Human Nature, Social Standards

Stroller Stigma

The other day at two in the afternoon, I saw a girl with a stroller, a stuffed baby doll in tow. Stopped further down the same road, I saw another girl pushing her stroller proudly alongside her mother. At first I was happy that her face was showing so much happiness. Then I began to think beyond the emotion. I saw the facts.

These were junior high school kids being released from school. There were no boys pushing strollers. There were no boys carrying the baby in their arms. What I saw one boy do is spin himself, laughing carelessly towards the first girl pushing the stroller. Is this what we are teaching boys to become–bystanders to child raising.

In this day in age both men and women can have more equal opportunity at jobs. It is socially acceptable. How come boys cannot begin learning the basics of stroll pushing and baby carrying? Are we telling them that because it isn’t a 5-ton heavy object (like in construction work) or because it is merely carrying a baby around that it isn’t important. It’s not the weight of the job that counts. It’s the impact of your effort on a child’s life.

Why can’t testosterone or estrogen be a human trait? Many men have embraced their feminine side, but not with the help of early education. From what I saw that afternoon, I gather that we are still pushing gender roles on boys and girls. More women are working alongside men. Why can’t more men confidently be homemakers. Being a homemaker is an honorable job for anyone. How can we stop perpetuating the stigma?

There are also variables that I could have missed: there were also boys pushing carts and I didn’t see them. Perhaps, if this is true, they wanted to wait until home to push a stroller around. Secondly, the two girls I saw might have volunteered for the project at the encouragement of their mothers (who did come from a time where mostly women still cared for children).

It is possible for men to become caretakers. You see proof of this in families were there are two dads. You also see families with two moms take on both working and caretaking. Too many people are making excuses for why they cannot do something. Society keeps telling us how we should run things. Most of us keep letting them. If you have a child or related to one, please tell them both sides of the story. The possibilities are unlimited. I want to see both boys and girls become the best people the can be.