Flowers for Mom, a Tie for Dad: How Gender is Created on Mother’s and Father’s Day
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Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations were investigated to understand how gender is created on these two occasions. Fifty-three heterosexual couples were interviewed about family holidays. Mother’s Day was given more attention than Father’s Day. Families spent more time celebrating; they were more likely to eat out, and were more likely to celebrate with others. Mothers were also more likely to receive gifts than fathers. The gendering of the holidays was reflected in the more stereotypical gifts received on Mother’s and Father’s Day than on birthdays, and in that mothers were more likely to report relief from chores on Mother’s Day than fathers were on Father’s Day (p < .01). Families in which women worked full-time and whose husbands contributed substantially to domestic labor were as likely to celebrate in gendered ways as traditional families were. These holidays reflect and promote hegemonic notions of the gendered nature of motherhood and fatherhood.
KeywordsMother’s Day Father’s Day Motherhood Fatherhood Gender Gender construction
This research and the preparation of this article were partially supported by a grant from the Harap Fund. The authors wish to thank Joseph Cohen and Elizabeth Aries for their contributions to an earlier draft and to George Cobb for statistical assistance. The authors also wish to thank Dorothy Walline for her contributions as a research assistant.
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