Of “Dad Moms” And “Man Fails”: An Essay On Men And Awesomeness -- By: Owen Strachan
JBMW 17:1 (Spring 2012) p. 23
Of “Dad Moms” And “Man Fails”:
An Essay On Men And Awesomeness
Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History
In November 2011, I was watching a football game, minding my own business, when a Tide commercial popped up on the television. It is not a commonplace that I pay great attention to advertisements for laundry detergent. But there was something different about this one. It began by showing a man folding clothes in a cheerfully lit bedroom. He introduced himself with this odd statement: “Hi. I’m a Dad mom. That means while my wife works, I’m at home being awesome.”
This was interesting. I had not heard of a “Dad mom” before. This commercial suddenly had my full attention. It continued,
I know there’s a lot of mom moms that look at my unique mixture of masculinity and nurturing and find it quite alluring. And I know that there’s dads out there who are astonished at my ability to dress a four-year-old. And here’s the real kicker: I can take even the frilliest girl dress and fold it with complete accuracy. Boom. And, with Tide Boost, I can use the brute strength of dad to mix with the nurturing abilities of my laundry detergent. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do pull-ups and crunches in the other room.
The light lifting over, the spot ended. Our smiling protagonist left the frame, ostensibly to focus his “nurturing abilities” on his abs and biceps.
Light mockery aside, this Tide commercial had me thinking. One minute I’m watching sports; the next I’m witnessing the renovation of millennia of gender roles. Should I accept the viewpoint of this advertisement? As a complementarian man, I have committed myself to a sometimes exhausting program of provision. I just completed my third degree; I don’t always get a great deal of sleep; I’ve worked part-time for several years in addition to my full-time work in order to put my family in a solid financial position. Should I shift my priorities? What if my sweet wife is actually supposed to be the breadwinner?
Should I too be at home with my two children, “being awesome?”
My ruminations on this topic led to a blog post that led to a point-counterpoint debate on the Her.meneutics blog of Christianity Today. I interacted with Laura Ortberg Turner, a Fuller Theological Seminary employee and evangelical egalitarian, on this topic. Scores of similar voices responded to my articulation of a complementarian domestic philosophy, some genuinely engaging me, others castigating me and swearing at me. Rachel Held Evans, a gifted young writer and Christian feminist who is publishing one...
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