Fathers Who Care: Exploring Masculinity Within The Accounts of Stay at Home Dads
McDade Rachel Dissertation 2013.docx (102.7Kb)
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Fathers are becoming increasingly involved with their children (Johansson & Klinth, 2008), and this has led to a rise in the ‘New Father’ image. This study looks at the construction of gender identity within fathers who care full-time for their children . In particular, how it will look at how they negotiate traditional forms of masculinity. Seven fathers participated in a recorded semi-structured interview. Their accounts were transcribed and analysed using Discourse Analysis. Instances of the father building up images of masculinity were studied further. These accounts fell into three themes. Theme One saw the fathers distancing themselves from those they see as bad parents. Contrasts were used here in order to build up their status as a good father and distance themselves from the idea of the traditional masculine father. Theme Two notes the fathers distancing themselves from challenges. This was done by downplaying and generalizing the challenges to everyone in order to prevent criticism of their gender. Theme Three looks at the fathers distancing themselves from the parenting role of women. This is done to reaffirm their masculinity in their role, while also showing the choice they have in their current situation. It was found fathers made their masculinity relevant when they were faced with challenges and when describing the role of women. However, they contrasted themselves from the idea of the traditional masculine father, suggesting masculinity may not always be the most important part of their identity. Despite the time constraints of the study, it has practical implications in terms of education and healthcare programmes and social support for fathers. Future research could look at different groups of fathers for a longer period of time to expand on these findings.