"Treating birth as ritual, Reed makes clever use of his anthropological expertise, qualitative data, and personal experience to bring to life the frustrations and joys men often encounter as they navigate the medical model of birthing."-William Marsiglio, author Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility
In the past two decades, men have gone from being excluded from the delivery room to being admitted, then invited, and, finally, expected to participate actively in the birth of their children. No longer mere observers, fathers attend baby showers, go to birthing classes, and share in the intimate, everyday details of their partners' pregnancies.
In this unique study, Richard Reed draws on the feminist critique of professionalized medical birthing to argue that the clinical nature of medical intervention distances fathers from child delivery. He explores men's roles in childbirth and the ways in which birth transforms a man's identity and his relations with his partner, his new baby, and society. In other societies, birth is recognized as an important rite of passage for fathers. Yet, in American culture, despite the fact that fathers are admitted into delivery rooms, little attention is given to their transition to fatherhood.
The book concludes with an exploration of what men's roles in childbirth tell us about gender and American society. Reed suggests that it is no coincidence that men's participation in the birthing process developed in parallel to changing definitions of fatherhood more broadly. Over the past twenty years, it has become expected that fathers, in addition to being strong and dependable, will be empathetic and nurturing.
Well-researched, candidly written, and enriched with personal accounts of over fifty men from all parts of the world, this book is as much about the birth of fathers as it is about fathers in birth.
Raised in rural England before the rise of the internet, Ben Crane grew up in the company of wild things, with hawks and other birds of prey alive in his mind—and woods and fields—as symbols of a kind of self-possessed, solitary power. He spent time with them, knew them, and loved them. But as Crane grew into adulthood, situations that may seem to many of us natural, or even comforting, were challenging: he found it difficult to be around other people and to read social cues, sometimes retreating in fear or lashing out in misunderstanding. Eventually, he was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. When Crane became a father, these challenges became unbearable, and he fled to isolation. Hawks brought him back.
In this artful and moving memoir, we follow Crane on his remarkable journey of flight and return. Traveling from the United Kingdom to Pakistan, we learn first about the history and practice of falconry, a beautiful and brutal partnership between humans and birds that has persisted for thousands of years. And as Crane’s personal story unfolds, we come to understand how he found solace and insight through his relationships with these animals. “I saw that my feelings toward nature, and birds of prey in particular, ran in parallel with my feelings for my son,” Crane writes. “I worked out that they were, in fact, two sides of the same coin—the deep love of one could, with gentle observation, inform and unlock the deep love for the other. . . . Perhaps this then is the central theme of my story.”
Many of us rely upon animal companions to provide a sense of joy, compassion, and empathy. But as Blood Ties teaches us, our relationships with the creatures among us can also transform us, illuminating what it means both to be human and to be part of the greater wild—what it means to be alive.
From the all-star cast who brought you The Seven Deadly Virtues comes a book with a look at the good life… or the crazy-stressful-overwhelmed life… of a father.
The Dadly Virtues is a tongue-in-cheek collection of encouragement and guidance for any stage of fatherhood, from pacifying babies to prepping for senior prom, from cutting the cord to getting the first, “Best Grandpa” t-shirt. P.J. O’Rourke sets the stage with the chapter, “What Do Men Get from Fatherhood? Besides What They Put In …” and then is followed by:
•Matthew Continetti’s, “Newborn Terror: The Moment You Realize that ‘Bundle of Joy’ Is a Euphemism for Something Very Different.”
•Stephen F. Hayes’ “Siblings: The Best Gift You’ll Ever Give Your Kids.”
•Jonah Goldberg’s “Get Your Kid a Dog: The Moral Case for Pets.”
•Tucker Carlson’s “In Praise of Adventure: How to Fill a Child’s Life with Excitement and Danger (without Getting Them Killed).”
•Michael Graham’s, “Dating: Enjoy the Movie and Please Keep the Impregnation to a Minimum.”
•Christopher Caldwell’s “College: It’s Not as Bad as You Think; It’s Worse.”
•Andrew Ferguson’s “Emerging Adults and Empty Nesters: Just When You Had Fatherhood All Figured Out.”
•Toby Young’s “The Dark Side: Bad Parenting and the Things We Think, but Do Not Say.”
•Joseph Epstein’s “Thanks, Grandpa: Grandfatherhood and the Spirit of the Age.”
