Re-claiming or re-shaping fatherhood

Everingham, Christine; Bowers, Tarquin
April 2006
Health Sociology Review;Apr2006, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p96
Academic Journal
There is an emerging trend to recognise the importance of fathers in health service provision. This is consistent with feminist objectives to re-shape fatherhood to enhance gender equity in the home and in the workplace. How best to include fathers in services, overwhelmingly utilised by mothers, is now a topic of considerable interest. However, the desire to re-shape fatherhood in ways conducive to gender equity is easily co-opted by conservative political agendas which do not seek to re-shape fatherhood but re-claim the rights of fathers by re-instating paternal authority within the family. This cooption is facilitated by new fatherhood discourses utilised by many service providers which blame mothers for the lack of fathers' involvement in early infant care. The paper argues that mother-blaming is aggravated by service providers who fail to understand the nature and extent of maternal anxiety and by unrealistic images of the new father.


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