Who are considered the fathers of sociology
Media presentation of fathers on parental leave
... using the example of the documentation, Hip Papas ‘
'New', 'active' or even 'committed' fathers, it seems, there are more and more - at least they are on everyone's lips. Anne von Friesen even speaks of a "silent revolution of the young fathers" (2015) and the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, publishes photos of himself and his daughter Max, who was born in December, cuddling on the floor, swimming or while Changing the baby's diaper (see Zuckerberg 2015). The photos look like advertising photos for active and committed fatherhood. The company Facebook announced in November 2015 that after the birth of their child, parents would be given four months of paid parental leave (see Wtop 2015). In the context of these media portrayals of fatherhood, my colleague Kathrin Peltz and I found it exciting to take a closer look at the media portrayal of fathers as part of our project “Care Practices for Fathers in Bavaria - Caring Behavior and Couple Dynamics when Using Parental Allowance” . As part of this decision, we came across the short documentary [Hippe Papas - Father being in Berlin], which we find interesting in many ways and which I will examine in more detail in the following text. In a second part, Kathrin Peltz is inspired by the visual (self-) representation of Zuckerberg during parental leave to think about parental leave fathers and careers, household and masculinity and will write about her thoughts.
, Hip dads ‘: Even if you have to consider that certain questions were probably deliberately put to the interviewees and certain scenes were selected for publication, the documentary offers many starting points for discussions. After watching the video, I am concerned with the question of what image of being a father is conveyed and to what extent the subject of fatherhood is normatively charged. The lexicon of sociology describes normativity as follows: "Normative, normativity, designation for statements in which an evaluation is expressed (e.g. correct, good), combined with the requirement to join this evaluation" (Fuchs ‑ Heinritz et al. 2011: 467). So if we look at the video critically, also with regard to this definition, some normative statements become recognizable and an interesting picture of being a father is drawn. Using the scenes in the documentation, I will go into various aspects that are raised by the fathers and the representations and these with further information with regard to, among other things. Support parental allowance in order to ultimately take a critical look at the documentation.
In the documentary, Hippe Papas ‘, we are introduced to various fathers who are currently on parental leave. On the one hand there is the doctor Michael (37) with one year of parental leave, whose partner is currently “tinkering” with her acting career, and Stefan, who takes two months of parental leave and then wants to work part-time as a healing teacher. The documentation takes us to the families' homes and to the Berlin father center (Papaladen), which is “unique in Germany because it has been adapted to men's tastes” (Hippe Papas 2009).
Michael, the doctor, addresses many points that are relevant to me in his article. He emphasizes that he is more interested in child-related tasks than in household tasks, which he apparently does anyway - at least washing up.
Fathers' careers and parental leave: Michael also speaks of career losses that he consciously enter into because he wants to take parental leave. He does this for himself and for his family, with which he not only devotes himself to care activities in the family, but also practices something like self-care, because he takes care of his need to be close to his child and to take on responsibility. Nevertheless, his statement that he has to accept disadvantages in his career due to his relatively long parental leave is probably not entirely wrong; At least this is what a study at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) suggests: "51 percent of employees experienced a significant change in their work tasks after returning from parental leave, 17 percent of managers lost their status, and 58 percent were considering a change of employer" (Engelmann 2015 ). A study on 'lasting effects of parental leave by fathers' also showed that worries are not unfounded, because “[f] almost every fourth father interviewed and around every tenth father from the online survey had a negative impact on their further career Take purchase. The decisive factor is the length of time it is used. During a shorter usage with one to two EGM [parental allowance months] as a rule, the career progression is not impaired, the risk increases significantly with longer parental allowance use of at least three months ”(Pfahl et al. 2014: 280; Herv.
With such results, it is not surprising that fathers do not take parental leave because they fear professional disadvantages: In response to the "question to fathers who would have been interested in parental leave: 'And for what reasons did you still not take parental leave?'" (Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach 2014: 26) 38% of those questioned answered “[w] because I feared professional disadvantages” (ibid.). This concern also means that no more than two months of paternal parental allowance are claimed, although fathers are also interested in this (cf. ibid.). Kathrin Peltz will deal more intensively with this aspect in her article.
Duration of the parental allowance phase: With 12 months of parental allowance, Michael claims parental allowance longer than many other fathers (whose child was born in 2013) in Germany and Berlin. Here the average number of months is 3.18 (Germany) and 3.9 months (Berlin) (cf. Federal Statistical Office 2015: 21/29).
The second father accompanied in the documentation (Stefan, the curative educator) takes two months of parental allowance, as most fathers do. The parental allowance statistics of the Federal Statistical Office have also presented figures on this and they show that 64% of fathers in Berlin and 78.3% of fathers in Germany claim exactly two months of parental allowance (cf.
