On Gender


K.C. Wilson is a social commentator and author of Where's Daddy? The Mythologies Behind Custody-Access-Support, and the e-books: Male Nurturing, Co-parenting for Everyone, The Multiple Scandals of Child Support, and Delusions of Violence: The Secrets Behind Domestic Violence Myths. Find out more at wheres-daddy.com

All Men Are Rich
Australian Custody Report: Hopes Set Too High
The “Big Lie” Oppresses Women
Deadbeat Moms
Denying Male Nurturing to Exploit It
Domestic Violence Myths Are Violent
Essence of Girl / Boy
Fathers and Religious Practice
Feminism Denies Male Nurturing to Exploit It
Has ACFC Abandoned Fathers?
Is 50 / 50 Residency the Right Target?
I No Longer Support the Women’s Movement A Man Speaks Out
Jane Fonda Speaks Again and Feminist Projection
Killing Men
Male Nurturing 101
Men: Save Your Marriage
Misandry: Female Sexism
No Such Thing As Material Property
Our Atrocities
Parent Groups Denounce Australian Custody Report
Paternity Fraud: Female Violence Against Men
The Pill and Female Chauvinism: Part I
The Pill and Female Chauvinism: Part II
Replace “Best Interest of the Child” with “Protect and Support the
Child’s Family”

Revisiting Andrea Yates
“Rule of Thumb” Is the Crime
T Shirts and a Men’s Movement
We Abort Fathers
Why Is There a Men’s Movement?
Women In War

All Men Are Rich

On May 18, 2002, the men of New Hampshire thought they’d finally got somewhere. Rep. David Bickford, among others, had worked five years to see HB 553 create a Commission on the Status of Men, the first on the continent. It was to address the suicide rate among men (at even young ages it is five times that of women’s), that average male mortality is 7 years before that of women’s, that boys’ far under-perform girls in reading and most scholastics and are less likely to go to and stay in college. It was also assigned the examination of cultural stereotyping of men.

Even Harvard professor William Pollack calls school, “The most boy-unfriendly place on earth,” and who of us guys can’t say Amen to that. It’s about time just a few of men’s concerns finally got attention. Even most women agree.

But there are ways to provide the appearance of equal treatment without providing it. Appointment of committee members is up to the governor and then governor Jeanne Shaheen was a feminist. She made no appointments for four months, and then her seven nominees included with any affinity with or knowledge of men’s issues. The most prominent nominee was Scott Hampton who had fought against the commission.

"For me, to create a Commission on the Status of Men would be like creating a Commission on the Status of Wealthy People," said Mr. Hampton. Perhaps he’s speaking for himself. I’m not rich, are you? Perhaps he also thinks men made all the rules. I was never called to that vote. I don’t like the rules and never have, how did I make them? These are interesting generalizations one might call stereotypes, the very thing the House intended this commission to examine.

Perhaps this is “balance.” I’m sure the Governor appoints a misogynist to New Hampshire’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Unless I’m mistaken, assuming that Jews were all privileged is how some people once justified, not just ignoring their needs, but outright persecution. Projecting privilege onto those with none is a good first step toward abuse. At the very least it is a bias, even bigotry.

That’s not all this nominee to the Commission on the Status of Men said. “Men don’t have a status problem,” but he believes women do, and it’s up to him as a man to help them out to the exclusion of other’s needs.

It’s nice to see that chivalry is still alive. Or is it male chauvinism to think that women need men’s help but men don’t need women’s? I recall a time when women were offended by this condescending view, but that was when we called it Women’s Lib and subscribing to it decreased the votes you got. Today, subscribing to “helpless woman” is required to get any votes at all.

One effect of the last three decades of feminist domination of social complaints is that the needs of others – blacks, the poor, children, and men – have been ignored. They are dismissed as unreal or inconsequential unless they parallel women’s. This can even become, for all intents and purposes, conspiratorial, certainly oppressive. Today, the only rule Mr. Hampton and Governor Shaheen seem to understand is, “The only thing that should have all of men’s attention, is women.”

That sounds awfully like the stereotype of women before Women’s Liberation. Did becoming establishment make them reactionary, or did they become reactionary to become The Establishment?

All this happened in 2002 and I don’t want to leave the impression that it was the end of this Commission. It is only representative of what such efforts face. Since 2002, Jeanne Shaheen was soundly defeated as governor, as much by women embarrassed by her as by men, and the Commission has been properly meeting. This warrants continued monitoring.

Our Atrocities

We were embarrassed when conditions in US prisons in Iraq were revealed. We would rather point at other’s atrocities than admit to and face our own. But our “advanced” society is continuing to constantly commit some of the ugliest atrocities ever known to man, and everyone pretends it’s not there.

I sometimes feel it’s the 1680s and the issue is slavery. Back then, too, only a few “radicals” recognized and spoke against the atrocities systematically committed by slavery. Few listened. Most would say, “It’s unfortunate, but what can you do,” while those directly involved insisted, “It’s in their best interest,” and presented convincing arguments.

It didn’t just take the 200 years to the civil war to eliminate those horrors, but 100 more to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Only gradually did society, first, not simply allow that whippings, lynchings, and bestial treatment was immoral and had to be stopped – that the dignity of all people should be equally protected – but take action to that end.

Today, society is just as systematically committing equally horrible atrocities to its own members, every day. Parents are routinely and just as mindlessly torn from their children’s lives with the same callous carelessness as Blacks were bought and sold.

One woman who interviewed me said, “It must be like losing a loved one.”

No. It’s not like losing a loved one and should not be trivialized. It’s like watching your child ripped apart in front of you while everyone laughs and says, “What’s wrong with you?”

The same is felt by a child watching a parent permanently removed.

I told you. This society is committing horrible atrocities, every day, to thousands of its own members. And the best you hear from those not (yet) effected is, “How unfortunate, but what can you do?” Those doing it insist, “It’s in their best interest.”

The atrocity is sole custody, or anything that supports or allows a child to have only one of its parents. It is anything that does not support both parents equally as parents. That is what our divorce practices still almost universally do. And with a divorce rate of over 50%, consider how many are effected.

It is horrible to say, but the moral blind eye is because it is done to children and men. Children have no voice, so everyone claims that voice as their own. We’re doing this for their sake, after all, so their cries and pain should be ignored. They’ll get over it, especially when properly educated that their father left, not that he lacked equal protection as a parent.

Except that studies have universally shown that children never get over it. But they also rarely realize who really did or didn’t do what to whom back then, so society is safe.

Men should always suck it up, whatever’s done to them. They’re who we complain to, and about, so not allowed feelings or complaints of their own. The voices of fathers are ignored; any who complain are wimps.

Except this is not only done to fathers, but sometimes, even to mothers.

Divorce should only be divorce of the adults and have the least possible impact on children. Efforts should be to separate the parents, then equally protect the child’s involvement and care from each so the child retains its whole family.

