Sexism and the single dad

I see women complaining about sexism all the time. I notice it range from the very subtle to the glaringly obvious, shameful situations. While it isn’t appropriate, I also see a lot of women being guilty of doing the very same thing to men. Why is sexism towards women wrong, but men are fair game?


Sexism in parenting

For many years, it was believed men could not parent on their own.  In the past, there were numerous cases of children even being removed from a home after their mother died because a single man was considered to be unfit. Thankfully, we’ve progressed to the point where we now are seeing the rise of stay-at-home dads (SAHD). Yet single dads are often treated very differently than single moms.

Being a single dad makes me perhaps a bit more sensitive to this issue. People are absolutely stunned when they discover that I adopted Tigger as a single parent. Many people have expressed they didn’t even know a man could do that! And we’re not talking other countries. These have been during encounters with North Americans. But there are many countries where it is practically unheard of, and I’ve grown accustomed to having someone look at me like I have two heads in those places.

“But where is the mother?” There is no mother. “Did she die? Are you divorced?” They can’t comprehend it.

Schools were the worst in my experience. I remember when my son’s class was having a party. They were one of the few schools that still allow home-baked goodies. I picked him up from class, and the teacher was letting various parents know what she was hoping for the most. Then she saw me.

I remember watching her face as the wheels turned in her head. “Oh, but don’t worry about that, Mr. Windwalker. You can bring something store-bought like cupcakes. Or even paper plates would be fine.”

Excuse me?

I still remember the look of shock on her face when I appeared with pumpkin harvest cookies I had baked. “They were everyone’s favorite!” Remember that, lady!

you can do this

There was also the time when one of my children decided to wear a dirty hoodie to school along with pants with large holes in the knees. Before he went to school we had a conversation. “Are you aware that you have food stains on your hoodie?” Yes. “It looks filthy.” I know. “And your pants have huge holes. Would you like me to patch them?” No, I like them like this. “Okeydoke.”

Needless to say I received a very condescending message from school advising me that it was important to his self-esteem to have clean clothes that were also in good repair. Yeah, no crap lady. With any child you pick your battles. With this one, who already had some major challenges, I wasn’t going to do battle for something so unimportant.

I have grown accustomed to the looks from women when Tigger is bouncing, hopping, skipping, etc., when other people are walking. Or when he’s scaling a telephone pole or high wall. The unspoken comment is quite clear: Stupid man and your irresponsible parenting. Where is his mother!


I often see people post things on social media that are very degrading to men and their lack of parenting aptitude. Just because we may approach it differently as males, doesn’t mean we’re wrong, stupid, or ignorant thank you very much.

I’ve actually had to work very hard to counter some of Tigger’s experience-based sexist views. Because of the people he’s been around, and their reactions to his daredevilism and free spirit, his view of women is that they’re all “overprotective.” I consistently counter that some women are like that, but not all women are, and that he shouldn’t just assume any woman he comes across is going to try to wrap him in bubble paper from head to toe.

Ladies, sometimes you make my job very difficult!

Sexism in the media

In TV shows and commercials, men are regularly portrayed as being rather incompetent while women know it all and save the day. If it weren’t for women, all of us idiotic men would never eat anything with a shred of nutrition, would probably die from doing basic tasks around the house, and good gawd never leave us alone with the children!

In the 50s and 60s, we had shows where men were the absolute sage in the household, and women’s primary talent was keeping a good home. Obviously, that was not right. But we’ve gone the completely opposite direction, and that isn’t fair either.

Of course, there is still ripe sexism toward women in shows. I’ve never understood why it’s perfectly okay to show full frontal nudity of women, but flash a glimpse of penis and holy s**t it’s pornography!

Antonio Canova - Perseus and Medusa front wide view detail, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York -- sculpture statue male nude naked marble medusa perseus art metropolitanmuseumofart newyork antoniocanova

Men are perverts

Things had become so bad in the US in this regard that I am reticent to help a child in obvious need. The media and others have done such a great job of portraying the message that men are really pedophiles that I’m afraid to go near a kid who isn’t mine. I once was in a Walmart when a boy who was about 6 years old came up to me crying. He had lost his parents. Not wanting to be mistaken for an abductor or molester, I spoke really loudly: “Are you lost? Would you like some help?” I was practically yelling, which I’m sure didn’t help this poor boy feel any better.

