I love a bit of Peppa Pig, which is just as well since our Fifi was obsessed by it for years. She would happily do one of her 4.30am get ups and watch a DVD of it on loop until the rest of the house was awake. Now she’s a little bit older, I don’t have quite so much Peppa so when I randomly caught an episode the other day, it reignited my irritation at the programme’s portrayal of Dads.
It’s an odd dissonance that men are paid better, have access to better jobs, better this and better that but are oddly usually portrayed as pretty incompetent as fathers. Oh no! The man has to change a nappy! Hilarity ensues! Daddy Pig is the living (or perhaps that should be animated) embodiment of this. And no, the fact that a lot of it is very funny for adults, doesn’t make up for it either.
I suppose I should count myself lucky I don’t have to suffer that sort of travails that everydaysexism catalogued on a depressingly regular basis but it does get my goat that my kids are taught from an early age by kids programmes that I shouldn’t be able to cook, will get lost hopelessly when we’re out and about, I won’t be able to get them dressed and will generally stumble about the place prat-falling over my own feet at least once a minute. True, I do eat most of what they leave on the plate, so I’ll give them that one but overall it seems that men are usually portrayed as a fish out of water when it comes to dealing with their own kids.
Perhaps this is true though, perhaps I live in a cosy middle class bubble where a lot of the men I know are willing to be involved with their kids past the point of kicking a football around the garden on a sunny evening. Perhaps my experience isn’t actually indicative of the national norm but what I do think is things wont change as long as we have plenty of stuff aimed at kids that makes men look like berks around children. It’s not just kids programmes either, there are plenty of films that either overtly (like Dwayne Johnson in Tooth Fairy) or by implication (pick any film with kids as the protagonist, the father will be an absent minded idiot- Epic is the most recent one that springs to mind) portray the dad as some well meaning imbecile.
Well I’m not.
With each of our kids I’ve actually put their first nappy and first baby grow on them while wifey’s been sorted out in the hospital. I’ve fed, changed and cleared up sick from all three of them. I’ve done my bit and I’ve done it gladly because we’re parents, we’re a team and we have kids. It’s not asking too much for the media to recognise that this is far more common than they give credit for is it?