Tag Archives: Mom and Dad

What is domestic fairness in the Home?

The dynamics in which individuals, and partners choose to run their households is as diverse as the billions of people there on living on this earth.  Some might make the strong stance that everything must be split equally and evenly between both people.  This would include such responsibilities as, the division of chores, financial expenditures, daycare, and more.

However, I do not feel this approach is necessarily true.  It cannot be fair to demand domestic fairness within households, but then impose one possible method to ensure that equality is achieved.  As with everything in life, people should have the freedom to choose whatever they feel is fair in their home.  Lisa Belkin states in her article, When mom and dad share it all, “Gender should not determine the division of labor at home” (Belkin 2).  To me this is a perfect answer to such a convoluted question.  Domestic fairness in the home happens when both parties feel it is fair, period.  Whichever way they feel comfortable with dividing up the tasks, should be solely up to them.  The crucial point being, that society should not be able to rear its ugly head and influence the decision making process.  Gender should be left out of the equation, and moves should be made based on those particular individuals comfort level and personal desires.

Though, the ultimate question may be, can there ever really be 100% domestic equality in a home?  Is it ever really possible to maintain fairness in the home all of the time? The combining of two separate lives is a difficult task.  It has to be known that sacrifices will be made and following personal desires are not always an option.

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Feeding the Macho Appetite

Feeding the Macho Appetite

 

Nothing turns a man on like a “hot” woman cooking in the kitchen, and nothing sells a man’s deodorant like the fantasy of female servitude. This tasteless ad for Lynx deodorant (which features a shapely twenty-something female, cooking dinner while dressed in lingerie) objectifies women and reinforces domestic inequality. Like the turkey that she is preparing, the woman’s life is devalued, and she exists merely to satisfy a man’s appetite. The accompanying text: “Can she make you lose control?” reinforces the desirability of women whose sole purpose is to serve. As a final touch, the ad’s retro styling cleverly reminds men of an era that predates the Women’s Movement, when a woman’s place was in the home, and a man’s home was his “castle.”

 

This ad features the type of gender stereotyping and sexist attitudes that have perpetuated a patriarchal system in the home. Belkin notes that women have made progress in the workplace, but still shoulder the majority of domestic responsibilities (4). As implied by Lynx, some men are not only oblivious to this unfairness, but find the power differential to be a “turn on.”

 

Although the ad has been effective in boosting sales, it is primarily geared towards white heteronormative males and has limited appeal to specific segments of the population. From the perspective of an African American male, the image of servitude may be a distasteful reminder of the master-slave dynamic and trigger repulsion rather than attraction. When seen through the eyes of a homosexual female, the sexual intent of this ad may be confusing. Since domestic responsibilities are shared more equally in same-sex couples (Belkin 13), doing housework is routine for both partners and unlikely to be perceived as sexually “hot.”

 

         Works Cited

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The New York Times 15 June 2008: 1-15. Print.

 

 

Ad Critique: The Car for the Richest Guys On Earth

This Chevy Malibu commercial targets the new generation of the “involved dad” or “family men.” The men who “don’t jump at the sound of the opening bell, because they’re trying to make the school bell.” The men who are “more into being a partner than making partner.” Or, “the richest guys on earth.” The slogan, “for the richest guys on earth,” and the commercial itself send a positive message to its viewers. The commercial contrasts the stereotypical “sexy” car commercial and takes a more wholesome approach. The advertisement tells men that a complete family life, i.e. involvement in childcare and perhaps even the household, makes a man “truly rich.”

Lisa Belkin’s article “When Mom and Dad Share It All” cites many examples of couples who practice equal parenting. The couples, Belkin writes, “understood that this would mean recalibrating their career ambitions, and probably their income, but what they gained, they believed, would be more valuable than what they lost.” The Malibu commercial challenges men to do just that—to set aside their career ambitions and focus on something that will make them “the richest guys on earth.”

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” New York Times Magazine. The New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web.

Woman’s Work or Manly Duty?

Is the current stigma accurate….Is it woman’s work to tend to the children, or is it also part of the manly duty? This question is something that many families reflect or object. There are different categories of work that are necessary to maintain a family household. Housework, is defined as cooking, cleaning, and home repair. Child care, on the other hand, “is attending to the physical needs of a child — dressing a child, cooking for a child, feeding and cleaning them,” this does not include recreational activities such as reading or playing (Belkin, 5).

