Romper.com, a recently-launched parenting website “by millennial women for millennial women”, has come out with the list that everyone needs for Father’s Day this year: “9 Feminist Father’s Day Gifts For The Dad Who Believes in Equality”. A better title might have been, “How To Make Sure Dad Knows It’s Not About Him This Father’s Day”.
For all the sweet daughters out there who genuinely want to show their love for a father who has been exceptionally supportive of you, I need to say something: this is the modern equivalent of giving mom a vacuum cleaner and a feather duster for Mother’s Day.
There is one day — ONE DAY — out of the year that we take time to honor fathers. In the world of Mother’s Day, this usually means giving mom the day off, maybe giving her breakfast in bed and flowers. In other words, we acknowledge that moms do hard work and deserve a little spoiling.
But apparently Father’s Day is about . . . women’s rights?
Granted, some of these gifts are OK:
Some of them are not so okay:
Why on earth would you give your dad — A MAN — a pin that says “The future is female?” As in, NOT MALE. As in, NOT YOU, you overrated Neanderthal.
Or how about this one?
This is an obvious play on the phrase “Behind every great man is a great woman.” Feminists tend to see the original saying as a way to spotlight men, while keeping women in the shadows. But apparently that’s okay, as long as the genders are reversed. Remember your place, Dad. Don’t think you can step into the limelight just because it’s Father’s Day.
While on the subject of gifts that are about how great the giver is: don’t forget to remind Dad how awesome you are this Father’s Day.
Actually, secure men don’t need shirts that tell the world how secure they are.
The problem with this list isn’t so much the gifts themselves (I’m sure there is some guy out there who really wants to wear a pin that says “smash the patriarchy” with flowers painted around it), but the sheer tackiness of taking a holiday that is meant to honor fathers and making it all about well, people who aren’t fathers.
This Father’s Day, if you have a father who has truly taught you about respect and equality, maybe you could return the favor by seeing him as an individual in his own right. Maybe, for just one day, you could see him outside of the dichotomy of patriarch or patriarchy smasher. Maybe you could allow yourself to define him in some way that does not involve a movement that is, by definition, about women.
It’s just one day. I’m sure the patriarchy can wait.