There are enough events celebrated each year to get someone’s head spinning, with everyday looking like it’s been adopted by one global event or the other. If it’s not “Malaria Day”, it would be “Asthma Day”, or “Environment Day”, or even one’s birthday. Many persons being conformists, simply fall in line, and commit discussions on a given day to that day’s official patron. Non-conformists don’t care about what day it is, while anti-conformists are not content with simply not following “official rules”; they go as far as arguing on better causes to be celebrated on a given day. It is because of these ones that we are talking about male heroines on Fathers’ Day.
So yesterday was Fathers’ Day? Well, really nothing spectacular about Fathers’ Day. Unlike Mothers’ Day, a good number of fathers, in the spirit of acting unemotional, do not really care about Fathers’ Day or even their own birthdays. Hence, the glamour of Fathers’ Day is dwarfed by the gigantic excitement of Mothers’ Day. Since this is the case, why “disturb” myself to write about Fathers’ Day? The reason, untenable to some persons, is that a friend of mine, with whom I usually trade banters on the issue of feminism, put up a Facebook post yesterday, celebrating all her heroines on Fathers’ Day.
While others were showering encomiums on their biological dads and other male figures who had impacted their lives, her post celebrated her “grandma, big mom and small mom”, and “every woman who have defied gender and successfully played the roles of a father”. From the post, one could gather that her biological father, though alive, has never been there for her, so all the “father-ing” roles were ably handled by her aforementioned heroines. While expecting this to land me in troubled waters, here’s my not-asked-for take on this.
Truly, some men are a serious pain in the ass. Being a man is extremely easy. All that is required is that a person be born with male genitals, or by the “updated definition”, have male features scientifically crafted. Conversely, being a “father” requires one to be responsible, to care, to have more than common sense, to be willing to make sacrifices, to be selfless. It is fatherhood that separates men from men. Impregnating a woman does not automatically provide claims to fatherhood. That’s an exclusive club—one where my friend’s male parent apparently does not belong.
No one can downplay the roles of her heroines in her life. Her “mothers” were there for her all through her formative years. They taught her everything she knows (maybe not everything), helped her with school assignments, worked hard to keep her healthy and provide a good education for her, did their best to build her into the woman she has become. Their outstanding deeds notwithstanding, dedicating Fathers’ Day to them is sacrilegious.
It is unarguable that some men shy away from responsibilities. These ones are experts at sharpshooting, but useless at playing father roles. In the same universe, there are men who handle their responsibilities with pride, men who work with their children’s moms to provide the best they can afford, men who are their children’s first superheroes. There are men who do not only know how to change diapers and prepare their kids for school, but also know the cost of one cup of crayfish in the market. There are men who are fathers to even children not biologically theirs. Whether in the offices, schools, churches, streets, wherever, they are mentors, father figures to people around them. It is for these fathers that we celebrate Fathers’ Day.
I believe giving Caesar his due makes the world a fair place. We have real men, real fathers making a difference every day, in every habitable space on earth. Your father being a “minus one” does not mean that no man has ever played a fatherly role in your life (except you grew up without any man a million miles around). On Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate these men. On Mothers’ Day, and on any other day of the year, we can express gratitude to our mothers and other strong women who make the world a better place. However, there would be war if feminism tries to take away Fathers’ Day. Twisting the words of Emmanuella the young comedienne, “it is obvious that your heroines are male, but we are not talking about them!”
Image Credit: Rick Moore