More than a decade ago, my husband and I decided to get rid of traditional television-viewing in our home. At the time, the following three reasons prompted our decision:
- Much of what was being offered on our zillion and one cable network stations (that we were paying exorbitant monthly fees to have) was nothing more than twaddle – mindless, superficial, often crude and devoid of quality and/or substance.
- Much of what was being offered on our zillion and one cable network stations (that we were paying exorbitant monthly fees to have) was vile, vulgar and inappropriate, if not, downright offensive to Christian morals.
- Anytime we saw a show that included a character who was a father/head of a family, the portrayal of that character was meant to present him (if not, all men) as incompetent, foolish, lazy, sloppy and stupid (or angry, violent, dishonest and driven by lust and alcohol).
It was the last item on this list that bothered me most. Yes, the dynamics of an average family in America have substantially changed over time. Many mothers began leaving their children in someone else’s care while they took up gainful employment outside their homes. Spouses divorced. Step-parents became common fixtures of the family landscape. Single-parent homes grew prevalent in many areas.
I get all that. What I don’t understand, however, is this seemingly underlying agenda in media (particularly where television sitcoms are concerned) to present men and fathers as morons, overgrown toddlers needing to be mothered and simpletons rather than men of integrity who protect and lead their families as they work hard (inside or outside the home) to provide for their emotional, physical, financial and spiritual well-beings.
I also don’t get why, if this is merely a harmless trend meant to entertain (Although, I don’t see anything amusing in it.) it is only directed at men and not women. Roseanne Barr’s character on her popular TV show that ran just shy of a decade is the only near-example I can think of that portrays a woman, wife and mother as lazy, ridiculous and dimwitted. This is not to say I believe there should be more of such characters, just that I wonder why this agenda seems to target men more than women.
It’s no secret that absentee fatherhood has led to a grave decline in many aspects of modern day life in America. It’s also true that many fathers who do reside with their families fail to step up to the plate in their obligations and responsibilities. However, there are many great dads out there – men like my own father (God rest his soul.) and husband, and son, and brothers, and nephews, and friends who work tirelessly and willingly to make ends meet, who guide their children to become mindful citizens who do their best to contribute to society in productive and meaningful ways, who would give the shirts off their backs to someone in need, who are men of faith and not afraid to show it, who are patriotic (and often willing to lay their lives on the line for their country and its people) and who behave like gentlemen on and off the job.
Where are these men on television? My hope is that it’s been so long since I’ve been a cable subscriber that readers will be able to leave hundreds of comments giving me examples of strong, dedicated, intelligent men of goodwill on today’s TV shows to convince me that times have changed for the better in the television world.
If not, don’t you think it’s time to stop dumbing down the dads?
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.