When A Man Stays Home and Takes Care of the Kids…

14 06 2009

The July 2009 issue of Bazaar shows us the catastrophic results of gender role reversal in this photoshoot.

via Sociological Images:

To me, it seems that the shoot is telling us that “Mr. Mom” is incompetant and cheats on his selfish, cold-hearted career-obsessed wife.  It is also interesting to note the way that the homemaker is unappreciated by the breadwinner for his work taking care of the kids.

Check out the captions on the images.  They are quite interesting.

Sociological Images notes two of the commenters’ reactions to the images.  They both made good points, so here are the two comments.

Amber Y. said:

I don’t think that this photoshoot mocks a man’s ability to take care of his kids. Raising (three) children is a lot of work, especially if your partner is not an active participant. Switch roles and what images do we get? An overworked stay-at-home mother and a distant negligent working father – a very common image thrown at us from all angles. What this photoshoot shows me is the dynamic between the hard-working breadwinner and the hard-working family caretaker, and the *lack of appreciation* for the one who watches the kids. “Mr Big gets downsized.” The breadwinner ignores the caretaker in every photo. The message here isn’t that men can’t take care of kids; it is that people who take care of kids aren’t as important.

EKSwitaj replied:

Amber, I definitely see what you’re saying, but if we say that’s the point of the photoshoot then why are the usual gender roles reversed?

I see a few possibilities:

1) Because men aren’t typically expected to take the primary responsibility, it’s easier to imagine a man having difficulties with children and/or considered to be less of an insult.

2) If a woman were shown as having trouble with children it would be seen more as “female incompetence” than as a sign of general difficulty. This is in part because of our typical gender roles and in part because of women being the marked gender.

3) Because of the expectation that women be more nurturing, it is more upsetting to see a woman ignore children than to see a man doing the same. (Women being the marked gender, however, means that it’s more difficult to transfer this into a general statement about breadwinners.)

What do you think?


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One response

4 07 2009
Vijay

I am a man, I really love to do all housework cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, mopping/scrubbing floors, cooking, laundry and ironing etc. I would love to be a house-husband for a career oriented woman. I would love to take care of all household chores and children so that my wife would climb ladders of success…

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