"If you walk down the street and start looking, you will see stay-at-home dads," said Glazer, who is shooting a documentary on the topic called "The Evolution of Dad." "Now that I'm more aware of it, I see more of it," he said.
Connecting through celluloid
Stay-at-home dads are often harder to spot than moms, Glazer said, because moms generally tend to be more open about it. He said that the tendency of involved fathers to keep more to themselves is one reason he decided to make the film. According to Glazer, many stay-at-home dads feel isolated and often emasculated by a society that equates having a good job to being a good father.
"The project is about trying to make people more aware of different cultural assumptions and beliefs that are engrained in us," explained Glazer. "It challenges certain assessments we have about what a mother does and what a father does."
A self-described "work-at-home" dad, Glazer sets out to explore the different degrees of involvement that fathers have in their children's lives in the documentary.
"It's not going to be the end-all be-all movie about fatherhood," Glazer said. "I can't do that. I'm exploring broad experiences so that any father can see and feel connected, and understand that the role is not just about breadwinning."
Glazer has been making movies since he was 9 years old. He studied film at New York University's graduate film program and has worked on projects for the Sci-Fi Channel and HBO, among others.
"To have a relationship with your father is really important," said Glazer, who is originally from Newton, Massachusetts and grew up in what he calls a "traditional family," where his father worked as a lawyer and his mother spent most of her time with the kids, doing interior design on the side.
"And it's easy not to," he continued. "One of the things that became abundantly clear to me with all the people I talked to is how our culture de-emphasizes involved fatherhood and motherhood."
According to Glazer, our commercially driven corporate culture has led to the devaluation of the family. "It's all about production and unlimited growth," he explained. "Society engenders this belief that you are a good father even if you don't see your kids, if you are working and making money."
A lot of fathers, mothers, and children suffer as a result of this, Glazer said.
He said that the notion that the father need only be economically involved started during the industrial revolution. "The dad was the breadwinner and the mother stayed at home with the kids to optimize efficiency and production," he said.
And that easily translates to our modern corporate culture. Efficiency and productivity means less time spent on vacation and at home with family, he said. "Corporate culture promotes efficiency and productivity," Glazer said.
Know your role
Nowadays society values involved parents more than it did during industrial times, but it's still difficult for many dads to break out of the "breadwinner and provider" role. "The notion of fatherhood has evolved over time," Glazer explained. "I'd like to think it's come a long way, but in actuality, it's got a long way to go," he laments.
One positive result of that evolution Glazer points out is the fact that there are many more stay-at-home dads than ever, due to several factors: partly as a reaction to the low involvement of the previous generation of dads, because women are working more and making more money, and because technology has enabled people to do more work at home.
With this film, Glazer hopes to debunk the stereotypes perpetuated by mainstream movies such as "Daddy Daycare and "Mr. Mom," whose main message, Glazer said, is that fathers are inept. Footage of Glazer's first subject, an ex-Navy father in New York named Dallas, proves just how wrong those movies are.
Glazer is still looking for other subjects to be included in the project, which he estimates will take him from two to three years to complete.
"It would be a lot quicker if I wasn't so involved with my own kids," he added.
To "get evolved" and learn more about the project, or to volunteer to be a subject, visit Glazer's website at www.evolutionofdad.com.