Fatherhood gets a lot of shade these days, as does parenting in general. We’re given top ten lists on BuzzFeed about how kids ruin lives, how life is never the same post-kids — the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder millennials are getting married and having fewer kids later and less frequently.
The mainstream media’s portrayal of fatherhood is that of a bumbling idiot. Think about all of the famous dads on television; they are basically all non-cartoon versions of Homer Simpson.
There are a few refreshing images of fatherhood emerging in two fabulous (I don’t use that word lightly, but seriously, ladies, I’m telling you, they are fabulous) Instagram accounts called @DILFs_Of_Disneyland and @DILFS_Of_Disneyworld.
Basically, they are photos of a lot of fathers playing with their kids at Disney theme parks. Here are some of my favorite images:
What do they all have in common? They are young, they are extremely physically attractive, they are hip, and they are killing it at this whole “dad” thing.
What do we know about modern fatherhood, according to statistics? One out of every three children is growing up in a household without their biological father according to the latest U.S. Census. In a study published by the Journal of Family Psychology we learn:
In a study examining father involvement with 134 children of adolescent mothers over the first 10 years of life, researchers found that father-child contact was associated with better socio-emotional and academic functioning. The results indicated that children with more involved fathers experienced fewer behavioral problems and scored higher on reading achievement. This study showed the significance of the role of fathers in the lives of at-risk children, even in case of nonresident fathers.
The study’s findings are utterly unsurprising. Other studies published by the National Fatherhood Initiative highlight the importance of the involvement of fathers in decreasing child abuse, teen pregnancy and delinquency, poverty, emotional problems — the list goes on and on.
Society has somehow managed to denigrate the most important role a man might have and has turned the role of fatherhood into something shameful and tragically unhip. Instagram accounts like these are, even inadvertently, a fantastic way to subversively change the image of fatherhood and of dads. They can be involved, they can be doting, and they can also be who they are — tattoos and all.
Images on the accounts easily acquire thousands of “likes” and hundreds of comments. Each account has over 250,000 subscribers to date. Most of the commenters appear to be women, unsurprisingly. Here’s the message to men: Women find responsibility sexy. Millennial women, like those who follow these accounts, don’t want to date man-children. What women want in 2015 is what they have wanted for all of human history: fathers for their children and spouses to spend their old age with.
The media may spend its time denigrating fatherhood, portraying fathers as just another child in the household, but when real women are able to weigh in with their vote via their “likes,” it’s clear that huge portions of our society have seen through the obfuscation of the importance of fathers to both their kids and “baby mommas” alike.
Put simply: dads matter and women are proving it via their double-clicks on Instagram. If only the mainstream media would catch on to this populist message from America’s women, our society would be infinitely better off.