This is the fifth in a series of five posts on the state of men in America. See Euro RSCG Worldwide PR’s latest white paper, Male in U.S.A., for additional insights.
If you’ve been searching for parenting advice on the Internet lately, you might have noticed the huge number of pontificating papas. With the male population taking a huge hit in employment during the recession, and more women being the primary breadwinner, it shouldn’t seem so shocking that daddy blogs are on the rise. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock with no wireless, you’re well aware of the huge universe of mommy bloggers out there and their ability to wield influence with consumers, thus making them appealing to marketers who are looking to create awareness for their brands.
We all know the Internet is connecting us in ways we never thought possible, building online communities and portals for any common interest you can think of. And we know that men like to bond (albeit often over football, the return of the Lotus Esprit, or maybe just how hot Alessandra Ambrosio looks in a bikini). Today, more and more men are forming communities and pulpits for one another with their blogs, and a big audience is fathers looking for advice and information from men in their situation. Welcome to the brave new world of male bonding, parent-style.
Daddy blogs are insightful and educational, for sure, but they are also infused with a lot of humor and light when it comes to tough parenting challenges. Some of the most popular include Discovering Dad, which includes dieting tips for fathers plus marriage pointers; Mocha Dad, a blog started to empower African-American dads against negative stereotypes; and Real Men Drive Minivans, whose descriptor proudly proclaims, “Adventures in fatherhood from the captain’s chair,” and which shares information for dads in the kitchen, road trip adventures en famille and general forays into parenting—all with a humorous yet informative wink.
That’s definitely a trend on daddy blogs. A blog community called Dad Blogs, on which earnest fathers join together and form a network, shows that such sites usually offer valuable lessons from a man’s perspective for raising children, infused with humor that men can relate to. There’s great information on At Home Dad, too, a veritable online encyclopedia for stay-at-home fathers looking to connect with others, complete with a geographical listing of playgroups around the U.S. By making the choice to stay at home and raise their brood, or at least share tips on parenting even if they are still pursuing a career outside the homestead, men are finding a way to express themselves as they embark on the hardest and most important job of their lives.
And lest you think there’s not much of an audience out there for musings by dads, just think of the success of shitmydadsays, a Twitter feed started by Justin Halpern, a struggling comedy writer. The feed features quotes by Halpern’s father, Sam, on various subjects and life lessons. Within a month of its debut, the page got featured on “The Daily Show” and became a huge hit—now with 1.8 million followers. It’s also the basis for a TV show on CBS. Who among us doesn’t have a dad quote somewhere? (Mine mentioned never walking in someone else’s shoes. As in, don’t buy vintage shoes; you never know who has walked in them and what their journey entailed. Can’t disagree there.)
Never underestimate the power of what dads have to say. As seismic shifts in gender roles are being restructured, count on them to have a lot of influence and buying power when it comes to what Jr. will eat, read, or play with, in different ways than with full-time moms. Maybe there will be more of a focus on outdoor products, sports, or protein-packed meals that are good for dad’s exercise routine as well as for child’s. And maybe car manufacturers will think of a way to make minivans a bit sportier to appeal to the paternal set? Book publishers should be on the lookout for pithy dads who are aching to tell their take on modern fatherhood. Smart marketers will be looking at these power pops as a new segment to target in 2011.
I got a laugh out of Garrison Keillor’s funny song from a recent “A Prairie Home Companion” about stay-at-home dads. Keillor, he of the good old-fashioned Americana vibe, is talking about something that’s on the minds of many dads in 2011. Here are a few verses:
I’m the only living house dad in Eau Claire
My wife is a dentist, I’m the au pair
I’m a swan in a herd of ducks and it’s odd
In all these Sarahs and Megans, to be the only Todd
I bundle up my kids Moira and Kate
And I take them to ballet, which is great
And I sit and read a book in the hall
And the mothers do not talk to me at all…
San Francisco would be a nice location.
I could join the San Francisco House Dads Association
There’d be hundreds of us at Cirque du Soleil
Making playdates from here to San Jose
We’d be talking about teeth and nutrition
And that great museum down in the Mission
Talking about birthdays and finding magicians
And exchanging the names of pediatricians
Look for more influence and power from dads and daddy bloggers in 2011. Because as At Home Dad would like us to know, “Men who change diapers change the world.”
This post originally ran on our Euro RSCG PR sister site.
Image credit: Mistress B@flickr.com