In the last month, I've lost count of the amount of emails pinging into my inbox, all with one thing in common: the title. "Celebrate your dad this Father's Day" one screams. "Make Dad's day" another exclaims, promoting cheap wine and chocolate; last minute gift ideas chosen especially for you.
Except really, they aren't chosen especially for me, are they? They're generated by some computer that has no idea whether I'm close to my dad or whether I even have a father. As it happens, my father died nearly eight years ago, but it isn't that making those emails grate. It's how exclusive their terms are, all referring to that "brilliant dad who does so much." One refers, vaguely, to "that someone special" but the others keep the preserve of the nuclear family, an all-American, all-British ideal.
Sure, that's true for a lot of people, but in this modern family era, where diverse family situations should be accepted, doesn't it say something that Father's Day is still promoted in a cookie-cutter holiday kind of way? Anything outside the cutter doesn't quite make the grade. Funny, because Father's Day isn't and shouldn't be to just celebrate our biological fathers. It's for children, teenagers, spouses, grandchildren to celebrate that person who plays the role of a father in our lives, regardless of whether we call them "dad" or not. I call my mum's fiancée by his first name, but that doesn't mean I won't be celebrating Father's Day with him, as I'm sure thousands of teenagers will be doing with their respective step-fathers this Sunday.
I mean, I get it, I really do. Father's Day is commercialized and these companies aim to maximize on that. In the midst of all the greeting cards and emails though, we shouldn't forget that Father's Day isn't a preserve of an elite group of people who "have" a father. Anyone who has someone who supports them in the way a Father does can celebrate it. Nowadays, a "father" isn't so simple to define; you only have to step into a high school classroom to hear about the myriad of different relationships.
So Happy Father's Day -- for everyone who wants to celebrate it and who should.