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Woman’s viral tweet reveals the sexist question which infuriates parents

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
A new mum's experience, depicted here by a stock image, has exposed a backwards attitude towards parenting roles. [Photo: Getty]

woman has been met with a resonating “hear hear” from fellow parents after sharing the question she’s always asked in public.

In a relatable Twitter post, author Catherynne Valente complained about an incident which occurred when she was going through airport security.

After she explained to airport staff that she had just given birth, Valente was asked where her baby was. “Why do people always ask this?,” she complained.

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Speaking to Yahoo UK, Valente said: “It’s inherently a sexist question.

“I’m a woman, I have an infant, therefore there must be something wrong if the kid is not surgically attached to me.

“If a man shared that he’d just become a father, no one would say Oh my God where is the baby They’d just say congratulations and move on, most likely assuming the baby is with its mother.”

She added: “This was actually the first time I had ever been away from my baby for more than a few hours since his birth. I took a business trip and it was amazing for me to just be my own person again for a short time.

“But the question implies I’ve done something wrong—forgotten him or abandoned him or something, and certainly implies that an agent of the government has the right to know my childcare arrangements.

“Why not simply assume the child is with his father as you would assume a man without his baby left it with its mother? Because men are assumed not to be caretakers, and women are not assumed to be business travellers.”

Poking fun at the situation, some Twitter users responded with hilarious responses.

They suggested a series of absurd alibis Valente should give for the absence of her baby, including that he was sold to the circus or had caught an earlier flight.

Yet at the core of it, the tweets brought to light a frustration felt by many parents, where mothers are imagined to be the sole carer for a child, whereas fathers are only seen as “baby-sitting”.

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Users responded by complaining of the double standards applied to mothers and fathers.

A number of fathers weighed in to share their frustration at not being the assumed carer for their offspring.

Earlier this year, a father was criticised heavily online after suggesting that baby formula should be paid for out of his wife’s budget.

In a now-deleted Reddit post, the man explained that the mother has stopped breastfeeding after six months and is now switching to formula as she “feels done” despite having “plenty of milk and everything”.

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The divisive post reads, “I think if she wants to stop for basically no reason then the money for the formula should come out of her personal spending money because she is the one making the decision.” But after reading his question on the online forum, social media users were less than impressed.

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