Yes, dads change diapers: why this degrading story needs to disappear from Huggies’ website

As dads continue to strive for equality in parenting, modern day media persists in poking fun at the so-called incompetency of bumbling fathers. We’re not talking about 1983’s “Mr. Mom,” but far more recent works.

You may recall that in 2012, Huggies started a marketing campaign titled, “Have Dad Put Huggies To The Test.” The series of ads portrayed dads as inattentive caregivers, and thus, propagated old-fashioned stereotypes. Huggies received a heavy dose of backlash from dads, who shared their disappointment over the ads.huggies7.png

The marketers at its parent company, Kimberly-Clark, were forced to embark on some serious damage control after one father started a “We’re dads, Huggies. Not dummies” petition that garnered more than 1,000 signatures in less than a week. Social media fervor grew – Huggies learned a quick lesson the hard way and swiftly pulled the ads.

Despite all the profuse and warranted apologizing that followed, Huggies didn’t seem to learn from its unfortunate experience. To this day, its website still contains maintains a “Mommy Answers” page with no comparable dad counterpart. Huggies print ads also continue to speak only to mom by name, and there’s gender biased language on its site throughout.

Yet, one of its worst jabs is even more recent – which harkens to its “dad test” campaign – and you can find it live at huggies.com.

There you’ll find an article offering the unabashed advice, “4 Ways to Get Dad to Do Diapers.”

It’s almost unthinkable to believe a headline like this could exist anywhere, but it does. Imagine seeing a story titled, “4 Ways to Get Dads to Cook,” if you’re looking for a comparable headline that would too cause an uproar.

Like so many other “parent/baby” companies, Huggies will claim to speak to both moms and dads. Huggies has even taken steps to sponsor the At-Home Dads Convention, donate diapers to the National Fatherhood Conference, and has an ongoing relationship with the City Dads Group – all noble and noteworthy causes.

Between Huggies’ generous donations and disparaging story – it creates a strong disconnect we can’t ignore.

Huggies’ lack to change its marketing strategy towards dads and genuinely embrace them as valuable shoppers is an example of how respect for dads seems to continue to take a massive backseat to the unwarranted stigma about dads.

Gender equality can never be achieved without dropping the sly innuendo that degrades and belittles the institution of fatherhood.

Right about now, dads could use a hug. What do you say, Huggies?

Old Navy made a Father’s Day gift no dad will want

oldnavy2Just when you think it’s safe in June – the month when dad gets his deserving due and eventual one day in the sun – retail company Old Navy drums up yet another t-shirt controversy to undermine dads in one cotton-polyester-blend swoop.

Most recently, it unveiled a t-shirt quickly drawing the ire of not only dads, but social media users of all types.

On the shirt, bold letters proclaim “It’s Father’s Day”; creative use of alternate colors and one small, additional word reveal its true message:  “It’s Really Her Day.”

Dads are not pleased.

The shirt has been mildly circulating on social media in days prior, but was brought to the forefront yesterday by well known SAHD advocates At-Home Dad Network (@HomeDadNet) and Chris Bernholdt (@DadNCharge).

At Twitter user @katgordon pointed out, “What does this even mean?”

So far, that’s difficult to answer, as attempts to reach an Old Navy spokesperson went unanswered.

The shirt could mean that the retailer finally discovered the hidden words inside “Father’s Day” and felt the idea was too good to pass up for a shirt – an item that’s located for purchase at oldnavy.com under the incongruous category “Humor-Graphic Tee for Men.”

Perhaps Old Navy is making an insensitive statement that every day really is mom’s day.

It’s also probable that Old Navy created yet another t-shirt simply to stir controversy and draw attention to its brand, a classic move from the school of marketing behavior where “any publicity is good publicity.”

In any case, the timing and attempt at humor was lost on consumers immediately.

It was just six months ago when Old Navy unveiled a shirt possessing the power to both uplift and denigrate, as its children’s t-shirt proclaiming “Young Aspiring Artist,” was crossed out in favor of “Astronaut” and “President.”  The shirt sent a strong message to artists that their profession wasn’t respectable, and under pressure from consumers everywhere, the shirt was eventually pulled from shelves.

Whatever Old Navy’s rationale may be, it’s hardly defensible.  This latest outrage shirtrage isn’t going away anytime soon, and that little communication tool known as the Internet is likely to let Old Navy know it.

 

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