Fatherhood is evolving in America. Stay at home dads are becoming more commonplace; men are becoming more visible in domestic, caregiving activities. In Men Can, writer, teacher, and father Donald Unger uses his personal experiences, stories of real-life families, as well as representations of fathers in film, on television, and in advertising, to illuminate the role of men in the increasingly fluid domestic sphere.
In thoughtful interviews, Don Unger tells the stories of a half dozen families—of varied ethnicities, geographical locations, and philosophical orientations—in which fathers are either primary or equally sharing parents, personalizing what is changing in how Americans care for their children. These stories are complemented by a discussion of how the language of parenting has evolved and how media representations of fathers have shifted over several decades.
Men Can shows how real change can take place when families divide up domestic labor on a gender-neutral basis. The families whose stories he tells offer insights into the struggles of—and opportunities for—men caring for children. When it comes to taking up the responsibility of parenting, his argument, ultimately, is in favor of respecting personal choices and individual differences, crediting and supporting functional families, rather than trying to force every household into a one-size-fits-all mold.