Almost every dad has suffered some unwanted criticism either on social media or in real life, from people who 'know better' about parenting. Dad shaming is a thing, parents tend to judge other parents, and it manifests itself both on social media and in real life, making dads just feel awful about themselves. As a follow-up to our Pride episode, we talk about the opposite of pride – shame. We brought on Jeremy Hooper, a writer and consultant for GLAAD, who has been dad-shamed before he even left the hospital with his newborn, to discuss dealing with dad shaming, 'momsplaining,' and other forms of criticism.
On the eve of publishing this episode we received an email from a person who chose to remain anonymous but made sure he let us know that he had heard one of us asking our kids not to touch every single item on the Starbucks counter and the way we talked to them made him 'concerned that we are beating our children.' Less than a year ago we confronted a mom who literally told us we're bad fathers because we didn't handle a parenting situation like she would. Dad shaming is everywhere, and it happens to almost all of us, and it hurts. Even if we pretend that it doesn't.
"I've been encountered a lot of [dad shaming] online," says writer and activist Jeremy Hooper, "when my child was born both Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD posted a congratulatory post about my child being born, and when we were in the hospital with her I got anti LGBT activists on Twitter saying things like 'this is so sad,' 'no mother for this child.' That's just a weird thing to experience when you're feeding a new baby in this lovely little bubble of new life. I've experienced a lot of it that way, and definitely in the online space that's happened to me."
Ariel Foxman wrote on O, The Oprah Magazine: "Andy Cohen's proud-papa pics have ignited multiple firestorms. One scroll through his account, and you'll see comments like: How could you take a newborn on a plane? How could you place your baby in a crib with pillows? How could you even think of letting your beloved rescue beagle Wacha anywhere near your boy or his toys? How could you compromise your son's privacy by posing together for the cover of People magazine?"
Some feel that dad shaming should be ignored, because we can't get into a fight with everyone who throws a little comment on us. Others feel that we should take advantage and use these 'teachable moments' to 'momsplainers' and other forms of judgment on our path to equality. Which side are you on?
We just say: be kind, and think about the person you're judging or commenting to. We're all human. We're all people with feelings, and we all do our best to raise happy, healthy and kind children.
Our Guest: Jeremy Hooper
Jeremy Hooper is a longtime LGBT rights activist and father. His widely read blog, Good As You, won a number of awards and was a major player in the movement's more recent fights. Since 2011, Jeremy has worked with GLAAD on opposition research and strategy, devising campaigns to push back against anti-LGBT forces. Jeremy became a father in 2011, and divides his time between parenthood and activism.
Related links: Dear Internet, Please Stop Dad-Shaming Andy Cohen: https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/a26623472/andy-cohen-baby-boy-dad-shaming/Dads' brains are ready to bond with kids: https://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/health/fathers-brain-changes/Jeremy Hooper page on GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/tags/jeremy-hooper