Guess what? Turns out Stay At Home Dads are a pretty sensitive lot. Honestly, who knew? I was educated quick, fast, and in a hurry I can tell you that. A little background is in order.
Huggies launched an ad campaign in February of this year to tout their new Snug n Dry diaper. For all you in the business of changing diapers, Pampers came out with the Baby Dry diaper and the Snug n Dry is Huggies answer to that. Full disclosure statement: I like the Baby Dry by Pampers. It’s what Frank wears, it will be, God willing, what Anne Marie wears when she finally comes home.
Ok, so the ad by Huggies is something to the effect of ‘our diapers are so much better they can even survive a day with dads’. One of the ads is here if you care to watch: Diaper-gate
Apparently this ad campaign caused such an uproar with dads that a boycott of Huggies was called for at the DAD 2.o summit in Austin Texas and on a lot of dad-centric web sites. Yes there is a block of dads and they call themselves DAD 2.o, and how did I miss the summit? Somebody’s not passing the memo’s on to the rest of us. Although after what happened when I offered one comment on one website that was hosting a discussion on this ad, it may have been providence that I didn’t make DAD 2.0. The summit was taken seriously by Huggies because they sent one of their big dogs from the advertising department to the summit to talk all the dads off the ledge. It didn’t work.
I decide to do a little more reading on this after I saw the initial article and found the web site goodmen project and they were hosting a discussion under the label DadsGood. It was a spirited little conversation. The majority, no actually all, of the dads were up in arms, ready to storm the cooperate castle of Huggies and demand an apology, removal of the ad, and correction of all social injustice in the world, ever. Then a voice in the wilderness of over-sensitivity cried out. It was Todd from parts unknown, much like Racer X from Speed Racer.
The gist of Todd’s post is well represented by the following quote: “What the heck happened to the world where nothing is funny anymore? People need to just lighten up.” Amen brother. Todd was alone is this sentiment, save for a female sociology major just finishing her PhD, who was arguing it could be proven that mothers were better at child rearing than fathers. Hahaha. Man she picked the wrong day to push that theory. I took a few shots at her and her argument, but she artfully repelled those and set me straight on a few of the more salient details of her position. Turned out to be a good discussion.
Anyway the gang of rabid but deeply offended fathers were crucifying her until Todd spoke up. They didn’t turn their bloodlust on Todd though. Nope, they saved that for me. You see I commented on Todd’s post just to say that I agreed with him and I wished others thought the way he did. I might as well have nailed Christ to the cross. Yes theologians, I know my sins nailed him there, I meant actually physically swung the hammer.
The battle cry went up. A dissenter! A person who has no problem with the Huggies ad! Kill him! He’s a stay at home dad?!?! Blasphemer!!!! BUUUUUUUURNNNNNN HIM!!!
OK it wasn’t as bad as all that, though one particular keyboard cowboy who would have peed his pants had we been standing face to face, threatened me several times. Yes, Mark Nell appointed himself the corrector of anyone who has ever been wrong on the internet, decided to take me to task for not being properly offended by the Huggies ad. He babbled something about not understanding the implications of all this and how this precedent would make it harder for me to get my kids in a divorce settlement unless I had my wife committed. No, not making that up.
Between threats and ridiculous conclusions he urged me to read his previous posts where he was crucifying the PhD candidate and to answer his questions. After the fourth time he called me “boy” I went back to read and see who this guy was. Turned out he’s neither a husband nor a father, neither brother nor uncle and more to the point had used neither Huggies nor Pampers. Now I know I’m getting old and soft, or just bored, because once I discovered all that, I ignored him. Mark Knowitall was not indicative of the people doing all the complaining. Most were father’s and most were not urging violence on people who disagreed about the Huggies ad.
However a lot of the dads had one thing in common with the non-parent named Mark, they were deeply offended at the ad and could not understand why I wasn’t. They felt the ad continued the myth and stereotype that dads are not as good with the kids as moms are. As a father I found this a little bizarre. People who know me would honestly say I am arrogant, too confident in my abilities regardless of task, and normally let my ego speak first. That’s only more pronounced since becoming a stay at home dad. I made a bad assumption that most dads were like me, prideful, self-confident, with a high self esteem, seeing as how they are responsible for the life of their children. Not sure if they’re all jack-asses like me but I figured they had a lot of those other qualities.
Turns out a lot of the dads I encountered on that web site and similar web sites, don’t have those qualities and are hyper-sensitive in my opinion. If you’re happy and confident at what you do, why would you care about an ad made by a company that developed a device to collect poop? Poop.
My advice to DAD 2.0, first count me out, I’m too heartless to be that sensitive. Second, don’t cry about a boycott on a bunch of websites, just stop buying Huggies. Don’t tear your garments in exasperated disbelief that Huggies could make such a heinous and insulting ad, just go buy Pampers.
My advice to the rest of you, if you find your opinion is in opposition to father’s opinions around the internet, stay off their web sites unless you’re ready to throw down. The hissy fits are especially epic.
I probably lost my membership to the Dad club and maybe a few followers of this blog as well but at the end of the day I don’t care. I have actual, adult problems, I don’t have time for made up, childish ones.