Monday, July 24, 2006

Great Work by the MSM

The men-are-great-caretakers meme received a couple nice boosts over the last few days from newspapers that carry some impressive weight. For starters, the Washington Post put on its front page a thoughtful story about a "manny" (who happens to ply his trade in my 'hood). I would have been thrilled at the profile elements alone -- it's hard to read the piece and *not* come to the conclusion that the 25-year-old male nanny involved is anything but a skilled caretaker.

But the author, Brigid Schulte, gets extra credit for exploring the question of whether male caretakers are natural. She talks to one evolutionary psychologist who claims it's "not in the nature of many males" to raise kids. But -- thanks Brigid -- she follows that with a series of paragraphs from an evolutionary biologist who effectively makes the counterpoint.
"I suspect that a lot of what we say about human potential and human patterns associated with gender are nothing more than politics," [Patricia Gowaty, the University of Georgia] said.
True, true.

And it's not just 25-year-old aspiring poets who are proving guys have the tools to raise kids; prolific tipster Keith pointed me to a Wall Street Journal article on the rise of what they (unfortunately) call "Mr. Grandmom": the way the first generation of involved fathers is playing increasingly active role in the lives of their grandchildren. The story pulls some interesting stats:
In a survey of 1,353 parents done for this column by parenting Web site, 72% had grandparents living nearby. Of those respondents, 77% said their children's grandfathers helped provide child care. Though 48% said their kids' grandmothers are better than grandfathers at child-care duties, a healthy 41% said the granddads are just as good as the grandmoms; 3% said grandfathers were better.
It's important to remember, looking at those numbers, at how *small* the number of involved fathers were 20 years ago. These RebelGrandfathers are only the leading edge of a wave of involved male caretakers. It's hard to say that we've reached a tipping point, where gender roles in the home have become normalized. But the rise of the manny and of the active grandfather suggest we're creeping closer.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home