Moises and Mendez-Palmares: Peter Pan and Harry Putter-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Michelle: We are familiar with fairy tales. The plot is simple. A damsel in distress, a knight in shining armor and they live happily ever after. But are you familiar with the "Pan tales?" I’m talking about men who are like Cinderella (or Snow White, et al) in the fairy tales of old, who wait for a modern working princess (usually a capable, focused, career woman) to rescue them from their lack of direction and ambition; and expecting the woman to provide for their needs. They’re like Peter Pan stuck in their Neverland.
DJ: I do know a growing number of house husbands or stay-at-home dads (SAHDs). These are terms used to describe a husband who cares for the kids and acts as the designated homemaker of the household as his wife fights it out in the labor market to earn money for the family. Is he a Harry Putter? Nope. We’re in the age of gender enlightenment. If we strive to have equality between sexes, then this should not be a surprise. In fact, such arrangement is becoming increasingly beneficial. A man can also do repairs and maintenance aside from cooking and washing and these help ensure comfort in a family’s home.
M: Society dictates that the man must be the provider. Were not the hunters the males? It’s also true that some women often make career decisions with "Mr. Right" in mind. Even in the midst of a career climb, at the back of their minds, there is a conviction that the situation is only temporary as Prince Charming would be along one day to offer financial security that would eliminate the need to worry about jobs or money. But I noticed what’s happening nowadays is the other way around. Women are in the workplaces while the men are waiting for them to bring home the bacon. A few days back, an acquaintance was asked what his sister-in-law’s husband was doing. He nonchalantly commented, “Well, he sometimes picks up his wife after her work but he plays tennis everyday!"
DJ: I must admit there really are people who consider work as sacred. They go nowhere near it. They are unfortunately lazy and would rather rest or chill. But isn’t laziness a trait that’s common to both men and women? It takes a lot to be an SAHD. He needs to feel secure about his masculinity, particularly in dealing with backward-thinkers who give him a hard time about his new role in life. Besides, I have high respect for people who choose to leave their careers and take the equally toilsome tasks of parenting and keeping the house. And this is true whether he is a man or she is a woman. You start when it’s cold and dark. And work lasts for extended periods with no overtime pay. Weekends are like weekdays. You practically live and sleep in a workplace.
M: Maybe there are more opportunities for women now so that more men are staying home. If men take care of household chores to help their working wives, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. A homemaker’s job is as challenging as those in the workplace. That’s why I strongly disagree with the term “simple housewife.” There is nothing simple about being a housewife. It’s a 24/7 job. If, however, the man is a bum who expects everything to be done for him, then shame on him! He should be consigned to a tower together with a dragon or a wicked mother-in-law and two wicked stepsisters-in-law just like what Cinderella had.
DJ: While it’s hard to be a woman in a man’s world, it’s also hard to be a man in a woman’s world. So why complicate things? If it is becoming more acceptable for women to work outside the home, it should also be more acceptable for men to be seen at home. Success should not be tied to a gender or the type of work one does. Roles are shifting that it’s no longer important who does what in a family. What’s more important is we accomplish not only the so-called big and distinguished tasks, but also complete the seemingly small tasks as though they’re big and distinguished. It’s not the role that matters. It’s how we play the part.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 21, 2012.