In a family where the father works and the mother stays home, the average care the mother spends on the child is 15 hours and the father spends 2 (Belkin, 5). However, in a family where both parents work, the average hours the mother spends caring is 11 and the father spends 3 (Belkin, 5).

The most convincing factor that the stigma of women as the child carers still holds is that the numbers have not changed over 90 years! Think about it…. since the days when women tended to the fire and the men hunted. The ratios are still the same. “Where the housework ratio is two to one, the wife-to-husband ratio for child care in the United States is close to five to one.” 

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” NY Times. 15 June 2008. Web. 01 Dec 2013.

Evolutionary Husband?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9HMhSvnbmk This ad for the Samsung Smart TV perpetuates outdated assumptions about a man’s assumed role in the household. In the ad, we see a woman fantasizing about “upgrading” her husband’s role in the household just as she would a Samsung TV. In her dream, we see the man cooking, taking care of the baby, cleaning, and preparing dinner for his wife only to have the fantasy abruptly end and return to reality where the man sits around on the couch grunting like a caveman and eating food like a slob. The stereotyped representation of what a typical man looks like is so exaggerated that the man is literally sitting in a mess in a crumbs and farting while the woman is neat and put together. The portrayal of men as such is merely a stereotype and the idea of an “evolution” of the household dynamic as a futuristic concept is clearly outdated. As Belkin wrote, when it comes to changing stereotypical household responsibilities, “the perception of flexibility is itself a matter of perception” (5). The dynamic of the home can easily change if the couple is willing to make changes. If men in Sweden willingly take paternal leave, clearly not all men need to be technologically “upgraded.” Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” NY Times. 15 June 2008. Web. 01 Dec 2013. Bennhold, Katrin. “In Sweden, Men Can Have It All.” NY Times. 9 June 2010. Web. 01 Dec 2013.

What does inequality in the home look like and can it ever be overcome?

http://www.memes.com/img/84693

I’ve seen this flowchart meme a lot on the internet lately. The chart shows a few examples of all the things that a child might ask their mom for vs. what they ask their dad for. It basically implies that anything a child needs is expected to come from their mother, while the only thing they ask their dads for at home is where the mother is.

This got me thinking about what inequality looks like at home. Here, a mother is expected to attend to everything her child needs, essentially bearing the full load of childcare, while the father is not asked for anything. Not only is this a huge burden on the mother, it is also insulting to the father because it implies that he is incapable of doing anything for his children at home. As disproportionate as this image may seem, Belkin’s article actually supports this claim as research shows that “the wife-to-husband ratio for child care in the United States is close to five to one.” It seems that the only way to combat this inequality is to push for a way for men to be more involved in child care from the time of their child’s birth, possibly by adopting a policy similar to that in Sweden. There men are required to take 2 months of paid parental leave after their child in born, thereby increasing the equality at home, as both spouses aid in child care. Yet even there, where laws provide equal time for mothers and fathers for parental leave, “Swedish mothers still take more time off with children—almost four times as much.”

If equality at home depends mainly upon child care, as it is the most demanding task of keeping a home, then is it really achievable? In my opinion, there will always be one spouse who does more but in a truly equal household it will be hard to guess which spouse that is.

References:

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All”” NYTimes. The New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.
Bennhold, Katrin. “In Sweden, Men Can Have It All.” NYTimes. The New York Times, 9 June 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
“Dad, Where’s Mom Flowchart”” Memes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Dad Test

Dads are often portrayed in advertisements and media as incompetent parents. This Huggies ad does exactly that; it says leaving babies alone with dads is “the toughest test imaginable.” The ad is geared towards an average, young middle class family. The message given is that when the father is clueless about parenting, Huggies diapers can pick up their slack. Gender dictates the roles of parents.
This ad is counterproductive compared to the vision discussed by Lisa Belkin in When Mom and Dad Share it All. She explains the importance of dividing work equally between parents. One couple she interviewed had made an agreement that “they would not be… the mother-knows-best mold” (Belkin 1). The article presents that mold as out-dated. However, this Huggies ad came out in 2012, and the mothers in the ad certainly know best. One mother tells her husband “Good luck” before leaving, suggesting that he is less skilled as a parent. This ad sets the expectation that mothers must pick up the slack after the fathers. I think society would benefit from ads that represent mothers and fathers as equally involved and skilled parents, because as Belkin says, “Gender should not determine the division of labor at home” (Belkin 2).

Work Cited
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” NYTimes Magazine. New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web.