For two glorious weeks, the United States kicked the world's Olympic ass to such a degree the mere rumor of water's existence was reason enough to send a mega-rover to Mars in search of a more competitive swimming adversary. In between these dominant sessions, Procter & Gamble unleashed its 'Thank You, Mom' advertising campaign. The ads were impeccably produced and struck an emotional chord that would make Hollywood's top filmmakers envious.
Thank you, Mom - a universal message people can get behind. With the exception of your run-of-the-mill misogynist blowhard, who could possibly find offense in a heart-string tugging homage to the amazing women often overlooked in the sports lexicon? Needy dads with hyper-sensitive feelings, that's who.
In response to the claims of sexism and gender stereotyping, and to the call for P&G to apologize to dads and grant them equal time, I offer a response P&G's lawyers would rather they not deliver directly: get over yourselves, dads.
Yes, dads coach, encourage, discipline, and support. Yes, dads are critical to the development of children, let alone children that become world-class athletes. There are libraries of research to back up these claims, but I am quite certain a critical piece of market research also revealed something dads do with far less regularity - purchase shampoo and laundry detergent. 'Thank You, Mom' is designed to woo the demographic with greatest influence on purchase decisions for household products.
In other words, there is a subculture of dads who have caught feelings and congregated on the internet to demand an apology and lobby for equal time...in a shampoo commercial. Is this where we are as a society, whining about equal attention from marketers regardless of the product? If so, look out. Hell hath no fury like a community of mommy bloggers spurned by the lack of strong feminine players depicted in commercials for jock itch spray.
The other day, my father-in-law and I walked into a restaurant to meet my wife and mother-in-law, who spent the day out and about while we watched the baby. It was not all that long ago the idea of men watching the baby while the women went out would be laughable. Fathers increasing their domestic responsibilities is progress. Demanding the world give you credit every time mothers receive a tip of the cap is not progress, it's whiny bullshit, and it's embarrassing.
Let's spend less time worrying about public kudos from corporate giants with an agenda, and focus on preparing our children for success. We'll need a collective effort to take gold at the Rio Games in 2016, especially if the Martians are as tough as advertised.