Family work: In the everyday life of Stefan and his daughter Emma it becomes clear that the demands on things that have to be done have to be scaled down - according to the father. He thus indirectly indicates that - in the sense of tasks to be done - the time with the child is not, productive or should not be measured under performance standards. Stefan emphasizes that he cannot imagine being a full-time father, he needs a broader horizon, this is rather small due to the child and household, the stimuli are restricted and topics are “limited”. This statement could imply that women feel differently than men because, after all, they often do full-time family work. This fits a picture (see Pinkstinks.de 2015) that is currently circulating on the Internet. It is taken for granted by women that they do not have the feeling of Stefan or that they are, by nature ‘responsible for the children, that they are or have to be more caring and willing to make sacrifices.(Under the term 'mother's love' at Duden ‑ Online only the meaning “love of a mother for her child” can be found (cf. Duden ‑ Online) - which means that something has been changed or that the picture is satire. )
Fathers and masculinity: In the documentary, Hippe Papas ‘, the father Michael and his child next visit the father center, the concept of which is still unique in Germany. The website says: “The Papaladen speaks that with its offers Child-within-a-man at. We have a car racing track, table football, dartboard and other classic men's toys. According to the motto: What is fun for fathers, is also fun for children. In the Papaladen fathers can spend an exciting and wonderful time with their children ”(Väterzentrum Berlin; Herv. I. O.). In contrast to classic groups - where, according to the visitors to the father center, there is usually a maximum of one father - the fathers can supposedly still be (undisturbed?) Men here at this retreat. The fathers center is equipped in such a way that one can deal with things that are stereotypically male; In addition, the fathers can talk to other fathers about football etc. - the "competence" z. B. When it comes to football, there is more in the men's center than in normal children's groups. Furthermore, the fathers have the opportunity to do things that - unlike many other activities in their everyday life with a child - do not have a feminine connotation. In this, homosocial space ‘(see Meuser 2010: 430 on homosocial spaces), the fathers can secure and stage their masculinity, as well as playfully compete with others:
The video suggests that fathers need male employment in order to offer a counterbalance to the low-stimulus and limited horizon of family work. Here the men can pursue their interests and prove to themselves that they can be a "real man" despite having children in their arms. This also reproduces stereotypical images of men. In general, it is shown that apparently all men are interested in table football, soccer and car racing.
The sociologist Michael Meuser writes that friendships and homosocial spaces, i.e. social spaces in which men can be among themselves, are important for the construction of masculinity (cf. Meuser 2010: 430). In these "homosocial contexts" (ibid.), According to Meuser, the "appropriation of masculinity to a high degree [...]" (ibid.) Takes place, because this is where the male habitus is constructed and its "structural logic ... playfully appropriated [...]" ( ibid). In other words, masculinity acts here as something that can be described as a “complex routine” (Fuchs-Heinritz et al. 2011: 148). The sociologist Claudia Honegger emphasizes that the compulsion to form a gendered habitus is decisive for the “order of the sexes” (1991; quoted in Hoff 2005: 267). This means that all people are challenged to conform to a common model of one gender. The gender must be staged accordingly in order to enable classification in the binary system and to maintain the social structure. And that in turn means that the fathers use the center and the contact with the other fathers to create a counterbalance to their being a father, which goes hand in hand with many activities that are connoted as not being male but female.
Stereotypical offers: I think it is important that fathers have a space in which they can exchange ideas and are not the exotic ones who are treated and assessed in this way by the other participants in an offer. But I think it's a shame if there aren't common offers for parents or if the offers are purely stereotypical. Mothers can also want to play soccer with their children and fathers can have fun sewing clothes for their children. So why should they be so limited by this stereotypical thinking? Why should children and parents be restricted in their development? My appeal: let us use the full range of possibilities and do not allow ourselves to be limited by stereotypical images of women and men. The children benefit from this, and so do their parents!
Another difficulty associated with stereotypical offerings is that it is conveyed that children are fathers and Mothers need because fathers like and can do one thing and mothers just the other. But what about children who have two mothers or two fathers? So the other side is supposedly missing completely? It is also possible that all parents try out which activities they like and may find that they do not correspond to the stereotype of their gender. This would lead to fewer compromises and also show the children that they are free to try things if they feel like it - regardless of their gender.
Incidentally, it should always be remembered that families are diverse and do not naturally consist of women, men and child (ren). The heteronormative family should not be the sole subject in research projects and everything else or all others should be faded out, but other family constellations should be included; Only in this way can research reflect the great diversity of families.
A good father ?: After the visit to the father's center, the documentation shows that the discourse about men and being a father is highly topical and that many advisors deal with what makes a good father and how fatherhood and the role that goes with it can be coped with well. At this point it remains questionable and open what characterizes or could characterize a good father - maybe that he claims parental allowance? No, that's not enough. In addition, we cannot claim that claiming parental allowance is fundamentally good for all fathers and all children - that too would be normative. It also shows that the effects of parental leave are among other things. This depends on how long the father takes parental leave, what he does during this time, how intensively he is involved in everyday family life during this time, whether he bears the main responsibility or whether the other parent is also at home. This means that paternal parental leave is not generally and almost automatically good for the children or must have positive effects for the family. "Above all, the duration of the EGM [parental allowance months] used by the fathers has an influence on how intensely the fathers get involved in taking on childcare tasks and how intensely and satisfactorily they experience the father-child relationship" (Pfahl et al. 2014: 277). It must be remembered here that subjective experience is not a yardstick for the "overall quality" of fatherhood.
