How Disney teaches contempt for dads

How Disney teaches contempt for dads, by Naomi Schaefer Riley.

Every 3.24 minutes, a dad acts like a buffoon.

That’s the conclusion of a small study done by a student at Brigham Young University after watching eight hours of the two most popular Disney “tween” shows featuring families. …

A 2001 study … found that the number of times a mother told a joke at the father’s expense increased from 1.80 times per episode in the 1950s to 4.29 times per episode in 1990.

But what’s interesting about the new research is that the author, Savannah Keenan, also looked at the reaction of the children on screen to their fathers’ displays of cluelessness. At least half the time, children reacted “negatively” to these displays — by rolling their eyes, making fun of Dad, criticizing him, walking away while he’s talking or otherwise expressing their annoyance.

This behavior, especially on Disney shows, has become the norm to such a degree that parents regularly tell me they don’t allow their children to watch the channel. There’s no sex or violence — but there’s only so many times they want their children to watch their counterparts on screen ignore, insult or pretend to humor their parents for laughs. …

Maybe the problem isn’t simply that men are portrayed as bumbling. Women in popular culture — and also in journalism — are portrayed as the people who can do it all. They’re showing how it’s possible to juggle careers and children, all without missing a beat. Can you imagine a popular comedy in which a woman really is falling down on the job? …

The question is if women are really superwomen, how are men supposed to be anything but buffoons?