I usually don’t get worked up by stupidity. Luckily, there are enough hotheads in the news and social media that I can sit back and enjoy the public stoning of broadcast faux pas. Instead, I get worked up about nerdier stuff, such as campaign finance reform. However, many people have asked me what I think of the recent comments by fashion moguls Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who were a couple for 23 years.
First, I roll my eyes at their “bling” with gold logos splashed all over tacky glasses, bags and clothes.
D&G later stated, “Our views are traditional, not judgmental.”
I give them credit for sticking their ground and not making public apologies to rectify the vicious backlash against their brand.
And semantically speaking, were they wrong? My children (produced via IVF and artificial insemination) could be considered “children of chemistry”. But taking that argument to a logical conclusion, aren’t all children “of chemistry”? Egg and sperm meeting creates a chemical reaction, right?
So D&G define traditionalism by their conservative Italian Catholic upbringing, a community whose edicts were constructed by a bunch of white men with zero experience in child rearing or long-term partnership (at least in the open).
Looking past archaic conservative Catholicism, what can the rest of us reasonably define as what is provided by a “traditional” family? Can we all agree on love and nurturing?
Does that require a mother and a father? Well, sometimes kids have to make do with their single mothers, single fathers, commune parents or older siblings. It’s not ideal, but they make do. And they’ve been making do ever since sickness and war began stealing parents away since…well, the same time period that women have had sisterly love and men have made brotherly love.
But gay parenting is not accidental chance like a suddenly single mother.
So is my child missing something by not having a mother? I ask myself that a lot. It was a major consideration before my partner and I started down the surrogacy path.
My French “mother” (long story) drilled me for years (and continues to do so) asking, “Don’t you think your son might be missing something, not having the nurturing bond with a mother? Or that the surrogate incubated your child, but didn’t foment love in the womb?”
But…my children eat their vegetables, don’t throw temper tantrums when I leave them with babysitters, snuggle with me on the couch, fall asleep in my arms, have twinkles in their eyes when they laugh with me, seek my approval, show off their “tricks” to me, run to me for comfort, stop crying when I hold them, laugh easily when I play “peek-a-boo,” nap wonderfully, charm strangers, easily stop fighting when I intervene, obey me, identify themselves as the children of two fathers, readily hug their friends and teachers, sing, dance, play, adore each other, would prefer to be with me than doing anything alone (but play by themselves, too), and run to embrace my partner and me every single time we walk in the door.
My kids love and love. And they are well-adjusted. They aren’t brats. They aren’t hyper-active, they aren’t obnoxious (despite my over-dramatic blog rants.)
So maybe they’re missing a cosmic, ethereal, uteran bond that other kids have?
I know my partner and I more than make up for that.
As for you, Messieurs Dolce & Gabbana, your “family values” juxtapose your professional aesthetic; one that fosters superficiality and actually undermines the traditional family.
Your ad campaigns trumpeting “traditional” Italian families, insult your Italian/Catholic roots. Endless macho men and air-brushed woman posing as “happily married” do not promote family values. They promote insecurity, superficiality and your own bank accounts.
Further, your ads prep children for disappointment. “Why doesn’t my traditional family look like that? Why can’t I be that beautiful/skinny/rich?”
Instead of helping make the world a better place (through, for example, compassionate parenting) you cultivate greed, lust and envy with your tacky materialism.
What quicker way to dismantle families?
Get it together, D&G: stop trumpeting antiquated ideas of what a traditional family should be, and help the rest of us celebrate the dysfunctional, devoted, beautiful families that the rest of us really are.
Gavin Lodge is a Broadway performer, father and blogger. This essay was first published on Daddy Coping In Style.