Dad Experiences Male Privilege First Hand, Shares His Eye Opening Experience On Social Media
On 23rd May 2018
Reading this article from Tal Peretz, a sociology professor at Auburn University, who described a concept called "the pedestal effect," this stay-at-home dad's sexists beliefs were challenged and taught him an eye-opening lesson regarding male privilege. Now, the 37-year old is determined to share his experience with others hoping that it would play the same role on them as it did on him.
#1 Sexist Beliefs Instilled In Our Minds Since Young Ages
Growing up it has been instilled in the minds of the generations that women have it easy at home and all the trouble and hardships are usually faced by the men. Because man goes out of the home, so it is necessary that only he is the one who faces the hardships in life. This one dad recently read an article and the experience he had was worth sharing on the social media.
#2 Dad Shares His Story On Social Media
Dad shared his story with the world which definitely has eye-opening lessons, in the end, the story follows as, "When my wife returned to work after parental leave, I took my first trip to the grocery with two kids, not knowing I would return home feeling like a hero. On a Monday morning, I pushed the green cart with flame decals through the second set of sliding doors and toward the deli. My 3-year-old son was strapped in the seat and my 3-month-old son was wrapped against my chest. As a stay-a-home father, strolling through the grocery, I felt conflicting emotions — love for caring for my sons and frustration with being an unemployed 37-year-old dad."
#3 Feeling Like A Super-Dad
Dad says, strolling along with his kids at the deli, he felt like a super dad, "At the deli, I exchanged pleasantries with a young woman behind the counter and ordered a pound of sliced turkey breast. I was immediately surrounded by a group of female employees. They leaned close to admire my infant son as he raised his bald head from the green cloth wrap.
"‘I never could get mine to like the wrap,’ one said.
"‘I bet y’all have so much fun together,’ another said.
"‘You are the best dad ever,’ another said."
#4 Soaked In Pride, It Felt Like The Best Feeling
Swelled with pride, dad continues to move forward and gets more praises along his way, “I swelled with pride. Maybe they are right; maybe I am the best dad ever. I soaked in the praise before tossing my sliced turkey into the cart and heading toward the produce. As I strolled, more comments came from fellow shoppers, and I absorbed them, giving little thought to the reason I merited heightened attention.
"‘Nice baby wearing,’ a young woman said.
"‘That is one way to keep ’em warm,’ an elderly woman said.
"‘Man, you are taking this dad thing to the next level,’ a bag boy at checkout said."
#5 Little Did He Know All The Appreciation Was Coming Off From His Male Privilege
Soaked with all the praises, dad checked off from the counter like a rockstar walking off the stage. But little did he know, all those praises and appreciation were coming off from his male privilege, "I enjoy the attention I receive as a stay-at-home dad; it is nice to have impressed eyes turned on me. My rationale for basking in the compliments is that I spend most of my time wading through dirty diapers, spit-up and spilled Cheerios. I deserve some praise, right? I thought so until one Sunday morning I sipped coffee and read an article (a rare kids-free moment in the kitchen) about faux male feminists. The article included comments from Tal Peretz, a sociology professor at Auburn University, who described a concept called “the pedestal effect.” As I read, my male privilege became uncomfortably visible."
#6 Reading The Article Made His Male Privilege Feel Uncomfortable
The article was like an eye opener for the dad and reading it, it definitely made his male privilege uncomfortable. Explaining the pedestal effect, he said, "The pedestal effect refers to when men receive undeserved praise, attention and rewards for performing work traditionally done by women, such as carrying a baby in a wrap. At the grocery store, I willingly stepped on the pedestal and used my privilege to gain attention for basic child care. And as I reflected on Peretz’s words, other pedestal moments flashed in my mind. This realization was not something I could ignore."
"If you believe in gender equality, it is not hard to understand why it is problematic to place one gender on a pedestal for doing the bare minimum, while the other bears the bulk of the child care. Not only is it unfair, but it also does not serve the best interests of families, and can place stress on them when parenting roles are unbalanced. For men who value gender equality and healthy families, assisting in lowering the pedestal is imperative."
#7 He Wants Other Dads To Be More Aware Of This Privilege
Reading about pedestal effect and not knowing how to deal with it, dad reached out to Peretz and asked for his help, "After reading Peretz’s comments, I wrestled with how to respond and, hopefully, how to help other dads become more aware of this privilege. I reached out to him to discuss the ‘pedestal effect,’ and he offered practical ways to counter male privilege. He reminded me of the complexity of privilege and how it operates on different levels — individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural. We cannot dismantle institutions and structures by ourselves, but we can start with naming our privilege and giving credit to women where it is due.
"For example, at the deli I could have redirected the conversation. I could have used one of these playful responses suggested by Peretz: ‘Yeah, I’m really glad that my wife did all the heavy lifting of pregnancy and childbirth so I’d get to enjoy this little monster,’ or ‘I really appreciate that, but it’s nothing my mom didn’t have to do for me!’"
#8 Want To Do A Better Job In Stepping Off The Pedestal
Learning more with help of Peretz, dad says he is now all set to challenge these sexist beliefs regarding parenting and is also willing to teach other men around him the right way because according to dad, one important matter that he has learned from the issue is that not only he should be doing stay at home chores for his kids because he should do but instead he should be doing it because it is the right thing to do. "I want to do a better job of stepping off the pedestal and challenging sexist beliefs about parenting. I want to better align myself with the women who have been doing this work for generations and assist them in creating more balanced roles within families. And I want to share the most important lesson I’ve learned while reflecting on this issue, which is that not only should I do this work because it is the right thing to do, but also because I need it. Men need to be liberated from the rigid forms of masculinity that create a pedestal in the first place. Only when we step off them can we hope to be free."