Homer Simpson has come under fire from online parent community Netmums.
The overweight, rude and ignorant patriarch of the Simpson family is among the subjects of a recent poll by the parenting website, which asked over 2,000 voters whether TV dads are giving real-life fathers a bad name.
And the results? Popular cartoons like The Simpsons, Peppa Pig and The Flintstones have been slammed for their “feckless” father figures, with 46% of parents agreeing that the cartoons show dads as “lazy or stupid.”
Netmums say the poll suggests that depictions of dads in entertainment are damaging children’s perceptions of fatherhood, with 93% of voters saying that children’s TV shows don’t fairly represent real-life dads. 28% even claim it’s a “very subtle form of discrimination”, with 18% thinking dads on telly make children think fathers are “useless” from an early age.
And it’s not just children’s shows who fail to give the younger generation strong male role models. The Netmums survey goes on to name and shame My Family, Outnumbered and Shameless for their “incompetent” father figures.
Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: “It’s never been harder to be a father but good dads have never been more needed by their families. So it seems perverse we are telling men to step up and be involved, while running them down in the media.
“The type of jokes aimed at dads would be banned if they were aimed at women, ethnic minorities or religious groups,” she continued. “Some people claim ‘it’s just a joke’ – but there’s nothing amusing about taking away good role models for young boys.”
What do you think? Is Homer Simpson damaging perceptions of fatherhood? Are dads misrepresented in the media? Let us know in the comment box below…
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.