On a recent podcast appearance with Todd and Biz from the Hanging Chads I spoke about the Daddy Pig-ification of Fatherhood. But what does this mean. And who is this Daddy Pig?
Last year I wrote about the feminisation of fatherhood. It was a big hit. Thousands of men across the world shared it and reacted. I even turned it into a chapter of A Father’s Mission. This reaction was a big wake-up call to me – men are tired of their roles being constantly compared to motherhood and for gender roles to be blurred into nothingness.
The feminisation of fatherhood is one issue which I’ve dealt with at length (popular culture wants to emasculate/feminise fathers etc etc). Which is why I want to focus more on how fathers are portrayed in the media. And in kids’ TV in particular. So who is this Daddy Pig fella I keep talking about? And why does he even matter?
Daddy Pig regularly does idiotic things like leaving the picnic in the car.
Who is Daddy Pig?
Peppa Pig is a popular pre-school animated TV show here in the UK. It’s also available elsewhere in the world so if you’re a Dad and your kids watch TV, the chances are you’ve heard of it.
Peppa is a pig who is about five or six. She lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and her brother George.
Harmless fun, right?
Yes, unless you look a big deeper into the role of Daddy Pig in particular. Here are some highlights:
Daddy Pig is a Buffoon
Through the series, Daddy Pig is the epitome of idiocy, bravado and incompetence. In most episodes, he’s the cause of any crisis. Like the time they go for a walk. Daddy Pig forgets the picnic and then can’t read the map and a troop of friendly ducks lead them back to the car.
Another time he signs up for a marathon run, only to realise that he’s massively out of shape. He reaches the end, just, having done no training.
Daddy Pig is Lazy and Unmotivated at Work
In another episode, Daddy Pig takes Peppa and George to work. He sits in an office and apparently doesn’t do much very important or worthwhile. His job seems to circulate around him sitting in an office and colouring in so I can only assume that he’s an architect – and not a very hard working one.
Peppa and George are impressed with how easy their Dad has it that they want to work with him all the time. His laziness and lack of motivation isn’t just accepted, it’s expected and admired.
Daddy Pig is also colossally overweight although he does win a relay race at sports day which defies both gravity and the laws of nature (he’s racing against an antelope among others).
Daddy Pig Does not Command Respect
Linked to his buffoonery, Daddy Pig is treated with a considerable amount of disdain by all who meet him. Peppa either communicates her indifference to him or disrespects him. One of her catchphrases is “Silly Daddy!” – normally when Daddy Pig makes an obvious and foreseeable error based on his own hubris.
Daddy Pig is not seen as an admirable or aspirational character. He is more of a standing joke and a bit of an idiot. If he’s quietly working his dead-end job, not bothering anyone – then everybody is happy.
The Problem with Daddy Pig
My problem with Daddy Pig is this: he is the embodiment of everything about fatherhood that I utterly reject:
Being an object of scorn by peers and your own children.
Lack of motivation, working a dead end job with no desire for personal improvement.
Happy to play the family clown instead of being their leader.
Hubristic bravado that says ‘I can do that’ when you can’t.
Is this the image of fatherhood that we want our children to understand? What about the fatherless generation that only know fatherhood from TV and movies.What concept of fatherhood will they grow up with.
Is it any wonder that the family is in crisis? That boys are dropping out of school and suicide rates spike? Without the strong father figures in the family, what chance do they have?
The Daddy Pig is completely unprepared or unwilling to lead, to fight for his sons and daughters. His example is a poor one. ‘Just showing up’ isn’t a mark of successful fatherhood.
The Daddy Pigification of Fatherhood – The Cure
So what’s the antidote to the Daddy Pig style of fatherhood? I’ll be careful not to be prescriptive. Your mission is your own. If you are constantly striving to be better, to improve, learn and give more then you’re already ahead of the pack.
Add in a healthy diet, some weight training, a book a month and a side income and you’re a one-percenter.
Others will respect you if you respect yourself. So dress and act accordingly. Own up to your mistakes and faults and earn respect from your children. Nothing is given to you. It must be won. Live authentically.
Are you ready to stand against the hordes of Daddy Pig Dads out there – who are content with mediocrity and living a zombie-like existence where they stumble through life without a thought to where they’re going or why?
You have the power to be the change. To be the difference. How you use that power is up to you.
P.S. My book A Father’s Mission is an antidote to the Daddy Pigification of Fatherhood. You can buy it here.