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Monday, November 15, 2010
Are TV moms and dads destroying the world?
Kid Frank contributor:
I am disgusted at how the media is warping the way people think, it's an outrageous atrocity. Let me start by saying that I LOVE the art of a good ad. I am fully aware that I am easily caught into the hook and reel of a good advertisement. I am very aware that I am exactly the kind of person they are aiming for,I might as well wear a big ol' bulls eye. As much as I would like to believe I am comfortable with the way I look, all it takes is one turn of a magazine page, or one solitary commercial on television to send me reeling into a silent self hatred for a few moments. I will never be 6 feet tall and 85 lbs. I will never have flawless porcelain skin. After having 3 giant babies, I will never walk a beach in a bikini. Well, not without a bag over my head anyways. (Thank you Dove for your real women ads- You really did a nice job there with that. I appreciate your efforts more than anyone. ) These are all things we see everyday, and unless you live in a cave, you have heard people complaining about it.
One thing that remains unspoken it seems, is the way MEN are portrayed in the media. I spend an awful lot of time trying to combat the terrible way women are shown. On behalf of my three boys that seem to be growing up far too fast. Wendy on Bob the Builder has long lost her luster, and now my boys seem smitten with Amanda Cosgrove from iCarly. Since they have moved past cartoon, asexual females, I have made it a priority to speak truth into the boys about how to respect women.
Suddenly, I had a revelation of sorts, and strangely, it came to me while watching a re-run of FAMILY MATTERS with my kids. (The fact Steve Urkel has made a huge comeback makes me giggle. A first grader at my kids school dressed up as him for Halloween this year!) Anyway, I was watching this program and I was so sad to see how the father is made to be a complete bumbling idiot. Then I got to thinking,how many shows did i grow up with, that the "dad" was a complete moron!? Let me help you 'go there' with the list in my head.
Dad's according to the cliche': Overweight, clumsy, always need their wife to save them. Cannot watch their own children alone without calamity. Farting, burping, and smelly guy who is content to live in his own pig sty of bad habits. Constantly poised in front of a TV with a remote they claim as "theirs". Beer. Always with beer. Recklessly spending money and getting their family into a jam. Although often portrayed as being good with grilling meats, they never actually do the dishes or clean up their mess.....hmmmm.......
I can think of A TON of " TV dads" that fit right into this list in most or all categories described above. Can you? My favorite TV dad, I can hardly bear to admit this,even smacks of this. (Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show.)
Okay, so whats my point? My point is, I think the media has programed men to be this way. I sure as heck can tell you that my husband loves his remote, can grill a mean steak and can be clumsy. Sure. HOWEVER-- I am happy to report that he CAN watch his own children and with no more calamity or incidents than they would suffer than if the kids were with me. The difference is only that my husband works so hard, that he spends less hours with the boys than I do. Sometimes, he is surprised by the ability a toddler possesses when a permanent marker is left within arms length, so what? My son was capable of doing the same if I was present or not. The problem is, I think I may have been programmed to respond the same way I have seen TV 'moms' respond... with a huff, and a "I should have known you couldn't do this". YIKES!
The more I think about it-- I am more likely to fit into the Patricia Heaton 'Everybody Loves Raymond' -mommy/wife than anyone. that might be the funniest show i have ever seen... but it's only funny because its not real. Am I quick to give a sarcastic remark? Roll my eyes? Scoot the kids away from daddy because he is being 'ridiculous'? Yes. Yes I am. The difference is, I am not backed by a laugh track. In fact, Its not funny at all. I am sure my husband would wholeheartedly agree. sarcasm and wit is a gift I guess, but only when you don't end up ripping someone apart with it. Don't get me wrong, I don't BLAME television for the way i behave, I just noticed that it isn't just me, it's the whole world. Somewhere in the madness of Equal Rights and Feminism, I think we may have overshot., I fear we may have all but killed man. I think we accidentally squashed man and shoved him into a ridiculous mold, equal if not worse than the mold we broke out of.
When did I started cheering for the wrong team in a movie? I am a product of divorced parents. There is nothing more difficult than getting married after seeing what I saw go down in my own 4 walls. I saw a movie years ago, and it was a story of a woman who was married to a bumbling idiot of a man. She meets some handsome young thing who treats her like gold, and she leaves her husband for this magical life she always wanted. I was startled when I realized I was rooting for the young guy who came along to sweep her off her feet. Its everything I rail against. I have been married for almost 10 years. We have had more than our fair share of downs. I think it's a miracle we have managed to push through this far. Do I think I'm such a prize? Do i think I'm too good for my husband? I think the media thinks so if we go by their standards. My husband is too good for me for that matter. Does he deserve to married to a woman who isn't tired when its time to go to bed? A woman who CAN wear a bikini down the beach and who has all her parts miraculously unaffected by gravity? According to the media, yes. You can trade in pretty easily and the media basically spends billions and billions of dollars convincing you that this is so.
I think the old adage- "don't dwell on the negative, focus on the positive" Is a good one. Its not a completely foreign idea, even in media. When "Dirty Dancing" starts and you see Baby all frumpy in the backseat of her parents car, she is almost unbelievable as the main character. By the time the movie ends, she's everything a girl wishes to be. All the Cinderella stories go that way. I actually think that I have that story. If I pull out old photos from when we were dating, I laugh at how horrible I looked. Thank GOD my husband was wearing some kind of rose-colored lenses to filter out all that awkwardness. Now, even though he hates dancing, I have my own "Nobody puts MY baby in the corner" guy. He's great. I just have to get past my own tendency to see the little mistakes, and maybe focus a little more on my own.
So ladies and gentlemen. My whole point is.... Where do you think you fall? If you're a married guy, how can you strive for EXCELLENCE instead of reaching for the remote? There is nothing sexier,than a man who will do the dishes and throw in a load of laundry. Not even a ripped 22 yr old in a pair of Calvin Kleins can hold a candle to a guy who honestly is giving 100% effort to being a great husband and father. Ladies, wow. How do we stop ripping apart our husbands? how do we help them fill the role they desperately want to play instead of expecting nothing. I know if my husband expected NOTHING of me, I'd be a lost soul. It sounds good for a second, but you know what? That's hell. You should have some sort of reasonable expectations, expectations aren't all bad. I think we have been programmed to expect disappointment and heartache.,so much so, that we protect ourselves by having NO expectations. I cant think of a better paved road to divorce, can you?
I want my boys to grow up knowing their parents expect something from them. I want them to marry a girl who will expect them to be a good dad, a good husband, and expect that they can deliver. Go shut off your television and spend some real face time with your family. You can EXPECT that if you do, that a real relationship is better than any ones imaginary one on the tube.