The attack on fathers.

PX001126 Stupid. Lazy. Uninvolved. Ignorant. Timid. Detached. Neurotic. Weak. Powerless. Unreliable. Ineffectual. Irresponsible.

What do all these words have in common? They are all descriptions of how men and fathers are depicted in today’s Western culture.

Television is a great example of the problem. Whether it’s Archie Bunker from All in the Family, Al Bundy from Married With Children, George Castanza from Seinfeld, Peter Griffin from Family Guy, or Homer Simpson from The Simpsons men are often portrayed as fools and inferior to not only their wives, but to their own children as well. And this isn’t even considering the latest onslaught of one-parent homes (homes absent of any father), and those normalizing homosexuality. These trends have been increasing every year and it seems to show no sign of stopping.

The problem is especially pervasive in shows geared toward children as Hollywood and the current culture is hell-bent on turning the hearts of the children away from their parents–especially their fathers.

If you still need convincing, turn on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel and watch how men are depicted. It won’t take long for you to see what I mean. Even the commercials feed into this distortion of manhood. In so many cases all authority figures are depicted as incompetent including teachers and police officers, but none are so marginalized as fathers.

Mothers are depicted as much more capable of navigating through life than their incompetent spouses, but even they take a back seat when it comes to the kids themselves. Watch these same channels and observe how the kids are depicted. They’re the ones in control, who are running the show, making all of the important decisions, saving the world, and doing it all with zero or minimal input from their parents–especially that detached lump on the couch they call dad.

William Leith recently wrote an eye-opening piece in England’s Daily Mail in which he asked Why Do All My Son’s Books Tell Him All Men Are Useless? I highly encourage you to read the article; here are some excerpts:

“A recent academic study confirmed that men – particularly fathers – are under-represented in almost all children’s books. And when they do appear, like the fathers in Gorilla and Zoo, they are often withdrawn, or obsessed with themselves, or just utterly ineffectual.”

Leith continues:

“Why had this never bothered me? Because it’s all around us, everywhere we look. For years, men in our stories – not just for children, but adults, too – have been losing their authority. Not just years – decades. It’s crept up on us and now it’s everywhere. Remember when movie stars were strong and decisive? That was a long time ago now: John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn. Then came a new, softer type – Cary Grant and James Stewart were strong, yes, but against a background of self-doubt. And then came Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, Kevin Spacey – neurotic, bumbling, deeply flawed anti-heroes.”

Now I’ll readily admit that there are many, many men today who refuse to grow up (they’re known as Rejuveniles), but the situation begs the question: Is our culture’s entertainment merely reflecting the problem of the modern American male, or are these men actually the product of their culture’s entertainment?


For an absolutely wonderful story in which the father is refreshingly portrayed positively, I cannot recommend enough the book A Basket of Flowers; it’s one of my favorites.

See also:

How to make your husband a false convert and cause your kids to reject the Christian faith

Working moms

8 thoughts on “The attack on fathers.

  1. I completely agree with you Pilgrim…and I notice that wives can say things that (even in jest) make their husbands sound to be incapable, uneducated, or lazy. It is truly an eye-opening and heart convicting realization…as my husband and I joke a lot between each other…all in love…but I need to watch my tongue…as even in kidding, I can berate my husband and that is terribly wrong. Thank you for this post and happy Father’s Day! 🙂


  2. Interesting to me that The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon were cited above. I subscribed to Direct TV a few years ago, after having been a true “rabbit ears only” kind of guy all my life previously. My kids thought they’d died and gone to heaven when our family finally “got real” and had more than six channels from which to choose. Guess we’ve never really been heavy “TV watchers.”

    It didn’t take long before their little keisters were “parked” in front of Disney or Nickelodeon – lapping-up the anti-Dad/anti-adult inane drivel spewed from those channels. I watched, on a few occasions, and, by God’s grace, was able to discern that these two channels were completely worthy of being forever banned from my house. So I blocked ’em. Were my kids thrilled? Of course not. Were they upset by it? Of course they were. Did I care? Yes, but I explained that the messages (verbal, non-verbal, subtle, and even subliminal) were NOT condoned by me or their Mom.

    The question was asked above….”Is our culture’s entertainment merely reflecting the problem of the modern American male, or are these men actually the product of their culture’s entertainment?” My answer is: Yes.

    May the Lord have grace upon us as men, and men, in general, in the United States.

    1 Corinthians 16:13 – “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”



  3. God was very gracious to us. He killed our television dead at a time when I was too poor to replace or fix it. By the time I could afford another one, I’d been cured. We’d see stuff on other people’s box and say, “Not in our home. Not again.” The only time I have watched a tellie in the last 25 years is at someone else’s house.

    A show doesn’t have to be profane or borderline pornographic to pump the world’s way of thinking into your brain, or that of your kids. In fact, for many Christians, those aren’t the most dangerous ones, because we can see the poison. The most dangerous ones are the ones that undermine God-ordained roles (as Pilgrim has described here), that teach us to laugh at things that God does not consider funny, and that teach us to have sympathetic feelings towards sin. The “clean” shows still have mouthy kids, and everyone laughs at their disrespect. The kids are right, their parents are opposed to what they are doing because they don’t understand, and then the parents find out the kids were right all along and everything ends happy. Blech.

    They aren’t just showing you immorality, rebellion, violence, etc. They are using music and visual images to get you to identify with these things, to vicariously partake. They are doing everything they can to get you to want the actors to do things of which God does not approve. The entertainment industry is totally corrupt, and sometimes in insidious ways that are not blatantly evil (at first).

    What kind of person thinks that watching immorality, violence, and rebellion is entertainment?


  4. This is so grievous and evil. The world, TV and society are so wrong. We NEED Fathers. We need men. I grieve most often over the years that my son has no relationship with His father. I cannot take his place and be a father. I’m incapable of that task.

    Yes we have a world where men are missing from families and NOW we have boys and girls growing up without their Daddy’s. No wonder boys won’t grow up and be men because they need their dads and most are being raised by moms. No wonder girls grow up and don’t know how to be a woman who is modest and wants to stay home and raise a family. Most girls want to get married and have kids but they still want to live their lives like they see depicted on TV and in Hollywood. It’s all spiraling downwards and is because families are broken.


  5. It’s a combination of both environment and entertainment and the effects of the NOW movement. And the government for enabling men to be financially irresponsible for their offspring. It’s a result of a god-less society and sexual decay. Shameless sex, vulgarity and profanity, immodesty, self worship, instant gratification, pornography, our lawless society that gives more rights and benefits to criminals than their veterans that served their country, abortion, etc., etc., the list goes on. But, yeah…… far back as I can see…….Saturday Night Live and all of the comedienes and actors that came out of that show, the language then and the language now……it’s just plain embarrasing.
    Jon Gleason is RIGHT ON!

    I should have stated “Fornication” rather than “Shameless sex.” Sex is a wonderful gift of God that has been perverted by the world to include everything that is ungodly.


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