Dr. Michael Kimmel — What is a Good Man?

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Dr. Michael Kimmel

How can we be equal parents but still be real men?

People who change diapers they change the world

Author of “Manhood in America” “Guyland” “Angry White Men”

Dr. Michael Kimmel

“”Are Dads Men?”

We must inject gender into our talk of fatherhood
we cannot forget that men are dads
His view is as a researcher and as a father

Parenthood and Masculinity – there are  2 parts

Some people get misty when talking about fatherhood —
but he looks at it like a researcher
Fatherhood is a set of practices
when we do this , we will be a father

Women will often say “I’m not good enough”
comparing self to own mother
my mother would always have healthy meals, clean house, and “fresh baked cookies”

Rarely will dads say “I’m not good enough”
Because when we compare ourselves to our own dads, we are so far ahead
If he threw a ball or did the dishes once, he wanted a Parade

Are we being good enough men?
social scientists would say that women’s lives have changed dramatically but
Men’s lives have not changed that much

4 Things Women have done
1. Women have made gender visible
40 years ago — no university courses on gender
now every campus has it — recent –  1975 first year

2. Women — are in the workplace — half labor force is female

3.  Women balancing work and family
if ask the women in his classes — do you expect full time jobs after school?
All hands go up — keep hand up if your mom or grandmother had a job — hands come down fast
If ask men — hands stay up all the time if ask about dad and grandpa

Women do want to ‘have it all’?  work and life balance and supportive family
Women can’t have it all because men already have it
We balance work and family

4. Women — Sex revolution is all about women — not men
women’s sexuality has changed not mens
women today feel entitle to pleasure and sex
mainstream women deserve sex

So women’s identity, work and intimacy

Men’s lives — how has it changed?
increasing distance and gap between what men thought it was to be a man

Change is coming — younger men have begun to redefined masculinity
Definition is now closer to what they are doing in their lives
We are more strategic — sometimes tough — sometimes caring

Women made gender visible — gender remains invisible for men
Gender is as important to us as it is to women

Privilege is invisible to those that have it
He tells the “look in mirror story” – -white woman sees a woman
black woman sees a black woman

Emerging new story — new world has changed
Expectations are so different — workplace is so different

If he was to ask 16-26 year old men…
Look in a mirror — I am a good man

If at our funeral/death — for people to say “he was a good man”
to be a good man
always did the right thing

Where did these ideas come from?
young men say — Its timeless.. its the way it is
ethical manhood — we know what it means

But what if we shout — “be a real man!! — man up!! — what does that mean?
traditional ideas — stoic   aggressive

4 rules of a real man — to define masculinity

1. no sissy stuff
2. be a big wheel – we measure masculinity by wealth status
3. be a sturdy oak — reliable in crisis — rock – pillar
4. give them hell — live on  the edge – be aggressive

We are caught between being a good man and a real man
this macho false ideology has not prepared them/us to be good father

peer pressure may make you do the real man stuff

when we compromise our own idea of a good man
those are the stories to tell our children
those are the best stories to tell to our children
i remember the stories when I didn’t do the right thing
when i compromised the idea of a good man

We are more similar to our female partners than ever before

Parenthood highly valued by both men and women
This is not mars and venus
This is Planet Earth — we are parents!!!
more similar than different

Traditional roles get in the way

balancing work and family
less than 10% – 7 % represent the lives they are living are portrayed in media
men are doing far more around the house- as parents

Men are spending more time with family
We have turned down promotions because it would mean time away from family- equal percentages of men and women are choosing family first — but at what cost?

We are cutting our own deal with the least family friendly country on earth
4 countries that do not offer paid paternity leave to anyone — USA is one of them

Do men want it?
Are you committed to your career..??. never make partner — we will put you on the daddy track
lawyers created own law firm that supported family
Sadly, it was other men were holding them back – behavior and attitudes of other men

How can we support each other and challenge these old ideas
asking for it because they will not give it to you…

Cover of new Yorker – may 2012   — whole playground is dads
shift in perception

Men have begun — quality time… no — quantity time — doing the tasks that no one gets medal for — caring and being with kids — that moment when your kids tell you that they love youu  (his Toy Story for the 45 time story) i love it
In the “gorgeously boring parts of fatherhood” — those are the gems

Housework and childcare are not the same thing
men separate childcare and house work’
we do more childcare than every before not housework
dad is the fun parent — mom cares for house — cleans the house while dad at park

Dads needs to do more house work
its fair and just — but its in our best interest
Dr. John Gottman — studies successful marriages…
successful marriages — Gottman – can tell in 2 minutes if get divorce
he studies successful marriages — how do they do it?
what makes a thriving marriage thrive
equity — perception of fairness — believe the relationship to be fair
we share housework and childcare — not chip in or pitch in
the data is involved fathers corner
variable to predict equality in marriage

2 variables looked at…
Women – can women own property after marriage in their own name?
How much house work and childcare does the man do?

If dad does the work, his kids do better in school — higher achievement — less adhd —
healthier happier kids
wives are healthier and happier — no drugs or doctors appoitments
the men are happier and healthier – more likely to go to doctor — less drink
less depression
men, kids, women, — all happier
more sex for men — if do all they
housework makes her horny
do the trash and load the dishwasher —
makes women feel like equals
any sexual fantasies that don’t involve me cleaning?

3 Final thoughts
we must support family friendly work place policies
need paid parental leave — need it – not optional — must be able to balance
flex time, on site chilcare – -these are parent issues not women’s issues

coming out in workplaces as FATHERS —

women were coming out as workers
come out in public at workplace as DADS — in relationship
talk the walk — we are doing more — we need to start talking more bout that..
celebrating the masculinity diversity

optimistic about this future of dads…
family unfriendly country on earth

3 reasons for his optimism
1. young men assume , take for granted that wife will work outside home — driven
2. take for granted that they will be involved dads — because that is what dads do
3. they are comfortable with cross sex friendship  not harry met sally era —
biggest change in young peoples lives
not friends with boss — peers — your equals
more experience with gender equality that any other generation
see women as equals — very hopeful for future
change is possible —

young children are making friendship cross sex — easy — friendly

what it means to be a man — involved father is not the opposite of real man
not a “wussy” to involved father
expanding view of fatherhood and masculinity
you are living a life that would be unrecognizable lives to your grandfathers

redefining masculinity — we want this — redefining what it is to be a man  YES


**Transcribed to the best of my limited ability — Jeff Hay (The Dad Vibe @thedadvibe)