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No, Men Should Not Aspire to Be Like Brad Pitt — Here's Why

brad pittA CNN article out today called, “Why Men Should Be More Like Brad Pitt” praises the A-list actor for sharing caregiving and bread-winning responsibilities with Angelina Jolie.

Brad certainly does look like a hero, a man living a life worth emulating. He’s gorgeous, rich, and talented — he’s also a good father and a man who values gender equality. Maybe he is the best example our celebrity-worshipping and fame-venerating culture can come up with for a good partner and father.

He isn’t exactly faithful but … we all make mistakes, right? So there are cracks in his princely armor.

We also know that actors and the media craft intentional narratives around celebrities and that the images and stories we hear are not necessarily the honest-to-goodness truth about their lives. So it is possible that the Good Dad image and the Work-Sharing image are only two parts of his story. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Fantastic. Congratulations Brad Pitt, on being a good father and partner. I still don’t think men should aim to be more like you.

This is like telling women we should be more like Angelina Jolie. We already know this. We already know we are supposed to be impossibly thin and wrinkle-free with Barbie-like proportions and sultry voices. We already know we should be involved in humanitarian work. We already know we are supposed to earn obscene amounts of money and be well-known and well-liked far outside the four walls of our homes or offices. We already know we are supposed to be caring, involved, creative parents. We already know we will never, ever, ever be beautiful enough, rich enough, attentive enough, self-sacrificing enough, or famous enough.

And now our men have to be like Brad? We mere female mortals are destined for failure, and now our men are equally doomed.

Brad appears to be an involved parent and equal-opportunity partner. He is also incredibly wealthy and can employ an entourage of nannies, cooks, drivers, and I don’t know what else. He can afford to bring all six children on location to be with both parents and to take time off while Angelina works and vice versa. How are average men supposed to emulate this lifestyle?

The article is spot-on in highlighting the attitude shift that images of Brad with six kids in tow exemplifies. This changing attitude honoring involved fathers is good and necessary and part of the conversation on the roles of men and women in family and work life.

I simply hesitate to say to my husband or any of the fathers around me that they need to be like Brad Pitt. If my husband said I needed to be like Angelina Jolie, I’d kick him where it counts, and he’d be sleeping on the couch.

 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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