I have been a parent for just about five years. It's not a very long time, really, but even in that brief stretch I've noticed some new conversations coming up more and more. We're talking a lot more these days (on social media, parenting websites, and traditional media) about the challenges mothers face. One such challenge is "Mommy Shaming," the passive aggressive (or overtly aggressive) judgment that falls upon mothers in public and private settings when she does not conform to a preconceived notion of what it means to be a mom. But what about the creepy things people say to dads? Sadly, this still isn't getting the attention it deserves, even as we move towards a more gender equal society that sees fathers as active, equal parenting partners and not secondary caregivers. I mean, not to be all, "But what about the poor menz?!" on y'all, but for real: this sort of thing hurts everyone: men, women, and children.
It warms the cockles of my feminist heart to see feminism and feminist discourse getting a ton of play lately, and not just in academic circles but in mainstream media and pop culture. Generally, and rightly, these conversations tend to focus on fighting against gender roles and concepts of femininity that have been used to oppress women for centuries. What is often unspoken or even overlooked, however, is how the patriarchy hurts men. The gender expectations that have left women disadvantaged, from a socio-economic perspective in particular, have also pressured men to behave in a particular way that leaves them somewhat disassociated from their children. When men consciously or even unconsciously buck these expectations, there is no dearth of people there to remind them that they're going against the grain and being "feminine" and just, you know, not being the manly man our patriarchal society expects them to be.
Or, you know, sometimes people are just jerks and push their own creepy expectations of fatherhood onto unsuspecting dads just trying to live their lives. Either way, here are a few creepy things all involved dads end up hearing. Sorry fellas, but it looks like you're not dismissed from the parent-shame, either.