How Not to Celebrate Father’s Day!

… It’s not Fatter’s Day
(c) 2017, Davd

Somebody from whom i would have expected better, and who i will not “out” by naming, made up a circular advertising a Father’s Day Hot Dog Eating Contest, and somehow a copy came in front of my eyes. The event is scheduled to take place in a small town, which i will not “out” by naming, and initially i was disgusted by two aspects (but now, methinks i have decided that only one need disgust me.)

The first disgusting aspect of the contest is in its name: A competition whose essence is eating junkish food, to excess. “Hot dogs” are not the worst of junk food, but if you read the “nutrition facts” on the package label, you will see that there is more fat than protein in even the low-fat versions of these cheap sausages. A steak eating contest would have been more healthy; though really—why an eating contest at all? Fatherhood should not be about promoting obesity, and when i occasionally count up the obese in the crowds around me (usually at a church, public meeting, or grocery store) there are more obese women than obese men.

(A Feminist whose name would be familiar to many who read Feminist writings, and who, like the author and site of the eating contest, i will not “out” by naming, once said, “What would the world be like if there were no men? It would be full of fat happy women.” Whether or not she was correct about happy, obesity is more gynocentric than androcentric.)

Father’s Day should not be about eating to excess, unless the food be excellent. (People who think commercial Frankfurters or Wieners are excellent “have another think coming.”) Some shame should rest on the author and the organization that dreamed up and sponsored a contest whose winner is the most piggish, and tried to make Father’s Day its occasion. Based on observation and Feminist aphorism, Mother’s Day would be more suitable, (which is not to seek to burden mothers with bad eating habits, either. If there be any suitable iconic day for overeating, April 1 seems better than either.)

The terms of the contest, the circular went on, required one adult of either sex and one child of either sex, be on each competing “team”. Initially, that offended my sense of equality: Would that same author and organization have dared to promote father-and-child activity for Mother’s Day? Not bleepin’ likely….

But then, the obesity awareness added another perspective: It is true that encouraging children to do any activity with their mothers on Father’s Day is an example of gender inequality—but also, perhaps encouraging obesity with mother-and-child teams is more consistent with the sex distribution of obesity. Which does not go one baby step toward justifying, encouraging obesity. Nothing i can imagine, justifies that.

So, shame on encouraging eating cheap sausages and white buns to excess… and shame on associating such unhealthy activity with Father’s Day.

Surely we can do better.

In these net-misandric times, methinks there is reason to celebrate Father’s Day, and to take care that the celebration honours fathers and mentoring. The focus should be either the kind of fun that involves fathers more than mothers (a fishing trip and a workshop project are two good examples), or more seriously, the distinctive value of fatherhood. Eating junk food, and overeating, fit neither category.

What fits honouring fatherhood well enough, that isn’t masculine but gender neutral as an activity, might be cooking or gardening with fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, even uncles who happen to practice those skills. Suppose, for instance, that instead of a cheap-sausage-eating contest, there had been a chili cooking session? Chili, meaty or meatless, is a somewhat masculine food choice (as are grilled meats), and there are many ways to make it.

I could have blessed such an event, and maybe even joined in. Chili is quite healthy food, involves far more skill than heating cheap sausage and putting it on a bun, and is more participatory than either a cheap-sausage eating contest or the classic Mother’s Day food activity of taking her to a restaurant.

I’d have preferred the fishing trip, if a place to fish that isn’t crowded can be found, or the workshop project… but perfection might be too much to ask.

Unhealthy eating is “too much” in another sense. It does not foster the good development of children. It is not masculine. Shame on the notion of associating it with Father’s Day.

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together "in peace and brotherhood" for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.
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