It’s tough keeping a hold on twelve children, especially if you’re the only parent there and even more especially if you’re the father.  In the film Cheaper by the Dozen (Levy, 2003), Steve Martin plays a father in which he must balance his coaching job and twelve children at the same time while his wife is on a book tour.  Things get hectic as Martin soon realizes that he can’t do this job on his own and things are getting too out of control.  In this clip (at 40 seconds) Martin shows his struggles around the household and how his kids don’t listen to him as they do their mother.  Mothers are the parents who generally look after the house and the children.  They take care of everything in and around the house, and the men stereotypically are the individuals who bring home the labor.  Since Martin doesn’t do anything around the house and hardly spends time at home, he sees what his wife has to deal with, and eventually he can’t overcome it.

In this film, Martin observes the difference between paid vs. unpaid labor.  His paid labor resides in his college football coaching, and his unpaid labor resides in his around the housework while his wife is away.  Stereotypically, children must be close with their mother, and the mother can’t do without her children.  This example is shown in the film when Martin’s wife calls room service for twelve pillows to be delivered to her room to make her feel like she’s back at home.  Another structural aspect on display is the Invention and Reproduction of Cultural Images of Work.  This aspect is demonstrated through Martin’s portrayal of a “house dad”.  In conclusion, this film displays both family and work as a social institution of gender.

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