SUZANNE HARRINGTON: Macho men happy with bag for the nappy

DADS! Do you suffer from nappy bag emasculation? No, wait, come back, this is serious, writes Suzanne Harrington.

It’s an actual headline from The Wall Street Journal — except they call it diaper bag emasculation. You may have been concerned about nuclear Armageddon, ocean plastics, or if you’re going to turn up on someone’s #MeToo list, but put such trifles aside and concentrate on what is truly the greatest challenge facing modern masculinity — pastel nappy bags.

I refer not to the flimsy scented plastic items you place dead nappies in before they go to landfill, but the shoulder bags of baby gear new parents are forced to carry everywhere, and which weigh many times more than the infant they serve.

Changing mat, used nappies, unused nappies, baby wipes, baby milk, baby snacks, spare baby clothes, cuddly toy, soother — new parents will be nodding dazedly.

Well, I say new parents — do I mean new mummies? A quick scan of retail outlets suggests that marketing departments continue to perceive mummies as the carriers of all things baby related long after their episiotomies have received condolence cards. That shop is, after all, still called MotherCare. Not ParentCare.

But now that dads are cool and hands on and down with the parenting, and can identify, manage and process all the challenging substances ejected at speed from various points of a baby, why do nappy bags still come in floral or pastel? (Personally, I couldn’t care less why, no longer in possession of even a microgram of oestrogen, far less a desire to look after anything needier than an iPhone). However, if The Wall Street Journal is asking, then there must be an answer — although not being prepared to climb over the WSJ’s paywall, that answer remains a mystery. Some light Googling proves illuminating.

“Your diaper bag is not your child’s accessory — it’s YOURS,” thunders the tagline of Tactical Baby Gear. This is a two-man outfit which makes baby bags that come in black, ‘coyote brown’ and camouflage, and are decorated with sniper crosshairs. Because nothing says ‘nurture your baby’ like a firearms motif, right?

“When you walk into a gun store with a pink diaper bag you feel less of a man,” says the weaponised nappy bag founder, an American who describes himself as a “hardcore hands-on dad”.

After “muscling through” his first daughter’s babyhood with a nappy bag so pastel it made his testicles retract into his armpits and his voice go up an octave, this fearless warrior took action on the birth of his next (female) baby. No more pink, no more floral. Instead, he designed a baby sling that looks like a stab vest, and a baby back pack you could use during a military invasion. Yours for $225 — because ‘masculinity’ doesn’t come cheap.

Look, I applaud anyone of any gender who looks after babies. Babies are hell. You can’t ever put them on flight mode. But a €225 nappy bag in camo, because you feel emasculated? Dear God. Grow a pair.


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