We will stop committing these crimes only when we stop thinking that “parent” can only be one entity or one brain, and realize it is commonly two, often very different entities and brains. That is the value to the child of two parents, and would be more civilized to protect instead of destroy.

The “Big Lie” Oppresses Women

Anyone who says, “Women have always been oppressed,” is saying that women have always been stupid and incompetent. Except our women, today.

Who has the low opinion of women?

I think I’ll puke on the next person who claims that, since during a different era women were not as obvious as men in commerce and government, they held no place in society and didn’t matter. If true, what existed then that suddenly no longer does now, that held off the revolution until today?

Today, were women not able to vote, get a loan, or left out of government and jobs, they would certainly be oppressed. Today, post-industrialization, society’s only power structures are commerce, government, and the media. That does not mean they are all that could ever possibly exist nor ever have, nor that they always held the meaning they hold for us today.

Government was not part of everyone’s daily life until the 1930s. Until then, politics was sport. Before factories, where did industry reside? Only two hundred years ago, there was no distinguishing of home, work, school, nor industry from the household and community. Everyone worked where they lived. Women’s personal relating and connecting defined both household and community and were vital to and an intrinsic part all effort, however separate they were from men and however different their role.

Even hunter-gatherer societies exhibit separate clustering of men and women due to their different natures. Different does not mean unequal, nor make anyone’s efforts less inter-dependent. Differences create equality: different but equally essential contributions. That we now value entirely different things than ever before hardly means everyone else was always like us. Women have NOT always been oppressed. They’ve usually been the most privileged members of any society, highly valued.

The major power structures of middle ages Europe – and every other society including many still today – were church, the household, and community. The latter two were defined by women and intrinsic to all function. But today, in our giant-industry, big-government, money-only, secular society, all have been buried. Only being a half-consumer-half-producer makes you matter. That makes it important for women to have education, the vote, and jobs. It does not mean they were ever oppressed.

There has been a gigantic change in society’s economic context and social structures, only seen once before. Ten thousand years ago we shifted from hunter-gatherer to agrarian, and that took a thousand years.

This is not anyone’s fault. It was not anyone’s conspiracy. It happened because we all lusted for the material benefits and power industrialization brought. But it came at a cost still not understood.

Here where feminism let women down. Faced with these changes, it said, “Give women a place,” not, “Give femininity a place.” It even often demeans femininity.

Women still need to know they matter as a woman, not as a pale imitation of men. They need to know that being a women, with its unique skills and orientation, is an asset – as it has always been – not told they must suddenly adopt male values and ambitions. They need to know that being a women is just as important to society as being a man, not that they have to turn into men to have meaning.

But by crying “women have always been oppressed,” scapegoating men, and trying to compete with men at everything, the real issue and needs are ignored. In fact, the fears generated by the elimination of the importance of being a woman have been exploited by those seeking power for themselves. Feminism has not just been a diversion from the real issues facing women, but exacerbated the problem. It, not men, said “Being a woman is meaningless; to have importance we must do whatever they do.”

The threat for women remains, without a name. What makes being a woman, matter?

That is oppressive to women.


Often the biggest blockage to men as fathers, is mother. We hear women complain about absent or uninvolved fathers, but can get the impression they cause it just to complain. That’s because much gatekeeping is unconscious, and culturally supported.

A 1985 survey found that only 25% of married women endorse equal parenting, and almost 70% seem threatened by it. By 1992, Joseph Pleck’s Washington study still found that only 43% of even working mothers wanted their husband to have more to do with the children, and another study found that 82% of divorcing women seek sole custody.

Judith Walterstein, in Surviving the Breakup, reports that half of custodial mothers do not value the father’s involvement with their children, and one-quarter try to end it.

Gatekeeping is the presumption that only women should manage child care, often to the point of whether children have a father or who it is. Treating men as irrelevant or inherently incompetent nurtures (as though women knew it all by nature.) is a self-fulfilling wedge.

Growing up, boys are discouraged from learning child care skills; girls, the opposite. When faced with a wife who grabs their infant as soon as it cries, or criticizes the way he baths it, most men have little to fall back upon and take the hint to preserve their marriage. Then women brag (not complain) about their useless husbands.

Fathers, like mothers, become nurturing through daily care of their own children which permits a familiar, consistent presence in each other’s lives. Every parent discovers their own way of feeding, bathing, and everything else, given opportunity and encouragement.

But as Kyle Pruett explains in Fatherneed, “when it comes to managing the nurturing domain, women cling to control to the point of micromanaging . . . to reassure themselves, and reaffirm their competence and essential goodness as mothers.”

Gatekeeping serves the mother’s needs, not the child’s. It is confusion of the two. Children need fathers as much as mothers, and need them to be different. Children need multiple, independent attachments.

Gatekeeping is not limited to the home or mothers. It is feminist groups, politicians, and judges that oppose joint custody unless the mother agrees. It is the Houston Oilers fining a player for missing a game to be at his child’s birth. It is William Sears who, in his fathering book, Becoming a Father, claims that men are clumsy with diapers and queasy with breast feeding. It is the divorce mediator who seeks to protect the mother, and the daycare worker or nurse who considers the father’s inquiries a nuisance.

All hurt when you are a man, making you feel like a nigger for trying to be a father.

Gatekeeping is in divorce practices predicated on a “primary parent,” thus creating one. It is child support which replaces a father with money, believing this takes care of children; it’s all that father’s are for. It is the judge who, when faced with research on father love, said, “I don’t buy it. Little girls belong with their mothers. I don’t care how good a father he is,” though the father had been the predominant caretaker all the child’s life. It is Dear Abby advising a reader that, if she doesn’t like the natural father, find some other male role model for your child.

Then society is alarmed by absent fathers, only to use it as another reason to treat them as second class.

Gatekeeping is a self-fulling pathology that must be rooted out. It is not love but possession. Rampant father absence is not fathers’ fault, but our own for not supporting and protecting fathers as much as we do mothers.


Our adoption practices may be the one thing more barbaric than our divorce ones, and for much the same reasons.

I didn’t say adoption is bad. I said our adoption practices are needlessly cruel and inhumane, unjustifiably doing permanent damage to two-thirds of those involved.

If you drop political correctness and listen to those who’ve been adopted, however happy with their adoptive family, each and every one is seeking their natural parents from somewhere deep within. They want to know where they come from and who they are, biologically.

This is the very thing our adoption practices explicitly brutalize, much like our divorce ones. They try to destroy the indestructible: impose that biological ties do not exist when they do, as though we were not biological beings with biological histories but machines. Blood must be as thin as water.

Our adoption practices reflect a machine concept of family: made of interchangeable parts. They are therefore an inhumanity we systematically commit against ourselves. Our divorce laws equally impose elimination of parental ties with the mechanical consideration that a child needs a care giver and money, not its family.

