Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yet another reason why I don't watch "reality" tv

Just when I thought that networks were done trying to stigmatize dads here comes another. But unfortunately this one has already made it to the air.

Robert Franklin has a post up about a new "reality show" called "Dad Camp" playing on VH1.
The set-up is this: six couples - none of them married, all of them young - have experienced an "unintended pregnancy." The women are all preparing to have what seems to be the first child for each; the guys are all absurdly immature, not ready to be fathers, not ready to give up partying and cheating. They all get together at a large house hosted by Dr. Jeff Gardere whose mission it is to change these guys into responsible fathers in 30 days.

I supposed that since we are closing in on June 20, that's Father's Day, its no surprise that such a show would come up. The show (there is a link over at Robert's post) even plays a small bit of one of Obama's speeches in which he specifically attacks men/dads (which again given Obama apparent tradition of going to a church and bashing men/dads on Father's Day its no surprise) so I'm sure we can fully see what's going to happen here and the show doesn't seem to deviate from that expectation. That expectation, cashing in on father's not being in their kids lives all dressed up as an attempt to address the issue (yeah and the brains behind Biggest Loser are really only doing it to inspire people to lose weight).

But probably even worse than that something else. At the end of the 30 days the each of the 6 women will make a choice, keep him or kick him to the curb depending on the guy's performance (yes I mean performance not grow/change because this is really all about parading these guys around, regardless of the horrible stereotypes it reinforces). So what's going on here? Women's parental rights are automatic and non challenged whereas men have to earn their parental rights and prove they are worthy.

I like Robert's ending:
We doggedly cling to the notion that mothers should exercise power over fathers' rights. We see that all the time and yet it never occurs to us that it might have anything to do with paternal irresponsibility. Beginning at conception we tell fathers in countless different ways, "you're not important; you don't know what you're doing; you're dangerous to your children and their mother; she can get along fine without you" and then we're outraged when fathers learn the lesson.

When men are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we are by virtue of our gender we are bad parents and we see time and time again cases in which mothers taking it upon themselves to determine a dad's rights are backed by The System is it any wonder when men start to buy into it?