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Let's stop patting Ryan Gosling on the back for being an equal parent

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Time.com, Brain, Mother, The Rumpus, Scary Mommy and Narratively, among others.

News flash: There's nothing swoon-worthy about Ryan Gosling changing diapers

A few members of the media have lost their talking privileges for the day. That's what you get for asking Eva Mendes if her husband Ryan Gosling "help[s] out, changing diapers and babysitting." Enough.

In a recent interview with the Today Show to promote their series celebrating Latin culture, Eva Mendes was asked if her husband and the father of her child "helped out" with the couple's 1-year-old daughter. Eva, bless her, answered by saying, "That's a given these days; I don't think that's a plus anymore. It better not be, fathers out there."

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Thank you, Eva!

But if the question weren't dumb enough, it gets worse.

E! Online missed the memo, declaring, "As if he weren't already flawless, now we know Ryan Gosling changes his baby's diapers too, and we're swooning over it." Unless "swooning" is code for "bored because that's what parents do, P.S. he also looks his daughter in the eye and has been known to hug her," then I don't get it.

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How can we still be having this conversation? Dads don't "help out" or "babysit;" dads parent. They are now expected to change diapers, and the vast majority of dads wouldn't even consider not doing it. If you know of a man who refuses to change his child's diapers, then he is either a schmuck or a mega-wuss. Either way, he is not the norm anymore.

I'm not sure if the issue here is that Gosling's a man, or that he's attractive, or that he's a celebrity — my guess is that it's mostly the first with sprinklings of the last two. Regardless, it doesn't say much for our expectations of a man's love for his children or respect for his partner, no matter who he is or what he looks like, if we assume that he refuses to get poop under his fingernails like the rest of us. This shouldn't be something worth a swoon.

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Changing diapers doesn't make a man sexier; it's the assumption behind it that, because he does, he's somehow a good human being and not a complete dick. It's like saying, "You mean he calls her 'Eva' and not 'hey bitch?' Be still, my heart!"

I think our standards are a tick higher than that. And if they're not, they should be.

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