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Why are more men becoming stay at home dads now, while their wives work?
Because a complicated series of historical forces have gradually changed the standard roles of men and women in various cultures. In the West, we can see this trend starting with the Protestant Reformation, which took power away from the Catholic Church.
Prior to the Reformation, many people believed that a priestly class had special access to God. Most people could only talk to God through them, and it was natural to think of different sorts of people having different sorts of roles. Over time, the Reformation made many people believe they could personally talk to God — that there was no difference between a priest and a non-priest, except for choice of occupation. So there was a blurring of social roles. “We’re all equal under God.
Politically, this lead to governments claiming to have just as much religious authority as churches, and, eventually, some of those governments were democratic ones. At first, those democracies only considered certain classes of people to have equal roles and equal rights. But it was already a move away from churches and monarchs to individuals.
The West has been steadily moving in that direction for the past 500 years.
And once a government says “All rich white men have equal rights,” somebody is going to start saying, “Why not poor white men, too?” Then “Why not all men?” Then “Why not all humans?” The West has been steadily moving in that direction for the past 500 years. There have been and are counter trends, and there’s still a great disparity between various groups, but, still, there’s been a trend towards a blurring of social roles.
Priestly class —> monarchs are just as good as priests —> rich white men are just as good as monarch —> poor/non-white men are just as good as rich white men —> women are just as good as men …
In the Twentieth Century, one offshoot of this trend was the Feminist movement, which sought (and still seeks) equal rights for women. And once people start accepting the fact that women should be allowed to do what men are allowed to do, it’s a short step to men should be allowed to do what women are allowed to do.
Fewer and fewer people grow up thinking “I’m a man … ” (or “I’m a woman”) “… so what options are available to me?” They think, “I’m a person, so what options are available to me?” They know they won’t get laughed at or shunned for taking on roles that were once thought of as “for the opposite sex.” So they take on those roles if they want to.
My wife and I don’t have kids, but if we did, I’d want to stay home and take care of them. I don’t like offices. I don’t like bosses. I’m introverted. I love children, and I’d miss my kids terribly if I had to be apart from them every day. (As it stands, I miss my cats when I’m at work and can’t wait to get home to them!)
I also like cooking more than my wife does. I’m not a big fan of other housework, but neither is she. Still, I’d rather iron and vacuum than work in an office. My wife would go stir crazy being at home all the time. I wouldn’t. So if one of us had to take on this role, it would make sense for me to do it. I am glad we live in an age where we can consider that as an option.
And I know, given the state of our culture, than none of my friends or family members would give me a hard time about it. They wouldn’t care. The subject wouldn’t even interest them. Granted, I hang with a very liberal crowd. There are certainly folks outside my group who would think less of me if they found out I was a house-husband. But that wouldn’t bother me.
Marcus Geduld is a Shakespearean director, computer programmer, teacher, and writer. You can read more Quora posts here: