Monday, September 29, 2014

Masculinity and the Dad Community

One overall theme I see in the various Dad groups I am in is occasional slamming of moms and the media that don't understand what Stay At Home Dads do. I'm not saying that moms are being wrongfully attacked but I see lots of talk about how, "If only the moms on the playground knew I was a good guy" or "Look at me playing with my kids as well as your kids while you sit on your phone and ignore them." I see this talk often and in a lot of aspects it is true. Many times I have been on the playground and I have been ignored by the mom groups or I was the one playing while the kid's mom was sitting in the car. But there is one thing that isn't talked about. The problem of men. Yes, men. If there is one group that really doesn't understand what SAHDs go through it is men. Whether it is the occasional, "What do you even do all day," or "Why don't you get a real job?" comments we are always being judged and made fun off by our fellow man. There is this expectation to masculinity that is becoming an issue for me. Why is it that because I like to shop or because I love to play with my kids and take them to the park make me less of a man?

What Emma Watson said in her speech is dead on. The problem is not that women need to be more manly but that we as men have set the bar so high that anyone that isn't man enough to reach it isn't worthy of being called a man. Even in the SAHD community there are dads that still stick with the whole "Bro" attitude. They make masochistic comments, share photos of women and do everything in their power to emasculate any man that goes outside of the male stereotype by doing women duties or discussing women topics. Kitchen cleaning and minivans are not for these guys. I remember one time when I brought up a discussion on buying tampons for my wife and how I am completely comfortable buying them. Everyone else in the group was fine with it except one guy that was so disgusted that we would ever buy tampons only proved that we "must be buying them for our own vagina." This kind of talk is nothing new to men but it is a problem none the less. How can women be equal to us in the workplace and at home if we, as men, continue to put each other down when we are doing "women's work."

This need to prove our masculinity is a growing problem in America. If a women complains about being checked out, slut shamed or cat called she is simply told, "We're men, get over it." This has been used multiple time in some dad groups. And every time there is someone that says, "it's OK we are all guys here" and it is immediately followed by someone else saying, "Doesn't change the fact we need to be respectful." Of course, that is only in the good groups. There are some groups out there that don't care about what others say. They sit there and belittle women with no one telling them to stop. How can we expect the world to treat us like regular people when we act like teenagers behind doors? How can we expect to raise boys to respect women when we treat them like crap behind theirs backs? We need to unite as one and stop acting like we must "Man Up" and "act like a man" and treat women as if they are our own daughters. We must stop putting each other down and rise up together as great dads and caregivers. Our kids future depends on it. Forget being Masculine, I'm just going to be the best man I can be. If that means changing diapers and buying tampons then that is what I will do.

That all being said the online dad community is filled with the nicest most giving people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Without question they give of themselves completely to help anyone in the group that needs it. Recently a dad that was homeless came forward to ask for help so he could get a cheap hotel until he gets paid and they can find a place and right away many guys stepped forward to try and help him find a place to stay. I have seen dads pulled back from depression because of the help they received. I have seen guys ask the most deepest and personal questions you can think of and he is always answered without judgement. This dad community in my opinion rises above the male masculinity stereotype and not just because they raise kids but because they are genuinely great guys that believe in equality of men and women, 

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