Daddy Discrimination

This post was originally published on this site

Do we assume men are predators? We have discussed that question here on Motherlode periodically, and earlier this month Lenore Skenazy asked it in an essay in The Wall Street Journal.

That led Jeremy Adam Smith, author of The Daddy Shift, who blogs over at Daddy Dialectic, to post on Twitter: “I was once asked to leave a playground by a grandmother. I wonder how many guys have had that experience?”

To which the Web site DadLabs responded: “Most? Or faced playdate discrimination of one kind or another?” They hashtagged their exchange “#dadsnotpervs.”

Over the next few days, Smith created a survey and polled his audience, collecting anecdotes and answers and compiling them into charts and graphs. His findings:

Of the 74 fathers who responded (so far), 60 percent spend 31 or more hours a week caring for a child.

Three men — 4.5 percent of the participants who answered this question — said that they had been asked to leave a playground by a caregiver.

Twenty-four percent said that they had been refused entry to a gathering of parents and children.

Fifty-five percent said that their parenting skills had been criticized or corrected in a public setting.

Fifty-eight percent of participants felt that this criticism or exclusion occurred on the grounds that they are male.
Twenty-eight percent of participants reported that they had experienced these incidents on five or more occasions.

And how did the excluded fathers feel? You can read all the responses on Smith’s blog, but here’s a sample:

“I am very reluctant to put myself out there to groups of moms with their kids. I often let my sons go and play with kids at the park, and I will stand on the periphery as the other moms talk. I often feel excluded and thus am more reserved.

“It certainly made me feel excluded, possibly looked-down-upon. The strange thing was that each time such criticism or behavior was couched in such a way that it excused itself. ‘Of course, it’s better for the children for a mother to do these things’ was one comment I remember, delivered with a short, self-conscious, judgmental laugh. As though it were self-evident that I wasn’t the best choice to take care of my daughters.

“I currently tend to be more on guard, and intervene between my child and another child in a public setting. This is due to twice where an unknown parent in a public playground setting has confronted me as a parent on my child’s play being unsafe or rough.”

Smith is the first to say that his is hardly a rigorous scientific survey. But it is certainly a catalyst for conversation. So use the comments to discuss “dad discrimination.” Have you seen it? Been subjected to it? Been guilty of it?