Suburban Dad: The Man-Van Debate


Our colleagues over at Mother Proof raise an interesting theory: That it’s men who most want minivans, not moms, and they even go so far as to suggest that minivans are really designed for dads, not moms.

It’s an interesting theory; automakers have said for almost the entirety of the minivan’s quarter-century life that they were intended for “soccer moms” — suburban mothers who have to play chauffeur for the kids to soccer practice, to the mall, to hell and back. Sara Lacey at Mother Proof argues that, instead, the big seats, long reaches to the dash for the controls and large size of the vehicle all suggest that automakers really had dads in mind.

That could be why, as a Suburban Dad, I find myself one of the last holdouts in favor of minivans.

I know plenty of suburban moms (my wife included) who are pretty much done with minivans. They see them as clunky and outdated — this generation’s version of the station wagon I grew up with. I’ve long been happy with the layout of minivans, and especially with how they work with kids. There’s plenty of room to stretch out (something that damn station wagon never had), they offer plenty of cargo room and they’re pretty darn comfortable on those long-haul trips to Florida and elsewhere.

Are minivans really man-vans? Maybe, but as more and more suburban women become convinced that they need to go, you can watch as we minivan-loving dads get dragged along into the future, unwillingly.

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