“Follow me, and I’ll get you some help,” I said loudly while looking around and keeping my distance. He tried to take hold of my hand, but I quickly pulled it away because that could look even more suspicious. As we were walking toward the front of the store, the kid bawling as he followed me like a puppy dog, one of his family showed up. His reaction made it obvious this was his family, and I was so relieved. But I also waited to be accused.

Why? Because I have seen people become wrongly unglued far too often.

And it’s even worse because I’m gay. When I announced I was going to become a Big Brother (before adopting), I had some people who had known me for many years immediately question my motivation. News flash: I’m a gay MAN. That means I’m attracted to other MEN.

And since at least 95% of all cases of reported sexual molestation are perpetrated by heterosexual, married men, I’m actually your safer option.

“Reverse” sexism

This is the basic idea that since men having been doing it to women for so long, when they return the favor it’s “reverse sexism.” Bullcrap! Sexism is sexism. Yeah, some stereotypes are funny, and sure some men do some seriously weird things, but we’re not all bumbling idiots.

It’s also true that we often have radically different approaches to relationships and communication. Guys tend to be much more frank. “Dude, you’re getting a belly!” is totally acceptable for a male to say to his male buddy. Obviously, if a man says that to a woman most likely hell will be unleashed in all its fury.

When two men have an argument, it’s usually over pretty soon and they’re back to being friends. During an argument with a woman, it often goes something like this—It’s just like that time in 1973. I was wearing that purple shirt, and you had on that black cap with the AC/DC logo. We were at Sheila’s BBQ when they lived on Stratherson Road before they moved to Stickapininit. . . .

Most likely men are still stuck on the fact that you remember something that happened in 1973 a good 20 minutes into the conversation.

We get we’re different. No one disagrees that we think, communicate, behave, and deal with stressors differently. But how about spreading a little equality in our direction?

Being in the medical field, I’ve been surrounded by women for at least three decades. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a woman begin saying something that ended with other women replying “MEN!” in choral unison, I’d be a billionaire. Look, just because YOUR guy is a 5-star prick doesn’t mean we all are.

Trust me, if I judged all women by my experiences with my mother and some others, I would have very few friends.

Your husband may not be able to fix your kids something other than frozen fishsticks dinner, but this one can throw together a multicourse meal that won’t be soon forgotten. And it isn’t just because I’m a homo either. My mother couldn’t manage to do much more than boil water.

So how about we all knock off the sexism crap? Women, you are no saints either, so come down off the high horse.

And girl, if you’re sick of your husband/partner/boyfriend/whatever acting like a child, stop treating him like you’re his mama. You just find you have yourself a real man.

Which examples of sexism towards males bugs you the most?

Share This Post On


  1. Nearly in tears. Divorced 13 years and raising my daughter, now about to turn 16, on my own. The worst is all the mothers coming to my daughter’s “rescue” when she doesn’t need rescuing. I can cook, sew and pick out a spring formal and bra shop circles around most moms but in society’s eyes I will never be good enough. The work place does not give me the leeway that single mothers are given and it is sad but as a single male raising my daughter, the bias of society and the preconceived notions of the “male agenda” makes it very hard for both of us.

    Post a Reply
    • I have a feeling that people covet the societal femininity and masculinity as their own, even though they are not born with it. And thus when the opposite gender encroaches on the societal quality they believe is their own, some people (especially overly possessive people) become defensive or even offensive. Just like many men would become embarrassed and defensive if they were outrun by or physically weaker than another woman, many women become embarrassed and defensive if a man’s relationship with his child shows greater depth and more unconditional love than that of themselves.

      We should be embracing and celebrating the positive traits in both men and women in these fields, that is how we overcome it. To learn from one another free of societal stereotypes making us close ourselves off from one another is the way forward. Until then, we have danced around the bush enough times to make a billion people miserable, when we should be embracing the genuine and pure parental love of any person, and the physical feats of any person.

      Post a Reply
  2. Talon, I’m so glad you wrote this post. It pains me when I watch the Olympics and all of the commercials say that the athletes wouldn’t be where they are without the support of their Moms. It infuriates me. Bret is not only the most amazing father I’ve ever met, he is also the most amazing parent I’ve met, period. I think male parents bring something to the raising of a human being that is hard to duplicate. I hope your sexism frustrations help bring you and Tigger closer together.

