Boys to Men: choosing fatherhood in a society that shames caring

Some muses on adulthood and parenting today.

The right to choose is crucial to the personhood of men. The right to choose has to mean not only the right to choose not to bring a child into the world…but also the right to have a child, joyously, without paying the price of isolation from the world if you would rather be a full time father than enter the usual rewarded occupations.

In a society that shames caring, where some little boys are still encouraged not to play with dolls, what message are we actually giving?

Part of the conflict over parenthood today – and part of the conflict feminists feel about the family and the younger people will feel about feminism, is it has to keep denying the power of the impulse some people feel to love parenthood – is a hang-over from the generations when too great a price was paid…the point is, the movement to equality cannot be considered finished until fatherhood is a good enough choice, or for many people: a choice at all.

(adapted from Anne Summers)

There is a lot of focus at the moment on giving women choice, but if we don’t actively give men the same choice then it’s all just lip service.  A woman doesn’t actually have the choice to go to work, if her partner cannot also make the same choice, and choose to stay at home.  By belittling those that stay at home as doing ‘women’s work’ or thinking that women staying at home is the ‘easier option’ or isolating those that do make that choice, by disallowing males from ‘caring’ roles or undervaluing domestic work, we are in practice removing it as a choice from men, thus removing the other options from women.

Addams-Family-Tv-Show-Opening-Credits
The Addams Family. Family life at its’ best?

How do you feel about parenthood? Are stay at home Dads encouraged or treated as a curiosity where you are? Do you think Dads have a choice?

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