Calling it New Wave Masculism implies there were waves before it. Saying it’s a Masculine Mystique would be an exaggeration, an affront to Betty Friedan and middle-class, suburban women who, before 1963, didn’t know any alternative to homemaking malaise. But just ‘cause the phenomenon lacks a name doesn’t mean it’s not going on. I’m no daddy or Gender Studies major; still, I can see that the notion of fatherhood in America is a changing.
Nurturing father/child relationships and actively participating in parenting’s heavy lifting, now more than ever falls equally under the domain of Dad. And while men-with-child are figuring out how to navigate this new parenthood, they’re realizing their fathers don’t have to be their guides.
Books like Neal Pollack’s Alternadad articulate the idea that it’s okay not to let the standard, stereotypical role of “Father” subsume your identity, that you can be you and be Dad. And shows like DadLabs are showing you how it’s done.
In a sea of online programming geared towards Moms, Brad Powell, Clay Nichols and Troy Lanier started DadLabs to give a much needed male perspective on the theories, methods, issues, lighter sides, gizmos, and gadgets of parenting.
Soon after the series launched, the Austin-based trio recruited author and comedian Owen Egerton to make “funny videos,” including raps about building bicycles (winner of a Yahoo Video Award) and drinking with Elmo. Recently at the For Your Imagination studios, I chatted with Owen about DadLabs, empathy suits, his strange affinity for men with facial hair, and why the show is making people better parents.