Father’s Day is June 19

June 6, 2011


In “King of the Suburb: A Memoir of  Fathers, Sons and Guns,” USC sociologist Mike Messner explores how the changing nature of masculinity influenced his upbringing and that of his two boys who are now entering the working world.

Messner grew up hunting with his dad, a World War II veteran, and his grandfather, a WWI vet. In the book, Messner reflects on how that experience informed his identity as he rejected guns and machoism during the turbulent ’60s.

Today Messner is a national expert on masculinity, feminism and sports. Shortly after Messner released the results of a 20-year study of the coverage of women’s sports on newscasts – which found that despite record participation, women’s sports are featured in less than 2 percent of ESPN’s Sportscenter and network news coverage – ESPN announced they would create a station dedicated to  women’s sports.

Messner is the chair of Sociology and a professor of Gender Studies in the USC Dornsife College. Contact at: (213) 740-8848 or messner@usc.edu.
USC School of Social Work professor Dorian Traube is an expert in parent-child relationships and adolescent behavior.

The expectations, roles and priorities of fathers, and those placed upon them, have changed dramatically in a generation, Traube has found. Yet their influence is not as celebrated as that of a mother.

“When we compare the disparity between the level of celebration and attention given to Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day we see the importance placed on the role of fathers in this society,” Traube said.

In her fieldwork, Traube often sees the impact when there is no positive male influence, which can have lifelong consequences.

“While previously engaged fathers are even more emotionally available to their families, there are large numbers of children impacted by the lack of a male parental figure in their life creating greater division between the families who ‘have’ and families who ‘have not’ in our communities,” Traube said.

Contact at: (213) 740-1989 (office) or (310) 592-3396 (cell) or traube@usc.edu.
Anthropologist G. Alexander Moore is an expert in holiday rituals as well as cultural and urban anthropology.

He has his doubts about the nature of Father’s Day, which was created in the early part of the last century.

“It’s a made up holiday for commercial gain,” Moore said. “I can’t think of anything traditional about it. While Mother’s Day has some religious significance (such as the Virgin Mary in Catholicism), there’s nothing sacred about Father’s Day.”

Moore said the likely reason fathers have been overlooked is because in traditional patriarchal cultures, one was expected to honor him all the time. There aren’t many cultures or religions, Christian or otherwise, that felt the need to set aside a day to honor the father.

Moore, a professor in the USC Dornsife College, can be reached at 213-740-9335 or almoore@usc.edu.

Contact: Eddie North-Hager (213) 740-9335 or edwardnh@usc.edu