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Modern Parenthood

Father's Day gifts: personalized, stereotyped for 70 million dads

Father's Day gifts: You can't buy a nap for him, so try any one of 70 million  personalized, stereotyped gifts online.

By / June 13, 2012

Father's Day gifts: Top of the real list might be a nap; but there are 70 million personalized and stereotyped ideas for Dad online.Three-year-old William Cox had a day fishing with dad Michael of Clarks Summit, Pa. June 6, 2012.

Michael J. Mullen/Scranton Times & Tribune/AP

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It seems only yesterday that the helpful folks at Amazon.com were telling me, via my e-mail inbox, What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day. Helpful items, these were, such as vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, cake decorating tools and even a breast pump. 

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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(At the time, I tried to point out to dads that, really, for the sake of their marriages, they should not follow Amazon’s advice.)

But time passes quickly. It is June. Almost Father’s Day. Which means that there is new information out there about parental desires – this time, dad's.  And here’s what I’ve been learning, from Amazon and the other five billion junk e-mails I get daily:

Dads, it turns out, Really Want electric shavers.  Because, you know, dudes love getting personal grooming items as gifts.

But they also want digital cameras and new clothes and watches and even the Rosetta Stone language CDs. Items that are educational, outward-focused and enjoyable to the recipient.  

A bit different than the Mom’s Day collection, I’ll say.

(C’mon Amazon, you’ve got to have some women’s studies majors working for you somewhere. Does it have to be like this?)

The suggestions do not end there. Which is fortunate for those of us who are still searching for the perfect gift and think Rosetta Stone is a bit out of our price range.

According to the online marketer, you can “Delight Dad with a Gift That Shows You Know Him Well.”

Awesome. 

I followed the link, of course.  And then I was confronted by a choice:

Is Husband “DIY Dad” (who wants a drill), “Dapper Dad” (a tie), “Media Mogul” (some sort of tablet device), “Gadget Dad” (I don’t even know what was in the picture), “Sporty Dad” (golf clubs), or “The Hobbiest” (another digital camera)?

I searched mightily for “Tired Dad,” or “Overwhelmed Dad of a Toddler,” or even just “Sweet Dad Whose Family Loves Him,” but alas, they were not options.  No, apparently the nation’s 70 million fathers (24.7 million of which are part of married-couple households with children under 18, according to the US Census Bureau) fit into six nice categories.

So once again, I have ended up stuck.

And, to be honest, a bit annoyed at the commercial hype that surrounds what should be holidays that celebrate life’s sweetest relationships.

Because while I can readily admit there are a number of more important things to grump about today (Syria? Wildfires? The economy?) it seems a bit of a bummer that with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day comes a barrage of advertising that not only reinforces all sorts of gender stereotypes, but teaches us that the best way to honor our parents, husbands, wives, whomever, is with stuff. And not just stuff, but the stuff “everyone” wants.

So I’m still looking for a good father’s day gift. 

If anyone finds out that Amazon is selling naps, let me know.

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