There was a fuss recently at the parenting site Babble over a series of lists. The first, Top 50 Twitter Moms, inspired some left-out-feeling dad tweeters to start a tongue-in-cheek #occupybabble hashtag. Then Babble came out with a list of the Top 50 Dad Bloggers, and that caused its own fuss, which led to CecilyK at MomCruch at Babble to write this:
I also find it fairly ironic (and somewhat irritating) that dad bloggers are insisting that they be awarded the same attention, accolades and respect that mom bloggers get –- which, hilariously, is actually very little. You’ll forgive my cynicism; I was just reminded that women will make two million dollars LESS in their lifetimes than their male colleagues, so I’m having a lot of trouble with dads feeling left out of much of anything.
So much of what we see as men and dads is contradictory. Mothers want to be recognized that mothering is very challenging in this time in history, and so do dads. So when this very committed sector of men wants to be recognized – the face of fatherhood today – we’re writing about it and sharing about it, and we are trying to address some of the biggest complaints about men and fatherhood generally.
Mom bloggers need to realize something. Dad bloggers are your allies. These are the guys you should be nurturing, supporting, like sweet little fuzzy chicks tottering around the farm yard. Like Avant says, these are the guys who are creating the new paradigms of fatherhood, the ones in which dads will not dump much of the child care and housework on women.
Yes, men still run the world. Yes, there is a wage gap. But it is more complicated than that (see this story from Atlantic Cities for more). Many, if not most, guys are in some sort of trouble, with either their traditional jobs slipping away or their traditional family role disappearing. You may lack sympathy for this – the dominant gender finally falling – but it is confusing and hard for well-meaning, individual men. See Hanna Rosin’s End of Men article in the Atlantic. See the slew of new troubled guy sitcoms on TV. See Joan C. Williams in her book or writings on why men and class matter.
As annoying as this may be, women need men for feminism to truly succeed. It is something that Lisa Belkin wrote about just last year, and something people like Gloria Steinhem have been saying for ages:
We know that we can do what men can do, but we still don’t know that men can do what women can do. That’s absolutely crucial. We can’t go on doing two jobs.
Of course, in the US, since Americans apparently don’t do community or safety nets anymore, this kind of change happens more organically and painstakingly, one family at a time. But it is happening, and the ever-so-mild rise of the dad bloggers is one sign of this.
This is why it is so galling for many dad bloggers to see corporate campaigns built on paternal incompetence, to see shows built around the father as boob, and to be marginalized in parenting magazines and websites.
The fact of the matter is this: women dominate the online creative writing space. They’ve defined and re-defined blogging in ways that men (especially dads) haven’t. I’d argue that one cannot be a successful blogger—in whatever way one chooses to measure that success—without reading and understanding women like Heather Armstrong, Ree Drummond and the myriad of strong Internet writers who happen to be female.