Ever since I got pregnant we noticed how men are treated differently than women when it comes to anything regarding children. True, women still statistically take on more duties related to their children. Still, when a man wants to be involved in his child’s life, it can be frustrating to see how hard it is to be taken seriously. Already at my first ultrasound Zak was asked to remain in the waiting room while the technician took the measurements, then they would come and get him for the “here is the head and here are the feet” part. But that means I got to see the baby before he did. That means he was left behind. We knew it wouldn’t be the last time.

The situation has become even more frustrating now that Zak is DS’s main caregiver. He signed up for some research about language development done at UBC. When they called to make an appointment, I had to repeat twice that it would be my husband going with our son, not me, before they realized that they were talking to the wrong person. When DS cried during his first swimming “lesson” and kept asking for Mommy, everyone gave him the “poor Dad who doesn’t know how to handle his baby” look. Nope. It was just that seeing me by the side of the pool without being able to go see me was too much for him after a whole week apart.

The other day, Zak was at playtime with DS. A little girl the same age was following them around, which happens all the time, probably partly because he’s one of the only parent who actually plays with the kids instead of being there to socialize with other parents, and partly because a lot of these kids seem to miss their Daddy. The mother of the little girl came by, commented on how her daughter seemed to like Zak and introduced her to him. The little girl blew him a kiss. Zak blew a kiss back at her. The mom looked at him – pissed – and left, saying under her breath that this “was a bit much”. For a blown kiss. He didn’t touch her. He wasn’t even withing arm’s reach. He just responded to her lead. You think there’s any chance in hell the reaction would have been the same if it had been me blowing a kiss to a little boy? Yeah, right!

Already, Zak had noticed some mothers getting antsy when their kids would come sit on his lap or hold on to him. What is he supposed to do? Stay ten feet away from any other human being? Just because he’s a man? I understand where they’re coming from, I know that we live in a big bad scary world (or at least that’s what you think if you watch too much TV), but still. Get a grip! Don’t teach your kids to stay away from every single male. Don’t raise your kids in fear.

But I digress. This was supposed to be about sexism. Sorry!

8 Responses to “Sexism”

  1. Danielle Says:

    En effet, lorsque l’on sort des rôles traditionnellement dévolus à l’un ou l’autre sexe, c’est souvent le cas… Et pourtant, nous sommes en 2009!! Ici, il y a énormément de sexisme, mais aussi une séparation socio-économique impressionnante. Nous sommes en appartement, locataires… Nous n’avons que des relations avec des gens en appartement. Et pourtant nous sommes ouverts à tous… mais c’est comme ça… Ceux qui vivent dans des maisons ne se mêlent qu’aux propriétaires!!
    Pour en revenir à ce que tu dis, il y a encore peu de familles dans lesquelles c’est le père qui est à la maison… alors quand il y en a un, il ne passe pas inaperçu!!! M’est avis que les gens s’habitueront à lui et que dans quelques temps ce sera différent, du moins je le lui souhaite.

  2. sophie Says:

    Ça fait déjà sept mois qu’il est à la maison. Mais bien sûr je n’ai mentionné que les gens parano. Il y a aussi plusieurs personnes qui l’ont sans doute remarqué parce que c’est un homme et qui le chouchoutent plutôt que de le maltraiter!

  3. Anne Says:

    Je me rappelle que tous les enfants, plus particulièrement les enfants de mères monoparentales, venaient s’asseoir sur Dario lorsqu’il était à la garderie. Je n’ai toutefois jamais été témoin de commentaires négatifs. Peut-être a-t-on été chanceux.

  4. Kevin McConnell Says:

    Zak and Sophie. This is a very refreshing, but sad perspective. Knowing Zak too, there is not another person I know who would be as respectful as he is, and parents should be happy to have their kids be in various interactions with “strangers” that are positive. This teaching kids a sense of community, which we are loosing in todays society. Don’t get too frustrated by it, or peoples fears will be allowed to win

  5. marie Says:

    en réponse à Anne, je dirais que le Canada anglais étant beaucoup plus prude, c’est “normal” ou presque que les gens soient aussi un peu plus peureux. Lâche pas Zac, un jour ils comprendront aussi.

  6. Sophie Says:

    In the meantime, the nice thing is that everyone we talk to thinks people are over-reacting. We didn’t get anyone who said “Yeah, but you know, in these days and ages, I would be worried too if my daughter was kissed by an unknown man”. So maybe there’s hope!

    Et pour Marie, je crois qu’il y a sans doute du vrai dans ce que tu dis. Tant mieux si Dario n’a pas vécu ça!

  7. Docteur Maman Says:

    Quant à moi, j’aimerais souligner un autre aspect qui émerge de ton texte: les papas jouent plus avec les enfants que les mamans. Quand nous allons au parc avec les enfants, moi j’ai beaucoup plus tendance à parler avec les autres parents, alors que Patient Papa, lui, joue avec les enfants. Résultat: grande popularité pour lui aussi!
    Pour le reste, je suis d’accord avec tout ce qui a été dit. :o )
    Lâche pas Zak!

  8. sophie Says:

    Bien d’accord, Zak est beaucoup plus joueur que moi… C’est une des raisons pour lesquelles j’ai toujours pensé que mon fils serait plus heureux avec lui qu’avec moi si un de nous devait rester à la maison!