Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where Have All The Good Father's Day Cards Gone?

Card shopping, in the best of times, can suck. You have to find a card that matches not only something you would want to send, but that the other person would want to receive. There are hundreds of bad ones, and it takes quite a while to find that gem of a card, and those usually turn out to be around four dollars. And there seems to be a dearth of actually decent Father's Day cards. There are "funny" cards, turning dear old Dad into nothing more than a beer-swilling, television-watching, grunting fart machine. And maybe that is all some people's dads are, but do you really want to remind him of all of that with a card on "his" day? I mean really. How many people in the world want a card that emphasizes their faults as a human being? And how many fathers are out there with no redeeming qualities we can harness for cards who should be getting a Father's Day card in a less than ironic fashion anyway?

Then, there are the cards for fathers and daughters. And these are terrible too. None of them actually look at the nature of a father-daughter relationship. They instead play to old gender cliches. Ones where the daughters are so car-retarded that they didn't know they had to consistently fill the car with gasoline. Ones where the daughter's present is not asking the father for money. Ones that emphasize the fathers "putting up" with tea parties and playing with barbie dolls, as if no father in the history of the world has ever enjoyed sitting down with his daughter over a cup of fake tea -or as if there has never been a daughter who would rather play wiffle ball or touch football or fish than play with dolls. These cards make a mockery of the parent-child relationship, and make the daughter seem diminutive and less than what she is. Instead of teaching girls that fathers love spending time with them, even if they get stuck in tiny chairs, these cards emphasize that "girly" activities are below men, and that girly activities are all girls want to do. And that makes a less than great Father's Day card too. "Thanks for putting up with me and my less than masculine ways, Dad! I'm sorry I don't have testicles."

Where are the cards that accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative? Where are the cards that celebrate dads instead of denigrating them? Dads are important. And dads deserve to be recognized as such. Instead, through cards and sitcoms, we belittle and criticize them, and whittle them down to their least admirable "masculine" parts; and we ignore that not every man doesn't know how to change a baby's diaper, that not every man freezes when faced with pink barbies and tears, and that not every man only wants sons. We would never think of minimizing mothers on Mother's Day; so why do we do so to fathers on Father's Day?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe no one ever commented on this post. You make an excellent point and one I have been saying for years now. And let's not forget about all the commercials that make men, whether they be boyfriends or husbands, seem like bumbling idiots that can't comprehend anything beyond sports and power tools.

To be fair, women also get their share of being placed in typical housewife roles where they are the connoisseur of toiletries and air fresheners, and find empowerment through yogurt.

When you step back and look at the big picture, it all looks mighty ridiculous and quite out-of-place in our modern society where we're supposed to be enlightened in matters of equality. I guess the media and the companies producing cards never got the memo.