When Jennifer Siebel Newson’s The Representation Project’s #BuildConfidence project launched in time for Mother’s Day this year, it helped create a conversation on social media about how mothers shape their daughters’ confidence and self perception. For Father’s Day this Sunday, the non-profit organization is reaching out to fathers to be positive role models for their sons and daughters.
“Children right out of the womb are exposed to and pressured to conform to unhealthy gender stereotypes. Boys learn that they should dominate and have a ‘six-pack’ and girls learn to please and be underweight,” Newsom writes in the #BuildConfidence toolkit. Just like the Mother’s Day video, the Father’s Day video features stars like Rachel Maddow (well known for her political activism) and Geena Davis (founder of the The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) talking about how their dads shaped their development as strong women. “My dad is just an all around good guy with a strong sense of justice. […] He taught me respect for authority by being a very respectful authority figure,” Maddow says in the video.
Recent Pew Center Research findings show that more fathers who live with their children are taking an active role in housekeeping and childcare. 60% of families in the U.S. are now dual income, so having fathers play an active role with children is crucial. In The Good Men Project, John Badalament writes, “In the past decade of working with dads of all backgrounds, I have heard this chorus grow louder: modern dads want connection, closeness, and intimacy. Unlike fathers of generations past, whose lives were so often cloaked in silence and mystery, dads today are increasingly vocal about this vision.” In the announcement for #BuildConfidence, Newsom wrote, “The role that dads and mentors play in young people’s lives is incredibly important. We need to continue to support fathers in modeling healthy masculinity. We can all be part of raising a healthier generation of boys and girls.”