Positive effects of parental allowance: Ultimately, various studies show that active and committed paternity or the use of parental allowance can have positive and lasting effects on the couple relationship as well as on the relationship with the child or children. This is the conclusion of the, DJI ‑ Väterreport ‘(2015):“ The relationship with the child benefits ... from a stronger commitment on the part of the fathers. […] At the same time, mothers who have active fathers by their side are (sic!) More satisfied with their relationship. The active fathers not only take part in (sic!) Child-related tasks, they are generally more involved in housework and family work. The active fathers themselves are more satisfied, feel less time pressure with regard to family issues and report fewer work-to-family and only a few family-to-work conflicts ”(Li et al. 2015: 144 f.). And the above-mentioned project report, Sustainable Effects of Parental Allowance Use by Fathers ‘(2014) shows positive effects of the use of parental allowance by fathers: For example, that the use of parental allowance by fathers has a positive effect on the partner's career. "Despite ... [some] restrictions, lasting positive interactions between a (long) use of EGM by the father and an (early) return to work for the partner can be assumed - in line with the aim of the statutory parental allowance regulation" (Pfahl et al .: 2014: 181). They also emphasize that "[j] the longer the EGM duration of the father, the more intensely it strengthens the father-child relationship and the more obvious is the increase in equality in the couple relationship" (ibid .: 278).
Husband, father and breadwinner ?: In conclusion, the protagonist of the documentary emphasizes that the “new dads” are on an emancipation course and want and can now “be man, father and breadwinner” and also work part-time, “just as mothers have done for decades” (Hippe Papas 2009.). This statement puzzles me because, on the one hand, I ask myself what the fathers are emancipating themselves from and, on the other hand, the statement hides the fact that negotiations in a couple context and the decision to take parental leave are not so easy after all. As just described, claiming parental allowance for fathers, but also for mothers, can have disadvantages for careers. In addition, the decision for parental allowance is also closely linked to the family's financial support. For example, 60% of the fathers surveyed in a study stated that they did not claim parental allowance because the loss of income would have been too high (see Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach 2014: 26).Plus, it sounds like part time is a privilege that mothers have had for years. The fact is, however, that many women are in a certain way forced to work part-time, for example because of childcare, because stereotypical women's jobs are often offered part-time, because there are no other positions available due to gaps in their curriculum vitae, etc. The high one The part-time quota of women has disadvantages, for example one reason for the high poverty rate or a high risk of poverty among older women.
The statement that one can be a husband, father and (possibly even at the same time) breadwinner (part-time) is too undifferentiated and also normative. But since I'm at the end of my text, I'll take the liberty of doing that now: Ultimately, no family member should be in the situation of having to bear the sole responsibility for the family's financial support. And all parents should have the opportunity to spend time with their children and in couple relationships and families an egalitarian distribution of tasks in the interests of equality should be the rule.
All in all: Dealing with the portrayal of fathers in the media (and parental allowance) has led to interesting thoughts, some of which I was able to share with you and you here. It shows once again that the topic and the discourse about fathers, masculinity and parental allowance offers a lot of potential to lead exciting discussions and gain knowledge. We hope to be able to make a contribution to this with our project, care practices of fathers in Bavaria ‘in the following years. The media representation of fathers and fatherhood, as well as mothers and motherhood, is only a small aspect of this. My article is - and this must be emphasized at this point - only a small insight into the topic and does not claim to be exhaustive. In the second part that follows, Kathrin Peltz will deal with the focus on the media representation of fathers on parental leave.
About the author:
Luisa Straßenbach completed her B.A. in education and social sciences at the University of Vechta and then studied sociology (M.A.) with a focus on gender research at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and the University of Basel. For her master's thesis, she researched masculinity constructions in the community of pickup artists. She is currently doing her doctorate within the ForGenderCare (LMU) research group at the German Youth Institute e. V. on “Care practices of fathers in Bavaria”.
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The research association ForGenderCare examines the connection between gender and care theoretically and empirically against an interdisciplinary horizon. The Bavarian research association ForGenderCare has 12 projects at different research locations all over Bavaria. The spokespersons of the ForGenderCare group are Prof. Dr. Barbara Thiessen (HAW Landshut) and Prof. Dr. Paula-Irene Villa (LMU Munich). The LMU Munich is the spokesperson university of the association, the office is assigned to the chair of Prof. Villa at the social science faculty of the LMU. The association is funded by the State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art and is part of the Bavarian research alliance BayFor. View all posts by ForGenderCare
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