Yes, adopted children will speak in glowing terms and appreciation of their adoptive parents. They are usually as close to them as any child to any parent. This hardly means they carry no permanent wound and will never feel as complete as you or I. They will never feel the satisfaction of knowing what, exactly, they pass to their own children, that they transfer a history that goes back over continents and centuries. Their pre-life, which exists as much as yours or mine, is hidden and untraceable. Where is the connection to all mankind? Not just who am I, but who are my children?

Yet under the term “open adoption” lies an infinite range of choices from annual letters to weekly visits to full co-parenting. Each is more common to most other societies than the cruelty we impose. But most jurisdictions still ignore them and restrict any couple – on either side – to the smallest set of choices, as though society should decide what choices parents can make for their children. And there’s no going back from that choice, even though the ties are real and forever. The child is rarely accorded a future choice.

Consider the parents. Do you think they ever “get over” the loss, like a child from your body is something you just remove like a wart? The only reason parents give up their children for adoption is that they know they lack the resource to raise it, and are responsible about that. But neither could they bring themselves to kill it, caring enough to give it some chance.

What does this say about us? Despite previously un-imaginable wealth, we cannot do what much poorer societies have always done and support those with less than ourselves. It says we are too greedy for what we can get for ourselves to afford the simplest compassion for others and their children. We would rather blame people for what fate and youthful miscalculation provide than simply deal with how the universe randomly unfolds.

For parents, what is the difference between adoption and abortion? Both eliminate the child forever, and leave the same eternal wound. What new set of choices do we think we provide?

If those who campaign against abortion really wanted to reduce their numbers instead of simply impose their values on others, you would expect them to campaign at least as hard for more maternity homes and a far wider range of options for adoption.

Has ACFC Abandoned Fathers?

I have great admiration for Stephen Baskerville. For almost two decades he has contributed a disciplined academic voice to the defence of fathers and families. His articles have appeared in prestigious publication such as Political Science and Politics and Society, and he has been tireless in seeking the publicity we need.

In January, 2004, Baskerville became president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC), and has inspired a vigour and direction to this previously marginal group that has seen its membership and activities mushroom.

But what is that direction? One would think that a father’s advocacy group would be asserting the equal importance of fathers in their children’s lives. Instead, their recent add in the Washington Times (www.acfc.org/advertisingcampaign.htm) and Baskerville’s articles as president of ACFC all focus on no-fault divorce and marriage. ACFC seems to see easy divorce and government bureaucracy as more the enemy of fathers than the perceptions behind their implementation. ACFC may be headed in a similar direction to the Nation Fatherhood Initiative (NFI): not so much a father advocacy group as an anti-divorce group.

I believe marriage is very important. In this superficial, materialistic world, anything that promotes fundamental human attachments is badly needed. Further, no-fault divorce begs many issues not convenient to many to acknowledge, and Baskerville eloquently addresses them. But marriage is its own, separate set of issues from fatherhood and family. They are not one and the same, and if taken so, one undermines the other. Let me explain.

Family is defined by blood. We are biological beings and need to know our biological roots. Marriage, while an important social institution, is exactly that: a social institution. It is bred of adult choices, not blood.

Using marriage to define family, instead of blood, strikes me as the root of the problem we all face: A man is only a father within a marriage; Dad as subordinate parent. He is subordinate to marriage and/or the mother. This is not Dad as equally primary in his own right, with his own unique, independent contribution to the child’s welfare, growth, and life. This latter statement (equality of parenthood) would be my choice for a father advocacy group.

The very reason the courts are such a problem is that society says, when a marriage ends, so does the family. There is no longer an integral social entity so it’s up to us (society) to do what we please with the resulting parts, thus destroying that natural, real integral social entity for the child. We have made divorce into the end of the child’s family, when it is the very time its family should be most actively defended.

The 2001 census found that one-third of all children born in America that year were born out of wedlock. I saw an NFI paper that declared that one-third of all children were born fatherless.

I’m no biologist, but I don’t think one can be born fatherless any more than born motherless.

You see the problem with using marriage to define family, and the difference between defending marriage and defending fatherhood and family? It hardly matters if we reduce the divorce rate if whatever number of divorced or never-married fathers are not considered, and hence not treated, as the fathers they naturally and eternally are. And why are non-wedlock children not equally entitled to both parents? The Children’s Rights Council is the only family advocacy group I know of that I can legitimately call itself that, because they explicitly include never-married families among their constituents. Suddenly, ACFC’s focus is not fathers and fatherhood nor even families, but marriage and divorce. However much both may be valid issues, I believe it’s important to treat them as distinct.

Besides, if the objective is to reduce the divorce rate, a 1997 study by Guidubaldi and Kuhn showed that practical application of equality (a presumption of equal parenting) does exactly that. The higher the level of joint custody, the greater the fall in the divorce rate. There may be some confusion between the dog and its tail.

Another reason to keep issues of marriage and fatherhood distinct is to avoid the trap of political polarization: left versus right. I believe it would hurt the cause of equal parenthood (and play into the reactionary Feminists’ hands) if we allowed ourselves to be characterized as right-wing reactionaries seeking to use marriage to control women and children. (I know it’s not true and is nothing compared to what women use for control. That’s not the point. The point is avoiding political polarization over fatherhood and the family.) On the other hand, few things hold more appeal to mainstream society than equality.

No-fault divorce and evil government, however valid or not, are right wing issues. Fatherhood is universal. It can and should be treated as its own issue. It is the difference between advocating for families and for marriage.

Men go to the doctor one-forth as often as women. While we men continue to fall all over ourselves to give women all manner of protection, such as the Violence Against Women Act and Title IX, we forget to protect ourselves. Fathers do not have equal protection in divorce. We are not regarded as having equal value, particularly by most men. Equal regard for fathers would seem a more reasonable objective for an organization calling itself a coalition for fathers and a family advocacy group.

I would assert a child’s right to both parents, equally, irrespective of marriage. Not any rights of parents, and nothing to do with social relationships such as marriage, but that regarding both parents as equally valuable and needed by children is the reason both should be treated with the apparently un-American notion of legal and practical equality. Advance this revolutionary social concept and the laws and practices will follow.

The Pill and Female Chauvinism: Part II

Last week I wrote about a fairly good “American Experience” program on PBS on the introduction of The (birth control) Pill in the 1950s. But I am using the fact it was a good representation of basic American experience and attitudes, and not particularly driven by gender politics, to highlight common, underlying female chauvinisms.

It began by covering the existing opposition to any contraception and the consequential oppression to mothers in having no choice but to have and raise an endless stream of babies, and the many who died giving birth. No mention was made of the equal strain upon fathers, nor the larger numbers of fathers killed every day on the job, many working beyond their abilities exactly because of the financial demands of the same endless stream of babies.

