In case you missed Lisa Gates’ story “Do Men Need to Act Like Women to Succeed as Fathers,” give it a read. Gates talks about how – if you need a TLDR – fathers can’t catch a break. In related news, the font the Forbes uses is inappropriately large.
No one’s going to argue that men weren’t aggressive or career-minded up until…let’s make it easy and say “recently.” But it seems as though fathers, and men in general, can’t seem to get a fair shake anymore. Demonized by the family court system, made fun of in sitcoms, and belittled in commercials, the American father is looked at as a bumbling idiot around the house and a cut-throat boys-club commitment-phobe at work. Somewhere in the fight to respect women and mothers more in all of the hard work they do, men and fathers got the rotten banana. Why is it that in order for women to “win,” men have to lose? Why can’t both genders be in a work force and be a caregiver? Gates explores this, mentioning that it’s possible that a “bias against men as caregivers might affect women.” Zing!
This is, however, an important point; it seems like as you trace gender relations backward in time, you see one gender “winning” and one gender “losing.” It’s the cornerstone, unfortunately of the feminist and men’s movements. The pendulum swings left and right, declaring who wins and who loses. It seems that way, but really – when one gender loses, both lose. This is because of the interplay between genders, and the celebration of the strengths of men and women independently. This is definitely a point of discussion, but I don’t know if anyone wants for men and women to be truly “equal” – so much as equally-treated. Women and men are not the same, emotionally or physically, and each gender’s strengths and weaknesses are wonderfully complemented by each other.
Loosely related: I’ve got a friend in the FBI that will not allow women to be on the team of agents he sends into a house when they have to break the door down. It’s not a personal issue – the women in his unit are physically smaller, and when stacking up behind a battering ram, it just makes more sense to put a line of five big burly guys there. Is it demeaning to women to make that sort of distinction? I would hope not – as long as if a woman came along that was the same size and skill as the men, she’d be given a spot on the team.
But fathers don’t just want a spot on the team. Parental caregiving doesn’t require a battering ram (usually), and it would seem that both men and women have unique things to offer in the caregiving field. I hate to wrap everything up nicely and with a positive moral, but allowing both men and women to bring unique perspectives to any home or office “workforce” should never presume a gender-based balance of power.
And to those in the marketing industry – do as Lisa Gates’ says she does in her own publication – market toward fathers, invest in fathers and allow fathers to be fathers by their own measure. Women constitute more than 80% of the buying power in the economy. Maybe if you stopped making fathers look like morons, they’d give you a buck or two. When you’ve got equal shares of our money, I’m assuming, we’ll be equals.