Why do we celebrate men for doing the bare minimum? You may not notice it but you could be doing it too. Maybe you see a celebrity dad spending time with his kids and you think, “Aw, he’s so close to his children.” Well, he’s supposed to be, he’s their father. Comedian Ali Wong went in-depth on this topic in her Netflix special Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife. In one segment of the show she talked about her husband and how people react to him after Ali gave birth. She said, “The standards for men are so low that they get so much praise for doing so little.” The example she gave was her husband changing the diaper. Sure, people give him credit for changing diaper but how about all the other times Ali did it?
She also mentioned that now she’s a mom she gets asked, “Ali, how on earth do you balance family and career?” Ali pointed out that men don’t get asked that question, which is true. Men have to be able to make time for both too so why is the pressure put on the mothers? Why aren’t mothers being praised for doing more?
Ali also added, “Men never get asked that question because they don’t. They just neglect the child for like 90 percent of the day, and that’s perfectly socially acceptable.” Okay, this may not apply to all fathers, of course, but she does have a point.
If men are doing things they’re supposed to be doing anyway, why give them extra credit? If they’re taking care of their kids or treating people with respect or doing well at their jobs, that’s all great. But those are just basic standards for all people, that doesn’t warrant extra credit. We shouldn’t put a premium on something that is considered the bare minimum.
This way of thinking can be bad for both men and women. For women, they will lower their standards while men think that what they’re doing is enough. But this doesn’t just apply to married couples, this can happen to people who are dating or in relationships. We can all do and be better. So, whenever men do something nice, we can thank them but save the praises for special things.
Art by Marian Hukom
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