    Post a Reply
  3. In my city (Ottawa) there was recently a case where a teenage girl was convicted for human trafficking in a case where she exploited younger girls and connected them to pimps. It was so shocking and a reminded that women are not innocent when it comes to exploiting others.

    Post a Reply
  4. I’m the mother, and I always race to sign-ups for baked-goods types of school fundraisers so that I can secure the “paper plate and napkins” option. 😉 I know a small handful of SAHDs, and none of them are given any grief (I live in a town where “everyone” has vague dreams of being screenwriters/actors, so that’s their PT jobs along with child rearing). There’s a big cultural element to this, and living in a progressive town has this as an upside. The one thing they notice is that when they’re out with their kids, various strangers compliment them on being such wonderful fathers, whereas the women in the same playground or wherever are just glanced at and ignored for doing what’s minimally expected of them. I guess that’s kind of condescending to the men.

    Post a Reply
    • Yes, it is condescending to them. I’m sure they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing, though. As is often the case.

      Post a Reply
  5. What are you doing out of the kitchen anyway?
    Seriously though – another excellent read.
    Elle xx
    PS: Tell Tigger I bounce, hop and skip too 😉

    Post a Reply
  6. In my first year on Gran Canaria as a house, actually make that beach, husband, I was often mistaken for a single dad. However, I never experienced any sexism. Possibly I was lucky in my encounters. Or it could have more to do with the Canary Islands being a pretty tolerant place.

    Post a Reply
    • I don’t know that it has so much to do with tolerance per se. But culture definitely can affect things.

      Post a Reply
  7. What I love about this is that you address that sexism happens in so many contexts. It happens to women, men, gay, straight, to everyone! We’re so conditioned by media and society to think in these ways and this article is a great reminder to be more aware of it and try to confront it.

    Post a Reply
  8. I had no idea these things were happening! Stereotypes and prejudices hurt both men and women. It’s time to put an end to the madness!

    Post a Reply
  9. Bravo!!! I’m one of those bubble wrap moms, since I have gotten hurt so much. Poor Lillie, taking the brunt of my issues with injuries. I love this post – and TOTALLY agree.

    Post a Reply
    • It can be hard. There are many times Tigger is doing stuff that I simply can’t watch. LOL

      Post a Reply
  10. What a great post and thanks for writing and sharing it.

    Post a Reply
  11. I think this is a great post and that it is wonderful that you appear to be such a good parent to Tigger. I am a woman, and I am in now way fit to be a mother, just because I am a woman. Minimally, I would be one of those over protective bubble wrap types, that Tigger would not appreciate. Moreover, I am just going to be bullied into thinking I need to be a mother because I am a married woman. I will allow other people, like you, to do the parenting, because you WANT to be a parent, and that is the first step to being a good one. As for other stereotypes, well, my blog is named With Husband In Tow, but for a decade I was the primary bread winner in the family and The Husband managed the household – shopping, cooking, laundry, etc. because he worked less hours than I did a week. He has been used to the role reversal, but some of his friends still could not understand it. He tried to explain what a sweet deal he had, and that they should try it for themselves.

    Post a Reply
    • I am thoroughly against people becoming parents simply because it’s expected of them. I have some other female friends who don’t want kids, and as much as I love them as friends I have to agree. Not everyone is made to be a parent. And, yeah, women aren’t always the better parent just because they’re women.

      Post a Reply
  12. Appreciate your perspective, Talon. For over a decade, my husband has baked thousands of chocolate chip cookies every month and taken them around as gifts for area shut-ins and caregivers. He’s known as “Cookie Man” throughout our valley. I’ve lost track of the number of people who have thanked ME for the lovely cookies, even when I was working l-o-n-g hours and on-call more often than not. When I let them know that I’m glad that they enjoyed the baked goods and that they should be sure to thank the baker, they think I’m joking. I — on the other hand — would love to be asked to bring paper plates or a sack of chips to an event. Hasn’t happened yet, but one can hope…!

    Post a Reply
  13. The court system ripping off great dads! Being a woman doesn’t automatically make you the better choice.

    Post a Reply
    • Amen to that. I know plenty of women who should have never been allowed to become mothers, mine included.

