What it means to be a man has completely changed. Everyone knows it. Almost no one believes it.
For the past 20 years, men – some short and hairy, some tall and bald, some lean and sporting a goatee and a whole lot in between – have come to the most unique event in the country: the Annual At-Home Dads Convention.
They have come away from each of these Conventions with new parenting wisdom and a sense of brotherhood with other men who recognize there is much more to being a dad than a paycheck.
These men are stay-at-home dads. Their primary job is taking care of their children and their household. And their numbers have grown over the last 20 years from about 1.4 million to 2 million according Pew Research.
While the numbers of men staying home has nearly doubled and the number attending the Convention has tripled, a lot of society is just now catching up with the reality of how masculinity has changed.
All of our partners in this year’s Convention recognize it. Some for quite some time, including returning sponsor: Dove Men+Care.
The folks over at Dove Men+Care understand that male strength today is measured by more than traditional notions of power, affluence or physical strength.
And how do they know? Because they asked dads in a global research study.
In their research, Dove Men+Care found that:
- Most men believe real strength today is about embracing care for oneself and others
- 9 out of 10 men today see their caring side as a sign of strength
- Only 7% of men today can relate to depictions of masculinity they see in the media
There remains a disconnect in our culture between what many believe masculinity is and what it actually is. Dove Men+Care has been an innovator in supporting accurate depictions of masculinity in messaging to dads, so they jumped at the opportunity to help us bring the closing keynote for the 20th Annual At-Home Dads Convention: dad, investigative journalist and writer, Josh Levs.
In his latest book, All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families and Businesses – And How We Can Fix It Together, Levs argues that “our laws, policies, and stigmas are still based on that outdated 1950’s vision of gender roles, and how out of touch those structures are with our real lives.”
Josh Levs is in a unique position to understand this. In 2013, Levs needed to be home to care for his third child due to complications from the delivery. CNN, his employer, only provided two weeks of paid leave for fathers while providing up to ten weeks for mothers. When CNN would not adjust their policy, he filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. Just this week, Levs, CNN and Turner Broadcasting settled the case and CNN now offers biological fathers a full six weeks of paid parental leave.
During an interview before the release of his book this May, Levs explained to us that policies like CNN used to have, and many other companies still have, are “pushing men out of caregiving roles and pushing women into them. As I show in the book, economies thrive with more gender equality.”
“If you have children,” Levs told us, “being a committed and involved father is the manliest thing you’ll ever do.”
We are beyond excited to partner with Dove Men+Care, a brand that proves again and again that they understand that men love caring for their children and are willing to show dads as we really are, not how society thinks we should be. That kind of commitment is why Dove Men+Care is helping us bring a pioneering dad like Josh Levs to speak at the 20th Annual At-Home Dads Convention. Levs will remind us that what it means to be a man has changed, that we, as stay-at-home dads, are at the forefront of that change.
For more information on what to expect during this year’s convention, please visit www.AHDCon.com, follow #AHDCon on Twitter, and we encourage you to share your #RealStrength moments with @DoveMenCare on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.