We were at a Dodgers game last week, sitting behind a family of four; a mother, father, and two kids. It was a day game and the sun was, extremely predictably, blazing down. The mother in front of us was slathering her kids with sun block when a dude from a few rows down came up and said, “Can I ask you a favor? My wife is out of town. Like, my son slept in my bed with me last night. Can I use some of your sunblock?” Then another dad across the aisle chimed in, “Oh yeah. Me, too!”
First of all. What? Your wife is out of town, so your son slept in your bed and you forgot sunblock? Like, my man, aren’t you embarrassed? He might as well have just walked up and been like, “Hey, my penis makes me completely incompetent and unable to engage in basic parenting. Thank god there’s a woman here who can prevent my child from getting skin cancer, am I right? Up top! Let’s go Dodgers!” Do your kind a favor and skip the details and just ask for the fucking sunblock. You’re an embarrassment.
Our expectations of fathers are atrocious. The fact that there is an ad campaign reminding fathers to be fathers is…I don’t even know. Could you imagine a billboard picturing a woman and child that read, “Take some time to be a mom today?” It would literally cause car crashes. People would be like, what in the actual fuck does that even mean. But we don’t blink at reminding men to parent their own children. It’s unreal.
The insidious nature of toxic masculinity and hyper gender normativity is exhausting. It is so ingrained in our culture that people don’t even notice any more. It is considered completely normal and acceptable for women to huff and puff and roll their eyes as their husbands bumble around childcare and basic house chores. It’s a trope that’s reinforced in countless commercials, tv shows, and movies. Even though it’s accepted and expected (and, in most cases, necessary for survival) that both parents work. Even with her full time job, mom is still expected to handle the house and the children with effortless ease. She’s expected to be able to get her kids to sleep in their own beds AND she remembers the sunblock! It’s so gross. I have watched a woman insult her husband in front of their boys because of his “incompetence”, as a regular practice. Like, oh, this is just how I talk to my idiot husband! What are we teaching our boys in those moments? On both sides?
To be clear (which is increasingly necessary in this age of minimal critical thinking), I’m not blaming mothers. What else can we expect of a woman who has learned through billions of messages over her life, that men are useless around the house and children? What else is she supposed to do when, for example, in an ad for a furniture company, a woman walks in to find her husband dancing in the dining room, and she seems annoyed by this for some reason, and he acts like he’s been caught? And I can hear you going, “Daisy, relax, that’s one ad. It’s not making or breaking our culture.” And to that I will say, Please don’t tell me to relax. It’s one ad in a sea of trillions of others that portray this same perplexing dynamic. The woman comes home to find the dumb-ass father making a raw chicken “dance” on the kitchen counter (because men know about food poisoning). The woman comes home to find the moron father has made the science experiment explode all over the kitchen (because I can’t even trust him to help them with their homework)! The idiot man has finally taken a hint and made dinner, complete with candles and music and flowers (when really all she said was, “please make dinner once in while”), but he’s left the kitchen a complete disaster in the process! And, inevitably, the woman puts her hands on her hips, shakes her head, and chuckles like, Men are so useless! Lemme grab the Bounty paper towels!
And the next ad is for a weed killer, or a pick-up truck, or a drill, and in that ad, the man is getting shit done. And his truck bed is fucking clean, even though we just saw him all-wheeling through the mud (like a man), so obviously he knows how to clean…
I JUST opened my email and found this article from Medium in it and it makes me want to fucking scream and throw my computer out the window. That is not a relationship based on mutual respect and love. It’s based on a woman setting her life aside to take care of a giant fucking child. What kind of MANIAC washes only their own dishes after someone else has cooked for them? What kind of MANIAC puts aside her aspirations and goals to clean up after her husband? Unless he is literally paying for their entire lives and she has zero marketable skills to be able to take care of herself, which I find doubtful. I have zero sympathy for her. Her solution is obvious.
Come on, people. Get your shit together. This is unacceptable.