Father-to-be, two-time-dad, or granddad, each essay will make you laugh and, at the same time, reinforce your commitment to the virtuous—the dadly—life.
Now more than ever, American dads act as hands-on caregivers who are devoted to keeping themselves and their families healthy. Yet, men are also disproportionately likely to neglect their own health care, diets, and exercise routines—bad habits that they risk passing on to their children.
In Dads, Kids, and Fitness, William Marsiglio challenges dads to become more health-conscious in how they live and raise their children. His conclusions are drawn not only from his revealing interviews with a diverse sample of dads and pediatric healthcare professionals, but also from his own unique personal experiences—as a teenage father who, thirty-one years later, became a later-life dad to a second son. Marsiglio’s research highlights the value of treating dads as central players in what he calls the social health matrix, which can serve both healthy children and those with special needs. He also outlines how schools, healthcare facilities, religious groups, and other organizations can help dads make a positive imprint on their families’ health, fitness, and well-being.
Anchored in compelling life stories of joy, tragedy, and resilience, Dads, Kids, and Fitness extends and deepens public conversation about health at a pivotal historical moment. Its progressive message breathes new life into discussions about fathering, manhood, and health.
For incarcerated fathers, prison rather than work mediates access to their families. Prison rules and staff regulate phone privileges, access to writing materials, and visits. Perhaps even more important are the ways in which the penal system shapes men’s gender performances. Incarcerated men must negotiate how they will enact violence and aggression, both in terms of the expectations placed upon inmates by the prison system and in terms of their own responses to these expectations. Additionally, the relationships between incarcerated men and the mothers of their children change, particularly since women now serve as “gatekeepers” who control when and how they contact their children. This book considers how those within the prison system negotiate their expectations about “real” men and “good” fathers, how prisoners negotiate their relationships with those outside of prison, and in what ways this negotiation reflects their understanding of masculinity.
“How do you thank the person who gave you a vantage from which to see the world?” This question is more than the opening statement of Father Nature: Fathers as Guides to the Natural World—it is the resounding theme that runs through each of the essays in this tribute to fathers and fathering and to nature, the connection that ties them together.
In addition to the editors, the contributors include Lorraine Anderson, John Bower, Brain Doyle, John Elder, Mark Harfenist, Bernd Heinrich, ted Kooser, Gretchen Legler, Charles W. Luckmann, Stephen J. Lyons, Jessica Maxwell, James McKean, Mark Menlove, John Rember, Scott Russell Sanders, David Sobel, and Frank Stewart.
Both poignant and entertaining, Father Nature is an inspiring tribute to fathers who shared one gift that can be passed down for generations—a profound love and respect for the natural world.
As Peter Gray and Kermyt Anderson reveal, fatherhood actually alters a man’s sexuality, rewires his brain, and changes his hormonal profile. This book presents a uniquely detailed picture of how being a parent fits with men’s broader social and work lives, how fatherhood evolved, and how it differs across cultures and through time.
Are fathers being marginalized in the contemporary family? Responding to fears that they are, the self-proclaimed "fatherhood responsibility movement" (FRM) has worked since the mid-1990s to put fatherhood at the center of U.S. national politics. Anna Gavanas's Fatherhood Politics in the United States analyzes the processes, reveals the internal struggles, and traces the myths that drive this powerful movement.
Unlike previous investigations that rely on literary or other secondary sources, Fatherhood Politics works from primary ethnographic material to represent a wider range of voices and actors. Interacting with and interviewing members of the most powerful and well-known national fatherhood organizations, Gavanas observed Promise Keeper rallies, men's workshops, and conferences on masculinity, fatherhood, and marriage.
Providing a detailed overview of the different organizations involved and their various rhetorical strategies, Gavanas breaks down the FRM into two major wings. The "pro-marriage" wing sees marriage as the key to solving all social problems, while the "fragile family" organizations worry about unemployment, racism, and discrimination. Gavanas uses her extensive anthropological fieldwork as the basis for discussions of gender, sexuality, and race in her analysis of these competing voices.
Taking us inside the internal struggles, tensions, and political machinations of the FRM, Gavanas offers a behind-the-scenes look at a movement having real impact on current social policy. Fatherhood Politics is an essential work for anyone interested in the politics of masculinity, parenthood, marriage, race, and sexuality.
