Ah, yes the infamous pillow shot. I must confess that I too am in the "moms who cringed when the dad throws the pillow at his kid," group. And, I too have been thinking about that basic truth: that men and women are different, so it follows that; of course, fathers and mothers will parent differently. In their traditional gender roles, fathers hunted, built and sought,outside the home, the necessities for family survival; while mothers kept the home and nurtured the children in its protected environment. As the children grew, the sons accompanied dad on his excursions and learned his role and the skills necessary to perform it; and the daughters remained on the home front with mom and learned her role and the skills necessary to perform it. Some would say boys and girls have a natural inclination towards the skills associated with their gender roles. I think there is definitely a truth in the relationship between these roles and biology- the family benefits from father going out in the world and utilizing his greater physical strength to hunt and build; the family benefits from mother remaining in the home and feeding the baby with milk created by her body. The Hunter. The Nurturer. Some version of these roles has been in place since the beginning. Am I suggesting that fathers are not capable of nurturing and mothers are not able to care for their families with achievements outside of the home-of course not. I know many nurturing, emotionally available fathers and I am one of many mothers; who, on a daily basis ventures out into the world for family's sake. Yes, I am oversimplifying a very complex issue, but it looks to me like our society continues to have more trust in dad as hunter and mom as nurturer and it seems to relate to a very old, very deep, fear for survival.
I am beginning to see these basic truths (men and women are different; hence parent differently and society has not quite adjusted to the idea of dad as nurturer, mom as huntress,) in relationship to the custodial issues in our country that Dana, Camila, myself and others on our team are unearthing during the course of our research. As a society, we do not yet trust dads to take care of their children, in the same way, years ago we were very uncomfortable with the idea of moms working outside of the home. The custodial bias that stems from this fear is sure to subside more and more over time, because, to echo Dana's prior blog, people are evolving. People are opening up to the masculine and feminine that co-exists within themselves. Dad the nurturer and Mom the huntress doesn't so much speak of role-swapping, as allowing an (often hidden) part of oneself to come forth. My hope with this movie, is that we will give credence to Dad the nurturer, who is arising and will no longer keep quiet and at the same time give sufficient attention to how dads do parent differently than moms. And that is okay. It is more than okay, as stay-at-home dad Dallas (or perhaps Stuart Smiley) would say "It's good enough."
There is no stopping this evolution. And who wouldn't want that? Because it is a progression towards wholeness. For ourselves and our children.