have a hard time changing jobs and need their jobs, there is always the option of leaving a job that demands too much. Plus I think the Department of Labor has some regulations to address how workers are treated.
3) If people would stay home and not shop, I guarantee retailers wouldn’t feel the need to be open or fully staffed. Judging by the parking lot of Wal-Mart, at 6:00pm on Thursday, there are thousands of people who are fully supportive of the whole Black Friday event.
4) If we all were really that concerned about being able to spend time with family and congregate then maybe we should look into finding more opportunity throughout the year. Counting on Thanksgiving to knock out the obligatory annual visit sounds like a crutch to me.

So Black Friday is a thing that is not going away unless we ignore it. Does everyone agree?

Of course not but lets move on to Ferguson.

Like everything ever, this has become a partisan political issue and the most convenient way to really get everyone tuned in is to make it about more than a result of poor decisions but to add in race and let the hate flow. As people we all need to remember one thing, the majority of all other people are caring, reasonable, and hopeful. Moderate people don’t speak out as often or as loud as the two ends of the spectrum.

The first end of the spectrum is that the riots in Ferguson are by a bunch of welfare recipients who just want to be violent and hate white people for no good reason. They believe the victims of police shootings are always monsters who asked for what they got. If they weren’t a bunch of Godless thugs out mugging old ladies in the Kroger parking lot then none of this would have happened. The general idea or tone can be seen here.

The opposite end of the opinion spectrum is the idea that some global conspiracy is in effect and that the only victims are minorities. Law enforcement is run by some secret white agenda and white authority figures sit in the bushes looking for innocent minorities to gun down in the street. This side would have you believe the world is still black and white with no in between. The general idea of tone can be seen here.

"African American" Friday Ad

“African American” Friday Ad

I did have a chance to read the transcript from the Grand Jury witnesses as well as the police officer involved. It sounds to me like there were a lot of questionable decisions on both sides. Neighborhood witness confirm the story of Michael Brown being confrontational and advancing on the police officer. However, the testimony from Darren Wilson makes me curious why he didn’t wait a few minutes. He states that he knew other officers were in the area and would respond after he radioed out to them (using a radio on the wrong channel). Maybe he did feel smaller and threatened by an aggressive and larger man. Maybe he had some small-man-syndrome and wanted to assert his authority. This wouldn’t be the first time that male ego has gotten people killed.

My takeaway here is two-fold; 1) Don’t attack an armed police officer and 2) If you are a police officer and you feel outmanned and help is nearby, ask for help before chasing an aggressive man that you have already shot at and who showed no regard for deadly force. He might not be in his right mind.
For the people who argue that there are hundreds of other cases deserving of outrage and rioting but are getting no media coverage… I agree one hundred percent! Go be outraged and riot! Right or wrong, the difference with Ferguson is that people are actually rioting and being outraged. Don’t scale your emotion based on who is paying attention, if you are mad then go be mad.

Maybe don’t burn down businesses in your own neighborhood though. If it were me I would probably riot near the people I was mad at and not in my own front yard.

Now see… I have gotten somewhat off track. This is all related to Black Friday too and a message of hope. I didn’t tell you that at first but following two subjects has taken some mental effort on your part so I wanted to reward you. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Back to business. So Ferguson inevitably brings up some old dirty laundry around cases like Rodney King, the OJ Simpson Trial, and even the recent Trayvon Martin. The bitter race war of feelings and angst really get down to what hate is all about. If you look close enough there is a difference emerging.

I have noticed more people engaging each other on Facebook and social media. There are the normal hate filled troll comments from both ends but the good folks in the middle are being quicker to stand up and say this isn’t what I represent. There seems to be more understanding that discussion is different than argument. Maybe more people understand that disagreeing is not the same as disliking. Maybe the world is slightly more grey. We have made strides from our problems in the past and the setbacks from events like this will be less and less if we keep moving forward.

How does that relate to my Black Friday experience?

This year my wife and I had babysitters and some free time to join in the madness. We agreed beforehand that we had nowhere to be and no expectations. Just cruise around and grab deals as they come along. We had a good time and I think we found some good deals. We also tried to smile, be polite, and help people when we got the chance.

Everyone else seemed to be doing the same. Some people were stressed and mad for sure but the level of rude was down. I don’t have any answers but I think I have interesting questions.

Is it possible that a little controversy and discussion is helpful to remind us that the human race should be a team? Can accusations of racism make people more aware of how they interact with others? Can accusations of abuse of power make authority figures more cautious of how they interact with others? Is it the slightest bit possible that love as a response to hate can make hate self-destruct?

It feels good to think it might.

If world peace happened tomorrow we would still have common enemies of disease, hunger, and asteroids. I hope my girls can grow up in a world that puts more energy into important problems and stops looking to divide people into groups. We all have to read, think, and be open to discussions.
I’ll work on my end where I get the chance, if you need to work on yours then this article is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Author’s Note: Feel free to reblog or share if you think this view is right or wrong. I always want outside opinion. Please hold any hateful comments unless it is purely directed at me, I can take that just fine. Please reference this post for comments.