Manly full-time parenting, possible or no?
With the Me Too movement sweeping the globe, some people say we’ve hit peak gender equality. God help us all if they’re right because we’ve got such a long way to go to close the gender pay gap and eliminate misogyny once and for all.
That said, we’ve definitely come a long way since the days of the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution. It’s generally accepted that women can do anything that men can. I mean, we can even drive in Saudi Arabia now! Okay, so maybe Saudi women still need to be chaperoned or seek male permission to travel and access healthcare, but most women today have it pretty damn good as compared to the women that came before us.
When it comes to parenting, however, expectations of men and women are still starkly different. Interestingly, these gendered expectations can have negative effects on men too. In this episode, we’ve decided to leave women’s issues aside for a while (mostly because there are plenty of intelligent women who are far better qualified to talk about them than me) and instead address the challenges that men face when they take on non-traditional gender roles within the home.
We speak to podcasters Bill Poorman and Nikolaj Groeneweg, who both followed their wives’ corporate jobs to Singapore. Bill is a full-time stay-at-home dad of two boys. Nikolaj has a flexible work arrangement that allows him to spend a lot of time with his son. is also the primary caregiver to his son. And they’ll have you know they aren’t “girly men”.
(EDIT: Just wanted to clarify that Nikolaj and his wife Beatrice share their parenting duties equally. But the fact that Nikolaj is so much more hands-on with child-rearing than most men was so astounding that I made it up in my mind that he must be the primary caregiver. Sorry for the mistake, Beatrice!! We really credit men too much for doing essentially what’s expected of women, don’t we?)
- Statistics on stay-at-home fathers in the US, from Pew Research Centre
- Baxter, J., Buchler, S., Perales, F. & Western, M. A Life-Changing Event: First Births and Men’s and Women’s Attitudes to Mothering and Gender Divisions of Labor. Social Forces. 93(3). 989–1014. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sou103
- Tichenor, V., McQuillan, J., Greil, A. L., Contreras, R., & Shreffler, K. M. (2011). The Importance of Fatherhood to U.S. Married and Cohabiting Men. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice About Men as Fathers, 9(3), 232–251. https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0903.232
- The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Bill Poorman and Nikolaj Groeneweg are co-hosts of a really great podcast called We Don’t Mean to Dwell. In it, they talk to subject experts about aspects of the expat experience in Asia covering topics in culture, politics, economics and history. It’s funny, informative and really entertaining, give it a listen!