New Zealand Independent Newspapers

Fathers' posters draw flak

New Zealand Independent Newspapers

A series of posters designed to promote a positive parenting image for fathers has provoked a negative reaction among some Nelsonians.

POSTER BACKLASH: Father and Child Society president Philip Chapman with some of the posters that have attracted complaints.

Philip Chapman, the president of the Nelson-based Father and Child Society, said he had received complaints over two posters which some people found "inappropriate".

He said photos showing a man in the bath with his young children and a father dancing with his teenage daughter had given cause for concern.

"Some people look at them and think the worst - that what they're seeing is wrong."

Promoting Fathers' Week at Richmond and Village Malls, Mr Chapman said it was vital fathers knew where to go for advice and education.

Mr Chapman said the posters had received a "huge response", nationwide, including a lot of positive comments.

But he said people jumping to the wrong conclusions said a lot about the state of modern society.

"It's such a double standard. No one would think twice if the posters showed a woman instead.

"Society is expecting men to change and to become more involved with their children, but no one's given them the tools to adapt," he said.

Mr Chapman said more needed to be done to make men feel they had a positive contribution to make to parenting.

"It's about time society saw affection from dads as an asset, rather than a risk," he said.

He said Fathers' Week would help highlight the help that was on offer.

"Men are always portrayed as the idiots when it comes to parenting and this will help let them know what's out there," he said.

Fathers' Week, which will run until September 2, is an initiative aimed at supporting the local community in the run up to Father's Day.

Billboards highlighting the latest research, help and advice available for fathers have gone up in the centre of Richmond Mall.

The controversial posters, featuring local families, are also on display.

Mall manager David Penrose, who came up with the concept for Fathers' Week, said he wanted the mall to support the community.

"Father's Day is not all about being commercial," he said.