A few blog posts ago I commented on how American Feminism begat Fuckboyism in our society. In said post, I mentioned in the last paragraph, “And how about single motherhood? Yes, that too can be considered a bi-product of feminism begetting fuckboyism. Shouting to the mountaintops how we can do bad all by ourselves will leave us doing just that” (February 2014). On Father’s Day, I want to tease that little piece out for a minute. And it’s not just the holiday that is bringing on this discussion. While minding my business in the grocery store, I happened upon this little gem in the card section:
Two things must be recognized before I break how I break. 1) This card is very real. I actually was in the Giant and saw the card with my own two eyes and 2) This is not the first time a card like this has been printed. In fact, I went off about this same shit last year on IG:
(Yes, I charged my phone after I took this screenshot)
But based on the way the internet is going nuts this ‘go round about this old issue all over again, apparently “y’all ain’t hear me though.” I’ve read post after post from both sides who are either for the card or against the card. While I understand what the card may have been attempting to do, I’m still not here for it. The thing is when card companies (especially Hallmark since they are like the holy grail of holiday validity) make these kinds of cards, they are quietly sending messages about the state of our society. The message I’m getting from the Mother’s Day card on Father’s Day leaves me with a few questions. The first pertains the idea that this is a unique issue in the Black community. If you were to look anywhere else in the card section, you would only find this kind of card under the Mahogany brand. Okay, Hallmark, we get it. We get that we have a painfully publicized history of absentee fathers within our community. But guess what, there are other races that have the same problem as well. It may not be as sensationalized and publicized, but it is still a problem nonetheless. Haven’t you been watching Teen Mom 234 lately? Where is their card? The second question is what is the ultimate point we are trying to make with these kinds of cards? Cards on holidays are meant for celebrations. What exactly are we celebrating in this case? The fact that Father’s Day can be a painful reminder of what you don’t have? Are we celebrating brokeness? Looking at these same cards in this same section for Mother’s Day, I did not see not one card that was a Father’s Day card for Mother’s Day. With that being said, I’m STILL confused as hell as to why we are doing this. Thirdly, while I get that having a card like this may be a type of moral alarm clock meant to “wake up” people about the issue of fatherlesness in the Black community, are we aware that this can also be a snooze button of sorts as well? This is where the feminism part kicks in with “normalizing fuckboy behavior” (The Read, Break Babies, 2014). To me, making a grand declaration that you are “playing both roles” with the feminist idea of “women can do it all” won’t inspire men (who probably ain’t worth shit anyways if we have to have this conversation in the first place) to step up, but moreso continue to step to the side. As a man, why should I even bother to try to take my place if you’re clearly already taking it for me? Furthermore, I think it sends a fucked up message to our kids as well. For little boys, it increases the likelihood that when they get older and have children for them not to be present in their lives as well. This stems from the idea that “Well, if my momma played the mother and the father, so can shawty.” For little girls, it further perpetuates the myth single parenthood is the only parenthood.
In closing, before you single mothers out there hit me with the, “you don’t know what it’s like” and all the bitter baby momma bullshit, allow me to clarify. I am not saying that single mothers should not be praised for their efforts and sacrifices. I am the product of a single mother. But in doing so, they should be praised JUST as single mothers on days designated for them (i.e.- Mother’s Day). Growing up, my mother made it very clear to me that while she was a single mother, I still had some fatherly figures I could look to if I so chose. She didn’t come at my with that “I’m your mother and your father” bullshit ever. Looking back now 21 years ago when my parents divorced, I can understand why and am appreciative that she didn’t do that to me or my sister. Am I totally free of daddy issues? Absolutely not. But where I am thankful is that I did have some semblance of father throughout my life. Even now. So with that being said, I celebrate and salute all the men who step up as fathers and assume fatherly roles.