Repicturing Parenthood in Latin America

Trends / Realness
FG Trade Latin
Federico Roales
Aug 27, 2023
Latin America is among the regions that grant the fewest days1, 2 of paternity leave after the birth of a child. And while this data pertains to the labor market, it speaks volumes about the cultural responsibility that falls on mothers regarding the upbringing of their children in the region.

Over the past decade, a significant cultural shift has taken place in Latin American society, reshaping perceptions of gender roles and demanding greater equality. Influential feminist movements like Ni Una Menos3 have played a crucial role in challenging traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, as well as redefining societal perspectives on motherhood and fatherhood. These movements have highlighted the need for more inclusive and accurate depictions of gender roles and parental responsibilities in visual representations.
Dissecting Visual Stereotypes in Parent‑Child Relationships
Visual representations have historically played a significant role in promoting a specific type of fatherhood relationship with their children, and this bias is evident in prevalent visual narratives. In Latin America's most popular visuals, fathers are depicted 35% more frequently than mothers playing sports with their children, as well as 13% more often in leisure‑themed visuals with their children. However, fathers are shown involved children's healthcare 4 times less often than mothers, and 50% less often than mothers in tasks related to school.

Furthermore, over the past decade, fathers have predominantly been portrayed as part of a family unit rather than being depicted spending time alone with their children. In fact, as of 2022, fathers are observed 30% less frequently than mothers engaging in one‑on‑one interactions with their children. Visual narratives often depict fathers engaging in playful activities with their children, such as carrying them on piggyback or giving shoulder rides, while mothers tend to be portrayed in affectionate and protective roles.
From Tradition to Transformation: Bridging the Gap with Consumer Expectations
However, the approach of how men and fathers are depicted seems to conflict with current consumer perspectives. According to our latest VisualGPS consumer survey, 4 out of 5 Latin Americans observe men engaging in roles that were traditionally assigned to women. Additionally, 88% of respondents believe that both men and women can equally contribute to household responsibilities, including parenting.

Considering the above, it is important to portray men and fathers in a way that aligns with these changing perspectives. Our survey indicates that 9 out of 10 Latin American consumers believe men should be depicted as nurturing and emotionally sensitive. Therefore, it is crucial to show fathers as supportive, competent, and equally capable of handling day‑to‑day childcare tasks, such as taking their children to school, doctor's appointments or helping with homework, as well as domestic work, such as doing the laundry, cooking or cleaning.

The focus should be on portraying fathers as accountable and responsible figures who actively engage with their children, highlighting activities that foster meaningful and emotional connections, while also including non‑heteronormative families and considering various aspects of identity, such as age, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, body size, social class.
[1] "Licencia de paternidad en América Latina: un camino largo por recorrer"
(Distintas Latitudes, 2020)
[2] "La licencia de paternidad, una asignatura pendiente en América Latina" (Statista, 2023)
[3] "#NiUnaMenos six years on: triumphs and new demands of Argentina's feminist movement"(Global Voices, 2021)
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