Based on what we saw and heard last week at Dad 2.0 Summit, 2015 is shaping up to be a watershed year for dads. Whether bloggers, activists or “regular guys,” there has been a steady shift in perception about what it means to be a “real man” taking on the role of dad. (Just think back to how many brands stepped up and portrayed men as emotionally involved parents in their Super Bowl commercials this year.)
Both attendance and sponsorships at Dad 2.0 Summit increased significantly between 2014 and 2015, a recognition on both sides that dads have the microphone and are ready to speak their piece, many of them from their blog and social platforms.
What might they say? Here are The Motherhood’s top five takeaways:
1. Let’s bring perception in line with reality. As Dr. Michael Kimmel, a professor and sociologist specializing in gender studies, noted during his opening keynote:
The implication is that a masculine man can’t also be an engaged parent, equal partner and a good dad, sharing housework and child-rearing responsibilities. Kimmel made the point that men need to support other men in equating the concept of “good man” – and good dad/partner – with “real man.”
2. We have a voice, and we want to be included in the conversation. More and more brands are acknowledging dads as involved parents, and advertisers and marketers are starting to reach out to them in their own right. Some, like Similac’s popular viral video – which did a beautiful job of incorporating dads until ending with the tagline, “The Sisterhood of Motherhood” – come close but fall just short with dads.
Sponsors at Dad 2.0, including title sponsor Dove Men + Care, along with Kia, Lego, Lee Jeans and others, made a big splash with dad-centric programming, messaging and giveaways.
3. Dads can make a real difference. Their presence as equal partners and parents impacts families, women, kids and men themselves in significant and positive ways, according to Men Care, a global fatherhood campaign represented by speaker Andrew Levack of Promundo at the conference.
Dad 2.0 Summit co-founder Doug French summed it up when he said, “The people who change diapers change the world.”
4. We’d like opportunities to be present at key moments – and then some – in our families’ lives. Paternity leave was a hot topic at Dad 2.0. According to keynote speaker Michael Kimmel, the U.S. is one of only four countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid paternity leave. With mainstream society recognizing that dads are “more than breadwinners who drink scotch and play golf,” as speaker and columnist Stephen Marche put it, dads are looking for a more formalized acknowledgement of their increased roles in their kids’ lives.
Marche noted that it’s not just about being there for the big milestones and fun moments, either, but about being part of daily household life, from making pancakes to vacuuming to watching Toy Story with your kids 43 times:
5. Partnership is key – in marriage, raising kids, business and blogging! At The Motherhood, we work with plenty of women whose significant others have made their own footprint in the online world. Whether they have independent sites or write in partnership on the same blog, equity (perceived fairness) in the division of responsibilities with housework, career and kids will contribute to happiness and success. We love that formula.
We look forward to seeing what else 2015 has in store for dads!