Men Can: The Changing Image and Reality of Fatherhood in America

Overview

In Men Can, writer, teacher, and father Donald Unger uses his personal experiences as a stay-at-home dad; stories of real-life families; and representations of fathers in film, on television, and in advertising to illuminate the roles men now play in the increasingly fluid domestic sphere.

Unger tells the stories of a half dozen families-of varied ethnicities, geographical locations, and philosophical orientations-in which fathers are either ...
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Men Can: The Changing Image and Reality of Fatherhood in America

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Overview

In Men Can, writer, teacher, and father Donald Unger uses his personal experiences as a stay-at-home dad; stories of real-life families; and representations of fathers in film, on television, and in advertising to illuminate the roles men now play in the increasingly fluid domestic sphere.

Unger tells the stories of a half dozen families-of varied ethnicities, geographical locations, and philosophical orientations-in which fathers are either primary caregivers or equally sharing parents. He personalizes how Americans are now caring for their children and discusses the ways that popular culture reflects these changes in family roles. Unger also addresses the evolving language of parenting and media representations of fathers over several decades.

Men Can shows how real change can take place when families divide up domestic labor on a gender-neutral basis. The families profiled here offer insights into the struggles of-and opportunities for-men caring for children. Unger favors flexible arrangements and a society that respects personal choices and individual differences, crediting and supporting functional families, rather than one in which every household must conform to a one-size-fits-all mold.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Lindgren
…Unger is especially illuminating on the role of the media and other cultural forces in shaping our shared perceptions…incisive and fair-minded…Men CAN is succinct and persuasive.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439900000
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald N.S. Unger is a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 
Introduction: When You Comin' Home, Dad? 
1. Ángel Nieto: The Leading Edge of Change 
2. The Problem of Language: Can Fathers Mother? 
3. Tom Andrejev: The Matter of Trust 
4. TV Dads: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back 
5. Darryl Smith: Recovering Our Own Fathers 
6. Poppins versus Kramer: Dad, You Have Really Changed! 
7. Ronnie Huang: What If We Don't Put Him in Day Care? 
8. TV Commercials and the New American Family 
9. Kevin Knussman: The Trooper Dad 
Epilogue 
Afterword 
Appendix A: Comparative Word Frequency (2006 and 2009) 
Appendix B: AT&T Wireless Commercial, "Business Trip," Shot Sequence (Approximate) 
Appendix C: Comparative Word Frequency (2004 and 2006) 
Notes 
Selected Bibliography 
Index

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