Interview with Tom Briggs - The Diary of a Dad.

I collaborated with Tom for his Christmas gift guide, where we were featured! And while we were at it I asked him to be interviewed for our blog.

I am always keen on hearing more feminist men speaking about feminism and I am passionate about feminist education, including the role of fathers as co-responsible adults in the upbringing of the kids so I wouldn't pass the opportunity!

Here is Tom and what he has to say about it  all :)

In your own words, who is Tom Briggs and what is Diary of the Dad?

I'm a father of three (two boys aged ten and eight and a girl aged four). I've been blogging about parenting from a dad's point of view at Diary of the Dad for ten years.

It started as a way of trying out content for a book but quickly grew into something much bigger. The book still hasn't happened - and probably won't - but that doesn't matter as I love my blog and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Being a full time parent and blogger is more atypical for men than for women, what are the pros and the cons of being the exception in a women dominated life style and career?

I can only really answer the blogger side of this question as, although I've worked from home for half the time I've been a parent, my wife has been the main carer for our kids.  

The big pro of being a male parent blogger is that I stand out more and it has been easier to find my niche. It also gives me a good platform for writing about issues affecting dads and I've been lucky enough to address them via a large number of media appearances as a result.

I suppose the biggest con is that it has shown me that dads are still seen as second-class parents. We're often either applauded for doing the most basic of things (nobody lauds mums for changing nappies) or seen as a bit useless.

And, of course, none of this does either mums or dads any favours.

What does a feminist dad is for you and why it is important that fathers feel comfortable and involved with it?

For me, it's all about making sure that my daughter knows she can achieve anything she wants to and that she shouldn't tolerate any gender bias she may encounter along the way.

It's also about ensuring that my sons get the message too. I think all dads - regardless of whether they have girls, boys or both - have a duty to play a big part in educating them that gender should have no influence on their opportunities in life.

For me, it's all about making sure that my daughter knows she can achieve anything she wants to and that she shouldn't tolerate any gender bias she may encounter along the way.

It's also about ensuring that my sons get the message too. I think all dads - regardless of whether they have girls, boys or both - have a duty to play a big part in educating them that gender should have no influence on their opportunities in life.

What is the biggest impact of what you do?

I think the fact that my kids think of girls and boys as equals represents my greatest impact. I really have no idea whether my blog has ever influenced anyone in this regard but, obviously, I hope it has.

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And now our feminist questionnaire for everyone

What is Feminism for you?

It's about wanting equality and standing up for it. It's a movement I fully support but also one that shouldn't need to exist because people should be treated the same as a matter of course and regardless of their gender.

Which “everyday sexism” really bothers you?

All of it! But, to pick an example that's close to home, the categorisation of toys as being for girls or boys is ridiculous. All three of my kids like things that transcend these silly definitions and it's particularly galling that, in 2020, the dividing of things into 'pink' and 'blue' is still alive and well.

Do you remember when you start identifying as a Feminist and why?

I don't remember, to be honest - I've always thought of everyone as equal and that's the way it should be.

Who is your biggest feminist role model?

Anyone who stands up for gender equality should be considered a feminist role model. But, to name one, I think Malala Yousafzai is incredible.

Now that my daughter is starting to understand things a little more, I'll be reading her Malala's story - along with many others - in our copy of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

What is your favourite Feminist quote?

"She believed she could, so she did." It sums up what I want for my daughter. As long as she believes in herself, she can achieve whatever she wants in life.

What is your proud feminist victory?

I'm proud that all three of my kids call out sexism when they witness it. My daughter is still very young and is only just starting to understand the concept, but her brothers have been doing so for a couple of years.

I was particularly pleased when my then seven-year-old noticed a distinct lack of major female characters on a couple of his birthday presents.

What is your feminist recommendation?

  • Book : Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - which I mentioned earlier - is a brilliant introduction to feminism for children. It features 100 kid-friendly articles about girls and women who have done what they want in life regardless of the obstacles put in front of them.
  • Tv show: I think the portrayal of strong women and girls in The Walking Dead - and its spinoffs - is brilliant. Not only because the likes of Michonne, Carol, Judith and Alicia are fantastic characters, but also as their strength and influence are never questioned. I also like the fact that it doesn't shy away from having female antagonists where numerous other TV shows wouldn't. Alpha, Dawn and Virginia are just as bad as Negan, The Governor and the male-dominated Vultures.
  • Film: I have to go for Frozen and Frozen 2 here. Both Elsa and Anna are their own people and show that Disney has finally got its act together. For decades, their 'princess' films have all been formulaic with female leads apparently needing a man to complete them. The Little Mermaid even gives up her voice for a man which sends out a terrible message. But back to the positive side of things and, although Anna ends up with a boyfriend, it isn't what defines her. There's also never any suggestion of Elsa needing or wanting a partner either, which is refreshingly different.

 

What is your feminist call of action to whoever is reading?

For dads to play their part in teaching their children about the importance of feminism and to challenge gender inequality.

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