It’s not hard to understand why this picture went viral: 39-year-old Doyin Richards and his kids are pretty damn cute. As Doyin explained on his blog, Daddy Doin Work, his wife usually does his two-year-old daughter’s hair in the mornings but one day she was running late. He was on paternity leave in October, when the picture was taken, and offered to style the girl’s hair. His wife scoffed. So he set up a camera to capture himself with their six-month-old strapped in a pouch and the little girl getting her hair did by Daddy. Once it got picked up by The Good Men Project, it quickly went viral. But a picture like this, while adorable, shouldn’t be extraordinary. It should just be parenting. Doyin Richards is conscious of this himself. In his post about this photo, “I have a dream that people will view a picture like this and not think it’s a big deal.” But it isa big deal judging by people’s reactions — both positive and negative. Yahoo Shine interviewed Doyin about the photo and he made clear that he totally gets it. ”The picture stirs emotion for a few reasons,” he said. “The media doesn’t portray fathers as caregivers. We’re seen as bumbling fools trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into the NFL. The other issue is that there’s a stereotype that black fathers are deadbeats.” Yes, some of the hate mail Doyin received was completely fucking racist.
Here’s a sampling of some of the private messages and comments I received from them after I posted this picture: – “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him.” – “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.” – “OK buddy, cute picture. Now why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?” – “So do you do this for all of your illegitimate kids?” You get the idea.
Interestingly, Doyin wrote, occasionally when another man writes a mean comment to him on Facebook or Twitter, he will hear from that person’s wife or girlfriend.
Oftentimes when a dude posts a public hateful comment on my FB page or Twitter feed, it’s followed up by his wife or girlfriend emailing me privately to apologize for his behavior. These women will tell me that their men are angry that I’m making them “look bad” because they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to parenting. Here’s the thing: I don’t make anyone look bad. These guys are doing a fine job on their own according to the women in their lives.
Ain’t that the truth. He also writes that his wife — and all moms — deserve the same accolades that he’s been getting:
But what if I posted a picture of [my wife] doing what I did in that picture? Many would probably think it’s cute, but after ten seconds of looking at it, they would probably move on to the next shiny object on their newsfeed. Why? Because it just wouldn’t be a big deal to many people if a woman did it. Until we can get to the point where men and women can complete the same parenting tasks and the reactions are the same, we will have problems. If you want to create a statue for me for taking care of my daughters, create one for the moms who are doing the same damn thing everyday for their kids without receiving a “Thank you” or an “Ooooh” or “Ahhhh.”
Doyin Richards makes clear that he doesn’t want anyone “planning parade routes” for him simply for being an involved, 50/50 parent. That’s so, so true … but it’s hard not to be just a little bit in love with this guy.