Private Life With Public Purpose

The invisible man: how culture has forced fathers into the background

November 1997

My son, Peter, was ready for the SAK theater performance on October 24. Remembering their spray of Tootsie Rolls into the audience to sweeten up the crowd, he had a bag full of candy ready to toss back to them. The show started, and the Tootsies flew—and sure enough Peter threw some of his candy onto the stage. Maybe that was the only bribe they needed, since they chose him when they asked for volunteers for one of their first skits.

Peter’s five minutes of fame catapulted him onto the front page of the Reporter, in a nice photograph that captured his ambivalence about being on stage. His only disappointment was that the caption didn’t mention his name. What could I say, but “Come to think of it, the caption says you are ‘Ann Jerome Croce’s son’ but not mine.” I looked at him with a smirk, and said, “Do you think it’s anti-boyism?” In his seven-year-old wisdom, he didn’t know what to make of that, but he still didn’t like not being mentioned.

I’m not very bothered by not being mentioned but the caption has gotten me thinking about the perceptions of men in childcare and about the role of men in contemporary society.

Are fathers becoming invisible? Read the rest of this essay here. 


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