Stay-at-home fathers and the absence of masculine identity
Chavarria, Rachel M.
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The purpose of this in-depth, qualitative study is to better understand the stay-at-home father role, how stay-at-home fathers cope, and the processes at work in the formation of their masculine identity. Using grounded theory as a guide for analysis, this study theorizes that fathers either create their own version of masculinity or, for most, are unaware of masculinity as an issue thereby creating an absence of masculine identity. The fathers that create their own versions of masculinity that deviate from hegemonic masculinity can be classified as men with traditional gender role beliefs. Adopting a new type of masculine identity is a coping strategy for the discrepancy between their beliefs and their role. This finding is consistent with previous research regarding stay-at-home fathers and masculinity. This study’s findings also suggest that there is an absence of masculine identity for fathers with nontraditional gender role beliefs. These fathers have no firm beliefs on the topic of masculinity, have difficultly addressing the topic of masculinity, and view masculinity only in relation to femininity, suggesting that gender is a women’s issue.