First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.Mahatma Gandhi
Great quote right? Unfortunately, there’s no evidence Gandhi ever actually said that but it doesn’t matter. The sentiment is applicable here, so I’m going with it.
This video was published shortly after the release of the landmark 2014 Pew Research study which showed a marked rise in Stay At Home Dads. The Onion’s take is predictably ruthless and, admittedly, hilarious. Watching it, I was both wildly amused and slightly offended. And this is exactly the reaction Onion writers are going for, so kudos to you, Onion!
Getting back to Gandhi’s “quote” above, marginalized segments of the population often go through a maturation that begins with being, well, marginal. If lucky, they’ll begin to be noticed by the mainstream at which point they are the target of mindless ridicule. If their luck continues, the mainstream will be threatened by their growing visibility and acceptance by more progressive corners of society—this is when the backlash begins. The backlash can go on for decades, but the other end of this difficult period is acceptance.
What a f*cking pussy.The Onion
Let me stop now and say that in no way am I equating SAHDs to persecuted segments like people of color or LGBTQ.
That said, I began to see the Onion’s video differently. I think Stay At Home Dads are currently in Phase II of the maturation I describe above: We’re being noticed and it’s currently perfectly acceptable in polite company to dismiss us with thoughtless humor steeped in generations of accepted societal and gender norms.
We’ve even seen a little bit of the next phase—the backlash—already. There are whispers around the edges that perhaps it’s better for Mom to stay home. Don’t children really need their moms at home with them instead of at the office all day?
I don’t predict a nasty backlash against Stay At Home Dads, but I don’t think we’ll reach full-on acceptance without some growing pains. I look forward to the continued evolution of what’s “normal” for working families. And hopefully we’ll get some more hilarious videos to watch along the way!