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Traditionnellement, parler des enfants était exclusivement le domaine des femmes. Des blogs de mamans aux magazines pour parents, à l’image icône de la mère et de l’enfant en art, l’éducation des enfants a toujours été considérée comme un rôle de femme.

Mais qu’en est-il de la paternité? C’est un sujet qui n’a pas énormément d’attention sur la scène publique. Mais les jeunes hommes de notre génération consacrent à présent de plus en plus d’énergie dans leur rôle et leurs expériences de pères, et il est grand temps que nous y prêtions attention.

Lisez l’essai d’Andru Matthew sur l’ambiguïté qu’il a ressentie envers son rôle de futur père dans « Devenir Père ». Regardez le film “Shane et Carmichael” pour avoir une perspective intéressante sur la façon d’élever des jumeaux. Explorez les photographies touchantes qui capturent des moments complices de pères avec leurs enfants. Partagez vos histoire et joignez-vous à la conversation.
Guy Hoffman
Disclaimer: I am not a father. But looking at young dads around me, I wonder what kind of father I would be, or could be. All the time remembering what most of my already-parenting friends remind me of:that I can't imagine it until it actually happens to me.

The new fathers in Pelle Koornstra's movie, even though they are from a different culture, remind me of the challenges my own friends face. Finding time to spend with the children after the long hours of a day job; "playing second fiddle" to the mother when it comes to making decisions about the children; losing control over one's time and freedom; suffering the frequent insult of the natural or learned attraction a child has towards their mother.

So, what is it like to be a young father in the 21st century? Listen to the stories of our contributors, and share your own thoughts.

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Etats Unis
Posted on Friday, February 23, 2007 5:51 PM
I've been a step dad for the past 2 1/2 years, since I was 50. It is sad that because his real dad does not want to have anything to do with him, he makes up lies and tries to create friction with his mom and I, and of course he wants all of the attention, he is 12. Like I told her I would do anything for the both of them but he never gives me a chance. She has given me hints to divorce her since I am not happy and go back to Calif. which is where I am from, well that time has come because I have had enough, NOW of course she does not want me to leave.

As her son continues to grow he will realize that he needs a strong male figure in his life, I made it clear to him a while back that he can come to me whenever he wants to and he can talk to me about anything, just don't lie as he does to his mom when he gets into trouble, and learn to listen when an adult is talking and don't interrupt.

My mom raised my 3 brothers and myself since I was 9 1/2, thank God she was and still is a strong woman but I truly miss that male figure that many young men had when we were growing up, it makes a BIG difference.

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Marama Davidson
Nouvelle Zélande
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 6:08 PM
We really need more of this stuff about the important roles of fathers, I am really enjoying going through this 'fatherhood' section, and commend everyone that has contributed. I'm almost enraged when I discover there are still people around who don't believe in men being hands on with their children - just my view.
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Elen Farkas
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 2:40 AM
hi there. i commend your honest views and excellent photos about stay-at-home dads. my husband is in the same situtation and i know that he is doing a pretty good job.
still there are others who think that it is somehow odd. people who like to stereotype and put people in boxes, including my conservative parents. they still want to him to be the one bringing home the bacon, the forever father figure, absent yet the sole provider.
i just hope that our society understands that there is no difference between men and women when it comes to bringing up the children.
once again, thumbs-up for the article and the photos.
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Hiba Ibrahim
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 5:23 AM
I apologize for the empty comment boxes & for my spelling mistakes(brush it off,realize,moral
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Hiba Ibrahim
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 5:19 AM
First, I would like to give a special shout to Teddy for his expressive, beautiful & deep "Stay-at-Home Dad" pictures.Well done:)

Second, since I couldn't post a picture, I'm a 25 year old unmarried female:)

My father passed away 11 years ago yet his beautiful soul still lives on within us(me & my brother).Now that I recall it, I'd say he was more involved in the rearing process than my mother albeit juggling 3 jobs! He would spend every waking moment with us; cooking for us, playing with us, sleeping with us at night when we got scared, being our confidant & consultant, and even shedding tears when seeing us joyful.

