Sometimes it’s hard to believe that movies like Mr. Mom and Three Men And a Baby actually existed while I was growing up in the 80s. That’s because the men were portrayed like useless idiots who needed a woman to tell them what to do when it came to cooking, cleaning and most of all, childrearing (basic things like changing a diaper or warming up a bottle).
Of course, my own mother would explain that that was the reality for most women. And while that still may be the case for some, it’s not what I’m seeing in my own household or those of my friends. Sure, men may do things differently than we would, but the dads I know are involved in their children’s lives as much as any woman (and, hello, don’t we all know at least one stay-at-home dad? Something unheard of â€“ or at least kept on the down-low â€“ in previous generations). They cook, they clean, they change stinky diapers. It’s a given, as far as I’m concerned. Which explains why so many men (and women) are outraged over a Huggies ad campaign that depicts them in much the same light as those old-school 80s flicks: incompetent dorks.
The “Dad Test” campaign, posted on Facebook and geared towards men, was meant to be funny. The idea behind the campaign, according to Huggies, was to prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything. As the ad’s narrator explains, “We put them to the toughest test imaginable: Dads, along with their babies, in one house, for five days.” They showed hopeless, overwhelmed dads in cliched scenarios (i.e., watching sports, neglecting their babies) as their wives get their nails done and sip tea (how original).
Well, let’s just say that viewers were not amused (and I don’t blame them one bit). They flocked to Facebook with claims they’ll never buy Huggies again, and even created a petition â€“ calledÂ â€œWeâ€™re Dads, Huggies. Not Dummies,” at Change. org (so far, around 1300 people have signed it). Huggies quickly responded by apologizing, pulling the ads and replacing them with new ones that show dads sitting in gliders and rocking happy babies in their laps.
It all goes to show that “real life” dads are highly capable, thank you very much.