Monday, 10 December 2012

Seduced by the Dark Side

Those of you with an eye for detail may have noticed the new badges which point to the fact that this blog is now a member of the “mumsnet blogger network” (I’m buried in their directory somewhere in the M section!) , and can also be found in the rather small fatherhood category.

Is this going to change my blogging and parenting style? The short answer is no, which only leaves the question of how long a father who believes in introducing his child to the wonderful world of adrenaline fueled laughter and risk taking is going to hold on to his affiliate status. I tend to find the idea that mums are the only or primary parent either comical or offensive depending on how the marketing spin is presented. As such my link to mumsnet is an attempt to move behind enemy lines and start rattling some cages.

A telling case when looking at gender bias in parenthood is TESCO’s marketing campaign. They have recently managed to be both offensive and unintentionally humorous. I received a magazine, addressed to me, with vouchers from them as part of their “shop even more with us now you’ve had a baby” marketing campaign (I’m not sure what the official name of the campaign is as they have not yet replied to my emails). The magazine had two tiny pictures of men buried in its pages – one of whom was demonstrating a complete lack of chivalry by standing at the top of some steps watching a woman labour to carry a pushchair, presumably containing his child, down the steps. These two solitary men were massively outnumbered by women, often clutching a baby whilst grinning womaniacally (a feminist maniacal grin!). Marketing material like this is offensive; those women would not have the baby to clutch without a man being involved at some stage, and assuming that the woman remembers his name, there is no reason why the guy’s presence in the child’s life isn’t as celebrated (and photographed for glossy promotional literature) as the woman’s.

As for the humorous, the vouchers I recieved contained one that read “introduce a friend to our mother and baby club so she can experience our discounts too!” Reading this as a man I imagined sitting next to a rather buxom young lass in a bar and trying the line “would you like to try some TESCO discounts, because there’s a special club I can help you join!” My imaginary conquest didn’t end well, nor did the imaginary divorce hearing where “TESCO made me do it” was not considered a rational defense!

So, dear reader, I see it as a moral duty to fight the corner of dad-ness. I may even try to goad some of the mumsnet denizens into commenting on my posts, but will remain true to my principles and the importance that being a dad has for me and the sprog.


DAD