Inclusion alley John Legend is not here for the double standards placed on mothers and fathers. The EGOT winner shared his frustration with the lack of diaper changing stations in men’s restrooms and his plan to solve it.
The “Ordinary People” singer and father of two recently teamed up with Pampers and Koala Kare in a pledge to provide 5,000 changing tables in men’s public restrooms across North America over the next two years.
“I think it’s, as George W. Bush said, ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations.’ So much more is expected of women, and so little is expected of men. Every time a man does even the smallest thing, everyone’s like, ‘Oh, that’s so amazing, he’s such a great dad,’” he told HuffPost.
“Meanwhile, women are doing lots more, and it’s assumed that’s what they’re supposed to do,” he added. “They’re not celebrated for it. I think part of changing behaviors and the ways we interact with each other is changing the way we talk about these things, and I think one way we can do that is not to lower the bar so much for men.”
Legend went on to explain more about the growth of his new campaign.
“It’s become a growing campaign where we highlight the fact that dads can be part of diaper duty. Obviously many dads already knew this, but I think it was something that was good to highlight in a big national campaign,” he explained. “After that, we grew the movement. We did a commercial with lots of other dads and one with Adam Levine. It was really great to say that dads can be part of this duty.”
The Grammy award-winner hopes to make it more convenient for dads to do their part in parenting their children.
“It’s a thing you never think about until it’s a thing that you need. You never understand it until you’re actually in the situation. And of course, you just improvise and make it happen,” Legend said of the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms. “But bottom line is, let’s make it more convenient for dads, and let’s say that it’s not just a woman’s job to do this. Men can share in this role as well, and let’s make sure there are facilities out there that make it possible.”
He added that there are many types of families, including those with single dads or two dads. “My dad was a single dad for the second half of my childhood, and he had four kids,” he noted. “We were past diaper-changing age, but you have to recognize that there are all kinds of parenting relationships and parenting roles out there. We should have bathrooms that acknowledge that.”
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Most dads have been there: you’re out with your kids & there's no place to change their diaper. In honor of Father’s Day, @PampersUS is providing 5,000 Koala Kare changing tables in public restrooms. Finally, no more diaper duty on your lap! #LoveTheChange #PampersPartner
Legend has been an advocate for his wife and other mothers who tend to face more parenting criticism than fathers do. Back in 2016 Legend stood up for his wife Chrissy Teigen after she was criticized on social media for going on a date night 10-days after giving birth.
Funny there's no dad-shaming. When both of us go out to dinner, shame both of us so Chrissy doesn't have to take it all. We'll split it.— John Legend (@johnlegend) May 11, 2016
He shared more about his thoughts on that past experience.
“It just shows you. We both were going out, and it was a couple weeks after Luna was born. We had child care. She wasn’t home by herself. Chrissy got criticized, and I was right next to her and didn’t get criticized,” he said. “It just lets you know, those are the different expectation levels a lot of people have for men and women, and I think we need to have conversations to evolve past that.”
“A lot of what we do, we think about our kids and the future we want for them,” the dad said. “A lot of it is also about character and interpersonal behavior toward each other at home, and we want to model that in the way we talk to each other and in the way we talk to them. We want them to be smart, we want them to be kind, we want them to be good leaders, and we want them to be empathetic. And hopefully we’re able to model that at home with them.”