It was not couples and families who were oppressed. Only women. It was not couples and families who were liberated by greater control over the number and timing of children. Only women. Pregnancy and children are about women and have nothing to do with men.

It didn’t end with female self-centeredness.

This was supposed to be a program on the social changes wrought by The Pill. How did they miss the sudden increase of women’s power over men? “Is my wife still taking the pill?” All men are now at the mercy of whatever their wife or girlfriend wants, with or without regard for them. Birth control is no longer joint, but entirely in one partner’s hands.

Is the number of victims insignificant? Perhaps the producers never heard of the Office of Child Support Enforcement, whose job is exactly to hound men for what, in many cases, are unwanted or unplanned children. Unwanted or unplanned by the fathers, however much by the mothers.

[Interesting, isn’t it? Men are punished for what only women control.]

There may not have been much reduction in unwanted children, only those unwanted by women. Maybe that’s all that matters.

How could one of the most profound social impacts have been ignored? Talk about female chauvinism. If PBS wishes to cover the American Experience, I believe America still consists of some men.

Finally, the inevitable, ultimate howler.

“With the pill, women were finally free to have sex without fear of pregnancy, just like men always had.”

Just like men always had? Men have sex without regard for pregnancy and have no stake in children?

Women have always been able to “walk away” via adoption and abortion. Men have never been able to unless willing to live as a criminal. Now, women have even more choices; men have even fewer.

You say men can walk out on their family, and many have? So have many women, probably in equal numbers, and I know of cases where she gets child support while having nothing to do with the children. There is no difference in options here, only in one gender’s convenient stereotyping of the other.

This female notion that men have no stake in nor regard for pregnancy and never have – that men have always been able to “walk away,” and “it’s not men who get pregnant” – not only shows a shocking lack of knowledge of men and society, even a belief that men are not human, but is the still pervasive female mentality of keeping children all to themselves. Only women have children, not men. Men have no stake in pregnancy and children; those are women’s issues, and to reenforce it we’ll insist they have sex without regard for pregnancy whether they really do or ever have or not.

We know how self-fulfilling it is. It is a woman’s perception (or desire), not a man’s, and not even all women are this selfish.

But PBS is.

[PBS usually rightly prides itself in open and fair mindedness. I think it would be worthwhile for everyone inclined, to write a polite letter to one or both of the parties involved in producing this program, that points out that The Pill had both similar and different impacts upon men, which they failed to mention, and their buttressing of Victorian notions that pregnancy and children belong only to women, which has acted as a terrible barrier and life-destroyer for millions of men and children.

Steward / Gazit Productions of NYC created and produced the program (and many for PBS), and WGBH, the Boston PBS, puts the American Experience series together. It was aired throughout most of the US on March 22, 2004, but your local PBS may re-broadcast it at any time.]

American Experience, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134 Executive Producer: Mark Samels, Series Editor: Sharon Grimberge

Steward / Gazit Productions Inc., 245 W 107th St., New York, NY 10025 Producer: Chana Gazit Co-producer: David Steward

The Pill and Female Chauvinism: Part I

PBS just ran a very good program on The Pill (birth control), and the social context and controversies of its time, the 1950s. While I always knew the Catholic stand against contraception, I didn’t know that, in the 1950s US, all contraception was illegal. Condoms, diaphragms, and anything else – used for thousands of years in various forms – could not be manufactured, sold, given away, or counseled.

Interesting though the program was, and important though contraception is for couples to better control when they have how many children, The Pill is commonly attributed with things well beyond its actual impact. This “American Experience” program presented that image of “sudden miracle.”

Further, though the program was objective and relatively clean of gender politics, that very fact allowed many common, underlying female biases to show. Ones beyond those attributable to feminism.

So I’ll use that program to show what I see as both the excess hype about The Pill, and common female chauvinisms. It will take more than one column.

One interviewee made the common claim, “Suddenly, women had far more [career, or life] choices than ever before in history.”

There is some truth to this, but greatly exaggerated by ignoring two other things.

In the mid 1800s, my great-great-great aunt established and ran her own business in downtown Philadelphia. In 1903, Maggie Walker founded a bank in Richmond, Virginia. The first women attended MIT in 1871, and in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell was America’s first woman with a medial degree, a time when medial degrees were just being invented.

How did it take until the 1950s and a pill for women to “suddenly” have more choices than ever before? This is a big exaggeration, often used to “prove” prior oppression of women. It is simply untrue, and degrades the many strong, independent women who existed well before, not to mention the fairness of men.

It might be more accurate to say that more, both men and women, felt more ready to make those choices as some of the risks and trade-offs were reduced. Even more accurate may be that more women were feeling *compelled* to make those choices, as the meaningfulness of traditional roles were increasingly undermined by industrialization.

But you cannot tell me that all the same options did not previously exist. Only that more women took them.

The second problem with the assertion of suddenly increased options for women is that the increases in life choices for everyone is the story of advancing industrialization, not contraception. Progress in contraception is but one footnote. For hundreds of years the European caste system limited personal choices, and how many “careers” exist in an agrarian society, especially those that don’t require being born into them?

Few had many choices, even until the 1950s. Why would women be any different? But the women interviewed thought it was all about only them, not them as part of a society changing in many ways in any case and happening to all.

The very fact a program on The Pill was only about what it (seemed to) mean to women displays female chauvinism. Was there no impact on men?

For decades we’ve heard feminists insist that women have always been omitted from society. (Which says this vast, complex, wealthy society – which gives feminists the comfort from which to whine – was solely created by men. Women made no contribution. I have problems with that image of women.) To then say that women, as though only them, suddenly had choices they’d never had before is now saying that society is only comprised of them.

They could at least make up their minds.

Denying Male Nurturing to Exploit It

Some feminists like to insist that nurturing is what distinguishes women, even makes them superior to men. Congressman Barbara Jordan said, “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have. He’s just incapable of it.”

Even anthropologist Margaret Mead, a staunch defender of fathers and fatherhood, considered nurturing by men socially induced, not natural nor instinctive. This perception is basic to our culture.

What’s funny about it, certainly from feminists, is how they rely upon male nurturing for much of what they get. Women have always known that the surest way to get anything from a man is to play helpless and / or innocent. “I’m so sorry officer. This car is new and I didn’t know I was speeding.” What female cop would buy that? Most male cops do. It is an appeal to the male reflex to protect and assist the weak and innocent, as in raising children.

(Many women are disgusted to see others play this game, unaware when they do it themselves.)

You could say that the common female negotiation strategy of sweetness is a similar reliance upon male nurturing. There isn’t a six-year-old girl who can’t twist her daddy around here little finger. Playing child is part of female survival skills, but exploitive when taken beyond real needs and not part of equal exchange.

(It’s not the only female strategy. For women who cannot bring themselves to bargain there is emotional and moral bullying. “I am deeply offended.” But that equally relies upon the male need to make women – by extension from children – happy.)

