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Super Bowl Ads Show Changing Gender Roles at Home and at Work

This year's Super Bowl commercials were all about the dad-vertising. Social media spheres were in a complete uproar over the latest string of ads featuring dads who were caring for their children -- swimming, potty-training, brushing hair, comforting, and hugging. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, according to more than one post.

This year’s Super Bowl commercials were all about the dad-vertising. Social media spheres were in a complete uproar over the latest string of ads featuring dads who were caring for their children — swimming, potty-training, brushing hair, comforting, and hugging. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, according to more than one post.

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(Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net)

Why are we shocked, though?

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These are the moments that have stereotypically belonged to women — those “mothering” moments that have inspired some to say that women should stay at home, in that prescribed role as homemaker and childrearer. The new commercials and the stay-at-home dads they reflect are turning all those stereotypes on their heads.

1. Stay-at-Home Dads

There’s a growing number of fathers who stay home to care for their children, a trend that reached a height of 2.2 million in 2010 under the effects of the recession, according to Pew Social Trends. Some pundits have referred to the recession as the “mancession,” noting that it disproportionately affected men and their earnings.

Still, even with the effects of the economy, women vastly outnumber men in making the decision to stay home and care for their children. In 2012, 16 percent of stay-at-home parents were men.

2. Narrowing of the Gender Gap

Men still make more money than women, but the gap is getting smaller. According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women currently earn 80 percent of what men earn, whereas 20 years ago, they earned 72 percent of what men earn.

3. Who’s the Breadwinner?

Traditionally, men were the breadwinners. They brought home the bacon. Now, though, the tide has turned.

“Breadwinner moms in the United States make up nearly half of households’ major earners or are on par income-wise with their significant others,” writes Michelle Lodge at Fortune. That’s a jump of 10 percent in one year.

4. Education Makes a Difference

As we examine the changing landscape of the workplace and the home, education also comes to play. Women are now 33 percent more likely to finish their college degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That accomplishment also offers more potential for advancement or job security. 

Our work-life balance is evolving, which offers more opportunity for everyone. Both women and men are looking to achieve career goals, but the importance of real and meaningful, daily interactions is also becoming a focal point of the core family unit. 

As these Super Bowl ads demonstrates, we’re ready to encourage and even celebrate the role of dad in the home. It’s not rare. It’s not unusual. It’s part of what being a parent is all about. 

Tell Us What You Think

Did you see the dad-centric Super Bowl ads? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Esther Lombardi
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