One of the most challenging goals for welfare reformers has been improving the collection of child support payments from noncustodial parents, usually fathers. Often vilified as deadbeats who have dropped out of their children's lives, these fathers have been the target of largely punitive enforcement policies that give little consideration to the complex circumstances of these men's lives. Fathers' Fair Share presents an alternative to these measures with an in-depth study of the Parents Fair Share Program. A multi-state intervention run by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, the program was designed to better the life skills of nonpaying fathers with children on public assistance, in the belief that this would encourage them to improve their level of child support. The men chosen for the program frequently lived on the margins of society. Chronically unemployed or underemployed, undereducated, and often earning their money on the streets, they bore the scars of drug or alcohol abuse, troubled family lives, and arrest records. Among those of African American and Hispanic descent, many felt a deep-rooted distrust of the mainstream economy. The Parents Fair Share Program offered these men the chance not only to learn the social skills needed for stable employment but to participate in discussions about personal difficulties, racism, and problems in their relationships with their children and families. Fathers' Fair Share details the program's mix of employment training services, peer support groups, and formal mediation of disputes between custodial and noncustodial parents. Equally important, the authors explore the effect of the participating fathers' expectations and doubts about the program, which were colored by their often negative views about the child support and family law system. The voices heard in Fathers' Fair Share provides a rare look into the lives of low-income fathers and how they think about their struggles and prospects, their experiences in the workplace, and their responsibilities toward their families. Parents Fair Share demonstrated that, in spite of their limited resources, these men are more likely to make stronger efforts to improve support payments and to become greater participants in their children's lives if they encounter a less adversarial and arbitrary enforcement system. Fathers' Fair Share offers a valuable resource to the design of social welfare programs seeking to reach out to this little-understood population, and addresses issues of tremendous importance for those concerned about welfare reform, child support enforcement, family law, and employment policy.
In Great Expectation, Dan Roche gives a man's perspective on what it means to start and expand a family relatively later in life. Through a series of diary entries in turns humorous, angst ridden, and full of hope and joy, Roche describes his own thoughts and concerns during the nine months of his wife's pregnancy.
With five years of parenting his irrepressible daughter Maeve under his belt, Roche, already forty-five years old, and his wife, Maura, face the prospect of another arrival and the myriad of emotions that come with a second child. From revelling in the joys of pregnancy such as Maura's delight at "having cleavage" and being able to eat whatever she desires; to assuaging the parental anxieties of choosing the right obstetrician, correcting the mistakes one made with the first child, and sending children to college in the future; to navigating the unforeseen, experiencing the unexpected death of a parent, and feeling trepidation toward the thought of having a son, Roche records his emotions with unusual candidness and intimacy.
Reflecting on day-to-day events and their significance in his family’s life together, Roche wonders what he is getting himself into and how much deeper he can immerse himself into parenting. Together, he and his wife face the bittersweet intersections of death and new life, menace and hopefulness. With sincerity and a mature wit, Great Expectation stands as a wise recounting of nine months’ time, with all of its chaos and charms, and offers a fresh perspective for first-time and veteran parents alike.
"Science claims it will one day be able to eliminate fathers from the equation by mating bone marrow with ovum. When that day comes, I imagine this book, along with a handful of other works (King Lear, Fun Home) will become even more necessary. Herein find the blueprints for the mystery, the maps for the uncharted, the keys to the archetype." —Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"At this moment, I find myself at loose ends, lost in the various vacuums left by my father's dying and my sons' departures out into the voids. Yet this stunning constellation of essays centered me, became for me fine instruments of reckoning of where to stand in the ceaseless entropic dynamic of kin, of paternal keening. These waxing meditations demonstrate the inflationary universe, the heft and velocity of that big ol' nothing. They elegantly fill, with sober hope and the balm of joy, the terrifying, infinite spaces between those waning stars." —Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Four for a Quarter
"What an unreachable mystery the father is, preoccupied, unknowable, pervasive. In these fascinating essays, a shared portrait emerges as writers articulate the perpetual puzzle of the father and, with grace and candor, explore what it means to not know him, to never know him. As one voice, these essays investigate the man—his inventories, his myths, his mere traces—who makes up our horizons, who forever shimmers there beyond our collective grasp." —Susanna Sonnenberg, author of Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships
Selected from the country's leading literary journals and publications—Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Creative Nonfiction, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, The Normal School, and others—Man in the Moon brings together essays in which sons, daughters, and fathers explore the elusive nature of this intimate relationship and find unique ways to frame and understand it: through astronomy, arachnology, storytelling, map-reading, television, puzzles, DNA, and so on. In the collection's title essay, Bill Capossere considers the inextricable link between his love of astronomy and memories of his father: "The man in the moon is no stranger to me,” he writes. "I have seen his face before, and it is my father's, and his father's, and my own.” Other essays include Dinty Moore's "Son of Mr. Green Jeans: A Meditation on Missing Fathers,” in which Moore lays out an alphabetic investigation of fathers from popular culture—Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Ozzie Nelson—while ruminating on his own absent father and hesitation to become a father himself. In "Plot Variations,” Robin Black attempts to understand, through the lens of teaching fiction to creative writing students, her inability to attend her father's funeral. Deborah Thompson tries to reconcile her pride in her father's pioneering research in plastics and her concerns about their toxic environmental consequences in "When the Future Was Plastic.” At turns painfully familiar, comic, and heartbreaking, the essays in this collection also deliver moments of seari
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.
