Father's Day is nearly upon us, and that means dad's going to be out back manning the grill or, for a change, leaving the grill and the lawnmower to someone else so he can take a Dagwood-style afternoon nap. And when he gets up from his snooze he's going to gather all those Father's Day gift cards he got and buy himself a new grill and a new lawnmower. Oh, and crack a few foamies while he's at it.
This fantasy is true only if you take at face value the rote messages from retail brands, which seem to have a hard time accepting the realities of contemporary family life in the U.S. PR professionals who help shape those messages for retails brands can shake off some of the cobwebs of the 1950s and ’60s still clinging to the fabric of American culture by absorbing a few key stats from the recent Gibbs & Soell Domestic Dads study. The key takeaway: Dad is nearly as likely as mom to be the sole manager of household expenses, which means it's time for communicators to wean themselves off some of their tired and lame gender-based messaging.
Gibbs & Soell examined attitudes among 469 parents (including fathers) of children under 18 about their attitudes toward their roles as nurturers and household managers. Among the findings:
- Among parents with children under the age of 18, 43% accept equal responsibility as family caregivers.
- 45% of fathers with minor children identify themselves as the sole managers of household expenses.
- 32% of fathers feel they share equally and are personally involved in the purchase decisions for buying food and beverages.
- Equal responsibility for the purchase decisions on home goods is accepted by 29% of fathers
- 26% of fathers say they are equally responsible for the purchase decisions on personal care products.
In a separate and unscientific study, PR News has determined that fathers are more likely to sleep in and nap on Father's Day than mothers on Mother's Day.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI