Breaking the Babysitting Stereotype

Boys in the babysitting business
Teenage boy holding hands with toddler
Teenage boy holding hands with toddler
Sidra Major

Imagine a world where your gender determines your career. Sounds absurd? Yet, just 80 years ago, this was the reality. Today, men and women populate all sectors of the workforce, shattering old stereotypes. It’s no longer unusual to see a male nurse or a female engineer. But how did we get here, and what does this mean for the future of our workforce?

Babysitting is an exceptionally popular part-time gig among high school students. Parents with young children reach out to friends and coworkers, hoping to find a teenage student in the neighborhood who can watch their kids during date night.However, most of the time, they envision a female babysitter. 

According to Priceonomics, only 2.9% of babysitters are male. Why do girls dominate the babysitting industry? Teenage girls may be seen as more nurturing or mother-like when it comes to young children, a perception stemming from societal norms. However, in some circumstances, the avoidance of male caretakers has a sexual basis.

“On a subconscious level, most of our society believes that a man who wants to work in a career involving children must secretly be some kind of sexual predator. There’s a deep level of mistrust there,” Matthew Taylor, author of Babysitting Business Secrets, said in his article “Are Male Babysitters Safe?” 

However, I don’t think the majority of parents actively hold these mentalities today; rather, they just follow the pattern, a social norm that has been in place for years. 

The gender roles and stereotypes labeled in the early 1900s might be to blame. Pre-World War II, young girls were raised in preparation to be mothers and homemakers, whereas boys were more involved in sports and outdoor tasks. But by the late 1990s, as the Vietnam War ended, the role of fathers evolved and set the stage for the 2010s where gender equality became more of a reality, and parental roles looked more similar in many families. 

Nonetheless, the mentality around parental roles may have evolved, but thoughts around the babysitting industry never did. 

“I have younger cousins, and I grew up watching them, so I have lots of experience babysitting already. But then when I got older, our family friends always reached out to my sister, not me,” said an anonymous male student. “I like babysitting as a job because it makes bank and it isn’t hard to do. But for some reason people ask my parents for my sister to watch their kids and don’t ever think of me.” 

Considering that most babysitting tasks involve heating spaghetti or playing rounds of Go Fish, there is no reason that boys are less capable than girls. 

In addition, I have seen that the parents aren’t the only ones to blame for a lack of hired male babysitters; the boys themselves aren’t interested. The source I interviewed earlier chose to remain anonymous. He didn’t want his friends at school to label him as a babysitter. Ironically, society views babysitting as a feminine role, even though babysitting tasks resemble parenting, which should be gender neutral.

The mentality surrounding babysitting follows an archaic structure that we must reevaluate. If we as a society breach gender equality and condemn outdated gender roles, why do we make an excepti

I have younger cousins, and I grew up watching them, so I have lots of experience babysitting already. But then when I got older, our family friends always reached out to my sister, not me

— Anonymous

on for babysitting? Parents can play a crucial role in considering the capabilities of their sitters, gender aside. At the same time, male teenagers open their minds to jobs that may have been women’s jobs decades ago but are not today.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Globe
$0
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clayton High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sidra Major, Chief Digital Editor
Sidra Major is a senior this year. Sidra initially  joined the Globe because she loves to write, but she quickly became enthralled with the journalistic perspective. As the Chief Digital Editor, she hopes to elevate the media facet of the Globe and better connect this publication to all members of the Clayton community. Furthermore, Sidra is involved in Clayton's Speech and Debate team and Science Olympiad team.
Donate to The Globe
$0
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Globe intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Globe does not allow anonymous comments, and The Globe requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *