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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019

Imagine if a high-profile woman echoed Russell Brand's approach to parenting

‘I’m not willing to fight any of the battles.’

“IN NO TIME at all we’re in a coffee shop, she’s just got a nappy on, she’s covered in stuff because I’m not willing to fight any of the battles,” Russell Brand told The Sunday Times Magazine when reflecting on time spent with his daughter.

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I’m a man in a bobble hat.

A post shared by Russell Brand (@trewrussellbrand) on

Discussing his role in family life, the 43-year-old made it clear that his approach to parenting is one which should be confined to the annals of history; a generation in which fathers are lauded for ‘babysitting’ their own children and given a free pass when it comes to domestic responsibilities because the woman is just ‘naturally better’ at it.

“I’m very, very focused on the mystical connotations of Mabel’s beauty and grace. Not so good on the nappies and making sure that they eat food,” Russell offered at another point in the interview.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment a high-profile female uttered the same sentiments when asked to discuss her approach to parenting during an interview with a high-profile publication.

What might the implications be if she had said she ‘wasn’t willing to fight any of the battles’ and admitted she wasn’t much good at ensuring her children were clean and fed?

Given the societal norms to which we are accustomed, it’s almost impossible to imagine a woman providing such a response, whether said in jest or not.

And yet unfortunately – if Russell’s interview is anything to go by – the same incredulity doesn’t extend to men because, frankly, if it did then he’d have thought twice about providing such a bleak insight into his perspective on parenting.

Yes, men and women – fathers and mothers alike – may be astounded by the comic’s comments, but the candour with which Russell implies his reluctance to parent in a practical sense suggests that society, as a whole, hasn’t progressed enough to internalise the fact that parenting isn’t exclusive to one gender.

When I looked after Mabel on her own, she dropped two social classes in an hour.

Sure, it’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic; hilarious if it wasn’t such a sad indictment of Russell’s take on fatherhood and family life.

“It turns out that Laura is extremely well versed in the nuances and complexities of child-rearing,” the comic said of his wife and the mother of his two daughters.

Me, I am dedicated to it, devoted to it, but I am still surprised when it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is f****** really hard and it’s so exhausting.

Newsflash; she finds it exhausting too.

Here’s the thing; it’d be naive to assume that Russell is alone in his perspective, but for someone who trades on a ‘woke’ narrative, the sentiments contained within the interview leave a bitter taste.

While we may not have a reached a point in which sexist perspectives on parenting are obliterated entirely, we have, thankfully, reached a point where it sparks debate as evidenced by the response ignited by the interview on Twitter.

Whether you accept his perspective or not, you have to ask yourself; in what world would a high-profile woman get away with echoing his sentiments?

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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