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 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?
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
Fathering as unique
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
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
Imaging primary caregiving on blogs
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
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
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
List of Tables
Table 1: Parenting Manual Books
Table 2: Autobiographical Books
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.