Redefinition of Masculinity
The depiction of masculinity in the society has remained a significant aspect concerning the description of a man. The traditions upheld by a particular society further reinforce the aspect of masculinity. The 21st century has witnessed a considerable transformation of the definition masculinity due to the increasing participation of women in fields previously considered as designated for men. The thinning distinction between the roles intended for men and those meant for women raises doubts concerning the execution of certain tasks by one gender rather than the other. Despite the continued debates concerning gender equality, the issue of fatherhood as a concept of masculinity has remained un-addressed in most societies. Sometime back, societies perceived the man’s role in the family as solely that of a breadwinner and a disciplinarian (Lewis, 1986). The focus concerning the role of a man as a caregiver was minimal. Although the society has continued to address issues regarding the need to eliminate various obstacles that independence for women, the fatherly role of men has remained unrecognized. Various cultures depict man as a non-poignant being. In this regard, emotional bonding in a family remains as an issue between the mother and the children. Research shows that the sociology of a family cannot be complete without the integration of various aspects of fatherhood in the family unit.
An evaluation of research by psychologists on various family setups from diverse ethnic backgrounds demonstrates that a child’s social and emotional development is dependent largely on a father’s affection and family involvement (Lamb, 1999). Furthermore, numerous studies concerning the family unit present evidence substantiating the assertion that the influence of a father’s role on the development of a child has equal impacts as that of a mother. Data obtained from professionals in the field of child development illustrates that fatherly love is crucial in shaping various aspects of a child’s development concerning the social, emotional and cognitive functioning (Connell, 2005). Data from rehabilitation centers and psychologists demonstrate the relationship between behavioral crisis and the tendency to engage in substance abuse and the aspect of fatherly love in families.
Research indicates the changes in various roles of fathers to have largely been due to industrialization, urbanization and changing economic roles of women. These factors have had considerable effects on the traditional roles of men. The significant increase in the number of employed women has translated into enhanced monetary power for women. In this regard, the level of importance attached to paternal financial support has continued to decline. Other aspects such as increasing levels of freedom for women, rampant cases of divorce and remarriage have contributed to the redefinition of the role of a father in many societies. The increasing number of stay-at-home fathers necessitates a re-evaluation of fathers’ role as caregivers. The primary task for a large number of the stay-at-home fathers is caregiving. Research shows that men become stay-at-home fathers largely due to their insignificant earning potential compared to their spouses (Geiger, 1996). Other reasons may be due to factors such as sickness, which may render the woman unable to play the role of a caregiver and thus require intervention by the man.
Although the role of fathers as caregivers is crucial in the development of a child, the issue has not received the level of interest that it deserves. Furthermore, most societies still view the role of care giving as feminine and stigmatize fathers who are considerably engaged in care giving. An evaluation of various studies and statistics indicates that a re-definition of masculinity is crucial in order to include the role of a father as a caregiver. It is vital to encourage fathers to play active roles in the social, emotional and psychological development of their children.