Gender Wars?

05 Aug

gender-symbols1Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read a couple of articles related to the roles of dads…I’ve debated on whether to give them any credit here. I guess you’ll have to continue reading to find out if I do or not.

Essentially the role of the “new dad” – the one that takes an active role in the raising of his children, changes diapers, makes bottles, gets up in the middle of the night, or takes paternity leave – is brought under fire.  Points were made that by moving into these roles, dads were “moving out of the board room” or “neglecting financial responsibilities”. It seems to me there is a bit of a double standard going on here – if there’s a better word, help me out.  I’m looking for thoughts here.  I’ll certainly give mine.

I’ve been thinking about these articles all day, as it directly calls into question how I see myself as a dad. Not only that, I think it calls into question how we in turn raise our children.

Immediately when I knew I was having girls, I knew there would be things I would teach them. I would teach them how to throw a football, how to change a tire, how to check the oil in her car – I think you get the point.  I knew there would be things I would teach my girls that typically guys know how to do.

This is seen as typically acceptable though.

However, it doesn’t seem acceptable the other way around.  We don’t hear of teaching boys how to cook, or wash clothes, or iron clothes.

Or take care of children.

But if I’d had a boy, this is exactly what I would have done.  I would have taught him how to throw an awesome spiral with a football, but I’d also teach him how to wash his own clothes.  I’d teach him how to be a man in more ways than just baiting a hook or changing a flat tire.  I think our boys need to be taught how to be men by how to take care of others.

I get it I guess. These things aren’t “manly”. But why aren’t they?  Why is our society so focused on the fact that being a man only means this or that – it certainly never means being a dad that knows how to change a diaper, fix a little girls hair, or get her dressed for her dance recital?

Why aren’t they just as accepted? Why are dads looked down on that take time off from work when a child is born? Why are dad’s forced into the role of the seemingly disinterested, distant “baby-sister” or just the guy who is around somewhere, who really doesn’t know anything?  Dads are looked down on for taking an active role in the lives of their children – and that’s discouraging to me.

As I’ve read other dad bloggers say…we’ve still got a lot of work to do…


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