The essence of Daddyland is masculinity. How is masculinity changing with widespread paternity leave? Can men around the world really redefine themselves with a “child-centered” masculinity, as one researcher put it? And does this mean that men must change, or does it mean that men can bring their existing selves into the day-to-day care of a young child?
In The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin recently wrote a story called “The End of Men,” which caused a big ol’ fuss, as good provocative Atlantic cover stories often do. The blurb to her story:
Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences
I like to think of Daddyland as the bookend to this, the proof that many men are not in a dead end in a changing world, that notions of masculinity can shift and change, and that men will shift and change.
It’s just a smoother process here in Sweden than in the U.S., where we seem to insist on doing social change as messily and slowly as possible. In Sweden, they tried to get women in the office and men at home. In the U.S., we only got women to work, which meant a huge crunch for women for a while – left with home and job responsibilities – but in the long run, women – especially in the working class – are better poised for the flat world.
I think about this stuff a lot. I am sure much of this is because I’m writing this blog. But I think some is because I’m home with my son this time, not my daughter.
Right now, he’s just a baby to me. I don’t feel like its loaded because he’s a boy. I hug and kiss him the same. I play with him the same. I do call him “Buddy,” and his sister “Darling” but I call both of them “Honey” a lot more often.
But it has to matter to Baby B that his father is home with him, and will be working part-time when he starts daycare. Our bond must be different. Or is it? Maybe when he is 13, this will all be faint echoes.
It’s funny that I have such an unexamined corner of Daddyland, one that is so important.