Saturday 15 December 2018

How will Disney portray modern fathers now they have pledged to do away with dad stereotypes?

Mini Me Dad: Conor McGregor
Mini Me Dad: Conor McGregor
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Do you know those bumbling dads who inadvertently put red socks into the white wash, and unwittingly dress their children in Halloween costumes?

Or the dads who put their baby's nappy on back-to-front while long-suffering mummy watches from the doorway, arms folded over her chest and a rueful grin spread across her face? No? Well that makes two of us... Nonetheless, these tedious 'Silly Daddy!' tropes have persisted in children's cartoons and mainstream advertisements for decades.

Well, until now. "We've got to a position where we have realised the role of dads is really important and probably something that we needed to do a deeper dive into," said Disney's UK chief marketing officer, Anna Hill. But let's not get too excited. Sure, Disney might ditch the outdated stereotype, but they'll probably just replace it with a slightly more modern one. Here are a few ideas...

The Dadolescent

Otherwise known as The Man Child and The Overgrown Child, The Dadolescent is the dad who considers fatherhood an opportunity to revisit his love of Lego, Star Wars and fart jokes. Dadolescent bought a PlayStation 4 for his five-year-old son, arguing it would enhance his spatial awareness. Unfortunately, little Jack rarely gets a go because Daddy is on level 47 of Skylanders SuperChargers and he has to concentrate very hard, okay? When he's not in front of the PlayStation, Dadolescent enjoys building forts with duvets and chairs, throwing the children into the air and catching them and searching the kitchen for the sweets his wife has hidden from him. His children think he's the best daddy in the whole wide world. His wife wonders if she can claim child benefit on his behalf.

The Superdad

Superdad has read that women are better at multitasking, but he knows better. He once did a Skype conference call with Japan while bottle-feeding a toddler with one hand and giving his pregnant wife a perineum massage with the other.

He can prepare bottle feed in the dark, change a nappy in 11 seconds (yes, he timed it) and push a buggy with one arm while balancing another child on his shoulders. But he doesn't like to brag...

Superdad dresses the part: the North Face jacket is regulation uniform and he often wears hiking boots to take on the terrain of the local Tesco. He thinks of himself as a sort of hybrid of Bear Grylls and Will Smith in The Pursuit Of Happyness. His wife thinks of him as a bit of a gobshite.

The Cool Dad

Cool Dad wanted to call his first son Kreuzberg, given that he was more than likely conceived in Berlin's capital of cool. His wife, however, believes it actually happened in Leixlip, so that put paid to that one. Cool Dad looks at the other fathers at his child's nativity play and wonders, for a brief moment, if he looks like the rest of these ancient artefacts. He then remembers that he owns an enviable collection of limited edition sneakers and once got into Berghain. Panic averted.

Daddy Cool brings his toddler to Electric Picnic and prays his ex-girlfriend will be there to see what an absolute legend he is. He has also rehearsed the 'drug talk' because he's been around the block and he knows how these things work. His wife reminds him that their son is only three years old, for chrissakes, so he slumps off into his micro-brewery to sulk.

The Mini Me Dad

"When we fall in love. We're just falling. In love with ourselves," go the lyrics of the Keane song. It's much the same with the love affair many fathers have with their first-born son. Nature/nurture isn't even up for debate with this ilk. Their sons are a miniature version of themselves and that's that. It you need further proof, just feast your eyes on their matching 'Like Father, Like Son' T-shirts. See? His wife pretends not to know him when he wears it in public.

The Theatre Dad

Theatre Dad knows that the role of the father has been redefined in recent years - that's why he's compelled to put on the performance of his life when he has an audience. He likes nothing better than chatting with colleagues about the sleepless nights he has had with his newborn, but he wouldn't dare tell them he occasionally wears earplugs to ensure he gets his eight hours. He's also the dad whose voice rises by a few octaves when he's admonishing his children in the local coffee shop. Did everyone hear him being a firm-but-fair disciplinarian? Everyone?

Back at home, he cracks open a beer and spread eagles across the sofa, exhausted after a long day of playing the perfect dad. His wife hates him.

Backed into a tights corner

And the award for the most out-of-touch advertisement of 2017 has to go to Wish.com, an online retailer that thought it would be a good idea to showcase plus-sized tights on size 8 models.

One model is so slim that she can fit both of her slender pins into one leg of the xl tights. Another model has managed to pull the tights right up to her chin, demonstrating that this hosiery is ideal for a spontaneous game of hide-and-seek with your children.

Needless to say, the insensitive advert has gone viral for all the wrong reasons - and Wish.com are probably wishing that they gave their idea a little more thought.

Irish Independent

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