The Sexual Orientation of Fatherhood
24 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2013
In this Article, I examine how same-sex fathers affect the perception of heterosexual caretaking fathers - and by extension, could affect the perception of heterosexual non-caretaking mothers. I conclude that gay stay-at-home fathers offer a provocative opportunity to broaden societal views of men and caregiving more generally, and argue that greater recognition of parents who counteract gender stereotypes - even where the recognition might arguably lessen women's rights in family law - ultimately helps women as well as children and nontraditional parents. Part I discusses fathers, particularly stay-at-home fathers, the practical problems fathers face combining work and caregiving responsibilities, and the conceptual difficulties they find in being recognized as caregivers. Part II outlines masculinities theory as it applies to fathers and the "feminine" work of caregiving. Part III explores how gay stay-at-home fathers, by breaking more than one rule of masculinity at the same time, may push the boundaries of masculinity to encompass caregiving work performed by fathers of all sexual orientations.
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