One of my recent observations, particularly after seeing the enormity of BlogHer 2012 is that with blogging and self-publishing, the voice of mom has changed. Women are speaking loudly and proudly about issues that were once pushed under the rug, from postpartum depression to the chores of parenthood to the debate over having it all and the glass ceiling. That is not to say that we agree on each of these topics, but that dialogue exists where is had not previously.
Last week at BlogHer, an attendee at the conference asked popular blogger Doug French of Laid-Off Dad and founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit about his opinion on Procter & Gamble’s Thank You Mom campaign. Though Doug was exceptionally diplomatic in his response, the question raised a fabulous point. Because the voice of mom has grown louder and prouder, is there now a societal shift away from appreciating dads?
Until about fifteen or so years ago, marketers determined target markets based on traditional gender roles. (At the time I was working in market research at a major magazine company, surrounded by statistics of purchasing habits from all ages, genders and socio-economic groups.) Women were quietly frustrated that marketers were targeting men for products such as automotive and technology while the women were more likely to be researching these purchases in their own homes. Finally the one number surfaced to be used over and over again which showed that 85% of all household purchases were made or influenced by women. In turn, marketers got on the bandwagon and rightfully targeted the statistical household influencers.
Yes, marketers absolutely should target moms and should continue to assume that moms are beyond capable of financial decision-making and purchasing technology, automobiles and all other items. However, marketers should be careful not to ignore the changing role of dads. According to a study done in 2011 by StrategyOne and Edelman called Marketing to the Modern Family, four out of five dads with children under age two believe that an anti-dad societal bias exists.
A study done in 2011 by StrategyOne and Edelman PR shows that long gone are the days of the married man and woman with 2.5 kids and traditional gender roles. In fact, just 4% of today’s families fall into the Census definition of a traditional family. Now think about the images you see in the media, on TV shows, commercials and magazine ads. Are they clearly portraying what the American family looks like today?
Sure, we like to joke about some dads’ lack of diaper changing skills and hair braiding expertise. Yet in families where there are one or more dads, it is important to acknowledge that men are taking on more of the role that was historically reserved for moms. They aren’t just taking it on, they are rocking it. Amongst my own friends the majority of men are fully engrossed in the new era of fatherhood. My husband could have changed a diaper in record time and does the majority of the cooking while my brother-in-law is the best single dad a little girl could ask for. According to the StrategyOne/Edelman study:
- One in three dads say they have taken on the role of a traditional mom
- Both moms (62%) and dads (54%) agree that traditional gender roles for parenting are being redefined
- One in four dads do all of the grocery shopping for their families
- One in five dads do all of the cooking for their families
It’s an interesting point, don’t you think? Do you agree that there is a societal bias against dads? Personally, I much prefer today’s dads to traditional ones. So how can we incorporate dads and support their changing roles too in the same way that we are doing with moms?
Share your thoughts below.