Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fear of Fathers

Fatherhood is a hot topic in the media of late. Involved fathers are all the rage, highlighted in articles in almost every major newspaper and many big name magazines. It is a feel-good topic, these involved fathers, because women can say "finally, men are doing their share" and men can say "I'm doing right by my kids." And we all can say a collective "awe, isn't that sweet."

The problem with 99% of these articles is that they still portray men as secondary parents. Or sometimes as temporary primary parents (like SAHDs who moonlight in this role for a year, but then turn it back over to their wives). But rarely (heaven forbid) do these pieces show men as true co-parents for the long haul.

Why is this? Is it just too scary to too many people to consider men and women equally competent parents? I think perhaps. This notion rubs up against motherhood itself. And it threatens men who have opted for traditional (or quasi-traditional) fatherhood. It crushes cultural norms about men as providers and women as nurturers. Men who aspire to spend time with their kids are sweet guys we want our daughters to marry. They are the good doobies of the male gender. But men who want equal control at home and expect their wives to be equal breadwinners...well, could scare people. Or so the media think. Won't
women get uneasy because what they really want is a helper who will do their bidding? Won't men get nervous because they do not really want to give up the primary provider role?

I'm here to say "get over it" to the media. Yes, some men and some women will be threatened by equality. But many are living it now and loving the freedom and intimacy it provides. No need to fear the equal partnership! If it is not for you, that's fine - but if it is, let's stop being afraid to talk about it.

p.s. A shout-out to Dana Glazer (director of the upcoming film 'The Evolution of Dad') for speaking so passionately about this with us recently...we're right with ya!


Blogger Dana said...

Thanks for the shout, Amy and Marc. If my film can as succinctly convey what you guys just wrote in these few paragraphs, I'll be a happy filmmaker indeed! Rock on!

Dana Glazer
The Evolution of Dad Project

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amy and Marc,

I agree that the media needs to learn a bit of acceptance and move on, acknowledging those who are trying to create better lives for themselves and their families.

Thank goodness we don't need the media's approval. The fathers I know trying to accomplish great things are filled with the knowledge and self-esteem to know that they're on the right path and aren't looking to be recognized for their efforts.


7:42 PM  

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