New Castle News

Josh Drespling

April 28, 2012

Josh Drespling: Our society is prejudiced against dads

NEW CASTLE — Deep within the psyche of our society lie impressions of proper placement and duty.

Whether intentional or subconscious, these representations of status and position are often exhibited in our actions and words. These mundane activities mirror our beliefs and our concepts and serve as a fabric upon which our personalities are built.

These notions can serve to uplift, enhance or further ourselves and others or they can function as a stumbling block and impede those who are exposed to our close-minded shortcomings.

In recent years, I have become painfully aware of the blissful ignorance that many have in one particular area that I shall call prejudice. These people tout their acceptance of other races, religions and sexual orientation, but cast a great shadow of oppression onto a class of citizen that I happen to find myself to be part of. I'm speaking of gender bias in parenting roles.

Since the onset of my daughter entering into the public world I have been bombarded with gender discrimination and bias. I have repeatedly felt the premature judging of myself simply because of my gender. I have been talked down to by kindergarten teachers and school nurses. I've had medical professionals question my reasoning in coming to my daughter's doctor appointments rather than sending her mother. I've had a school district skip over my name and number that is clearly labeled as the primary contact for my daughter, so that they could speak to my wife rather than communicate with me, the man of the house.

I truly believe that I startled my daughter's teacher when I returned her call to our home one evening and offered informed, exacting and solution based answers to her questions. When confronted with my ability to form complete sentences and not be quickly swayed by her surface observations, she hastily ended the conversation and has called my wife's cell phone every sequential time.

When I did attend events at her preschool or kindergarten, I felt the cold stare of distrust from the plethora of female parents. I felt as if I were being watched like a dirty old man sitting on a park bench waiting to snatch another victim. I've been treated as second class and talked to as if I am a child. Is it so inconceivable that a man can love his children and care enough to be involved in what they are doing? Have these women become so complacent in their clique that it is acceptable to cast judgment at a man simply based on fear and lack of understanding?

When did it become commonplace for a man to be rejected simply because he is a man? I have been told that I am the exception to the rule, because I cook and clean and take care of what needs to be done, but I don’t do those things because I am a man, but rather I do it because it is the right thing to do. I do it because I love my family and care what happens to them. I do it because I want them to have the best I can give to them. Maybe that makes me more of a man than most , but please understand, I am in no way comparing my plight to that of African-Americans, those of Jewish decent or even the massacred Native Americans. However, I am stating that there lies a problem when a person is judged simply based on their gender.

I am not the second parent. I am one part of the parenting team and to disrespect that is to disrespect our family.

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Josh Drespling
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