      Post a Reply
  14. I am often bothered by this, too. It’s sad that it seems funny and cute to people. I think it also is a way women let men off the hook for basic things like parenting. I don’t understand why anyone, male or female would be okay saying my partner isn’t adequate to take care of our kids. Why would you mix DNA with someone like that?
    I am also really bothered when violence against men, by women, is seen as acceptable. It’s so common on TV and movies to see women hit men in fights or break-ups, and it is seen as okay. I work with a lot of teens, and as a species we seem to learn from mimicking. It worries me.

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah a rant is coming soon about something similar. I am constantly surprised by women who positively gush how wonderful their husband is because he gave the kids a bath. Excuse me? I know another lady who took the time to prepare dinners in advance for a week since she was going on a trip. Nice gesture, but why should she have to go through all that extra work? I’m sure her husband can figure some things out.

      Post a Reply
  15. I grew up living with just my dad as my mother was basically a write-off. I remember questions always focused around my mother, where she was etc, just the assumption she’d be picking me up or that I should ask my mum if I could come play at my friends house. At school teachers etc were quite insensitive about it… I couldn’t imagine how hard it would have been if my mother had actually passed away or something, rather than just not being a big factor in my life.

    Post a Reply
    • GOOD point! How traumatic for the kids to be constantly reminded that their mother has died, as if they needed reminding. My 1st son didn’t want people to know he was adopted, so it made it more challenging when dealing with people’s questions.

      Post a Reply
  16. The sexism in the media makes sense when one considers the target markets for each one.

    Women are objectified as sex symbols in media targeted to men while men are portrayed as bumbling morons in media targeted to women.

    Sad? Yes. Extremely sad.

    It is also worth pointing out how Western family laws are skewed towards women having the final say in many controversial aspects such as abortion. Whatever happened to paternal rights? What if the future dad wants to keep the baby? Well, tough luck because his opinion is irrelevant.

    Post a Reply
    • Oh you’re going to get me in trouble with that one. That is a huge issue for me. I have a friend whose girlfriend terminated her pregnancy without mentioning it to him until afterward. I think it’s highly unfair that a woman can choose to end a pregnancy without including the father, but if she chooses to carry it to term he is automatically responsible whether he was interested in becoming a father or not. Not right.

      Post a Reply
      • Except in the nine months before the baby is born, the woman is the one who risks her health, her livelihood, and her mobility. It might be sad for the father, but the woman should be 100% in charge of terminating or not. In a loving committed relationship, most women of course discuss it, but since the man’s bit was done after the first five minutes of the conception, it’s hardly a 50/50 effort meriting 50/50 say.

        Post a Reply
        • Bs. The man risks prison and garnished wages a lot worse than the choice to risk pregnancy in the end it’s a joke women get to pin men in all directions using the my body bs argument, the eqaution just is not that black and white. If it’s not his body not his choice than his bit being so small does not give him 50 percent of the bill if she unilaterally terms it, a woman should not be able to argue she gets to decide to terminate his rights on hi# behalf, either in abortion or adoption placements or vice versa. Both need to know sex leads to conception, etc. only men pay, that’s bs. If she can abort, then men can unilaterally abort their child support, you cannot have this both ways, it’s sexism pure and simple, not biology excused since men can say an event not in their body is not their problem, and law does not allow that, it was fair before abortion rights, it is totally anti male now, esp when men have no repro rights by financial abortion on paper, where he just waives his rights and support obligations without doing anything direct to her choices.

          Post a Reply
  17. It’s so funny you posted this now. David and I have been offering to volunteer at the school, but I am the only one who gets the invite, “Ladies, thank you for volunteering”. I was just wondering last night if I should say something, I feel badly for him. I’m glad you brought in cookies!

    Post a Reply
    • I hope you do say something. It reminds me how several airline companies have policies that prohibit them from seating an unaccompanied minor next to a man on a flight.

      Post a Reply
  18. Remind Tigger that I let my boys climb anything or jump across anything (even though I might not watch), so there are some non-over protective moms out there

    Post a Reply
    • I’m always reminding him of the non-overprotective moms he’s met and work very hard to help him not see things in such blanketed views. Unfortunately, he’s had his share of way overprotective women, though.

      Post a Reply
  19. Great post and thank you putting this out there, wonderful food for thought! I also get frustrated when around women who in chorus say “men”!

    Post a Reply
  20. I’m sorry that happens to you. I was going to comment that there is no such thing as reverse-sexism, just plain old sexism, but I see you actually covered that. We are all the victims of narrow preconceived notions about men and women, and the sooner people get past that the better off everyone will be.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply to Steph Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *