Research on women’s disproportionate responsibility for housework and childcare has found that that, when men “help” women, they are more likely to do childcare than housework and, when they do childcare, they are more likely to do the fun parts: playing instead of bathing, feeding, cleaning, etc. I guess The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse is just being realistic, but I’d like to see some diaper changes and dishwashing, too.
When the commercial I originally posted about is coupled with the other one lisa found, I can totally see her point. While moms are expected to take care of kids in countless ways (housework, cooking, picking them up from soccer practice, caring for them when they're sick, etc.), dads actually get to act like kids in order to be good dads.
It makes me think about how things were in my house when I was growing up. When Dad was involved (meaning not at work like he usually was), he was always playing with us and generally being fun and cool, making him the favorite parent by a landslide. Mom, on the other hand, was always the one enforcing the rules. She was the only one who was there to make us do our homework and chores and the only one around to yell at us when we were being bad, and she just seemed so boring when compared with super-fun Dad.
I've read work by many feminist writers who say that when they were young, they identified so much more with their fathers than their mothers, because their fathers seemed so much freer and more independent and generally so much more interesting than their mothers, who were always too saddled with household drudgery to be doing anything inspiring. Do these commercials, despite their positive message about involvement, actually reinforce gender roles for parents as much as they seem to challenge them?