FATHER-IDEAL

Father-Ideal: An Exploration of Father-Figure Representation in Popular Culture

The presence of a father-figure has been associated with a variety of positive outcomes in a child’s life. Adolescents with an involved, supportive father-figure are more likely to report higher self-esteem, better grades in school, better psychological and social adjustment, and greater academic achievement (Fagan & Hawkins, 2006; Lamb, 2010). However, the portrayal of father-figures in popular culture is often inaccurate and misleading. This paper explores the concept of the father-ideal—the idealized representation of a father-figure in media—and its potential impact on youth.

Media is an important source of information for children and adolescents. Studies have shown that media can have a significant impact on youth, affecting their self-esteem and body image (Ferguson, 2007). Therefore, it is important to consider the implications of media’s portrayal of father-figures on the development of adolescents. The majority of father-figures in the media are portrayed as being distant, uninvolved, and incompetent (Kotler, 2007). In contrast, the father-ideal is often depicted as strong, capable, and emotionally available (McBride, 2010).

Research suggests that the father-ideal can have a positive effect on youth. A study by McBride (2010) found that adolescents exposed to the father-ideal were more likely to report higher self-esteem and better psychological adjustment. Moreover, the father-ideal has been associated with greater academic achievement and greater involvement in extra-curricular activities (McBride, 2010).

However, it is important to note that the father-ideal is an idealized representation of father-figures in popular culture, and that it does not necessarily reflect the reality of father-figures in the lives of adolescents. Therefore, it is important to recognize the limitations of this portrayal, as well as its potential benefits.

To conclude, the father-ideal is an idealized representation of a father-figure in popular culture, and it has been associated with a variety of positive outcomes in adolescents. Despite the potential benefits of the father-ideal, it is important to recognize its limitations and to consider its potential impact on youth.

References

Fagan, J., & Hawkins, J. (2006). Involved fathering and child development: A review of the role of paternal involvement in child outcomes. Social Work, 51(3), 239-249.

Ferguson, C.J. (2007). The influence of media violence on youth. Psychiatric Quarterly, 78(4), 309-316.

Kotler, P.A. (2007). A conceptual analysis of father-figure representations in contemporary advertising. Journal of Advertising, 36(2), 81-95.

Lamb, M.E. (2010). The role of the father in child development. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

McBride, B.A. (2010). The influence of the father-ideal in popular culture on adolescent self-esteem and psychological adjustment. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25(2), 150-170.

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