Eliminating the Binary Model: Challenging Gender Roles in Regards to Distribution of Parenting

Several examples of heterosexual couples attempting to partake in equal parenting without much success are provided in Belkin’s New York Times article. It’s suggested throughout the article that equally splitting parenting between mothers and fathers isn’t an easy task due to obstacles such as mainstream gender role norms and the lack of job hour flexibility. But does challenging mainstream gender parenting roles necessarily mean totally reversing the idea of the ‘Stay at home Mom’ into that of the ‘Stay at home Dad,’ essentially flipping the responsibilities of a familiar gendercized work model? Perhaps the binary structure of parental care should be replaced altogether; a more fluid distribution of childcare, a system oblivious to gender, should be explored.

Building a model of this type would require that parents make a list of housework/ parental chores as well as occupational/economic responsibilities that both could commit to. The roles of the spouses would adjust continually in response to the changing family situations. It seems that the emphasis on availability rather than gender in this model would be effective in challenging mainstream gender role norms of parenting.


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