Monday, April 28, 2008

Stereotyping Single-Father Homes

Caleb King
WMST 2010
25 April 2008

Stereotyping Single-Father Homes

What are the stereotypes that are associated with single-parent homes? That is the question that has been brought to me. However, I believe that single-parents home are beginning to be stereotyped as a broken home. Today, many of the stories that cause society to stereotype single-parent homes are a result of something bad happening to the immediate family, such as divorce, unplanned pregnancy, or death. Single-parents have often been the focus of public policy debate. However, there are a number of families with a one parent homes that are run not by the assumed matriarch; fathers are the single parent. Society is uses to seeing that occur. When one sees a father in charge of a two-parent household, this is recognized as normal, however it is a little known fact that man make up a small, but steadily increasing, percentage of single parents.
I believe that a male has the ability to take care of a household just like a woman can. However, James Herbert (6) writes in Single Mother that he believes otherwise. In his article, he reflects on the question of begin a single father. He states that there are many similarities to being a single father and mother, such as financial struggles, raising children, and trying to live a normal life. However, “These similarities end there as my experience differ from those of the single mom’s in many important and surprising ways. For example, most of the community views me as an outsider. Men are baffled or maybe even a little intimidated by the traditionally feminine tasks I’ve mastered such as cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry.” The author confirms the stereotypes that single fathers are less accepted by society and that they are perceived as odd.
I think being a single parent is hard itself; conforming to a stereotype just makes it harder. Single fathers, too, come into parenthood with problems: “Fathers who attempt to rear their children alone, must do so without clear guidelines or prescription for performing that role” (Mendes 439). In essence, it is difficult for fathers to adjust to raising kids, since they do not typically take on that role.
Perceptions of male fathers are interesting when discussed by someone actually raised by one. The media text confirms that is an interesting level of awareness that people rarely consider. For the interviewee, we see that children that come from single-father homes are raised with as much love and support as they would be if they were raised by single mothers. It proves that while the task is difficult, it is not one that only mothers can do. If awareness were raised that single fathers were just as capable, there would be less trauma experienced by the interviewee. His experience would be perceived as normal.

Works Cited
Herbert, James D. “Single Dads and Moms: Alike or Not?” Single Mother. 31 Dec. 1995: 6.
Mendes, Helen A. “Single Fathers.” The Family Coordinator 25 (1976). Pp 439-444.
Risemen, Barbara. J. “Can Men “Mother”? Life as a Single Father” Family Relations 35 (1986). Pp. 95-102.

No comments: