Pick up that damn breastmilk! “Army Wives” and Masculinity

In the wake of my mildly controversial decision to like Little Mosque on the Prairie, I’m going to up the ante and say that I also don’t mind Army Wives, when I can screen out the heroic-soldiers-deploying-to-Iraq side of things. They cover very little of the war itself; the focus is on the folks at home.

It’s mainly standard-issue reality-based soap opera, but I particularly liked this little moment, which busts some of the usual gender stereotypes you see on these sorts of shows. The masculinities are definitely not quite as one-dimensional as you might expect from a show of this genre.

Father at home? Check. He’s a psychiatrist, who clashed with his mother over the decision to be an at-home dad. High-ranking female officer sends male junior soldier off for urgent breastmilk delivery? Check. Male junior soldier ga-gas over ubercute baby while daddy prepares breastmilk, and none of this is presented as odd or out of the ordinary or laughable or masculinity-threatening? Sign me up.

But I can’t have been the only person yelling “PICK IT UP, IT’S NOT ALL GONE YET!” when this father drops the breastmilk and just stands there staring at it.

I was cringing at this point, thinking “oh, are we going to have the bumbling-dad ‘oh well, I’ll just grab some formula’ scene, followed by the mum-and-dad fight over it scene?” Which is not how it turned out, thank FSM. (At least, not yet.)

[The cut is just me cutting out the intervening scenes.]


[transcript to follow]

Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, work and family

Tags: , , ,

4 replies

  1. THAT is just *adorable*.

    Yep, absolute cringe-inside shrieking and beating the monitor though, when he stares down at the bottles.

  2. I love it! My favorite part is that when he hands the baby off to the soldier, the soldier doesn’t act like he has no idea how to hold a baby. That happens so often in tv and movies – hand a baby to a guy, and he looks absolutely panicked, like he thinks it will either eat him or he’ll crush it by accident. It was so nice to see him take the baby without a second thought!

  3. Finally!
    I’m glad that men’s nurturing side has somehow made it into the media.


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