"I think men have always felt emotion and been emotional, but they haven’t had an outlet to express it," says Andrea Doucet, who holds the Canada research chair in gender work and care at Brock University. "My father was a very emotional man but he relied on my mother to do all the emotion work, which I think that’s what has happened in generations past."
Now that men take a more active role in caring for their children, however, "that allows themselves to acquire or express more emotional literacy," Prof. Doucet says.
Men of earlier generations didn’t have the luxury of spending much more time with their children – if a decade or more ago you told a new dad he should go on paternity leave he probably would have looked at you like you were speaking Martian. Which is a good reason – one of many – to do more this weekend than hand over some perfunctory gift along with a card that expresses only acceptable generic sentiments.
On Sunday, I’ll get my dad a card and a small gift. He usually just asks for a Tim Hortons’s gift certificate. But I will also hug him and thank him for being such a great dad, even if it does make him squirm like he’s covered in fire ants.
Happy Canadian Father's Day, MFGE!