In this sense the ‘involved father/daddy’ has become (hetero)sexualized and regarded as a desirable type of masculinity.

“Dismantling the public/private divide is seen as necessary to recognizing women’s full personhood and citizenship and remedying the economic, political, social, and personal costs of caring disproportionately borne by them (Pateman, 1988; Folbre, 1994)” (Beglaubter, 2019).

“By most reports, fathers have not kept pace with the changes made by mothers

(e.g., Almeida et al., 1993; Anderson et al., 1992; Biemat & Wortman, 1991; Blair &Johnson, 1992; Deutsch et al., 1993; Gunter & Gunter, 1990,1991; Hersch & Stratton, 1994; Jones & Heerinann, 1992; Larson, Richards, & Perry-Jenkins, 1994; Shelton, 1990, 1992)” (Deutsch & Saxon, 1998)

“While we expect moms to be nurturing, we don’t always expect the same from dads. …one of the biggest lies we perpetuate about men: they’re not naturally good at caring for others, let alone their own children.”

Dads in Child Healthcare Settings (McCarthy, 2009)

— When both parents were in the room, healthcare professionals rarely gave dads eye contact; mothers were seen as the designated experts.

Portrayals of Fathers in Media —Rebecca Feasey, 2021

In media, fathers are “stereotyped as unknowledgeable & irresponsible” (Turchi & Bernabo, 2020, p. 447).

Andrea Doucet (2002)

“Images of ‘the hapless, incompetent father’ were rampant on television and caretaker fathers felt so outnumbered by mothers that they avoided playgroups”

👟Weissbourd, 2001

One informal survey asked fathers and mothers their children’s shoe sizes: 90% of mothers answered correctly, and 10% of fathers did.

Baby Change Stations in Men’s Restrooms

Changes in institutional practices will not, of course, change fathering practices overnight. The fact that baby stations are now in men’s restrooms in airports and some other public places has had both symbolic and practical importance, but I rarely see men using them. A friend recently told me that he was in an airport restroom and sure enough, a baby station was unfolded and a man in a business suit was standing in front of it. But there wasn’t a baby on it. He was interacting deeply with his laptop computer.

Breastfeeding & Fathers — Eleni Anna Bourantani, 2018

Doing Care defines “a caring subjectivity that emphasizes neither motherhood nor fatherhood — in other words, a perspective that values caring difference, caring in itself.


Motherhood is considered rooted in biology whereas fatherhood is seen as largely abstract and subject to social forces. On one hand, men draw from motherhood to understand their caring practices because motherhood provides the only script for a caring identity, while, on the other hand, they might emphasize that what they do is fathering, not mothering, in an effort to weave the ambiguous idea of fatherhood into an identity. Thus, fathering has been considered an ad hoc practice, drawing mostly from mothering examples (Branen and Nilsen, 2006; Braun, Vincent and Ball, 2011; Dermott, 2008; Doucet et al., 2009).

”Breastfeeding was often described as the ultimate barrier.

…The ’naturalness’ of motherhood caused him to doubt his caring role as always second-best to the mother, at least at the very early stages. [Fathers] often viewed the proximity shared between mother and child in the first days as catalytic to a bond they could not develop”

Father Involvement: Content Analysis of 200+ Picture Books (Anderson & Hamilton, 2005)

“A content analysis of the gender roles exhibited in 200 prominent children’s picture books demonstrated that fathers are largely under-represented, and, when they do appear, they are withdrawn and ineffectual parents” (David A. Anderson & Mykol Hamilton, 2005)

Welfare Reform & Fathers — Randles, 2013

The 1996 Welfare Reform included provisions to promote employment, marriage, and responsible fatherhood to prevent poverty among low income families.

Tiedje et al., 2003

About “24% of fathers have three or more groups of children in their lives:

— biological children living with them,
— children of former lovers living away, &
— stepchildren living with them or elsewhere (Manning et al., 2001)” (Tiedje et al., 2003)

Leave Policies — Carol Dole, 2021

In 2017, 27.1% of all U.S. children under the age of 18 were being raised in single-parent households, and of this group the percent being raised by single fathers was 16.1% — no rival to the number of single mothers, but nonetheless a significant increase over the 12.5% figure of single fathers raising children in 2007 (U.S. Census).

Cultural Representations of Fatherhood — Rachel M. Schmitz, 2016

Messages surrounding fatherhood are “strongly linked to how fathers’ involvement could benefit mothers (Milkie & Denny, 2014). From these media analyses, men are often cast as expendable and secondary in the child-rearing endeavor, an image that then serves to demean a man’s value as a parent. Furthermore, parenting advice and help literature (i.e., medical brochures, pregnancy guidebooks) often depict fathers as incompetent and secondary to mothers concerning child care responsibilities (Sunderland, 2000).

Fathers are cast in a negative light through portrayals of being clumsy and foolish (Pehlke et al., 2009).

