Apr 6, 2010

Why men are more newsworthy

#4 in a series of responses to Globe&Mail comments
Interesting. Wow! - I didn't know you owned a tie!

Just remember that many of us moms (including yours) did much the same as you are doing, that is, foregoing extra income to stay home and raise and enjoy a family, while providing the necessary support for the husband/breadwinner of the family. And we didn't consider ourselves "radical", nor did we consider our lives were filled only with "mindless drudgery" and "relentless servitude". We also were frugal with the family budget, baked, cooked, made jam, froze food, etc. And volunteered in the community, enjoyed activities in the community, took night courses and maintained an interest in the world. It seems that a stay-at-home dad gets honored for this role while a stay-at-home mom gets no credibility from some sources.

Just my rant for the day - Mavis

If the Globe and Mail article seemed to discount the traditional role of stay-at-home moms, then it is indeed rant-worthy. The more jam I put away for winter, the more I come to appreciate how you and my mom raised our families. I agree, and in fact already did so in an earlier blog entry, that this lifestyle is not new or "radical" in content.

I also agree, in yet another blog entry, that this is about as far from "mindless drudgery" as a life can be. It's real and earthy and richly rewarding.

What I don't agree with is that men get honoured while women get no credit for this role. The Globe and Mail obviously led with that angle to attract readers, but it wasn't the point of the article nor of this "movement." The important thing is that men and women are making "radical" (ie, not normal in today's society) lifestyle decisions to align with environmental and social values. Whether it's the man or woman staying home, or neither, or both, is irrelevant.

A man as a bread-baker instead of bread-winner is no more worthy than a woman, but he is more newsworthy. This "radical homemaking" movement - this growing awareness that something needs to shift - has opened up the same opportunity but in different ways for men and women. For women, it's provided a great way for women to return with a new respect to an invaluable domestic role they've played throughout time. For men, it's providing us with the chance to do it for the first time.

As a stay-at-home dad for the past 2 years, I can point to the types of values listed in this article and the book as the guiding philosophy/mission of my decision, and thereby achieve a certain degree of respect (or at least bemused wonder) from society. I'm not dropping out or losing my masculinity; I'm making a strong commitment to an alternative (for now) set of values that is getting more and more street cred.

PS - Mavis, I borrowed that tie from my father-in-law for Sarah's brother's wedding. I do still own ties, but not quite sure where they are :)

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