Quick hit: Andrea Grimes on toxic masculinity

Did you know that Major League Baseball has a parental leave policy for players? Even hardcore baseball fans could be forgiven for not knowing about the policy because apparently, as of today, only one player has ever taken advantage of it. He must, of course, be mocked for taking time off from work to witness the birth of his child, and he has been, by a certain Texan radio personality.

Andrea Grimes, at Hay Ladies, has a few things to say about what it means when we mock men – not just baseball players – for putting family before career:

It’s really very simple: by choosing his family over his job, Colby Lewis is not performing masculinity properly, and that scares the shit out of people who have invested their entire careers, even their whole identities, in reinforcing said masculinity. What do I mean when I say a super studly professional athlete is not performing masculinity properly? I mean this: Colby Lewis’ act of choosing to be at the birth of his kid rather than starting as pitcher in a major league baseball game is a direct and public challenge to the patriarchal norm which dictates that women will be the ones to make career sacrifices, full stop.

Read the rest here. You won’t regret it.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many businesses have paternal leave policies? I know they’re fairly rare.

    To tell a brief story, I was born premature. My mother’s water broke while my father was three hour’s drive away. They both had no idea I was going to arrive quite so early. Dad drove over 100 mph at 2 am in the morning so that he could be there for my birth. And he made it, easily. :)

  2. Posted April 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    There are others defenders out there:
    http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/04/as-happens-on-the-wonderful.html
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/04/22/colby-lewis-succeeds-because-of-family-not-despite-it/
    (Coach) http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/texas-rangers/headlines/20110420-rangers-coach-has-no-issues-with-colby-lewis-going-on-paternity-leave.ece
    (Sarcastic title, but it gives support): http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/04/20/shame-on-colby-lewis-for-witnessing-the-birth-of-his-daughter/

    The other articles popping up in Google pertain to coverage on the backlash or to his performance on the job. Overall, the media is handling this issue quite well.

    Family leave is not unprecedented in sports: Derek fisher missed a large part of a *playoff* game in 2007 to tend to one of his sick children. After the season, “Fisher asked the Jazz to release him from his contract so he could relocate to a team and city that would have the ‘right combination’ of specialists that could help fight his daughter’s retinoblastoma. The Jazz honored his request.” He would later sign with the Lakers.

    On balance, the sports world is fairly understanding of family matters.

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