Manifestations of hegemonic masculinity include cultural representations that illustrate the ideal worker as detached from emotional and family responsibilities, which is especially problematic for fathers who struggle to balance work and home life (Hill, Hawkins, Märtinson, & Ferris, 2003). Generally, the family works to reproduce heterosexual hegemonic masculinity by its cultural heteronormative definition that underscores the heterosexual (husband/wife) model as the gold standard of what it means to be a family (Smith, 1993).

Influence of Media on Custody Court Rulings

Prior research finds that family court judges, whose decisions have historically been based on “what is best for the child” (Warshak, 1986), often grant sole custody to mothers, presuming that mothers physically and emotionally care for their children more and better than fathers (Artis, 2004). Judges therefore rely on cultural assumptions of mothers as better caregivers. Gerbner and Gross (1976) argue that the experiences presented on television are not necessarily social reality, but rather [that media cultivates] the cultural assumptions reified through those presentations. We therefore conclude that those responsible for making and enforcing policies, including judges, are not immune to TV representations that reinforce the status quo;

television’s representations of fathers as “bumbling idiots” (Schmitz, 2016)

can have serious ramifications for single fathers, challenging their legitimacy as parents.

Dad Bod — Ulrika Widding, 2021

“Richardson and Wearing (2014, p. 42) describe how ‘new masculinity’ in the L’Enfant photo (the famous poster, heralding a photographic genre, where a muscular, good-looking man is holding a baby) in the late 1980s came to represent a man with a soft side, dedicated to parental responsibilities, who also had a highly eroticized body.

In this sense the ‘involved father/daddy’ has become (hetero)sexualized and regarded as a desirable type of masculinity.

Yet, Steinour (2018) has pointed out that prevailing discourses make it hard for men to incorporate caregiving into their identity and that such discourses are not only expressed at a societal level but are also taken up by their children’s mothers and women in their families and circle of friends. Friedman (2016) also reports how involved fathers have been regarded as strange and have been ridiculed.

Feasey (2021) Continued

In films such as Brother Bear (2003), Chicken Little (2005), Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Despicable Me (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Mr Peabody and Sherman (2014) the single father has adopted, rather than been left to care for children through death or divorce. Although lone fathers in the cartoon realm are compassionate, caring, patient and authoritative in line with the ideal paternal role, what they are not, is human.

Animation is in an ideal position to present alternative and even subversive representations of family, friendship, masculinity and paternity on the silver screen.

Jessica Valenti, 2018

“Yes, we know American men are doing more than they have in past years: Fathers report spending about eight hours a week on child care, or three times as much as fathers in 1965. (Though keep in mind that the data is self-reported, and men tend to overestimate how much domestic work and child care they do.)

Men doing more, however, is not the same thing as men doing enough.

Despite progress made, mothers are still spending almost twice the amount of time that men do, 14 hours a week, on child care. Studies also show that fathers continue to have significantly more leisure time than mothers and that mothers use their off time to do chores and child care while fathers use time off for hobbies and relaxing. This, too, is about careers: We know that people who have more leisure time and time for creative activities tend to perform better at work.


Houser et al. (2016): Parents are more honest in front of their daughters than in front of their sons.

Socialization of Risk & Child Gender

Parents may also raise their sons to embrace more risk compared with their daughters.

Tao Chen et al., 2021 — Daughters & Bank CEOs

— Lending contracts indicate that “lead banks whose CEOs parent a first-born daughter provide loans with lower spread, fewer financial covenants, and less likely to require collateral, for borrowers with better CSR performance.”

Cronqvist and Yu (2017): female socialization effect

— Females have been shown to have better social awareness and be more loving than males (Andreoni and Vesterlund, 2011; Schwartz and Rubel, 2005; DellaVigna et al., 2013; Adams and Funk, 2012).

Sumit Agrawal et al., 2021

— Having a female sibling leads to a more salient impact on a firm’s corporate social responsibility.

Karbownik and Myck (2017)

— Having a first-born daughter increases the family expenditures on child and adult female clothing and reduces the family expenditures on games, toys, and hobbies.

Alma Cohen et al., 2021

— “…we use an event study approach and show that replacing a Republican with a Democratic CEO is associated with 20%-60% in more women in the executive suite, & a significant reduction in the gender pay gap among executives.”

Kerstin Lopatta et al., 2020:

— The presence of women on the board or an audit committee leads to more conservative reporting, a higher level of social and environmental disclosure, less tax aggressiveness, higher audit fees (Khlif & Achek, 2017), & higher corporate social responsibility (Bearet al., 2010; Byron & Post, 2016).

No-Fault Divorce (1983)

By 1983, every state (except New York, for some reason, and South Dakota) had adopted some form of #NoFaultDivorce

Divorce Waiting Period

“When you file a divorce most states have you wait a period of time before you are allowed to finalize/finish the divorce. This is called a divorce waiting period or cooling off period. The longest wait is 365 days & the shortest is 0” (Megan Cook, 2022).

Risk Socialization — Collett & Lizardo, 2009

— “Husbands in patriarchal families translate the authority they gain in the workplace into the domination of their households, while mothers are assigned primary socialization roles as instrumental agents of social control” (Grasmick et al., 1996:182).



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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.