Whose Father’s Day Is It?

Debbie says:

I don’t have much to add to this post on Sociological Images.

The Google logo with a men's tie replacing the

Lisa Wade says:

The tie isn’t a generic masculine symbol, but a class-specific one.

More, it ties fatherhood into the idea of being a breadwinner. What is significant about a Dad? The fact that he works so hard for the family. Can you imagine a Mother’s Day symbol emphasizing her workplace instead of her time at home?

I can’t be arsed to care about greeting-card consumerist holidays. Turns out that Fathers’ Day is just a little over a century old and wasn’t made a national holiday until I was old enough to vote, though I do remember celebrating it as a child. The best line in the Wikipedia history (linked above) is “In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.” Now that would never happen.

The leading Google images for “father” and “mother”” are surprisingly similar: leaving out Mother Teresa and an assortment of priests, both mostly show a clearly gendered parent holding, playing with, or looking lovingly at a baby or small child. Both are mostly of white people, but not entirely. The “father” search does not show a lot of work pictures, with ties or without.

What would you use for a Father’s Day image for a Google logo? My first thought would be to make one of the O’s larger and one smaller, and have the larger one have a hand on the smaller one’s head. Or something like that.

4 thoughts on “Whose Father’s Day Is It?

  1. I dunno; ties aren’t just for work. I’ve known men from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds who wear a tie to church, for instance, or have one or two to wear to weddings and funerals. Ties don’t have to be expensive; I’ve seen some perfectly presentable ties at the 99 Cent store now and again — nice enough that I gave several as gifts, and they were as well received as ties ever are. It is an fairly iconic Father’s Day present.

  2. Nolly,

    Sorry for the lateness in your comment going up. There was a glitch. I think your point about ties is well taken.

  3. Following up Nolly’s comment, my perception (in the 8 cities where I have brunch) has been that working-class men are MORE likely to wear neckties to church. When rich guys are obviously coming from church to a restaurant, most of them seem to be wearing casual clothes.

    The idea of a necktie as a marker of masculine economic power seems kind of dated, in the modern American workplace. Some large fraction of economically powerful men wear business-casual clothes to work. And a lot of people wearing ties to wait tables or work sales jobs don’t have anywhere near as much wealth/status/power as their customers.

    1. Nolly and Adrian, I completely agree that ties aren’t a simple marker of anything (and nothing is a simple marker of class, especially in the United States). But when you see a tie by itself, like on the Google site, it doesn’t say “working class man at church,” it says middle-class (or higher) man at work: banker, insurance guy, department store manager.

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