I was visiting friends recently and noticed this
book on their coffee table. The Family
Home: Relaxed, informal living for all
ages by Joanna Copestick. The images, like the
one on the cover of this book, are everywhere.
Talking about "The Family". Showing "The Family".
Advertising "The Family". "Family Service"
organizations. Parenting magazines and books. In so
many cases, the description of "The Family" or the
look of "The Family" has someone conspicously
absent. A man. Is it because he isn't there by
his own choice, or because society doesn't really
see him as a part of "The Family." These images
seem to support the latter. There isn't room.
A simple thing like PTA meetings held only
during the day. Like Louden Wainwright III sings,
"The house is a man's castle, but what's important
in that castle are the women and children."
Taking it further, JC Penney ran a whole
series of television commercials depicting dads as
complete incompetants with their own children. And
Safeway basically advertised the mother as the man
of the house. The list goes on, and on, and on.
It's often difficult enough to get men to focus
on anything beyond the provider role, which seems
to be a legal requirement in this country. Making
them feel un-welcome or like they don't belong, or
there isn't room for them, doesn't help.
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