Matt S., the regular guru for our blog on various topics of fatherhood enrichment, shares his insightful review of Dana Glazer’s newly released documentary, Evolution of Dad…
At some point over my nearly five years as an at-home dad, I became very interested in the the cultural shift that is taking place that allows and encourages fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives. Over that time, I have looked to the work of three primary figures that are shaping and explaining this shift. I look to Brian Reid’s Rebeldad blog to get his take on the issues fathers are facing every day (he currently has a very amusing rant again Pampers for wishing him a Happy Mother’s Day for the fourth year in a row). I look to Jeremy Adam Smith’s work because he is able to distill the academic research to help us all move the conversation forward. His book, The Daddy Shift, remains the primary text for anyone interested in understanding the changing role of dad in the family. Finally, I have eagerly anticipated Dana Glazer’s Evolution of Dad documentary because I’ve hoped he could package the issues in a way that reaches a mainstream audience and brings the major issues facing dads to the forefront. The documentary was released on May 18, and I have to say, it meets and exceeds all my expectations.
As I watched the documentary, I kept thinking that I wished every parent I know could see this. I want new parents to see it because I want them to realize the important role that fathers plays in their children’s lives. I want my at-home dad/breadwinning partner friends to see it so they can reaffirm their dedication to their families and see how other families are making it work. I want parents in general to see the documentary because we all need to find ways to support the role of a parent both culturally and legally.
Dana spends time with three groups of people to introduce the issues. He tells the stories of several Dads from all walks of life. These vignettes pull at your heartstrings, but more importantly, each man’s life illuminates the reality of the issues fathers are facing. Dana balances these stories with commentary from leading fatherhood and parenting experts, including Jeremy Adam Smith, Kyle Pruett, Marc and Amy Vachon, Michael Kimmel, and Scott Coltrane. He also includes commentary from people off the street that point out the stereotypes and external pressures fathers are feeling. As I hoped, this combination of perspectives brings to light many issues facing the modern family:
* The struggle for work-life balance
* Parenting with different styles
* The importance of an involved father
* The joys and struggles of an at-home father
* The legal rights of a divorced father
* The lack of social/legal support for parents in the workplace
* Gatekeeping parents
* The increase in fathers choosing to prioritize family over career
* The bright future of fatherhood and parenthood
Thank you to Dana and his team for their dedication to this project. I know that it has been a long struggle to get to the finish line, and I for one, will be sending copies to many of my friends and loved ones.