Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fatherhood and economic realities

I turned my recent blog entry on how our economic catastrophe might affect fathers and fatherhood into an op-ed for the British Guardian newspaper.

Many of the comments are interestingly hostile, resisting the idea (often in highly coded ways) that fathers can or should be anything but breadwinners. A friend of mine observed "that the negative commenters' real problem is with the economic realities that make a single-income household economically precarious, rather than with a dad staying home after, say, being laid off. But somehow it's easier to object to a social more than an economic one, i.e. easier to attack the stay-at-home dad than the economic absurdities that forced him to be home (as opposed to a system that would allow him to choose to stay home)."

Which is exactly right on, in my view.

Some news for those living in the Bay Area: I'll be running a workshop for expectant and new parents on father involvement at UC Berkeley: "Come explore how new fathers and mothers can equally share in the joys and burdens of parenthood. Emphasis will be placed on successful co-parenting relationships and in understanding and overcoming obstacles to father involvement. Enroll at the UCB Learning Center by calling 510-642-7883 or emailing"

Spread the word to those who might benefit!

I'm working with the Bay Area Homebirth Collective to organize a second one at Natural Resources in San Francisco. Stay tuned, and feel free to send me an info if you or a friend might be interested in attending.


chicago pop said...

I just read the original post, the Guardian op-ed, and about 50 of the comments, which was about half of them when I accessed the site. I, too, was somewhat surprised at the level of hostility that came through in the comments.

To add my 2 cents, my gut sense is that, given the venue (the Guardian) and the culture (associated bits, pieces, and remnants of the British Left), your piece got scrambled in part by the stronger class sensibility that pervades English culture. You mention an ad-exec in a passing example and get nailed, the subtext being that this is all about toffs, something that applies to David Cameron-types, but not to the masses. Then there's what appears to be a reflexive defense of the working man's species-being (diamat reference intended) as far more important than his familial relations, which will take care of themselves and if they don't well that's what Government is for.

I just spoke with two female medical workers at my health clinic. They've been laid off and will be unemployed by April. I asked them what they are going to do. They both said they were going to take advantage of the situation to spend more time with their kids/family -- while they could.

Anyone see any problems with that?


Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Exactly. In British class politics, it seems the manly working class is pitted against the poncy middle and upper classes. Thus traditional gender roles are progressive, nontraditional ones reactionary. Here in the states, of course, the manly working class (e.g., Joe the Plumber) is also pitted against the faggy middle and upper classes, but the political lines fall in different directions.