Feminists quickly learned that crying, “Women have always been oppressed,” got men moving. It’s playing helpless, but now so over-played that Cathy Young, for one, believes feminists infantize women more than any man ever has. Women are not that blameless, incompetent, or stupid that they are always or inevitably oppressed. But, damn, the myth works well.

Obviously a ploy is going on, so what is telling is what is being plied. If men didn’t have the understanding or compassion to which Barbara Jordan refers, women would have gotten the back of the hand they claim men only give them back when women first complained. But complaining has worked so well so quickly it’s gone on to test its limits, which are yet to be found. Victim woman gets results.

Why? Because of the very thing so many want to deny about men: their reflex to protect, to help the weak to self-sufficiency. To nurture. It is a biological reaction in men upon which all society has always relied or human societies would not exist.

Some anthropologists speculate that the reason women have smaller bodies, retain a child’s high-pitched voice, and have more protruding eyes than men is to appeal to men as needing care like children. If so, how could anyone say there is no such thing as male nurturing? If there weren’t, the small-frame-protruding-eyes bit wouldn’t work any better than playing helpless.

It’s as though the male instinct to nurture came first, then women put themselves in its path to get its benefits. Not enough, they then claimed to be the only ones who had the instinct, and to complete the coup recruited men to that view. How?“You want us to be special, don’t you?” Eye-bat, eye-bat.

It may be that men have an even deeper, stronger nurturing instinct than women, so fundamental that it is taken for granted. If it didn’t exist, it couldn’t be exploited. It gives women power.

T Shirts and a Men’s Movement

A set of T shirts sporting “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” have been pulled from several retail chains thanks to a campaign launched by radio talk show host, Glenn Sacks. Besides the ruckus over whether this is over-reaction to a joke, it raises a possibly threatening larger question.

After decades of a women’s movement that takes it for granted that men have all the power so deserve no consideration, is it possible this itself has spawned a men’s movement that most still resolutely ignore?

As a member of any such thing, the short answer is no, not a coherent one, and probably never will be. Feminists have little to fear.

Most women can’t understand why. Given just the misandrist male-bashing – but especially the feminist grabbing for privilege such as children all to themselves upon divorce, that girls must far exceed boys in school, protection from domestic violence only for women, and others – most women think there’d be a men’s movement simply out of self-defense. Why do we only hear from women on all issues as though men didn’t exist?

Of the three main reasons, male chivalry looms largest. What better opportunity than “women’s rights” to show you are a man? Protecting the weak is what masculinity is, making men chief co-conspirators against men.

Most woman know – far better than men – that this male trait is now being exploited. Men have always been naive about female power exactly because it comes in a form so different from their own.

The second reason is that men do not have the group identity that women have with their personal “connecting” and its networking. While women quickly relate to all other women “as a class,” men see themselves as individuals. Each has his own field to tend. Richard Doyle of the Men’s Defense Association has been urging a united men’s movement for 37 years. Shortly after the National Congress for Fathers & Children was forming it suffered a large split. Each man has his personal mission and fights solely for it.

So John Murtari parades alone outside his New York courthouse, trying to recruit others to his way, ignoring their input for strategy. One’s personal path means more than its objective.

Oh, men work in teams very well. They team up all the time to build bridges, organize countries, even fly to the moon. Teams make men feel like brothers: working for a common goal. Men connect to each other through doing which connects them to the universe. Team sports is this for its own sake. For men, nothing produces a greater sense of being part of something bigger than working with other men.

But what men form teams for is never personal. It must be external, of benefit to their family or community. Men do not form teams for personal issues, and certainly never to stand up to women.

(Stand up to women? That’s the chivalry factor, or what might be called male nurturing. Women and children are to die for – to fight for, not against – and men do. When feminists declared a gender war, men never showed up.)

A third reason is another characteristic of masculinity. I do not accept that the male trait to “just take it” is mere cultural indoctrination nor insensitivity. I think there’s something inherent to being a man that is willing to put emotion and pain aside to just do. Someone must do the doing, irrespective of how they feel, and that sense of communal responsibility defines masculinity.

This makes taking action against a strictly personal wrong, an extreme. Men must be deeply hurt and very angry. So you often only see the kind of man in the men’s movement that nobody wants to know because he keeps saying “unconstitutional” with his eyes bugging out. But it is a mistake to ignore him as though it had nothing to do with you. When one gender is hurt, both are.

Is there a men’s movement? Will men ever organize for their own self-interest? I’m not very optimistic. The very things that make men vital and indispensable are the ones that make them vulnerable.

Men: Save Your Marriage

Women probably have a better idea of the male world and values than men do of women’s. Women are more required to deal with structure and facts as they are external, than are men with women’s relating and emotional truths. We all have to step outside; you can avoid stepping in. So I suspect it’s easier for men to be more ignorant of women’s orientation.

This hardly means women understand men any better than men do women. I don’t think they do. Neither gender makes much sense to the other, and every individual is as prone to ignoring other’s needs and context. Sometimes this is humorous (comedians make a good living with it), but often it results in tragedies like divorce. This has only become worse as society sees equality as sameness. Denying gender differences is “Correct.”

Speaking for myself, the “girl world” was recently brought home by reading Rachel Simmons’ book Odd Girl Out. We men find our meaning in structure and orient to the external world. If the facts are wrong, you’re wrong. So it took a bit to realize the degree to which women live in an entirely different world of personal relating and connections, structure and facts having little meaning. It’s a whole different value system and orientation. While both men and women can be ambitious or greedy, or kind and saintly, it can be for different reasons and using different tools. Both may seek the same truth, but the terms they use and routes taken can have little to do with each other. It makes truly hearing each other difficult.

Apply this to marriage.

Men take their satisfaction from the structure itself: there simply being a family of which he is a part. It is an unspoken but constantly present satisfaction, whatever may happen within it.

But male satisfaction is female taken-for-granted. The most common reason women give for ending a marriage is not abuse or infidelity, but their being little relationship to it.

You should hear how men howl at this finding: What a trivial excuse, how silly.

IT’S NOT TRIVIAL TO THEM. Relating is what women live for. Relationships are air.

What gives your existence meaning? If your job or career is unrewarding and does not make you feel like you matter, you find another. Same for women and relationships. Relating is what makes them part of something and therefore, matter. They do not orient to structures (maps) but landmarks (people). Success is friends and closeness, evidenced by knowing their secrets.

If you want that structure to be the permanence you seek, make sure you exist as far as she is concerned. Put aside some time each day or week to just shut up and listen. Let her tell you things, then tell her some of your private thoughts and fears. “Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say,” and they need to, or you don’t exist irrespective of how comforting to you is the routine she manages and the context for that you provide.

After all, that emotion and relating stuff – that warmth and human thing – being what men lack is what we seek in women. Use it or loose it.

