Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Men: Shrinking Violets?

When it comes to explaining why dads aren't more involved in childrearing, there is a rather silly theory that holds that it's actually women who are at fault by keeping men at bay around the home, forcing fathers into a kind of inexperience that deter them from being equal partners around the home.

I have never entirely understood this theory. I can think of no area of human experience where men acquiesce to being elbowed out of the picture, and I just can't imagine that this is really the biggest obstacle to equality.

I don't understand it any better after reading Laura Sessions Stepp's latest "Genderations" piece in the Washington Post today, where she boldly asserts that the bold new future of women in the workplace requires moms to quit their underhanded efforts to keep dads and kids apart. I could probably go line by line through the piece, but I'll let some of her words speak for themselves:
... None of this is easy. We're talking about changing habits of thought that go back to the days when women tended children in caves while their mates were out catching game and fighting off intruders. ...

... Both women and men feel more comfortable, [ Paula England, a Stanford University sociologist] says, when a mother assumes a traditional male role than when a father assumes a historically female role. "The men don't know how to take [child raising] on, and the women don't trust them to."...

... "Ain't nobody else going to do it. It's all about being a daddy," [Brian] responded. "I know I ain't no punk. That's what daddies do nowadays."
I'm a bit speechless. Punks or no punks, I find it hard blame women for the shortcoming of men in the household.


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