Where are the dads in the Disney galaxy?

For all the positive mojo Disney cranks out on a regular basis, it appears to have a genuine problem with finding – how shall we say it – balance.

Last week a story circulated on the Internet titled, “Where Are the Moms in the Star Wars Galaxy?”  The writer argued that while mothers do play a role in the Star Wars universe, they don’t receive as much thematic prominence as father-son/child relationships.  It’s a thought-provoking piece with strong merit – highly recommended.

Then, just two days later, Disney Parks revealed the members of its 10th annual Moms Panel – an online forum for everyday people to share helpful tips and vacation planning advice.disneymoms6.png

The problem is, the panel isn’t a representative sample of everyday peopleit’s overwhelmingly comprised of only moms.  Of course, this is not a bad thing, but the imbalance is; it’s important to remember that dads are part of families, and vacation planning involves them, because they too have plenty to share with potential travelers about the topic.

But Disney awkwardly placed a lone dad on this year’s Moms Panel, thereby disrespecting and ignoring his parental title and thus cutting last year’s dad total – if you can believe it – in half.

Its actions disregard fathers as fully competent, equal parents, much in the same vein that Jif Peanut Butter’s long-standing catchphrase excludes dads as dedicated customers.disneymoms1

We wrote about the Disney Parks Moms Panel last fall and received positive feedback from readers who also implored Disney to catch up with the modern world and to better represent what families mean today.

We realize that equality takes time, so we didn’t expect Disney to instantly even out the number of women and men on the panel, although doing so would rightfully provide a true representation of all parenting travel issues.  However, we thoughtfully anticipated a name change in the spirit of authentic, modern parenting.

Unfortunately, Disney let us all down, because it’s not just dads that end up on the short end of the stick.  It’s the kids and the spouses who deserve a vacation planned at least partly through a fatherly perspective.  But they’ll hardly get that, because instead, dads are being treated like second-class parents who simply don’t matter.

Hilton also operates a similar travel panel with a comparable name – Hilton Mom Voyage – and it has a mere three dads among 30 panelists.

Echoidisneymoms4ng the words of the Star Wars column, dads deserve better.

The members of next year’s Disney panel will be announced soon enough, but why wait that long to properly rename the panel?

Disney, let’s make things right, because families are stronger – and vacations are more magical – when we’re united as parents.

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Get real, Hilton

Mega hotel chain Hilton claims to offer a blog about “real families and their travels.”

But there’s just one small problem with that description, because if Hilton’s world is truly reality, then only about 7 percent of dads are traveling. Among its team of 15 bloggers writing about so-called “real families and their travels,” hiltonit’s only authored by one dad.

One dad!

But what we find even more disturbing is that the blog is called, “Hilton Mom Voyage.”

If that title doesn’t strike a nerve with moms and dads alike, it should. In Hilton’s realism, the word mom has become the generic term for parent, strong enough to stamp out the word dad from even existing.

We received news of this messed-up marketing campaign from an email titled, “Real moms give real travel tips,” a partnership with P&G, who has an Olympic-sized history of banishing dads from marketing through its self-proclaimed tagline, “Proud sponsor of Moms.”

We have no problem with real moms giving real travel tips. If moms want to give other moms, or even dads, some tips or advice, have at it. Both genders can benefit from a motherly perspective.

However, when the site’s focus is to offer experiences about real families, and pair it with a blog title that outright excludes dads, that’s when Hilton is sorely missing the mark.

Hilton may want to have a conversation with NBC News and The Today Show, where this past summer its online “TODAY Moms” web section was replaced with the less offensive and more inclusive, if not more modern, “TODAY Parents.” Its rationale is outstanding, but still, why did it take so long to make the change?

Back in the 1950s and 60s, the show employed “Today Girls” (no, they didn’t use all-caps then), who discussed fashion and lifestyle, reported the weather, and covered lighter-fare stories. The last woman to hold that position was Barbara Walters, who said nobody would take a woman seriously reporting hard news back then.

Yet, here we are some 50-60 years later, and dads are not taken as serious parents by Hilton.

When will Hilton make the easy fix that TODAY wisely did? Only Hilton can answer that.

In the meantime, the reality is, there are plenty of other hotel chains where dads and moms can take their business until Hilton realizes that dads like to voyage, too.