Even as society encourages women into typically male roles, research shows it holds rigid gender stereotypes for men — probably to everyone's detriment.
December 26, 2013|By Emily Alpert Reyes
Brent Kroeger pores over nasty online comments about stay-at-home dads, wondering if his friends think those things about him. The Rowland Heights father remembers high school classmates laughing when he said he wanted to be a
"house husband." He avoids mentioning it on Facebook.
"I don't want other men to look at me like less of a man," Kroeger said. His fears are tied to a bigger phenomenon: The gender revolution has been lopsided. Even as American society has seen sweeping transformations — expanding roles for women, surging tolerance for homosexuality — popular ideas about masculinity seem to have stagnated.
While women have broken into fields once dominated by men, such as business, medicine and law, men have been slower to pursue nursing, teach preschool, or take jobs as administrative assistants. Census data and surveys show that men remain rare in stereotypically feminine positions.
When it comes to gender progress, said Ronald F. Levant, editor of the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, "men are stuck." The imbalance appears at work and at home: Working mothers have become ordinary, but stay-at-home fathers exist in only 1% of married couples with kids under age 15, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
In a recent survey, 51% of Americans told the Pew Research Center that children were better off if their mother was at home. Only 8% said the same about fathers. Even seeking time off can be troublesome for men: One University of South
Florida study found that college students rated hypothetical employees wanting flexible schedules as less masculine.
Other research points to an enduring stigma for boys whose behavior is seen as feminine. "If girls call themselves tomboys, it's with a sense of