Men, Caregiving and the Media: The Dad Dilemma, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Men, Caregiving and the Media

The Dad Dilemma, 1st Edition

By Sarah C. Hunter, Damien W. Riggs


128 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138316751
pub: 2019-12-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429455476
pub: 2019-11-27
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Analysing diverse media representations of men who provide primary care to their children, this book demonstrates how the practice of fatherhood – and of masculinity - is changing, and the ways media representations sensationalise and reinforce gender inequities in regards to carework.

This book examines disparities between practices of carework amongst heterosexual couples and media representations of men who provide primary care, whilst also including a discussion of media accounts of primary caregiving amongst gay couples. The book also provides a detailed analysis of the relationship between care labor and public understandings of masculinity. Assessing whether media accounts of fathers who provide primary care undermine egalitarian approaches to the division of labor amongst heterosexual couples, this book is a vital intervention into public discourse about masculinity, fathering and caregiving.

This book will an important resource for students, researchers, educators and practitioners as it brings together a range of in-depth literatures, and empirical analyses to provide a clear overview of contemporary fathering. It will be essential reading in the fields of gender studies and masculinity studies, together with sociology of families, cultural studies, social psychology and social policy.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction



The gendered contexts of reproduction and care

Debates over masculinity and carework

Media representation and intelligibility

Chapter contents

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 2: Contextualising the changing nature of fatherhood



Fathers who provide primary care: What does this mean?

Increased father involvement and fathers who provide primary care

Fathering and policy

Prevalence of fathers who provide primary care: How much increase has there been?

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 3: ‘It’s a mom’s world’: Parenting books written for men who provide primary care



Parenting equals mothering

Fathering as discretionary

Mums know best

Fathers are ‘supposed’ to work

Masculine enough

Fathering as unique

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 4: ‘We are all equal. But no Dad can be a Mum’: Newsprint media constructions and representations of men who provide primary care



Where are the fathers?

Contemporary fathering as contradictory

Defending fathers who provide primary care

Caregiving is difficult

Fathers who provide primary care must be ‘real’ men

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 5: ‘We are not Mr Mom’: Blogging and self-representation by men who provide primary care



Same old brand new you

The stakes of ‘daddy blogging’

Pathways to primary caregiving

The purpose of running a blog

Accounts of masculinity

Primary caregiving as a job

Blog-related achievements

Imaging primary caregiving on blogs

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 6: "I don’t think it’s a role reversal. I just think it’s a role sharing": Small screen representations of men who provide primary care



Small screens, big issues

The small screen as a potential site of resistance

Television news media

Talk shows

Youtube vlogs


Reality television

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 7: ‘Of course they’d let me coach, ‘cos I’m having a boy!’ Small screen representations of gay men providing primary care



The new homonormativity: Gay fathers on television

Contrasting ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reproductive citizens

An emphasis upon gender role models

Gay men and intimacy

Concluding thoughts


Chapter 8: Conclusion



Common themes in this book

Institutional barriers to men as primary caregivers

The media as potential driver for change

‘New’ masculinities and care

The ongoing problem of language

Where next?

Concluding thoughts


List of Tables

Table 1: Parenting Manual Books

Table 2: Autobiographical Books

About the Authors

Sarah C. Hunter is a post-doctoral research fellow in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University and a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, the University of Adelaide. Her research interests pertain to Men, Masculinities and Fathering. In particular, she is interested in the role of social norms and expectations and how the discourses surrounding these impacts on the lives of men and fathers. One of her more notable publications in this area published in Social Personality and Psychology Compass challenged current thinking in the field by arguing that suggestions of shifts in masculinity are overstated. In addition, Sarah’s research also pertains to Knowledge Translation and the various ways in which we can take research findings and influence policy and practice and make positive, sustainable change in society.

Damien W. Riggs is a professor in psychology at Flinders University and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He is the author of over 200 publications in the fields of gender, family, and mental health, including Working with transgender young people and their families: A critical developmental approach (Palgrave, 2019). He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and a psychotherapist in private practice specialising in working with transgender young people.

About the Series

Interdisciplinary Research in Gender

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies