You may have noticed articles appearing on the above topics with increasing regularity. Almost without exception the theme is one of men as unappreciative, lazy, selfish, oafs. We are told that women who are in heterosexual relationships are routinely forced to pick up the slack, and are consequently unhappy and disadvantaged.
Until now I collated articles on this theme in (mostly) the following blog posts:
I saw two items about parenthood yesterday that got me thinking about a number of the issues I have written about in this blog.
The first item I saw was an article in The Courier Mail, entitled ‘Go forth and procreate sooner’ by Belinda Seeney (“We need to support women aiming to have babies earlier to beat age-related infertility”). The second was an ABC TV documentary called ‘Cherry’s parenting dilemmas’.
A distinguishing feature of both was the total lack of any mention of the role or significance of men in the topic under discussion. It was not that the discussion was gender-neutral – it was more like men were completely inconsequential. This is indicative of a society where the ongoing relevance or value of men in parenting (and in fact, generally) is increasingly under-valued. Another feature shared by both of these stories was the privileged western societies that formed their contextual backdrop.
Most readers would be aware of demographic trends now taking place in many western countries, including for example falling birth rates, increasing age at marriage, increasing age at becoming a parent, the rise in single person households, the rise in single parenthood, etc. I want to briefly mention a few other trends or developments that I see as relevant to this discussion.
Recent/current research that is increasingly showing the critical importance of having a father actively involved in raising a child, or conversely, the negative implication for the well-being of the child where a father is absent from the household
Increasing influence of feminist ideology in western societies, and the consequent demonization of men, and negative discrimination towards them
Where do I see things heading ?
More and more women moving against feminist ideology and rediscovering the value and legitimacy of parenthood and therefore more women wishing to have children, and at an earlier age.
More and more women recognizing the value of having a man (or men) actively involved in the rearing of their children
More and more men discovering the costs and negative effects on them of parenthood and so avoiding parenthood for longer, or entirely
Continued or even worsening economic austerity making parenthood more and more unaffordable, particularly for single parents
So as things stand now, just as more and more western women are wanting to have more and more children, there will be less and less men willing to partner with them. This is not selfishness or immaturity on the part of the men, it is a rational response to both real and potential threats faced by them in relation to marriage and parenthood. We need to recognise and address those issues, issues such as bias against men in the family court system. If we fail to do so and the than those that will suffer most will be women and children. Yay feminism!
Fathers rights comprises both a very important set of social issues, as well as a highly visible and significant component both within and beyond the MHRA movement.
Anyway I will start the ball rolling by mentioning an article in the ‘Genderratic’ web site entitled ‘The Feminist Crusade against Fatherhood‘. One notable feature of this well-researched article is that it provides a historical background to the issues of child custody and the provision of financial maintenance.
Various papers concerning, or of concern to, fathers
Chris Mackney was a father who was driven to commit suicide due to his treatment at the hands of an abusive wife and a legal system that is strongly biased towards the rights of woman. Read more about Chris here.
You’ve probably noticed that one of the many, many criticisms of men is that they don’t help out with family/household as much as they should (& women already do). And yet men who choose to become house-husbands are often viewed with disdain. This phenomenon is apparent in this reddit discussion thread.
Bettina Arndt has asked me to raise awareness of an alternative Australian family law resolution service offered by Professor Patrick Parkinson, which you can read about here.
Child psychologist Penelope Leach says sleepovers at dads ‘may damage brain’ (18 May 2014) Unbelievable that the media would publicise such views, and imagine the uproar from the feminist lobby if the genders were reversed. In this article the author of the study cited by Ms. Leach rebukes for misrepresenting his findings. Imagine that, a feminist misrepresenting the actual facts in order to further their own ideology … who would have thought?