Study on Parenting
A study of over 130 parenting magazines worldwide by The Male Factor revealed that fathers are increasingly ignored in parenting and there exists no parenting magazine that upholds fathers’ role in parenting.
This study conducted by TMF in June 2020 on a popular magazine application that consolidates magazines of different languages from all over the world.
Fathers in Parenting – Needle in Haystack
It was seen that out of 134 magazines available on site of different languages only 10 had featured any male figure on the magazine cover. (these are marked in blue in pictures).
But the in-depth study found that not all the magazines that featured a male figure on the magazine were positive about the male role in parenting. For example, the magazine available on the site with the name Child India had a cover story titled – Mom shaming, Are You Guilty? This kind of cover story title, however, tries to put some blame on fathers. Also, note that for a Father’s Day Special edition they couldn’t stop discussing mothers. This can’t be imagined for a Mother’s Day special edition of any parenting magazine.
However, two magazines, named Life Learning Magazine and Life With Teens Magazine featured some roles that fathers can play in shaping a child’s life. But the first one featured a cover story ‘Expectations of Unschooled Kids’ which showed a father teaching a son carpentry work. The other magazine, however, featured a male psychologist on the cover page and didn’t specifically talk about fathers’ role in parenting.
The Natural Child Magazine that featured a father with a child had a cover story on arguments against circumcision. But despite being a number for May-June months it didn’t specifically talk about father’s role in parenting.
The only magazine in this crowd that stood out was Daddy and Me that projected positive role of fathers in parenting. But only their June 2016 issue was available. Upon searching on different social media for their website and other issues, the cover page of their September 2016 issue was found on their FB page. The complete magazine was not found. Also, on their FB page that Sep 2016 issue was the last issue that could be found and there is no update on the FB page after June 2018.
One additional point that I have observed was that the magazine that tried to focus dads didn’t have any advertisements in them. In fact, the June 2016 edition of Daddy and Me had only 4 ads and was a very thin magazine with not so quality and voluminous articles. That means that someone might have thought of a magazine focusing on fathers but couldn’t effectively think of any content that should go in to survive in the long run.
Parenthood Structured Around Feminism
In the crowd of feminist names like The Mother, Pink Parenting etc a Magazine named Prima Baby and Pregnancy featured a man on the cover page. Even though despite featuring a father in their parenting magazine this number from May-June 2016 didn’t have any more details to talk about on fathers’ role.
It is important to note that there are plenty of magazines in the world on mothers. The names like Mother and Child; Pregnancy; Mom; Mother, Baby and Child; Mother and Baby, Motherhood etc. exists in the parenting category. These names clearly suggest only mothers have a role in parenting and completely ignores fathers in parenting. It seems as if fathers are completely ignored in parenting.
Some magazines like B3 parenting magazine though features a male celebrity on the cover page but the cover story was about his celebrity life. Even though this summer 2017 edition of the magazine didn’t feature men negatively or tried to blame men for something like Child India did in their June 2018 edition, this magazine only used a father’s celeb status to hit their sales numbers while promoted feminism in the inside stories.
Fathers Are Outdated
But if the dearth of magazines featuring and talking about positive parenting role of fathers is one issue globally, another issue is all magazines that had a father figure on their cover story were found in very old editions.
For example, Daddy and Me that conveys a name that maybe father centric did uphold the father’s value and did talk the most about a father’s parenting role, but only June 2016 issue was available. Even an online search didn’t provide any other latest edition. Similarly, the Natural Child magazine was available for May-June 2015, Child India for June 2018, Life With Teens for Summer 2014 etc. Since all these were very old editions, it seems that these were only special editions published once around Father’s Day.
Focus on Moms in Parenting
The most recent editions available on the site were for Baby’s and Beyond (June-Aug 2020) and ParentsWorld (March 2020). Note that both of these only featured a father figure on their cover page but the inside stories were all about mothers managing the family. Baby’s and Beyond, in fact, spoke about Sue Duminy wife of Cricketer JP Duminy. So, despite being an edition around the fathers’ day, this magazine highlighted the mother’s role in the Duminy family.
On the other hand, when we checked the editions available for the magazines that highlighted the mothers’ role in their editions, we found most of them had the latest editions available on site.
For example, ParentEdge that featured only a mother figure with several children without a father had the March-April issue available. The Mother’s Heart, the name that gives value only to the mother was available for May-June 2020. Mums and Tots for Summer 2020, Mother and Baby Indonesia for April 2020, etc.
However, some magazines promoted mothers were not available for any month in 2020. Like – The Mother Magazine, Mom or Pink Parenting etc. But mostly the latest editions available of any parenting magazine featured mothers and promoted the role of mothers in their issues.
Question is when men play an important role in the lives of the children and also for the family from the ancient days why the fathers are ignored globally even in the parenting world. Through the history of the evolution of humans, men went out to gather food or resources for the family risking their own life. Since challenges in the outside world are more, men could not take direct care of their kids. However modern metrosexual men do offer a lot of help to the mothers in raising children besides being the bread earner for the family. The challenges in the outside world still exist but the nature of the challenges might have changed.
When men are increasingly taking more interest and participating in direct childcare why is the role of fathers being ignored globally? What is more shocking is the negative representation of men or trying to put some blame on men like Child India tried to do. We didn’t find any edition in the last 2-3 years that has celebrated or projected fathers’ role in parenting.
If parenting is an important phase in life, then it is a huge subject. In this, men can play important roles even during the pregnancy of their wife. Post-birth of a baby, men do play a lot of important roles. A father’s role can be in helping their wives in household chores, making their life awesome or appointing domestic help to ease their days. After the baby’s birth, there are a lot of areas where fathers do need to help and need training and knowledge in those areas. Parenting magazines can play an important role in all those areas.
Media that want to focus on such dads in parenting need to think about all such areas and bring those to light so that they can sustain in the long run. Clearly, when sustenance is an issue, magazines with a focus on single dads can innovate and there is a potential of being successful as well. However, presently from the global scenario, it seems that dads have lost their importance in parenting and no one really cares.