I’m sure many of you have seen this commercial from Ford’s new ‘Bold Moves’ campaign. There’s something so demeaning and patronizing about this portrayal of divorce and fatherhood that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Ed Litton makes a fair start:
‘The myth of the good divorce is not new to Hollywood; but, it is pretty much ignored as a joke by anyone who has ever had to file for one. The only truly realistic part of the commercial is the uncertain look on the children’s faces, as their father goes to his home alone. Once again, the myth of the well-adjusted child is portrayed to the hilt. The message is clear: kids are as durable as a Ford and they will make it through this “freestyle” and this “crossover.”‘
Here we see what appears to be a stable, happy—yet broken—family. The ex-wife has made a ‘bold move’ in allowing her ex-husband to spend time with his children. This is ‘bold’ because, in reality, an experience like this could only be the result of considerable effort by each parent to overcome their petty and selfish concerns for the sake of their family.
Why weren’t they willing to put such effort into keeping the family whole?
‘Bold moves’ implies actions beyond the call of duty, behavior beyond what’s expected. But the effort in keeping a family happy and intact is not ‘bold’, it is necessary.
And, if the center ultimately cannot hold, the effort of a divorced father to spend time with his children is not bold. It’s being a father.