Expecting Men to be Involved Dads
The NY Times Magazine continued to highlight some important family structure issues this past week with "No Babies?" It looks at why birth rates vary, often downward, throughout the world. One notable exception is the US where birth rates continue to hover around the "replacement rate" of 2.1 births per woman. Many would suggest that this may be because the US is relatively affluent but the piece disputes this as the main reason. Instead they offer:
The old conservative argument - that a traditional, working-husband and stay-at-home wife family structure produces a healthy, growing population - doesn't apply, either in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world today. Indeed, the societies most wedded to maintaining that traditional family structure seem to be those with the lowest birthrates. The antidote, in Western Europe, has been the welfare-state model, in which the state provides comprehensive support to couples that want to have children. But the U.S. runs counter to this. Some commentators explain its healthy birthrate in terms of the relatively conservative and religiously oriented nature of American society, which both encourages larger families. It's also true that mores have evolved in the U.S. to the point where not only is it socially acceptable for fathers to be active participants in raising children, but it's also often socially unacceptable for them to do otherwise.
I think my answer to how other men treat me for being so involved in my home life will now change. According to the most recent data, it's socially unacceptable to do anything else.