The Sexual Orientation of Fatherhood

24 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2015

See all articles by Dara E. Purvis

Dara E. Purvis

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Purvis, Dara E., The Sexual Orientation of Fatherhood (2013). Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2013, p. 983, 2013; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 52-2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2678061

Dara E. Purvis (Contact Author)

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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