Towards a culture of parenting

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This article is published in Vanity Fair issue 30-31 on newsstands until August 4, 2021

“The pandemic has given me a great gift: it has allowed me to stay close to my newborn baby”. To speak, in the article by Nina Verdelli that you find on page 34, is Paolo Corolli, 48, from Milan, became a father in March 2020. Although aware of the horrors that at that moment gripped Italy and the world, Paolo continues to say that he is grateful for the opportunity he had of staying next to his wife Maria Luisa throughout the weaning of his daughter.

Of the same opinion, in the same condition, another father, Aldo Di Bisceglie, 36 years old: «Living hour after hour next to my newborn son, I understood the extreme fatigue to which a woman is subjected on her return from the hospital». We wanted to dedicate the cover of this issue of Vanity Fair and an internal investigation into the theme of fatherhood and the cultural change that society is going through. From heterosexual families to those of single parents to same-parent families, the time has finally come to take a step forward from what we think we know about parenting.

A clarification: forget the trivializations of the teasing of the concept of parent 1 and parent 2, yet another example of the weapon of mass distraction of the worst populism. To discover and know, on the contrary, it is a new bill, the Nannicini-Fedeli bill, proposed by the senators Pd Tommaso Nannicini and Valeria Fedeli. It is a legislation that wants propose a paradigm shift to enhance the role of fathers in order to free working mothers from the cage of home / work conciliation. Up to now, in fact, a father can take a maximum of ten days of parental leave, but if the bill passes he could benefit from the five months granted to mothers, paid 100 percent.

What is the point, you will say, to discuss all this in a post-pandemic? Aren’t there other more important problems? The most important problems are always there and they never prevent us from working on all the steps forward that a company can and must take. Among these, in our opinion, there is also what concerns the father figure, to be finally equated with the mother figure in terms of child management. Once again, the testimony of another dad, Andrea Corona, 41, Federico’s father, born to his wife Benedetta at the end of January 2020. «In the first weeks after giving birth, when I was in the office all day, a sort of tension had developed between my wife and me. Since I started smart working, however, the couple’s relationship has improved. Benedetta and I have become allies, accomplices: if she gave the bottle, I prepared the bath, if she changed the diaper, it was my turn to fall asleep. Today I know how to do everything, Federico feels it, he trusts me as well as his mother. We welcome a law that allows us to pass from a culture of motherhood to a culture of parenthood.

And here we get to the heart of the matter: moving from a culture of motherhood to a culture of parenthood would help make everyone freer and more mature. It would be another emancipation from the ruling, but now declining, patriarchy. And it matters little if some European extreme rightists continue to defend the family cage “alpha man” and “woman by nature more inclined to care” (their words): society and its changes are already a step further. The time has come to turn this step into a law. We would all benefit from it. Everyone.

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