Trophy Husband or Stay at Home Dad?

This article was first published as Trophy Husband on Technorati.

I was thinking about this article that I wrote and mulling over the term Trophy Husband and its connotations….

The descriptor, “trophy husband”, is a popular spinoff of the term “trophy wife” and seems to be popping up more and more often as more men are staying home with the kids.

However, there is a key difference between a trophy wife and a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) and I think the same difference can (should) be made for men.

Per Wikipedia…Trophy wife is a pejorative term used to describe a wife, usually young and attractive, who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband, who is often older and affluent.

Wikipedia doesn’t even list Trophy Husband.  It redirects back to Trophy Wife.  Interesting in itself don’t you think?

Does the Wikipedia description seem to fit the men that are being referred to as Trophy Husbands?  I don’t think so.  I haven’t heard of many (if any) trophy husbands that aren’t taking care of kids.  They are not living a life of luxury.  Nor are they showing up at corporate functions as eye candy or a status symbol for their wives.

These men are in the trenches day after day, often making breakfast, lunch and dinner, cleaning the house, checking things off the “honey-do” list, and holding down the homefront while their wives are at work.  They are much more aptly described as Stay at Home Dads (SAHD).  And they deserve the same respect that goes with the SAHM tag.

However, I am hesitant to throw away the “trophy husband” tag.  It brings positive connotations to me and seems to make my husband feel better about himself.  And yet, “trophy wife” has negative connotations and can be offensive.  On the other hand, SAHM is very clearly accepted as a very tough job and deserving of respect, while SAHD seems to have a negative tinge and doesn’t garner the same respect as SAHM.

[While we’re at it, perhaps we should drop the S so it doesn’t sound like they are depressed – this was pointed out to me by an At Home Dad (AHD).]

Per this article, there are now more women in the workforce than men and 50% more women will get a degree this year than men.  Seems to me that the propensity of Stay at Home Dads will only accelerate in coming years.  How can each of us start to shift the acceptance of men that stay home with the kids?  How can we influence the culture of our society to truly embrace equality of the sexes?

For what it’s worth, here are my 2 cents:

  1. Recognition:  Conciously focus on the realization that there IS still a discrepancy between the genders.
  2. Subtle Shifting of Perception:  When this topic arises, choose your response/contribution carefully.  Make positive conclusions about the value men are adding by being home and what a tough job it is.  Slowly this will shift the perception.
  3. Actively Adjust:  Get the word out. You could address it in a blog, write about it in an article, or just talk it up to people you meet.  Eventually this grassroots PR will start to have an effect.

For insight from the life of a Stay at Home Dad – tune in to Daily Savings .  This site is written by a prior corporate business man recently turned stay at home dad and is a well written insight into staying home with the kids from a Dad’s perspective.
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4 Responses to Trophy Husband or Stay at Home Dad?

  1. I loved reading this. I started being the at home Dad 2 years ago when we moved to Los Angeles from the UK and I’ve really loved the experience. We swapped roles and moved continent, so everything was a culture shock.

    I starting blogging about it in August this year, when I started to really struggle to get my 2 year old to swim. Wish I’d started earlier.

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