Father’s Day when compared to Mother’s Day in Jamaica pales in public, commercial and sentimental observance. I recognized this in my church. I acknowledge that what happens at my church is not determinative of what goes on in other churches but the fact remains that Mother’s Day was given substantially more effort in planning and recognition. Weeks before Sunday May 10, 2020 storefronts were decorated with Mother’s Day gifts, banners but for Father’s Day hardly any promos and certainly no confetti in the gift shops.
The Role of the Media
I am not accusing the business sector of promulgating the depreciation of active fathers in society while glorifying mothers through intense multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns that span television, radio, print media and social media. No, I am not leveling that accusation- or am I? Businesses are responding to the circumstances in society that will drive their sales. Jamaica is a matrifocal society so mothers will be celebrated in abundance. The businesses respond to fatherlessness and paternal neglect with low promotion of Father’s Day.
I know they are about profit but I’m merely inviting John Public to consider whether the lack of celebration of our active fathers is only because paternal participation is low nationally or whether there are other elements in our society that subconsciously invoke our disregard for acknowledging our fathers even when they are active. How many reminders have you heard about Father’s Day 2020? Did you know that in the United States Father's Day was first celebrated in 1972 when US President Richard Nixon signed a declaration for it but Mother's Day had been enshrined as a US holiday from 1914. How many Father’s Day restaurant specials have you seen advertised? Maybe dad wants to be taken somewhere equivalent to a Mother’s Day brunch or concert? Maybe a Father’s Day football game or barbeque? Maybe? Hmm?
For readers with active parents out of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how much do your parents expect to be presented with a gift on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? And using the same scale, which parent would feel more offended if you didn’t do something on their respective day? I dare say that even the expectations of our parents to be recognized on their day have been disproportionately varied.
The acknowledgment of mothers and fathers should not be turned into a competition. I do not support that. I recognize that every child’s experience will influence how they regard each parent and choose to express their love. Unfortunately, some children despise their mothers and others disdain their fathers. Whether a child honours a parent is personal. However, I think our active and deserving fathers have been done a disservice by massive marketing strategies that disregard their celebration and inadvertently reduce the expressions of appreciation they are shown.