You know what bugs me? When men don’t treat women with the respect they deserve. Maybe it’s because I grew up with three older sisters. Or maybe it’s because my mom is such a strong and accomplished woman.
Whatever the reason, I believe that women are equal to men in every way and in every context. And I’m not looking for a medal, but sweeping, misogynistic slights against women are not something I take lightly. And while there has been much improvement with regard to gender equality, there’s still a long way to go.
A recent post on Baby’s First Year proves that fact in spades.
Babble’s Madfoot wrote a piece yesterday called My Husband Dressed the Baby on Baby’s First Year. You don’t have to read very much of her post before you learn that Madfoot considers her husband the second-fiddle parent in her family. “I have total faith – well, a lot of faith – in my husband’s parenting abilities,” she writes, as if her husband isn’t quite able to earn the totality of her confidence in his capacity to parent.
The way I read it, Madfoot insinuates that dads are little more than Mommy’s goofy apprentice. Even the SEO title of her piece (which appears if you were to share the post via Facebook or Twitter) is a bit condescending: Dad’s Dressing Babies: Why God, Why?
I don’t mean to come off all bra-burning (or, in this case, jock-strap-burning). And I don’t mean to angrily pound the table and say “Dads are good parents, too, damn it!” In fact, if you ask anyone in the “dad blogging community,” they’ll likely tell you that I’m the one who tells other dads to stop whining about their beef with the way the media portrays them.
After all, it’s only been within the last generation or so that dads have started to become more active. But the previous generations? Let’s face it. Dad didn’t do BOO when it came to the kids, except perhaps to flash them a smile as he read the paper in his smoking jacket while waiting not-so-patiently for the piping hot meal that wifey-poo was fretting over in the kitchen.
Stereotypes such as the ones attached to dads don’t get changed with angry demands for respect. They get changed with time. And the best way to dispel the outdated notion that dads are not capable parents is for dads to (get this) be capable parents. Which is exactly what more dads than ever before are quietly doing. Even so, the perception is not going to change overnight.
So I don’t get all bent out of shape when it comes to daddy barbs. You see, what bothered me about Madfoot’s take wasn’t that she poked fun at dads. What bothered me was what I wrote earlier: the post illustrates that we have a long way to go as a society with regard to gender equality. Madfoot’s attempt at humor, whether she intended it to or not, espoused a tired and antiquated interpretation of gender-roles.
Women dress babies because men simply aren’t equipped to do so.
To me, that’s as preposterous as dinosaurs like Ron Franklin dressing down female co-workers with demeaning and chauvinistic language. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t belittle men by casting them off as inept parents, then turn around and cry sexism when the arrogant guys around the boardroom table don’t take you seriously enough.
Okay, then. I think I’ve made my point. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. If you need me, I’ll be on the boys’ side of the room belching loudly and discussing auto parts for the next hour or two. Or at least until my wife puts our kids to bed in their darling little PJs.