I was visiting friends recently and noticed this book on their coffee table. The Family Home: Relaxed, informal living for all ages by Joanna Copestick. The images, like the one on the cover of this book, are everywhere. Talking about "The Family". Showing "The Family". Advertising "The Family". "Family Service" organizations. Parenting magazines and books. In so many cases, the description of "The Family" or the look of "The Family" has someone conspicously absent. A man. Is it because he isn't there by his own choice, or because society doesn't really see him as a part of "The Family." These images seem to support the latter. There isn't room. A simple thing like PTA meetings held only during the day. Like Louden Wainwright III sings, "The house is a man's castle, but what's important in that castle are the women and children."

Taking it further, JC Penney ran a whole series of television commercials depicting dads as complete incompetants with their own children. And Safeway basically advertised the mother as the man of the house. The list goes on, and on, and on.

It's often difficult enough to get men to focus on anything beyond the provider role, which seems to be a legal requirement in this country. Making them feel un-welcome or like they don't belong, or there isn't room for them, doesn't help.

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