Stay-at-home... stereotype?

by abbeynormal on September 10, 2014 - 8:44pm

As far as we may have come in equality when it comes to human rights in general, stereotypes are still strong. What a woman’s role, and in turn a man’s role, in day to day life is strongly assumed. A woman is expected to be a mother first and a functioning member of society second. A man is the bread winner. So when men have recently started choosing to stay at home with the children, they, on their end, have become subject to scrutiny in the efficacy of their new roles.

Men are not perceived as being able to care of their children as well as a woman. They are portrayed as incompetent when it comes to dressing, feeding, teaching and entertaining their children. If a man has chosen to be a nanny as a profession, he, in turn, must be gay due to their more feminine tendencies. If a man has chosen to be a stay at home dad, he is subject to many, often negative, comments: “looks like daddy dressed the baby today” or “oh look at you playing Mr. Mom today”. The last one my boyfriend hears a lot as he is the one who has been home with my 17 month old for the last 9 months. He never expressed that this has bothered him, however it bothers me. Why is it so taboo for a father to take care of his own child? What makes him inadequate in the eyes of society to take on this role? My boyfriend is 14 years older than me, and at 41, welcome his first child, our daughter into the world. Since day one he has been nothing but loving and devoted, focused on her well being first and foremost. Granted that for the last 7 years I have been doing most of the housework, groceries, and general maintenance of our day to day life, whereas he focused on his career. But when he quit his job, and I was back at work full time after my maternity ended, the roles reversed. He is not perfect at his new role and sometimes supper isn’t fully balanced (kraft dinner, and hot dogs with some frozen vegetables, maybe), but he is more than capable and willing to take care of her as I am.

Just as women have been stereotyped, so have men. And just as women are capable of being politicians, activists and CEOs, men are just as capable of being homemakers. Times are changing, and society’s expectations of gender roles should as well. One is not better than the other, nor is one worse than the other. One is as great as the other, and we should empower each other for the choices we make.

Quotes used from:  

8 stupid things you should stop saying to dads

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