One of the things I found interesting about Stranger Things 2 is that is highlighted something often overlooked in genre fiction: the fact that many men not only want to be fathers, but take great joy and satisfaction in actively parenting their children.
Bob was a great example of a man who loved not only the woman he was dating, but her sons, and was eager to be a good father-figure to them.
Hopper’s role as a father, and his longing to be a good father, has been central to his character in both seasons.
And then, of course, we have Steve stepping up as an adopted dad for his little troop of dickheads, particularly his mentor-bond with Dustin.
Contrast that with the negative portrayals of distant or abusive fathers (Mr. Wheeler, Lonnie, Billy’s dad, and the infamous Dr. Brenner aka “Papa.”) The role of eager, active and loving fathers is highlighted by these counter examples.
There are plenty of examples of genre fiction with motherhood being a driving factor, but highlighting the importance of fatherhood is more rare.
There really are a lot of great men out there who don’t just want to father children, but want to be active and involved parents. So kudos to Stranger Things for making that an ongoing theme.