Over the weekend, actor Chris Hemsworth baked a cake for his daughter India's birthday after a local bakery was unable to complete the the task in time. Hemsworth's Instagram photo of the finished cake and his wife's picture of him in the kitchen generated thousands of praise-filled comments and celebrity news articles.
While it was a very sweet gesture, and clearly Hemsworth is an involved parent, mom and HuffPost blogger Bunmi Laditan pointed out that the effusive response highlights the pervasive double standards moms and dads face today.
"Every celeb rag and women's magazine is gushing over what a GREAT daddy he is!" Laditan wrote in the caption, adding, "I'm going to preface my rant by saying it's good that he made his kid a cake ... but what the hell?"
She then launched into a criticism of the different standards moms and dads are held to.
"Why is it that when a dad does the bare minimum required to parent that's he's given a trophy and a parade?" she asked. "All a dad has to do to be hailed as an incredible parent is stick around and take just a smidgen above the mildest of interest in their kid, post about it online, and they're #DadGoals for the entire universe."
"Last year a dad did his daughter's hair in the morning and the world exploded in tear-streaked praise," Laditan continued. "But my question is: why are we impressed? If a mom shared a video of herself doing her kid's hair or baking them a birthday cake, no one would would care, and do you know why? We're expected to."
Laditan then pointed out that in fact, when moms share photos of nice things they do for their children, they are often subject to critical comments. She imagined the comments a mom would've received if she had been in Chris Hemsworth's place -- "Oh she didn't plan ahead and get a nice one ordered?"; "Way to half-ass it"; "I wish mothers would stop giving their kids so much sugar" and "That's a lot of artificial color...#KnowBetterDoBetter"
At the end of the post, the mom concluded, "I'm all for celebrating good parents but I'd like to see fewer standing ovations for dads doing what dads are supposed to." She added, "Not only must it be patronizing for fathers who man up daily, but it just adds to the stereotype that men aren't expected to be involved in the day-to-day of raising children."
The Facebook post received over 19,000 likes and 1,600 comments adding to the discussion of parenting double standards.
While many agreed with Laditan's words, some suggested that it's better to focus on praising any parent who goes above and beyond for their children, regardless of whether or not it's the mom or the dad. Others noted that young men today need good examples of fatherhood since dads are still often portrayed as clueless and uninvolved in the media.
In response to such comments, however, Laditan wrote, "I hear what you're saying but this kind of exaggerated praise just reinforces the idea that full participation isn't expected of fathers so when it happens it's very special."
Clearly, we still have a long way to go when it comes to parenting parity.