This week, an article from the June/July issue of 1843 magazine, The Economist's "new magazine about ideas, culture and lifestyle," caught my attention as it circulated online. Though written by a woman, "It's a Boy Thing" is a dated, gendered look at the ways parents value sons over daughters, masked by an artifice of "data" that supposedly reveals that couples who have sons are more likely to stay together than those that don't. This is the crux of the entire article, which is riddled with anecdotal examples like, "Nick, a journalist in his early 50s with two sons, adds that men in general tend to like “bonding over a third object”, such as technology or sports, which can seem easier to do with a boy," and, in reference to a father of a daughter, "He admits, however, that it has been a little hard not to be able to share his love of baseball with his child." Here's another one: "If sons make fathers feel more useful, and leave mothers feeling more inept, it makes sense that they are more likely than daughters to glue couples together." Some guy named Mitchell who has five sons even claims that, when speaking to his 15-year-old, "I can communicate with him about how I expect him to behave more effectively than his mother can, because it's a guy talking to a guy. With me it sounds like good helpful advice; with my wife, it sounds more like she's being overbearing and controlling."
I found this article troublesome for the obvious reasons: Girls are often told by society that they're not as special, important, powerful, smart, or athletic as boys are, and an article that reinforces these stereotypes by "digging into data" to report on why couples with sons stay together longer just seems unnecessary, if not irresponsible. But beyond that, I found this article pretty funny, because there are SO MANY dads who I come across in my social feeds and submissions folders who could not be more obnoxious or self-involved. They are the culmination of all this gendered bullshit, growing up thinking that boys are better than girls, and now that they have kids of their own, their thoughts on parenting read more as male narcissism than sweet, humble pride. It's typical for women to get excoriated on a regular basis for being "helicopter moms" who get into "mompetitions" for being "sanctimommies," but what of the dads? When are douchey dads going to get the comeuppance they deserve?
A macho or behind-the-times dad who thinks his daughter can't play baseball makes me sad, but a dad who yammers on social media about how awesome he is, how great his kids are, how parenting completes him, etc. makes me want to wind up a fastball and throw it in his face. Also, when dads express their pride in the form of, "Holy shit, I knew *I* was amazing, but check out the kids I made!", I actually feel for the wives who put up with them. These are the guys who make dinner once a month and expect a trophy -- or worse, they cook dinner every night and become "feminists" because they "finally get it." Y'all know who I'm talking about. The men who preach about how their wives are "warriors." Ugh. The self-importance is staggering.
According to the submitter, the context behind this screenshot is that "a group of parents didn't get proper permission to be outside a store. The center's rules prohibit it and the girls were asked to leave. A dad started a change.org petition and got a whopping 4 signatures. I'm a Girl Scout mom myself. I took my kids to get a cupcake at the bakery just because of this asshole. He posted all over the bakery's page and looked like a huge jerk." Remember the dad who wrote a Facebook post explaining why school attendance rules don't apply to his kids? This Girl Scout dad reminds me of him.
I've written before about the importance of talking about sanctidaddies as much as sanctimommies, because really, why should women take all the heat? We already know that, culturally, girls aren't as valued as boys are, and now we're told they might cause couples to separate, too. Those girls grow into women and mothers who are crucified for being "bitchy" or "overbearing," but men get to skate through life being told they're superstars if they grow into "protective" and involved dads who draft maudlin posts on Facebook. It's as absurd as the "It's a Boy Thing" article in The Economist, so today I'm once again highlighting several dads who commit the same smug crimes as moms (but rarely get called out for it). (By the way, if you're in the mood for a rage-inducing hate-read, check out Gavin McInnes's "Why Your Top 10 Reasons For Not Having Kids Are Stupid" for further proof of what a trolling dad with a superiority complex looks like.)
Boys shouldn't be more valued than girls (or written about as such), and mothers shouldn't be criticized more than fathers just because that's what society tells us to do. Let's check out some dads who could take their "pride" down a few notches, because smug dads deserve to be called out, too.
1. Proud Narcissist
It's not Blue's decision making policy that's problematic here; it's his pomposity. Who pens a "profound thought proclamation" like this on Facebook and then has the balls to re-post it with the sincere caption "Sometimes I'm very proud of my statuses"? I'll tell you: A man. A dad who looks at himself in the mirror every day and can't believe how fucking smart and capable he is, and can't imagine a world in which he's not a super-rad father who espouses "words to live by" for all his friends to applaud. Congrats, Blue. You are the guy I wish to avoid at barbecues.
2. Parents Are The New Minority
#Discrimination is not what you think it is, Doctor. Please go back to school and read up on that before you continue whining like someone who's actually experienced a true injustice. Being asked to leave a movie theater because of a sleeping baby might seem ridiculous, and might even BE ridiculous, but it's also just a standard corporate policy. So, it's kind of the *opposite* of discrimination, because the policy applies to everyone, and there are no special privileges for people with 2-month-olds in tow. Also, I'm no doctor like you are, but does a 2-month-old really need to be in a loud theater showing an action movie? Fight sequences and teeny-tiny newborn eardrums don't seem to mix.
3. #Superdad Or #Superdouche?
I don't know about you guys, but I'm not convinced that a mom could write this status update and get away with it like Ezra here probably did. Men don't get called out for "choosing favorites," but what mom would feel comfortable asserting that one of her four children is just a litttttttle more special than the rest? Only a dude would post see no forthcoming backlash to making such a statement in a public forum. And only a dude would post this idiocy and pair it with a picture of his kid, open-mouthed with chewed-up food, AND the hashtag #superdad. Is it any surprise that his favorite kid also happens to be a son? According to the article in 1843, this dadism is very on-brand.
4. Raeven, Pronounced "Haven"
I'm sorry, Proud Father, but you lost me at "Haven." WTF are you talking about? How can this be real? According to the submitter, "The friend who showed me this (Jiu Jitsu Dad is a friend of a friend) explained that they indeed wanted to name the kid Haven, but decided that rules of English pronunciation didn't apply to them. They liked the look of Raeven and the sound of Haven, so here we are. This kind of takes "kree8ive" spellings to a new level."
The mind reels.
5. Organic Sanctidaddy Ruins Applesauce Party
Cori got daddyjacked by a dad whose mission in life includes mansplaining APPLESAUCE. Wrap your head around that for a second -- dude took the time to not only un-ironically ask if the apples were organic, but then *follow up* with some helpful info about how Cori might be feeding her kid cancer-causing agents in the form of a delicious homemade snack. But hey, don't quote Adam on it, he's only looking out -- AKA inserting his dumbass opinion where it's not needed -- because he's a dad who CARES, okay? Can you blame a guy for showing some gentle, judgmental concern about what his friend is feeding her young baby? Most dads don't even KNOW about the dangers of applesauce, but here Adam is providing support and wisdom like the gleaming example of a father he is. Too bad for him, Cori DGAF. She can handle making applesauce without any interjection or advice, believe it or not. But thanks, Adam, for the pretentious tips. Your sanctidaddy know-how is appreciated.