You can always find the zeitgeist of America in Super Bowl commercials. This year, we were greeted with a crisis in masculinity that could only be solved by the glory of “caring fathers.”
In two separate ads—one for Toyota and the other for Dove—we got an image of fatherhood that didn’t connote an authority figure but a supporting role for their all-important daughters. The Toyota commercial culminated in a dad crying as he watches his daughter enlist in the military—probably to do the dangerous jobs of failing physical fitness tests and monitoring social media. Before that, a montage plays of the father rushing to the aid of his daughter every time she has a difficulty in life to soothe her pain. He does all this to let his child “make their own choices someday.” The implication here is that the dad will always be supportive of her choices—no matter what.
The Dove ad forgoes a narrative and just shows a bunch of spliced clips of fathers playing “Mr. Mom.” No authority is bestowed here and dads seem to only exist to play dress up and ineptly change diapers. It’s even entitled “Real Strength.” "What makes a man stronger?” the soap ad asks us. “Showing that he cares.”
Someone else noticed this link to changing trends in American society, and it means the “involved dad” is replacing the “responsible dad.” This coincides with a radical transformation of masculinity where normal men believe they've “evolved” since their fathers’ and grandfathers’ generations and can’t relate to traditional definitions.
Thus, I present to you the “beta dad.”
These are dads who act only as providers to their families and play second fiddle to their wives and children, particularly their daughters. They do not display authority and they don’t receive the respect bestowed by it.
They support their child’s choices—no matter how bad it is for them, the family, or society. They only care . . . without stipulations. These are dads stripped of their masculinity and ripe for the mockery of primetime sitcoms. They don’t lead the family, and it suffers for it. You can see the beta dad at your nearest supermarket, trying in vain to regain control of his kids who’ve taken over the produce aisle while his wife berates him for his poor fathering skills. But I guess it will all pay off for this dad when little Emma brings Ja’vonte home to dinner. Or when the wifey cuckolds him with her latest match on Tinder.
The worst part about these dads is how they slavishly worship their daughters and encourage them to “follow their hearts.” These are good providers, who have created generations of entitled, narcissistic, chubby, domestically deficient, sex-obsessed females, who now define American femininity. Take a wild guess how daddy’s little princess will act as an adult when her eunuch of a father literally gave her a fucking country to “rule”. These dads interact with their daughters like a beta interacts with his girlfriends. “I’ll do anything for you to make you happy! Just love me, please!”
This attitude finds its nadir in a viral letter passed around by girls wanting to tell themselves that doing whatever they want—regardless of consequences—is fine with daddy.
Starting off with “Dear Cutie Pie,” this dad starts off telling his daughter how upset he is she would try to Google search ideas to keep a man interested. It’s not her job to do that—because she’s perfect just the way she is and her only task is to know she’s “worthy of interest.” This alone will (somehow) ensures she finds a man right to carry on the family lineage. Actually, who am I kidding, this dad doesn’t care about his own genetic line. He cares only about making sure his daughter is “happy.”
This dad then goes on to give his daughter “advice” on what to look for in a man. Here’s the gist:
I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart . . .
I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.
I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.
These aren’t the words and thoughts of a paterfamilias. This is the death knell for fatherhood.
I’ve touched on this before in writing about dads who revel in encouraging gender dysfunction to their kids. They would probably be better classified as omega dads and are a far smaller fraction of fathers. Beta dads are a far more prevalent phenomenon, but they both justify the need to bring back the paterfamilias. A paterfamilias, unlike a beta dad, connotes strength, authority, and natural leadership. He leads the family and ensures his kids make the right decisions for themselves and the family. His kids know discipline, and they realize that there’s something much more important than their individual happiness. A paterfamilias certainly cares, but not in the modern form of caring “no matter what.” He cares for his children and all of his descendants and knows he is entrusted with the grave responsibility that his ancestral line does not die out or become shamed into oblivion. He does what is best for the family, not what is best for the temporary emotions of his kids. He teaches his kids the virtues of their respective gender and cares not for the academic bullshit promoted by our present society. He is a figure of honor—and western society desperately needs him to be the norm again.
Otherwise, we can allow beta dads to babysit the death of the West.