I have a babysitter I love but sometimes she gets sick or needs a day off; unfortunately, I still have to work on those days or I get behind. So yesterday, I put an ad on care.com for a backup babysitter.
This morning, it occurred to me that I didn’t see any guys seeking jobs on that website. Why not? Couldn’t a man be a great babysitter? My favorite babysitters when I was a kid were all guys.
I want to believe that I am not sexist, that just as women should be able to have any job they want to have, and receive equal pay for it, men should be able to do the same. And yet, I probably wouldn’t hire a male babysitter. It has nothing to do with a man’s inability to do a good job. Rather, my first thought would be, “Is he a pedophile?” And even if there was no evidence that he was a pedophile, and even with a criminal background check (all of which care.com provides), I wouldn’t risk it.
Of course, I will be extremely careful about any of the (female) babysitters I hire. But I find it sad that this is my first reaction. And I don’t think I’m alone. We have now embraced the stay-at-home dad, the male nurse, and other men entering so-called “female” professions. So why are we so suspicious of a man who might legitimately enjoy being around children and who might enjoy working in a daycare or being a babysitter? Are there really that many pedophiles running around?