On a mission to prove that dads aren’t just secondary caretakers, Fatherhood Without Fear (@dontforgetdads) visually explores and presents relationships between real-life fathers and their children. To illustrate this point, the Instagram account showcases touching photos of men both emotionally connecting and physically engaging with their sons and daughters.
Fatherhood Without Fear is predominantly focused on combatting the stereotype that men merely “babysit,” while women “parent.” This age-old idea is not only incorrect, but hurtful towards fathers, whose crucial role in family life is often overlooked. Thus, Fatherhood Without Fear aims to highlight and celebrate the equally important bond between a dad and his offspring.
In the sentimental series of photographs, doting dads are shown cuddling, sleeping with, bathing, and even wearing their babies—acts that are often mistakenly thought to be primarily maternal. “In our culture, it’s very much like mom has her role and dad’s role is outside of the home,” January Harshe, the co-founder of the account, explained to ATTN:. “The more and more we can show in social media that dads are engaged, the more we can break through the stereotypes.” Ultimately, each photo communicates a straightforward message: “don’t forget dads.”
Harshe and her husband, Brandon, co-founded Fatherhood Without Fear in 2015. Inspired by their previous project, Birth Without Fear, the couple started the series to shine a light on the importance and true nature of the role of fathers. “I noticed that dads are kind of forgotten,” Harshe explained to ATTN:. “When a woman is pregnant, it’s all about her and the upcoming birth. Then the baby is born — and it’s all about the baby — and, a lot of times, the moms are forgotten in the postpartum…so where does that leave dads? I know that women feel a lot of times that they’re alone in this whole journey. And men definitely do too.” Hopefully, Fatherhood Without Fear helps dedicated dads feel less like alienated babysitters and more like the parents they truly are.