The period between World War I and World War II was an important time in the history of gender relations, and of American fatherhood. Revealing the surprising extent to which some of yesterday's fathers were involved with their children, The Modernization of Fatherhood recounts how fatherhood was reshaped during the Machine Age into the configuration we know today.
LaRossa explains that during the interwar period the image of the father as economic provider, pal, and male role model, all in one, became institutionalized. Using personal letters and popular magazine and newspaper sources, he explores how the social and economic conditions of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression—a period of technical innovation as well as economic hardship—fused these expectations into a cultural ideal. With chapters on the U.S. Children's Bureau, the fathercraft movement, the magazine industry and the development of Parent's Magazine, and the creation of Father's Day, this book is a major addition to the growing literature on masculinity and fatherhood.
American fathers are a highly diverse group, but the breadwinning, live-in, biological dad prevails as the fatherhood ideal. Consequently, policymakers continue to emphasize marriage and residency over initiatives that might help foster healthy father-child relationships and creative co-parenting regardless of marital or residential status. In Nurturing Dads, William Marsiglio and Kevin Roy explore the ways new initiatives can address the social, cultural, and economic challenges men face in contemporary families and foster more meaningful engagement between many different kinds of fathers and their children. What makes a good father? The firsthand accounts in Nurturing Dads show that the answer to this question varies widely and in ways that counter the mainstream "provide and reside" model of fatherhood. Marsiglio and Roy document the personal experiences of more than 300 men from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and diverse settings, including fathers-to-be, young adult fathers, middle-class dads, stepfathers, men with multiple children in separate families, and fathers in correctional facilities. They find that most dads express the desire to have strong, close relationships with their children and to develop the nurturing skills to maintain these bonds. But they also find that disadvantaged fathers, including young dads and those in constrained financial and personal circumstances, confront myriad structural obstacles, such as poverty, inadequate education, and poor job opportunities. Nurturing Dads asserts that society should help fathers become more committed and attentive caregivers and that federal and state agencies, work sites, grassroots advocacy groups, and the media all have roles to play. Recent efforts to introduce state-initiated paternity leave should be coupled with social programs that encourage fathers to develop unconditional commitments to children, to co-parent with mothers, to establish partnerships with their children's other caregivers, and to develop parenting skills and resources before becoming fathers via activities like volunteering and mentoring kids. Ultimately, Marsiglio and Roy argue, such combined strategies would not only change the policy landscape to promote engaged fathering but also change the cultural landscape to view nurturance as a fundamental aspect of good fathering. Care is a human experience—not just a woman's responsibility—and this core idea behind Nurturing Dads holds important implications for how society supports its families and defines manhood. The book promotes the progressive notion that fathers should provide more than financial support and, in the process, bring about a better start in life for their children. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
Fathers in the fifties tend to be portrayed as wise and genial pipe-smokers or distant, emotionless patriarchs. This common but limited stereotype obscures the remarkable diversity of their experiences and those of their children. To uncover the real story of fatherhood during this transformative era, Ralph LaRossa takes the long view—from the attack on Pearl Harbor up to the election of John F. Kennedy—revealing the myriad ways that World War II and its aftermath shaped men.
