Dads Dressed as Superheroes Protest for Fathers’ Rights
Plenty of young children think of their fathers as heroes, and a group of dads campaigning for their parental rights has taken that quite literally. "New Fathers 4 Justice" (formerly "Fathers 4 Justice"), is a U.K.-based group started by Matt O'Connor in 2000 that protests for fathers' rights by donning superhero garb.
The group apparently hasn't been successful at changing family court law or modifying the justice system in the traditional sense, but its protests and demonstrations have received mega media attention.
Some of the most memorable include a man climbing the Tower Bridge dressed as Spider-Man; throwing condoms full of purple flour at then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004; scaling Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman in 2006, and standing atop the ancient monument of Stonehenge to protest the "stone age" British legal system in 2007.
Take a look at a video of Fathers 4 Justice protesting dressed as Superman on the roof of British Leader of the House of Commons Harriet Harman, after the jump.
This summer they returned, when a man dressed as Captain America and another father dressed as Bananaman climbed construction cranes in South Wales displaying a "Where's Daddy" banner until their eventual arrest.
The New Fathers 4 Justice name change came after O'Connor shut down the group following allegations that F4J members had plotted to kidnap former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's young son. Like a lot of costumed teams, O'Connor had to shed some loose cannons on the team to make the group effective again, and being a marketing professional, the name acts as a rebranding solution.
The media coverage of the group has inspired other F4J groups here in the United States as well as Canada. In July members of the US group marched on Washington D.C. and climbed atop the Lincoln Memorial in support of legislation reform in the family court system and, prior to that, an Ohio father dressed as Spider-Man stood on top of a crane on the Ohio Statue University campus for more than 48 hours.
It remains to be seen whether the legal aims of any of the international F4Js will be met (it's important to note the affiliation exists in name only), but until then it seems they'll continue to provide a conversation starter for a heated social issue in a colorful way.