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FATHERING, CLASS, AND GENDER: A Comparison of Physicians and Emergency Medical Technicians

CARLA SHOWS and NAOMI GERSTEL
Gender and Society
Vol. 23, No. 2 (April 2009), pp. 161-187
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20676770
Page Count: 27
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FATHERING, CLASS, AND GENDER: A Comparison of Physicians and Emergency Medical Technicians
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Abstract

Using a multimethod approach (including a survey, interviews, and observations), this article examines the link between class and masculinities by comparing the way two groups—professional men (physicians) and working-class men (emergency medical technicians, or EMTs)—practice fatherhood. First, the authors show that these two groups practice different types of masculinity as they engage in different kinds of fatherhood. Physicians emphasize "public fatherhood," which entails attendance at public events but little involvement in the daily care of their children. In contrast, EMTs are not only involved in their children's public events but also emphasize "private fatherhood," which entails involvement in their daily care. Second, the authors suggest that these differing types of involvement can be explained by the contrasting employment conditions of each group as well the gender order of their families, especially the divergent labor market positions of spouses and the division of parenting. The authors conclude by arguing that these working-class fathers are "undoing gender" while professional fathers reproduce the conventional gender order.

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