The sexism experienced by two gay male fathers in the UK

The BBC have an interesting article on the experiences of a gay male father here.

I’ve excepted three examples:

It’s an interesting and - most importantly - an enlightening read. What’s the American experience like?

To be honest I think most of those are as much about homophobia as sexism, especially the third (I haven’t read the whole article). For the first excerpt, I suspect some of those women may have offered the same ‘helpful’ advice to another woman - OK, probably not the last comment, which is just sexist, but the other two quotes are sensible suggestions - though certainly condescending in their inbuilt assumption that the parent has not thought of those things themselves, no doubt exacerbated by the parent being a man.

I think heterosexual male parents face sexism too, and this is a case of homophobia making it much worse. Hope they keep fighting the good fight - in another generation I expect and hope this sort of thing will have largely died away.

Another ‘men experiencing sexism’ thread, Quartz?

We must stamp it out before it reaches minuscule proportions!

Sounds similar to what new mums get from older women.

It’s also boring.

I don’t recall you making the same objection to threads about women experiencing sexism.

Getting unhelpful “helpful” advice from strangers on childcare is a universal experience for parents in the U.S. This couple seems to have an additional layer of headaches, but let’s not kid ourselves that women are not routinely telling other women how they should care for their child.

It was a question for you, not an objection.

Men taking care of children garners both more praise and more censure because societally we think that it’s a woman’s job. This isn’t sexism that just affects men. It’s the other side of the same damned coin. If anyone finds that they only talk about sexism as it impacts one sex, they are ignoring half of the picture.

If we think women are better caregivers for children, we penalize people in several ways:

  1. We degrade men’s work as caregivers
  2. We hold women to a higher standard
  3. We overpraise men, or talk about them “babysitting” their own children
  4. We use it as evidence that there is “men’s work” and “women’s work”
  5. We justify policies that harm women’s career prospects because they’ll just be out of the workforce anyway
  6. We build evolutionary just-so stories that we then use as weapons
  7. We justify treating men as predators who are a threat to children
  8. We justify sexist laws

Very true. The first example is one I’ve seen frequently (and been on the receiving end of).

People with children develop an inner compulsion to offer helpful advice to new parents - even now I find it hard not to chime in. It’s like once you have a child you are officially The Expert on the subject. For a while I was half-tempted to get a button made reading “I Reproduced! (Ask me how!)”

The other two examples look a lot like homophobia to me, or possibly a combination of homophobia and sexism. That said, I see plenty of dads out with the kids without their wife as a chaperone these days, even with infants, so it doesn’t necessarily follow any more that two men with a baby are necessarily a couple.


I can think of two occasions where I’ve heard stuff like this.

One was in the summer, when I had my little girl at some outside place, and she was running around barefoot. An older woman scolded me, “You need to put her shoes on her!”

Except that’s a lie: I was standing next to my wife, and the older woman scolded my wife.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a playground with a climbing structure. My girl was happily climbing, wearing an ankle-length skirt. An older woman approached me (this time it was really me), and said, “Do you want to tie her skirt into a knot, so she doesn’t trip?” I was irritated, both because the woman wasn’t minding her own business, and because she was right, goddammit.

So I tied the skirt into a knot and got over my damn self.

Sure, the waitress sounds like a piece of work. But these guys sound like they may not be aware of the dynamic of experienced parents being busybodies.

Is there a specific poster that has started several of them?

I was a stay-at-home dad for my first daughter, and experienced that kind of cluelessness in point 1 of the OP occasionally. Yeah, it was a little sexist. Point 2 was more homophobia than sexism, 3 was a bit of both.

It’ll change when women are equal enough that dad as primary caregiver isn’t even a thing any more - when women make as much money as men, aren’t at risk of losing jobs or missing promotions if they fall pregnant, both sexes have reasonable parental leave, etc. etc.

So the best way to fix this sexism, is to fix the actual, problematic anti-woman sexism that pervades society, like wonky also said above. Funny thing, that. So I expect Quartz will be making a thread on how to do that, any day now. Aaaany day…

Do you feel men and women experience an equal amount of sexism?

If not, do you feel men or women experience more sexism? What is the approximate ratio between what each gender experiences?

I have been told that gay parenting is child abuse by anti-abortion protestors because “a child needs a mother and a father.” The same people who want single woman to give birth and (I guess) be forced to give their child to a married couple.

OTOH, two men and a little boy were on my line and discovered they had left their credit card in the car. One of the guys went out to get it, and other one apologized to the woman in Orthodox Jewish style clothing on line behind him, saying “My husband had to go the car to get the credit card.” All she said was “That’s all right.” No comments or advice added. When the boy complained “How long are we going to stay here, Daddy?” he replied “Until Poppy comes back with the credit card.”

All in all, it was a nice little piece of modern life.

Sorry, but an answer requires a better brain than mine.

I’m not sure it’s constructive to make this a competition between men and women as to who has it worse. There certainly exist many examples of sexism against men that are worth discussing independent of the larger number of issues women face.

When one person starts several threads about it, however, one rightly begins to wonder about the ulterior motives involved. And as already pointed out, the best way to fight sexism against men is to fight sexism in general.

Not just from older women, unless the new mum is young. The person making the suggestions can be really klutzy about it, and may be hitting a sore point, but they generally mean well. Mind you: they often mean well like your mother does when she greets you with “you really need to lose weight” (or a more polite version) and later asks “you’re only going to eat that much?” - she means well, you still want to brain her.

You haven’t complained about other topics about which I’ve started several threads.

  1. We limit potential relationships between fathers and children and rob all of them of a great deal of joy, strength, and satisfaction. This robs not just men of the joys of parenthood, but girls and boys both of the joys and benefits of a responsive, nurturing father.