Guest Post By Jim Joseph
Ryan Reynolds just got named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Dad Alive!” Not “sexiest man,” but “sexiest dad!”
Being a dad is sexy? Never thought I’d see the day. But here we are…I see fathers of all flavors taking active roles in raising their kids. It’s so refreshing.
I look back with nostalgia when I see so many dads walking their kids to school in the morning. I marvel at the grocery store loyalty cards on the guys’ key rings at work. I admire the much more frequent and visible stay-at-home dad, and celebrate him with his hashtag #SAHD. I love hearing stories of dads cooking dinner for the family at night after work.
We’ve come a long way from when I was raising my (now) two adult kids.
Back in the mid-1990’s, there weren’t a lot of visible active fathers. I was a divorced, single, gay father when none of that was discussed, accepted, or supported. I was often the only man at the parent teacher conference, lunch duty, field trip, and doctor’s appointment. I had to do it all while balancing what I hoped was a successful career in marketing. It was hard to feel on top, on any given day when exhaustion was the prevailing feeling.
And as a marketer, I shook my head at how brands generally portrayed fathers as bumbly, fumbly fools that couldn’t be trusted alone with the kids.
“Sure, maybe let him “babysit” for a little while, but don’t rely on him for any heavy lifting.”
I happily and proudly have seen how that has shifted as well. Brands like Honey Maid, Swiffer, and Tylenol are just a few that now accurately showcase modern fatherhood. “Top Daddies” if you will.
How we are portrayed, or how anyone is portrayed, is important because marketing and branding both reflects and inspires our popular culture, much like sports and entertainment. Some say much more than sports and entertainment. I know because I’ve spent my career creating that marketing and living the life of dad, often in sharp contrast with one another.
So you can imagine how proud I was during the Super Bowl this year when one brand in particular did dad best…Pantene. Pantene, as in the hair care brand! By featuring NFL players doing their daughters’ hair, Pantene showed America the authentic side of fatherhood, inspiring generations to keep it real. “Dad-Do” indeed, because dads do hair. Charming and sexy, if you ask me. Watch the video here: youtu.be/DgdYPllFXes
Just ask Ryan Reynolds, he makes it his duty to change diapers.
These aren’t fairy tales…this is real life and these are real fathers. But just because they’re in the spotlight doesn’t mean that they have it easy. No one does.
It’s hard raising kids no matter who you are and where you come from. It’s a constant struggle, living day-to-day and moment-to-moment. When my kids were young there wasn’t a lot of tolerance for guys like me, or support for active fathers. Moms more naturally formed circles of support for each other, while dads were generally alone in their fatherhood. I know that I was.
It was nearly impossible to cut out of work to attend a school activity without somehow being seen as slacking off. We didn’t even talk of paternal leave; we were right back at work the next day.
My how times have changed!
There were also no support groups or communities to join like Top Daddies. It’s so refreshing to see groups of fathers supporting each other, embracing each other, and taking care of each other. Today, no one has to feel alone since advice, a listening ear, and endless support are all merely a click away.
It’s never been a better time to be a dad.
But we still have a long way to go. By banding together in communities and support groups, we can keep advancing as fathers and as human beings.
About Jim Joseph
Entrepreneur of the Year, Agency of the Year, Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year, Most Creative Agency, Best Place to Work, Social Media Icon, Hall of Fame – these are the accolades that Jim Joseph has amassed through his long career in marketing.
But none are more important than the daily badge he wears with the most pride – Dad.
Jim Joseph is the proud father of two children. He has spent the last twenty-plus years raising them, looking after their physical and emotional well-being, and building their confidence to navigate their own lives.
While he’s written a trilogy of marketing books and is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur and Huffington Post, it’s his newest book and blog posts on fatherhood that represent what’s most important to him: being an Out and About Dad.