If it is uncomfortable to do this because some women’s demands are endless and others worm inside for control, making personal contact painful, you need another wife. (And will probably get one at some point, so start looking, unless you two are co-dependent.)

If this is uncomfortable because you do, in fact, ignore your feelings and hardly know what they are, seek a men’s group or therapeutic support before your marriage ends.

Misandry: Female Sexism

Last week I described the recent urban legend of the “Rule of Thumb.” The fact its opposite is true (it has never been legal nor even acceptable for a man to beat his wife; men have always found their identity in protection) suggests it is an intentional smear against men.

The fact women commit as much or more domestic violence as men makes the last three decade’s of gender-focused domestic violence campaigns equally a gender-hate crime. Violence has never been gender-specific, but domestic violence has been politicized as a weapon for gender wars.

Consider the mythical deadbeat dad. The emotion used to justify persecution of every divorced father is that 34% of single mothers (and, hence, their children) live in poverty. The assumption is that all those fathers live on the Rivera and all we must do is force them to pay. It is a similar smear. In truth, if every one of those mothers married the father of their children, just as many children would still be just as poor. If 34% of single mothers are poor, what do you suppose about the fathers?

But our child support enforcement policy is, “inability to pay is no excuse” (men can’t possibly be poor or deserve compassion), and since 1986 it has not even been possible to reduce arrearage when new evidence comes to light, even having been in a comma.

Child support is used as another opportunity to blame men for any plight, but this one nicely dove-tales with those who want to blame poverty on the poor. Or at least on poor men, not women.

These social campaigns are mass vilifications along strictly gender

lines. For all men they create what feminist like to call a hostile environment when done to them. If it’s wrong done to women, what makes it right done to men?

In response to the recent spat of trials of adult women discovered having sex with underaged boys, Chicago Tribune columnists Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich wrote that this should not be a crime. It should be a crime when men have sex with underaged girls, but when women do the same thing the boys should be punished because they should know better. An adult women should not, she is “just having a relationship.”

This is another expression of, “All women are caring, all men are predators.” If there was sexism before the 1970s, it’s nothing to what we have now.

Jean Bonhomme is a male black doctor in Georgia who grew up in 1960s Atlanta. In a recent article about the buttons teen girls are now wearing (“All boys are stupid,” “Boys are great, everyone should own one.”), he says, “It does not appear to me that discrimination is being eliminated, but merely shifted from one group to another.”

Since the Industrial Revolution annihilated any distinct female identity, it is understandable for women to seek new ways to distinguish themselves as women. But when self pride can only come at the expense of pride and justice for others – when it’s only source is projecting one’s own evil onto others in a superiority game; when rights for women can only come at the expense of any for men – it is not pride but prejudice. It is not assertive but defensive, and not social progress but regression.

There have been social changes during my lifetime. There has been no social *progress* nor movement for gender equality. Not if equality means equal dignity and respect for all.

“Rule of Thumb” Is the Crime

The “rule of thumb” joins urban legends such as dog meat in Chinese food and razor blades in Halloween candy, the latter two also having never happened. It is more related to the dog legend as a slur against a social group.

The legend has it that English common law allowed a man to beat his wife so long as it was with an instrument no wider than his thumb. You hear variations, like, “A law in Texas.” I even saw it cited in a BBC documentary by a scholar who should know better. It became so commonly believed that the Journal of Legal Education published an article to debunk it. [Henry Ansgar Kelly, “Rule of Thumb and the Folklaw of the Husband’s Stick,” September, 1994, Vol. 44, p 341.]

It didn’t help. It had already assumed a life of its own. That is an indication that it’s what many want to be true, irrespective of whether it is.

Christine Hoff Sommers traced its origin to Del Martin who, in 1976, was a coordinator of the NOW Task Force on Battered Women. But she never coined “rule of thumb” to describe it. It also seems that Murray Straus, the otherwise responsible family violence researcher, contributed to her impression with a careless reference in his scholarly work, Violence in the Family. It has since been attributed to William Blackstone’s 1770s authoritative chronicle of English common law, Commentaries on the Laws of England, but no such assertion is there. Quite the opposite.

Like all such legends there is a grain of truth, but taken to remarkable extremes. Three isolated judges are believed to have allowed limited disciplining of a wife in one of each of their judgements. Two are recorded in the US South (1824 in Mississippi and 1868 in North Carolina), plus Francis Buller in England, circa 1782. We only know about Buller’s ruling because the records from that time are of the public vilification of him for it. But a later biographer found no evidence he rendered such an opinion. (Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England, 1870.)

Remember that, until the 1900s, if a women committed a tort, her husband was punished for it. Men were held to account for anything any member of their family did, so there are references to “reasonable restraint,” all heavily qualified and strictly confined to cases where a family member could be a danger, not just to the husband/father, but the family.

The problem with this lie is not just that any dictionary will tell you that “rule of thumb” means using one’s own judgment instead of external ruler. (It is most commonly attributed to carpentry, where a master would use the length, not width, of his thumb for common measurements.) The problem is also not simply that it is false: that it has never been legal nor even acceptable for a man to beat his wife, as shown by the 1782 derision of such a suggestion even then.

What makes this a particularly malicious slur against all men and masculinity is that its opposite has always been true. The male code has always included, “Never hit a women,” and that is how men socialize men, and always have. Masculinity is explicitly about protection of women and children from this very kind of treatment, and men have always vigorously enforced it among themselves.

This myth is a gender hate crime.

Women have always been able to count on protection from men, and still do. Spinning and spreading such lies can only be to create fear and loathing, which is useful for political power.

Deadbeat Moms

For fourteen years, judge Steven Wakefield has paid such high child support for a son who spends half his time with him that the mother has never been on welfare, nor ever worked. She spends much of her time high on pot while Steven and his current wife and two children live in near poverty.

He’s lucky. Many who do the same are not allowed to see their children by the same mother they support.

Richard Green’s wife left him and their two pre-school sons to marry a richer man. The legal arrangement is called “joint custody,” but he pays full child support although she rarely sees the kids. In fact, when his consulting business started doing well five years later, she sued for more child support.

John Hushion’s ex-wife jiggled her breasts at him outside the court. “How do you like what your child support bought?” She now had breast implants.

We all know there are deadbeat dads: men who do not contribute what they could of their share of the costs of their children. How many there are is subject to considerable debate. Studies by the Urban Institute of Washington D.C. suggests that, if a third of all single mothers live in poverty, the fathers are probably not much better off, with far less public assistance available to them. So how many non-paying fathers are actually capable of paying is left to speculation.

Still, there are deadbeat dads.

How many deadbeat moms are there?

By deadbeat moms, I don’t mean the non-custodial mothers who, as we’ve known for decades, default on child support at twice the rate of fathers, even though asked to pay half as much.

