What is privilege, and more specifically, how can one attain privilege in society? It seems as if solely man’s steps towards gender fluidity are reveled and seen as most important in our society. Even within the article by Martin, it stressed on the necessity of boys having girls’ play-toys, and that this would be a bigger step towards progression in gender statuses than the same progress for girls. In several ways, even through the adaptations of society towards a less gender-unequal world, it is seen that heterosexual males, especially fathers, have all of the power and privilege in parenting, even when women are expected to do the brunt of the work. Through their actions, fathers can change the social situations of their children, presumably because of their prominent image as head of the household. When issues concerning homosexuality or gender roles occur in a male, “what the boy needs more than anything is an open accepting relationship with his father or another male” (Martin 473). This is strange, as well, seeing as “parenting advice books are written to mothers and often only have one chapter addressed to fathers” and the expectations of parenting are still mainly given to the mother (Martin 462). And yet, fathers still receive all the good credit and all the responsibility for positive influence within a child’s life. Nothing in the article notes the preservation of heterosexuality in women through the influence of their mother.
Even this article from The Good Men Project revels the father for defying gender roles, being a stay-at-home-dad while his wife worked. He credits himself for being a formidable parent and enforcing gender fluidity with his girls, yet calls himself “women’s new knight in shining armor” and “flattered with accomplishments” (O’Keefe). I wonder if he had a son if O’Keefe would continue to enforce gender fluidity by letting his boy play dress up.
It’s good that he’s proud of the little steps, but he accredits little to his wife’s hard work and her defiance of gender roles in the work place. The privilege is focused solely on him for taking on a less respectable job: “I do something for the first time virtually every day. (Recently I watched a full episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,” for example.) And I like to think all those little experiments are baby steps toward increasing gender role flexibility in the world” (O’Keefe).
Martin, Karin. “William Wants a Doll. Can He Have One?”
O’Keefe, Vincent. “Of Babies and Men: A Stay-at-Home Dad Reflects on Stewart Friedman’s Baby Bust.”