It's because of his kindness, sensitivity and loving nature that I have learned to smile through hardships & see the good in people.May his soul rest in peace.

Hence, I think it is crucial and exemplary that fathers play a huge role in raising and bonding with the children, not to brush it as a mother's field.They should learn to balance the macho image with the sensitive, caring one and never be embarrassed or hesitant in displaying their affections.Dads or dads-to-be should relaize that what their children crave more than materialistic gifts is their undivided attention, morla support and unconditional love.

Fatherhood is as equally signifiant as motherhood and its lack thereof can scar for life.
It may seem intimidating & overwhelming, which, undeniably, it is since new responsibilites are assumed, perfectionism becomes an obsession & one's care-free days are over:). But,children complete us and the journey of parenthood, with its ups and downs, can be enriching, fulfilling and educational.

Michael, I second your view on the importance of being good:)
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Guy Hoffman
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 3:20 PM

Thanks everyone for this fascinating discussion. To me, the inspiring pieces in the exhibit as well as your comments on them mostly remind me that with all our differences, the more time passes, the more similar the joys and challenges are that women and men share. Sure, we're still continuing a legacy in which parenting was an obviously female activity, but increasingly there are less and less men who would want to consider a sideline job in their children's education.

While the thought of our parents' generation conjures up an image of a nervously aloof dad looking around when handed his first child, my own friends seem to be as eager as their female spouses to take a deep breath and dive head first into this adventure.

To the young dads in this exhibit and discussion, you're definitely reinventing society, one diaper at a time.

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Robert Peake
Etats Unis
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 9:54 PM
I have really enjoyed the exhibits in this series, and in particular Teddy's photos and the Pelle's video. Given we have not been able to have another child yet ourselves, it is also very poignant for me.

I know that everything has changed, in one sense, with regard to modern views of fatherhood. Yet at the same time I feel compelled to point out that the essential spirit of fatherhood seems to be a desire to make things a little better for one's children, and however misguided or flawed the attempt, I recognize this in the fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers I have known. It is a lineage of messy, imperfect best attempts - not unlike the first time changing a diaper. Yet there is something admirable in all that awkwardness; admirable in the intent.

In some sense, along with modern conceptions of fatherhood there also seems to have come the same kinds of pressures that have always been put on women: to be the "perfect" parent. It is as though the modern, sensitive dad needs to be less bungling, more "in touch" - this is the new hip. Yet the whole thing is necessarily a messy affair, as is any relationship not portrayed on TV, and especially one with children. Maybe we can give our own parents more of a break, and in doing so give ourselves, as and when we become parents, the benefit of the doubt as well. None of this stuff comes with a manual.

In any case, thanks to all involved with this interesting discussion.
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Teddy Wieczorek
Etats Unis
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 5:31 PM
Thanks Heather and Oren. I appreciate it. You can see the full 'postmodernfatherhood' set at my Flickr account:


When I look back at that time period I'm a bit amazed. The series petered out. I couldn't do it again if I tried. Sure, I could set the shots up again but there wouldn't be any truth to it or feeling. There was something about being a new parent/father that caught my imagination. It was so difficult and I felt that I was sucking at it. I wanted people to understand that.

I think the "stay at home dad" is a bit of a myth. It was really a choice for us. It was a pragmatic choice. My wife made more money. The cost of daycare would equal the amount of money if I continued to work full time. But I did make a choice to stay home. It was peace of mind and we thought it would make life less complicated. And it would be good for Rhen.

I was nervous about it. Rhen was still pretty young at the time. I don't regret it of course. I always remember that time I spent with him. It was the best time of my life, but not like "Yippee! Yeah! Hugs and giggles!" It just felt like life was completely new again and very hard.

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Oren Zuckerman
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 4:35 PM
I agree with heather, both his photos and his text are honest and moving. As he says, you see the love but also something else. He calls it "boredom and dissatisfaction with life". It reminds me of a text by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, he said that when people are left on their own without any meaningful objects around they fall into depression and dissatisfaction with life.
There is this crazy duality being with children for an extended period of time, it makes you both full and empty...

