We don’t watch much television at our house. In fact, we don’t even have cable. Just the broadcast channels. But every once in a while I do like to turn on the TV and see what’s on.
Tonight I turned on the TV and tuned in to NBC, which was playing a show called Meet Mister Mom. You can guess what the show is about from the title, but I’ll explain a little bit just to make sure we’re all on the same page. Basically the show producers have picked some families with working fathers and stay-at-home moms. For one week the show has the parents switch rolls, with the mothers going off for week of fishing and golf (because that, apparently, is what the show’s producers think men contribute to society) while the fathers stay at home and manage the “chaotic household.”
Am I the only one who’s a little tired of this premise?
Maybe its because I’m a single father, but I take a little offense at the idea that men are inherently deficient at caring for children and doing household chores. Why do all the mother’s get sympathy? I’m not saying that caring for a home and children is a challenging endeavor, but is it all that more difficult than what men do? Are we really supposed to believe that there are no men out there who would trade in their jobs hawking car insurance policies or counting widgets down at the factory for laundry and diapers at home? If given a choice between dishes and laundry or selling insurance, I know what I’d do.
And why the double standard for fathers and mothers? You know that many in this country would consider it “sexist” and “offensive” to imply that a stay-at-home mom couldn’t go and do “man’s work” at a job, but implying that men can’t stay home and do “women’s work” is considered “funny” and “heart warming.”
Mocking men, in fact, has become a staple of prime-time television. Look at most of the sit-coms that we’ve seen come out in recent years. A good percentage of them seem to always feature a fat, beer-swilling bumbling father who has to be rescued from himself by a smart, attractive know-it-all woman. The King of Queens comes to mind as a good example of this sort of thing, as does Everybody Loves Raymond.
Do I think we need to march on Washington or start up some support groups in response to this trend? No, not really. But I do think that, in an age where good fathers are too few and far between, maybe mocking fathers isn’t such a great thing to do.
By Rob Port of Say Anything.