Offering compelling accounts of people both ordinary and extraordinary, Of War and Men digs deep into the terrain of fatherhood. LaRossa explores the nature and aftereffects of combat, the culture of fear during the Cold War, the ways that fear altered the lives of racial and sexual minorities, and how the civil rights movement affected families both black and white. Overturning some calcified myths, LaRossa also analyzes the impact of suburbanization on fathers and their kids, discovering that living in the suburbs often strengthened their bond. And finally, looking beyond the idealized dad enshrined in TV sitcoms, Of War and Men explores the brutal side of family life in the postwar years. LaRossa’s richly researched book dismantles stereotypes while offering up a fascinating and incisive chronicle of fatherhood in all its complexity.
In this important new work, Nicholas Townsend explores what men say about being fathers, and about what fatherhood means to them. He shows how men negotiate the prevailing cultural values about fatherhood, marriage, employment, and home ownership that he conceptualizes as a "package deal." Townsend identifies the conflicts and contradictions within the gendered expectations of men and fathers, and analyzes the social and economic contexts that make emotionally involved fathering an elusive ideal.Drawing on the lives and life stories of a group of men in their late forties who graduated from high school together in the early 1970s, The Package Deal demystifies culture's image of fatherhood in the United States. These men are depicted as neither villains nor victims, but as making their best efforts to achieve successful adult masculinity. This book shows what fathers really think about fatherhood, the division of labor between fathers and mothers, the gendered difference in expectations, and the privileging of the relationship between fathers and sons.These revealing accounts of how fatherhood fits into the rest of men's lives help us better understand what men can and cannot do as fathers. And they clearly illustrate that women are not alone in trying to "have it all" as they strive to combine work and family.
It is not easy raising a family and balancing work and personal commitments in academia, regardless of gender. Parents endure the stress of making tenure with the demands of life with children. While women's careers are derailed more often than men's as a result of such competing pressures, fathers, too, experience conflicting feelings about work and home, making parenting ever more challenging.
In Papa, PhD, Mary Ruth Marotte, Paige Martin Reynolds, and Ralph James Savarese bring together a group contributors from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. They are white, black, South Asian, Asian, and Arab. They are gay and straight, married and divorced. They are tenured and untenured, at research-one universities and at community colleges. Some write at the beginning of their careers, others at the end. But, perhaps most important they do not look back-they look forward to new parental and professional synergies as they reflect on what it means to be a father in the academy.
The fathers writing in Papa, PhD seek to expand their children's horizons, giving them the gifts of better topic sentences and a cosmopolitan sensibility. They seriously consider the implications of gender theory and queer theory-even Marxist theory-and make relevant theoretical connections between their work and the less abstract, more pragmatic, world of fathering. What resonates is the astonishing range of forms that fatherhood can take as these dads challenge traditional norms by actively questioning the status quo.
For most of human history, paternity was uncertain. Blood types, fingerprinting, and, recently, DNA analysis promised to solve the riddle of paternity. But even genetic certainty did not end the quest for the father. Rather, as Nara Milanich reveals, it confirms the social, cultural, and political nature of the age-old question: Who’s your father?
In the wake of dramatic, recent changes in American family life, evangelical and mainline Protestant churches took markedly different positions on family change. This work explains why these two traditions responded so differently to family change and then goes on to explore how the stances of evangelical and mainline Protestant churches toward marriage and parenting influenced the husbands and fathers that fill their pews.
According to W. Bradford Wilcox, the divergent family ideologies of evangelical and mainline churches do not translate into large differences in family behavior between evangelical and mainline Protestant men who are married with children. Mainline Protestant men, he contends, are "new men" who take a more egalitarian approach to the division of household labor than their conservative peers and a more involved approach to parenting than men with no religious affiliation. Evangelical Protestant men, meanwhile, are "soft patriarchs"—not as authoritarian as some would expect, and given to being more emotional and dedicated to their wives and children than both their mainline and secular counterparts. Thus, Wilcox argues that religion domesticates men in ways that make them more responsive to the aspirations and needs of their immediate families.
We Fish is the tale of a father and son's shared dialogue in poetry and in prose, memoir and reflection, as they delight in their time spent fishing while considering the universal challenge of raising good children. Their story and their lesson have the power to teach today's young African American men about friendship, family, and trust; and the potential to save a generation from the dangers of the modern world and from themselves.