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heather neumann
Etats Unis
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 1:15 PM
i love teddy wieczorek's "stay-at-home dad" photos. they are aesthetically beautiful and contextually honest.
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Oren Zuckerman
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 7:04 AM
I am a father with 2 kids, 5 years old and 7 months old.
For me, parenting changed the balance in life completely. It took everything to the extreme: time management, emotional connection with people, social priorities, and mostly the relationship with my significant other and with myself.

One thought I have is that society should change to allow fathers to be more at home. One way for this to happen is to shift the career building time to ages 40 and up. With modern medicine people are still at their prime and can work many hours at 40-60 years old. So, if we would study and start our first career 20's-30's, then take it slowly career wise and be with our families 30's-40's, and then shift gears again and jump into career mode 40's and up, that could be great.

But, being an active and involved father, I also learned the personal limits of being with my kids all day. It is a deep and amazing experience to spend much time with my kids, but I found I can not freeze my intellectual and social development.

So, what can I say, it's the toughest challenge I have faced so far...

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sandra bello
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 7:55 PM
Regarding the last few comments, and being a mid twenties woman who has a seven year relationship going on, I also think the lifestyles and decision making of the new generations are shifting. Most of the people I know who are my age or a few generations older would rather live with their significant others than getting married, and since some of them already have children, the subject of creating a family is a recurrent one. Some of my friends think they want to wait several years more before having children, while the ones that already have them are raising them with quite different values than the ones they received when growing up.

In my case, my boyfriend and I have always said we don't want to have children. We joke sometimes of how we don't have the family gene in us, but people tell us someday we'll change our minds. In a way, we already feel like we have a family of our own, with our dear cats thelonious and mina being a handful around the house. I know you may say it can never compare to creating, bearing and raising a child of my own, but nevertheless we still feel the strong bond and need of protecting them, I even dare say my boyfriend is better and more patient with our cats than his nieces and nephews.

Anyway, I know we are builing a different kind of future for ourselves, since family planning is not on our schedule. So I think sometimes it's not about finding the right woman to have kids with, but rather finding the right woman to form a new kind of family with.
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Yousef -T
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:19 AM
we sh them .
houldnt be fathers,,, actualy fathers should act like friends of their teens the fact is they will push them to be more open& franc in dealing wit
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Teddy Wieczorek
Etats Unis
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:26 PM
They should be nervous about finding the right woman. From my own experience, child raising is the hardest thing I've ever done. My wife and I have a close relationship but even still, if were stressed we can fight about the most insignificant things, but we always know that we love each other at the end of it.

But still, say they didn't find the right woman and there's a divorce. So what. They're still going to love that child as their own regardless of the living arrangements.

When people ask my wife and I why we decided to have a child the answer was fairly simple. The response went like this, "Um, because...we wanted to have one."

Historically, I think mens' biological clocks have always been ticking away. Quietly. I always think of the "heir to throne" kind of deal. I think that's a pretty primal thing, right? A little touch of the immortality. To live on through our children.
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Paula Goldman, Director of Imagining Ourselves
Etats Unis
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:05 PM
I remember having a conversation with a few guy friends a year ago. Both of them were in their early thirties and single, and both of them told me how they really wanted to be fathers but hadn't yet found the right woman to have a family with. What really struck me was that they were nervous about whether they'd find the right woman. They didn't want to wait until they were older to have children. They had some of the same anxiety that is traditionally associated with single women in their early thirties who worry about their biological clock. What if they didn't find the right person? Would they settle? Would they go without?

It really surprised me because I had always assumed that guys didn't really worry about such things. It may be that I belong to a very particular, privileged demographic, and that such trends are unusual. But it clued me in that something has really started to shift with our generation-- not just with women's views on relationships and family, but with young men's views on the same subjects.

