So much has been written about parenting, but when it comes to books about parenting identity—rather than the nuts and bolts of raising children—nearly all are about what it’s like to be a mother. Men today are struggling to understand what it means to be a “dad” when gender norms are changing, old economic models are evolving, and parenthood and family life are undergoing an existential transformation.
On May 24, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) hosted a virtual event to discuss Nonresident Fellow Jordan Shapiro’s norm-shattering new book, “Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad,” and the badly needed update to our collective understanding of fatherhood—and masculinity in general. CUE Senior Fellow and Co-Director Rebecca Winthrop led a moderated conversation between Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation and former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, and Jordan Shapiro that explored fatherhood, the role of dads in combating misogyny and sexual abuse, and how images of fatherhood can reinforce the patriarchal status quo. Drawing on research in sociology, economics, philosophy, gender studies, and the speakers’ own experiences, the event addressed questions such as “What paradoxes and contradictions are inherent in our common understanding of dads? How do outdated family conventions cement inequitable gendered expectations that contour so many parts of our lives?”
Viewers submitted questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at #FatherFigure.