Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Consciousness Raising for Him: Dads Network on the Web

So I was all prepared to rant about how our culture glorifies the stay-at-home dad for being such a "good guy" for doing all of the things that we expect of mothers... And then I got sidetracked. I stumbled upon this website that aims to connect stay-at-home dads with one another to discuss different issues that arise in the home.

Initial reaction: These men should ask their partners and families for advice. Why do they feel the need to be so special? Parenting can be a group effort! Subsequent reaction: Wow. This is really cool.

After paging through this website, I realized how much it echoes the sentiments of feminist consciousness raising groups in the sixties. These men are connecting with one another about vasectomies, striking a work/life balance, their sex lives, raising children in today's world and so much more... Our Bodies Ourselves anyone? From diapers to bullying to dinnertime, these men are exchanging stories.

I guess the anonymity of the web makes it easier for men to talk to one another about these "unmanly" topics, and I truly hope that even men who are not stay-at-home dads start visiting and contributing to this site and others like it. In my opinion, this is a big step in the right direction. Maybe someday it will be the norm for parenting and domestic duties to be shared equally by both partners. Almost fifty years after women realized the value in swapping stories, men are finally talking to one another about issues in the home.

Note: This blog post is written in regard to two-parent homes. I fully recognize the amazing contributions that single parents can (and do!) make to the world. Please contact with any questions!


Ellen said...

Michael Kimmel, a sociologist who studies masculinity, came to speak at Grinnell this spring and I went to see him. He recently wrote a book called "Guyland" about the culture of masculinity that most men our age (college/teens) are participating in.

He talked about how males today try to stay in a prolonged state of adolescence to avoid responsibilities, including those of fatherhood. This is manifested in binge drinking, smoking, womanizing, and general rowdy, irresponsible behavior. This, Kimmel argued (and this is from my hazy recollections), harms men and women. I think he argued that if we want to improve the lives of women we need to work with men to get them out of "guyland." There are a lot of stats and other things I could say, but I won't because this comment is pretty long.

But, here's a link to a Newsweek piece on it:

Jacob Bockelmann said...

This is a great post.

It's awesome to see these dad's applying their manly mechanical know-how to solving some of parenting's biggest challenges like this one:

Especially of note is the 6 paragraph dissertation of tried and failed attempts to remove the ball from the baby bottle. Hopefully this valuable resource will enable fathers to come together, pool their knowledge, and solve this challenge.