And it's still fascinating to me that in the same world, at the same time as some of my male and female friends alike worry about finding the right person-- and often take this worry to an absurd extreme-- for the majority of the people on the planet, the question itself is an alien one, a luxury.
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Teddy Wieczorek
Etats Unis
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 7:19 PM
When I was staying home with our son I felt that I was doing a pretty good job. I got him up and dressed. I changed his diapers and fed him. I put him down for his naps. That alone was exhausting. Then there was the whole issue of spending quality time with him. That was the most difficult. To make the day interesting for him and myself. I'd split the time. Do fun things with him and then have him take part in daily photos sessions with me. He didn't understand it all that much, and the window of opportunity was small. Infants don't wait that long for setting up a shot. But it was worth it for me. To make something out of our time together, so I could understand my role better. That's what I see in my photos. Trying to show people what I felt like while staying at home with my son.

Some days it was very fulfilling and there were days, well days that couldn't end soon enough.

It was easy very easy to "check out". Watch television. Listen to music. My biggest challenge was to make it interesting for myself. Too stay actively tuned in with my son. I definitely used photography to help create that bond. To step away that from the drudgery of it, to look back and see something different.
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Guy Hoffman
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 11:53 AM

There's also the aspect of having to sort of invent this new fatherhood model. Given the fact that our dads really were merely "on the sidelines of child rearing", in Teddy Wieczorek words - our generation doesn't really have a role model to copy from.

And young dads must also muster the strengths for this new "extreme fatherhood" without the physical and hormonal changes that - while strenuous - often trigger a new mindset in young mothers' brains. I think a lot of dads feel that they need to find some more artificial mechanism to "develop any sort of feelings for the child [their] wife carries in her womb", to quote Andru Matthews.

Although, I've also heard the opposite, my friend's husband for example said that he is already "in love" with their unborn daughter.

What were your experiences?

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Amy Oyekunle
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 5:18 AM
Hard Work! At least I think that is what my Husband (Kenny) will say if you ask him. But he will also say it is very fulfilling for him to be very involved with our two kids. Unlike our parents generation where the fathers didn't really get hands -on involved with the day-to-day raising of the children (my father beleived that once the money was provided that's it for his own part). I think our generation have learnt that it can't be that way. For one thing I work and my work means I travel a lot sometimes and when that happens Kenny has to fill in. He has to be the mother and father. We can't really get good help and both my mother and mother-in-law still work (can you beleive it?) they really aren't your typically grandparents. But I think it is about time too. It takes two to bring kids into this world. there are many single parent out there (mostly women) but more men are emerging. For many famillies (fathers) out there in this 21st century taking care of business, taking care of their children etc well done.
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Etats Unis
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 3:29 PM
Regarding representations of fatherhood within the mass media and Guy's comment about "what do you do?" I think part of the problem is our framework for considering success. So much emphasis is placed on "what" a father does, rather than "how" the father does it. When I think about healthy father roles--both onscreen and off--I realize that a good deal of the problem is in the fact that our culture tends to frame success in quantifiable ways (ie. a good father makes good money and coaches the team), but what about the leadership, compassion, and sensitivity that the father may teach? I think being a good father begins with being a good person; and teaching by example. But I am hard-pressed to find much evidence of this on TV or in the movies.
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cynthia r
Etats Unis
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007 6:32 AM
when i watch the way my brother is raising his sons it's clear to me that he is trying to create the relationship with them that he wished he had with our dad. so i agree with guy on that point. but he is still the family breadwinner, and still largely clueless about household decisions and defers to his wife on everything. and that is a burden on her, not a "lack of respect" as was mentioned in the 'sleeved fatherhood' essay that seems to lament some 'loss of superiority of the male'.
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Histoires à thème
"Carmichael et Shane"
Alex Weinress, Australie
"Homme et Père"
Pelle Koornstra, Pays Bas
Robert Peake, Etats Unis
"Papa à La Maison"
Teddy Wieczorek, Etats Unis
"Père et Fils à Lisbonne"
Maximiliano Gutiérrez Contreras, Espagne
"Paternité aux Manches Retroussées "
David Sanden, Etats Unis
"Excerpt from War by Candlelight"
Daniel Alarcón, Pérou
"Sur le Point d’Etre Père"
Andru Matthews, Etats Unis
©Copyright 2008 International Museum of Women / Politique de respect de la vie privée et démenti / Traduction : 101translations / Changer de langue