It's fascinating to me how the media keeps playing the same stories over and over again relating to dads. Just this week, there's a spate of them in Newsweek. The continuing themes are:
-At home dads are still referred to as "Mr. Mom" in the headings.
-Todays dads are a bit more involved with their kids but still lagging behind moms in every department.
-There's a societal confusion about what defines the role of dad and a paradox regarding the expectations about childcare and breadwinning.
Are these articles really focusing on an actual social shift in the role of dad or are they just placating the feelings and frustrations of their female readership?
Socioligist/Author Michael Kimmel wrote in an article about how only the disenfranchised are truly aware of the disparities in life - that if one is in an empowered group, social disparities that they don't face are invisible to them. In other words, if you're short, you're more aware of tall people. If you're black you're more aware of others who are white. If you're poor, you may be insecure around people with money.. Now, obviously, these are broad generalizations, but I think there's some truth in this perspective.
How this relates to dads is that, for many men, the struggles that their wives endure are somewhat invisible to them. For so many men, the notion of bringing home a paycheck is all defining. Our culture perpetuates this by its focus on maximum productivity and efficiency. Dads may want to be spending more time with their kids but the larger cultural message is that they need to be more committed to working longer hours out of the home. There may be some guilt involved regarding the desire to be with the family more, but given how stringent most companies are about giving 150% to the job, most men (and some women) don't want to jeopardize their jobs by demanding a more balanced approach to work/family. So, for most dads, they just settle into workaholic mode, convincing themselves that this is what they're supposed to be doing. And why shouldn't they feel this way? Their companies and co-workers support this message. Our free market culture supports this idea. This is what their dads did before them. Their wives may be frustrated but that's just the way it is. And so, for so many dads, the larger issues are somewhat invisible. (For the dads more aware of these issues, the likelihood is that they are single dads, stay-at-home dads and divorced dads, who have been given a taste of being with the kids or who are the sole care for their kids or who are legally restricted from seeing their children.)
With all this in mind, my goal is to create a movie that doesn't just connect to those who are aware of these issues but to those who it's been invisible to; for only when more dads get a taste of how much more fulfilling their lives and their family's lives would be if there was a greater balance between family and work - as well as illustrating practical creative solutions to achieving this - can any change ever really occur.