Irish Times

May 20, 2000

Look who's holding the baby

MEDIA/Sharon Krum
Irish Times

Forget laddism: the latest men's magazine is for . . . fathers

A quick glance at any newsstand in the US will reveal the three great passions of American life: getting rich, fashion and parenting. Correction, make that getting rich, fashion and mothering.

While mothers can spend hours flicking through a glut of magazines designed to give them advice and support, fathers have always been ignored. Either publishers thought fathers knew it all and didn't need advice, or fathers cared so little about their progeny's development they didn't want any.

But this month editor Jonathan Scott (45), proved them wrong. His newly launched Dad's Magazine has flown off newsstands despite predictions to the contrary.

"When I told people I was starting a magazine about fatherhood, they said it would never sell. But with the fathers' rights movement taking hold, with 50 per cent more women working and fathers stepping up to parent, with the Elián Gonzalez case putting fatherhood in the spotlight, I knew the time was right."

Scott, an Illinois-based father of two, said despite parenting magazines purportedly catering to both parents, he always found them "mom-centric" and alienating for fathers. "They were just full of articles on breastfeeding and advertising for feminine hygiene products. They never really talked to fathers."

So Scott drew up a prototype that addressed fathering, conducted research, then funded the publication himself.

"What I found was that men did want a magazine, and they wanted it to be a road map for fatherhood. They want advice on how to talk to their kids, what activities to play with them, how to mentor them, and how to address issues when their kids hit adolescence."

The launch issue of Dad's is a mix of reminiscences, humour and tough talk. Golfer Tiger Woods reveals how his father trained him to be a champion. US comedian Joe Piscopo discusses a bitter custody battle he fought over his son. And there is an article by a son abandoned by his father, which urges fathers to consider the consequences of leaving.

"We want to dispel the notion that if men show too much emotion to their children, they are not being manly."