I don’t even mean the whatever number of welfare moms that are generated by that system itself, as, to some extent or other, it does encourage less capable girls to get pregnant, not simply to prove their adulthood or escape their family, but assure themselves a basic existence rather than face earning one for themselves. (An option not available to men.)

No. When I say deadbeat moms, I mean women who use children for personal profit. I mean women who collect faithfully paid child support, but make no contribution to the cost of their children themselves when they could, even make little or no contribution to the cost of themselves. I mean women who keep all the care-giving to themselves only to justify getting all the money.

I’m talking about women who collect child support and then contribute nothing. Even spend money meant for children on themselves.

After all, if a deadbeat dad is a man who does not contribute what he can of his share of the cost of his children, what would you call a women who does the same?

You would think there would be a great may women trying to root such women out. You’d think you’d see a fervent social campaign, led by women, to find and eliminate this practice. Such women are a threat to all women. They violate the sacred trust that has always balanced the sexes. They violate the sacred trust of motherhood itself. Who could ever trust a woman if that sort of thing got around? So you’d think women would launch a furious campaign to root it out.

You’d especially expect this of feminists, though for a different reason. How could any feminist allow women to exploit their gender-position and the other gender? Before they could cry against it in men, they’d want it eliminated it from their own.

Considering the number of deadbeat moms, it’s surprising how little effort, money, and attention is spent on their prevention and cure. Only dads.

It’s enough to make you think this society is sexist.

Fathers and Religious Practice

Some things are special about fathers that are not easy to define.

In 1994, Switzerland added some questions to their regular national census. They are a conservative country experiencing the same reduction in religious practice that all Euro-based countries are. They wanted to see what seemed to correspond with generational continuation of church-going. Only those who married within their religion – whatever religion – were polled.

The answer was overwhelming and a surprise.

As reported in the Swiss Population Studies, Vol. 2, No. 31, if the father is non-practicing and the mother, regular, only 2% of their offspring will be regular church-goers and 37% will be sporadic. If the father is occasional and the mother regular, it’s still only 3%.

But when both parents are regular, the next generation’s regular attendance soars to 33%, with 42% going irregularly.

That’s not all. When the father is regular and the mother is irregular or non-practicing, continuation of both sons’ and daughters’ religious practices actually increases to 38% regular and 44% irregular.

Children of both genders continue their father’s practices, not their mother’s.

The fact fathers have this profoundly greater influence than mothers on their children’s later religious practices put me in mind of Ellen Bing’s 1963 research. Its results, also, were counter-intuitive. She found that if the mother reads to her children, it has no measurable impact on their later-life cognitive or verbal skills. But when fathers read to their children, it has a high impact, especially on daughters.

We know that women have much better language skills than men. One would expect them to be the leaders in it for their children. But for reading and language we can at least speculate on a reason. While mothers may be essential in teaching the skills, fathers may be an essential example of their importance. Masculinity is the outbound energy. If dad shows joy and confidence in words and reading, this could more strongly associate them with a route to the outside world and pleasure in discovery.

But religious practice is even more counter-intuitive. I should qualify that because in Semantic and many other cultures, male spiritual leadership is the traditional assumption. Still, even there, women are strongly associated with the inner life: emotion and morality. It’s what men seek women for: emotional life and even moral validation. Since men live to ensure the contentment of their women and children, women tell men if we are “good.” or succeeding. Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice) even tries to assert female moral superiority (without providing evidence), despite the evidence that there are no gender differences in male or female moral thinking.

Three possible reasons come to mind. First, dad’s going to church may make it less “sissy,” but that would only explain the continued practice of sons. A second is that masculinity may carry its own, possibly more profound, moral authority, as though mother’s is day to day but dad’s is about things that are forever. A third possible reason is the same issue of fathers encouraging the enjoyment of exploration. To pursue one’s spirituality and inner life requires, not just faith, but courage and confidence. To look within takes the same willingness to face the unknown and adventure as to directly address the outside world.

Yale psychiatrist and child development researcher Kyle Pruett generally believes that, while most mother-influence is immediate and clear, a great deal of father’s only shows over time.

One way or another, fathers are as important as mothers to every stage of their children’s development, and to as many different dimensions.

Replace “Best Interest of the Child” with “Protect and Support the Child’s Family”

There are two critical flaws in the “Best Interest of the Child” doctrine which forms the basis for all divorce and family laws in Euro-rooted countries: Its lack of definition, and its assignment.

Whatever is done in any case must be whatever is in the best interest of the children. Not the adults, the children. No one can argue with that. It sounds so noble it’s unassailable, which is a lot of its danger.

Without operational definition of what exactly may be in any one child’s best interest – much less all children’s interest – it joins “In the name of the Lord,” and “National Security,” as a cover for any crime. Anyone can evoke it to justify any act. Indeed, one of the ironies of watching legislators struggle with family law is to see them first say, “There is no ‘One size fits all,’” only to use “best interest” as the one for all, and as though it had any meaning.

Without definition, “best interest” means whatever the user wants at the time of its use. Which brings us to the second problem: in whose hands it is given for use.

We will not argue that a child’s best interest must be paramount in every case. At issue is, what makes any legislator, judge, or social worker any judge of what it is for any child in any case? So this slogan – which is all it is – is a cover for a power-grab. Those who use, legislate, or rule by it, do not care about any children at all. They care about power over others.

Which returns us to the first point: a cover for hideous crimes. In the name of “best interest,” children have their families reduced by half. The belief seems to be that children’s interests are served by having only one parent, by replacing the other with money, and allowing the mother to block even visitation or move to another continent. Who says this suits the child? Who ought to be the judge?

An alternate basis for family law may lie in not taking the interest of the children from the parents in the first place. Divorce is an admission the adults do not get along, not that they no longer love their children or are suddenly incompetent parents. Those who cannot see how this could work see only power and hierarchy, not the distinct roles and areas of care that characterize a healthy family.

General systems theory appeared in the social sciences in the 1960s at the same time as ecology and holistic medicine. All are signs of re-discovering systemic thinking instead of exclusive reliance upon Aristotelean linear thinking. (Seeing the whole at once with all inter-relationships, instead of only one, one-dimensional line in isolation.)

General systems theory views a family as an eco-system. You cannot affect one part without affecting all others. If you remove or introduce an element, there is no way to predict how benign or malignant that will eventually prove. Such is the danger of intervention.

A child’s family is its extended womb. Reptiles and insects give birth or lay eggs and leave. But the complexity of the human requires we extend the womb to the social-emotional realm until the child is adult. This womb is defined and managed by those with a life-time tie to the child: its parents and their families. Being closest and a permanent part the child’s life, they are best to do so. Not transient judges or social workers.

A child’s family exists whether the parents are married or not. Unless, of course, society comes along with a different paradigm and insists that, somehow, just because of the state between its parents, the child must no longer have its family.

