Monday, December 04, 2006

Some guys get all the stuff

In the realm of baby gear, dads are quite popular right now. There are blogs dedicated to them, gear designed specifically for them, everyone falling through their asses to get dads to read, spend money, enthuse. A lot of nice stuff is being produced, sleek, well-designed items that look purposely un-babyish. While I am happy that there's nice stuff out there, it irritates me too. You see, all this carries with it the assumption that dads, since they are male, care more about design and utility than moms do.

Take for example, this diaper bag designed specifically for dads. It's made from made from the recycled inner tubes of tires, trimmed with hemp, and fitted with a battery-operated light so you can find things inside easier.

I'd love a super-durable, rugged-looking bag with a light inside. It sounds like a great diaper bag, aside from the "Harley" look they gave it and the $175 price tag.

Unfortunately, it appears to be off-limits to me, since I have a vagina. They're very clear that it was designed for men. And it's not the only thing. More and more baby/child gear like this pops up every week. Nice-looking, functional things, for men.

That's what bugs me so much in all this. There seems to be this underlying assumption that since I'm female, I'm okay with a pastel, teddy-bear-covered stroller or a diaper bag drowning in ruffles. I'm not. I'd rather try to stuff diapers and wipes in my pockets than tote around this monstrosity. Yet in order to locate a link for that diaper bag, I had to go to the "Just for Mom" section of their website.

It's good that dads are getting more involved; it's great that there's a whole culture springing up to support them. But it really smacks of a "well, I'll do it, but only as long as I'm certain I can look cool while I'm doing it. If it involves looking dorky, forget it." Which is an extension of the larger "man-child" aspect of our culture. Guys are allowed and even expected to maintain this perpetual state of adolescence. Women are not. Women are, of course, genetically primed to be responsible, dependable grown-ups.

I see this everywhere now, from the idiotic things in pregnancy books to the shit people say to the whole concept of a baby shower as a "girls-only" party. It's frustrating, being constantly treated as though my only goal in life was to procreate and my husband gets treated like he should be ready to run for the hills. It's also very inaccurate in our case, because the opposite is true. He was the one seeing white-picket fences and babies long before I even entered the picture. I'm the one who's still not too sure about this whole parenthood thing, I'm the one who is not entirely sure about being a responsible adult. Maybe we should switch: he can push the frilly stroller around and I can carry a diaper bag made from tires.

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