When was the last time an absent father faced consequences — be it in the form of physical scarring, loss of career advancement or loss of social status — that matched those of a single mother? When was the last time an absent father had to endure the humiliating and disapproving stares of random passersby, or the hurtful comments of someone who has no idea how hard it is for one person to do a two-person job?
Much of this is because many people have diminished fatherhood (indeed, manhood generally) into a near farcical idea. Our television sitcom dads — from Peter Griffin in “Family Guy” to Doug Heffernan in “The King of Queens” — are fat, bumbling idiots. Our Father’s Day cards are rife with lazy, dumb dad jokes. Our movies depict consequence-free sexual largesse as a rite of passage for young men.
When young men are incessantly told that the pinnacle of manhood is eating, sleeping and ejaculating, is it really so surprising when they shy away from defined gender roles of a higher calling?
We must demand more. Changing social norms is a start.