Mr. Mom

Hey, here's a nice story about a couple of celebrity parents who seem to have the whole egalitarian partner thing down:
Now prepared to begin regular filming on her series, [Rebecca Romijn] says that [Jerry O'Connell] has taken a hiatus from his own career to take care of [their seven-month old twin daughters Charlie and Dolly]. "Now that we've gone back to work, Jerry has taken off" the last three weeks, she says. "So he can be the parent on diaper duty!"
That's really cool—cool for the parents who now each have equal chance for career and full-time parenting, and cool for the kids who have the rare opportunity to know both their parents as full-time caretakers.

Not cool? The headline: Rebecca Romijn Recruits Jerry O'Connell As Mr. Mom.

Um, nope.

There's no such thing as a "Mr. Mom." Yes, I know—but hilarious '80s movie starring Michael Keaton fighting a rogue vacuum cleaner aside, that role actually has a real name, which is "Dad." (Or Father, Daddy, Pops, Old Man, Pater Familias, or some other variation thereof.) "Mr. Mom" implies that parenting (and/or cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) is only something women can do, which is factually incorrect.

It is not even factually accurate that women are intrinsically (or naturally! or organically! or biologically! or genetically!) better at parenting than men. (Though they are certainly socialized to be better parents.) And, see, asserting that it's true women are inherently disposed to parent more successfully treats women who are awesome parents as nothing special (just doing her job!), and treats men who are awesome parents as some kind of paradoxical anomaly (what an exceptional and weird and maybe sorta icky fellow!), and robs them both of their due props for being so awesome.

And, like most tropes emanating from the Patriarchy, it keeps the bar set mighty low for the average man, so no one expects too much of him (full-time job and parenting?! no one can live at that speed!), while keeping the bar set mighty high for the average woman, so anything less than perfection is failure (what's wrong with you that you don't have perfect children and a perfect house and the perfect job and the perfect body and a smoking hot sex life?!). See how that works?

I don't guess I even need to elucidate how this entire concept sneers at the idea of single fathers and two-parent families in which both parents are men.

Finally, let us look at that word "recruit." Did Rebecca Romijn really have to "recruit" her husband Jerry O'Connell's participation in equal parenting? Well, lawdy, I don't profess to know, but "Jerry has taken off the last three weeks" sounds more like someone who volunteered, if you ask me. I certainly wouldn't have gleaned "recruitment" from the included quotes—unless, perhaps, I was the sort of ding-a-ling who just assumes that all men have to be wrangled into childcare by women, the sort of person who might, say, refer to a man looking after his own children as "babysitting."

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