Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daddy Dialectic - Parenting While Male: 74 Fathers Talk about Playground Discrimination

Interesting - it seems that stay-at-home dads still are not accepted as actual, honest-to-god parents. "Parenting while male" is how some dads refer to the discrimination they face. Sad, very sad.

Parenting While Male: 74 Fathers Talk about Playground Discrimination

Posted by Jeremy Adam Smith

You’ve probably heard the phrase “driving while black,” which refers to a perception that black drivers are more likely to be stopped by cops. This was whispered in the African-American community for years before it broke out into the wider cultural conversation and was gradually validated by empirical studies.

Similarly, stay-at-home dads have whispered for years about feeling unfairly targeted for "parenting while male," and recently their concerns have started to get mainstream attention. In last week's Wall Street Journal, Free-Range Kids author Lenore Skenazy explored what happens when “when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep.”

I spotted the column in a tweet from the redoubtable DadLabs. I replied: “I was once asked to leave a playground by a grandmother. I wonder how many guys have had that experience?” DadLabs tweeted back: “Most? Or faced playdate discrimination of one kind or another? #dadsnotpervs.”

This little twitter exchange echoes less-public discussion I’ve heard many times at gatherings of fathers: that they are often made to feel like outsiders at parks, playgrounds, and situations where most of the other parents are moms or grandmoms—and that their participation in playgroups or classes is sometimes rejected.

Atrocity stories circulate, but how widespread are actual "parenting while male" experiences, really? To start to get the answer, on Monday I created this survey, which as of this morning had been taken by 74 guys—60 percent of whom spend 31 or more hours a week taking care of a child.

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