Constructing masculinities and the role of stay-at-home fathers: discussions of isolation, resistance and the division of household labor

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This qualitative study examines how fathers, who stay home with their children and identify as the main care-giver within their family, construct their role as the primary caregiver. I

This qualitative study examines how fathers, who stay home with their children and identify as the main care-giver within their family, construct their role as the primary caregiver. I analyze the narratives of stay-at-home fathers focusing on the thematic areas of isolation, resistance and the division of household labor. Unlike previous research, I examine the ways in which fathers construct their position as a stay-at-home father separate from the traditional stay-at-home mother role. Consequently, I focus on the constructions of masculinities by stay-at-home fathers that allows for the construction of the stay-at-home role to be uniquely tied to fatherhood rather than motherhood.

In this research, I explore three questions: 1) how do stay-at-home fathers construct their masculinity, specifically in relation to their social roles as fathers, partners, peers, etc.? 2) Is the negotiation of household labor, including care work and household tasks, in these families a reflection of shifting gender roles in the home where the primary caregiver is the father? 3) In what ways does social location and intersecting identities influence the ways in which fathers construct this stay-at-home identity?

My research emphasizes how these fathers understand their role as a stay-at-home father while challenging some traditionally dominant expectations of fatherhood. Specifically, I use themes of isolation, resistance, and the division of household labor in order to understand the multiple ways fathers experience their roles as stay-at-home parents.