It’s not surprising that people still believe that having children and raising children is something women do all by themselves when men are consistently removed from stories about their own children.
Page 3 of today’s Sydney Morning Herald (prime real estate with an enormous photo): Chromosome screening gives new life to IVF success:
WHEN Selena Klasnja fell pregnant, she did not feel the hope and excitement experienced by most women. Instead, she held her breath, waiting to see if the pregnancy would last.
Mrs Klasnja, 41, spent 13 years trying for a baby, suffering repeated miscarriages which could not be explained.
Selena Klasnja goes by the honorific Mrs, so it’s a pretty safe bet that she is married. That through the pain of miscarriages and the 13 long years of trying for a baby, Mr Klasnja was hurting and waiting too.
Further down in the story she says: ”When I realised we were having twins I was so astonished.”
Yep. We. In a story about his children and about how he and his partner tried for a baby for 13 years, Mr Klasnja has been removed.
Of course, I am making a massive assumption about him here. We don’t know if they are still together and maybe he didn’t want to be a part of the story. But we see this over and over again. Stories about children always feature women. Stories about the cost of childcare always and only feature women responding to questions about whether it’s worth going back to work after they deduct the cost of childcare from their income. As though the cost of childcare is something that women must pay, rather than something that families must pay. Of course, I am only talking about heterosexual couples here, because they feature in the majority of stories about raising children. Stories about same-sex couples tend to feature both parents. It’s just one of those subconscious decisions journalists make: doing a story on childcare, better call a mother.
I’ve blogged about this before in relation to asylum seekers and news quality and an unquestioning media. And it matters because while the mainstream media plays a huge role in shaping attitudes, I don’t believe they actually think too deeply about what they do. No care and no responsibility, right?