My wife has a thing for magazines. Especially if they’re free. So with baby #2 on the way, our visits to the ob-gyn office have resulted in even more stacks of reading material sitting around the house.
So I picked up one called Parenting, to see what kind of advice I could glean from it. Not much, as it turned out. The magazine would more accurately be called Mothering (Plus a Few Throwaway Articles for Fathers).
If you go to the Parenting website and search for “moms” and then search for “dads,” you’ll get a ton of results for both. However, here is what the “moms” search returns:
Searching for “dads” gets articles with a whole different message…
There’s a similar magazine called Parents, which suffers from the same problem. I actually got excited when I saw that their June issue was a special Father’s Day edition…until I looked again, and realized it was a split issue (the front of the magazine was for dads, the regular magazine started at the “back”). And the advice for dads was stuff like, “Don’t dunk your kid in the toilet to get her clean” and “Roughhousing is great, but not if your baby is under one month old.”
It’s patronizing and it makes me cranky. And while I admit that there are still a number of stereotypes about gender roles and childcare, I also would suggest that these gender roles are created and shaped by society, including magazines. The magazine publishers are at least starting to make an effort to include more content for all parents, but they’re moving slowly. Maybe they feel their audience is not interested, but they won’t get an audience that would be interested unless they add content that is relevant. Be the change, people!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a diaper to change (and it’s not my own, and it’s something I do more than once a year).