Which is the point. Whatever may happen between parents, the child’s family is those who are part of him or her forever. It hardly matters if the parents hate each other or where each lives. Physical location and number of homes are irrelevant compared to a consistent womb.

Those who really do care about children will seek to protect and supporting its family as its family while keeping the adults apart, not try to take parental roles for themselves. We could keep divorce strictly between the parents and not involve the children. Society’s only function would be to protect and support the child’s family as its whole, intact family. That means support the parents as the definers and managers of the family. Both, equally, at once.

Is 50 / 50 Residency the Right Target?

It was bold, and possibly suicidal, for the Shared Parenting Council of Australia to make 50:50 residency its defining target for family law reform.

Organizations around the world call for “equal parenting,” but there is scant agreement on its definition. What, exactly, is equal parenting? How do you measure, much less legislate, it; how do you know when you have it? Some use 50:50 residence for their definition and will settle for nothing less.

There is clearly a need for some operational definition, the question is, what?

For three decades, the laws of jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania, Australia, California, and the UK have strongly supported, if not equality, active involvement by both parents in the raising of their children. That is the stated target of their laws. But to this day, all these jurisdictions experience as high a rate of father elimination as jurisdictions with less family-friendly legislation such as Canada. Since judges can cite “best interests of the child” to do anything they please, fathers are still ordered such insignificant “visitation” without any protection of even that, that only half of chid-father relationships survive the first two years after divorce.

So those struggling to ensure that children have two parents irrespective of marriage seek legislated, operational equal parenting, not soft words and good intentions.

That is the political story behind insisting upon 50:50 time. It’s the only thing believable. The question remains: what is equal parenting and how well does 50:50 residence assuring it? Are there other options that would create it just as readily, or better?

The most obvious deficiency of 50:50 time is that it omits parental decisions. It hardly matters that your child spends half her time with you if you have no say in whether she goes to school or know how she’s doing, or whether his medical care comes from folk lore or science. Parenting is neither time nor money. It is active care, and that care does not always require the presence of the child. So another definition of equal parenting is functional equality.

Early attempts to implement functional equality appeared as “joint legal custody.” But these laws, too, used soft words such as “consult” and “joint” and “significant matters” without operational definition nor means of enforcement. It has proved another cover for sole custody.

I wouldn’t give up on functional equality, just be better at its definition. For as long as we think equality is sameness and both parents doing all the same things, it will not work. Once we realize that equality is derived from our differences and in providing different things (differentiated parenting roles that the parents themselves define), we may finally get somewhere.

The second problem with unqualified 50:50 time is Joan Kelly’s concern. Kelly has had an illustrious career as divorce counselor and researcher and, though I’ve never heard her use the word “equal,” is an advocate of children having both parents.

Yet she called presumed 50:50 residency, “irrational.”

Scratching below the surface, it seems that Kelly may not object to it as a principle but worries about its implementation. Infants should have 4 to 24 hours with each parent at a time and not be separated from either for much longer. So if 50:50 is implemented weekly, it may work for a seven-year-old but be disastrous for a six-month-old.

The opposite problem appears at adolescence. Even at age 12 they’re not children any more. What matters to them is their peers, and that there is one place where their friends can find them. While 50:50 time is a good measure for all ages pre-teen (so long as it is tailored to the child’s age and temperament) it can be a disaster for many teenagers.

The answer may lie in a presumption of 50:50 time whose implementation is left to the parents so they can tailor it to their children’s changing needs, when and as they need to. That is, leave what is in a child’s best interests up to the child’s parents, the same as we do for married parents. (At least, so far we do.)

Assertions for equal parenting may only need some refinement or clarification to gain broader acceptance.

Parent Groups Denounce Australian Custody Report

Soon after coming to office in 2003, Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave a Parliamentary committee six months to consider “a presumption that children will spend equal time with each parent.” The committee released its report December 29

Among its 26 recommendations are,“a clear presumption . . . in favour of equal shared parental responsibility,” mandatory mediation, contact with grandparents and extended families, and spending on public education and family support.

This sounds like a break-through. Yet Geoffrey Greene, Director of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia, which represents most of Australia’s parenting groups pushing for reform, says, “A majority of our Affiliate Organisations feel bitterly disappointed.”Around the world, parent groups express similar feelings.

It seems there’s no satisfying these people. Unless you know the history.

“The key recommendations, from what we can see, aren't that much different from what is currently in family law now,” says Kathleen Swinbourne of Sole Parents Union, which firmly supports equal parenting. For three decades, the laws of jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania, California, Australia, and the UK have supported, if not equality, active involvement from both parents in the raising of their children. But to this day, all experience as high a rate of father elimination as less family-friendly jurisdictions such as Canada.

Some say this confirms that most men are cads who shirk their responsibilities, so it’s good that we protect children by keeping their fathers away and give women the special treatment they deserve.

But a look at court records reveals a different story. While the laws of Pennsylvania, for instance, have required a minimum of 30% of a child’s time with the non-custodial parent, an average of 15% is actually awarded. The intent of Australia’s original Family Law Act of 1975 was to implement shared parenting, yet in 2001, it was ordered in only 2.5% of cases with the rest averaging 80:20 time with the children. The same story plays out in California, the UK, and most American states.

Australia even passed amendments in 1995 to strengthen the provisions for shared parenting, only to have researchers find three years later that, “most (judges) said their approach to making residence orders had not changed as a result of the reforms.”

How can the courts blatantly subvert the stated intention of legislation? Because every one of these laws also declares “best interests of the child” as the ultimate criteria for divorce arrangements. That phrase has no definition so means whatever the one evoking it wants. It joins “in the name of the Lord,” and “national security,” as covers for any behavior, so allows courts to do as they please. The legal establishment clearly sees mothers as the only parent, thus entrench it as the case.

The legal establishment could not do this alone. Had there been public pressure for equal parenting, as had been building in the 1970s, the courts would have to comply. But from the 1970s on, feminism overshadowed all social issues causing all others to be ignored. In fact, though early feminists also advocated equality in the family, today’s feminists champion women’s rights, not equality.

There is a clear need for legislated operationally defined equal parenting. For better or worse, 50:50 residence, or custody, became the target. It would be hard to circumvent that and hide the fact you had, so is what many parent groups seek. This is why they are “bitterly disappointed,”at getting the same old soft words and good intentions which have proved meaningless for decades.

There is one possible ray of hope in the Australian custody report which could turn out more significant than 50:50 residence, or, admittedly, as meaningless as everything that falls short of it or worse than anything ever done. A Family Tribunal is recommended as the principle administrator, not the courts. On it, only one lawyer is to play a purely subordinate role.

At least the Parliamentary committee acknowledges that the legal establishment is the wrong instrument for dealing with families. On the other hand, this new agency will be just as free as the courts to impose its own values instead of protect the integrity of the child’s family. And it will be just as subject to bullying from the latest political fashion. This tribunal could turn out worse than the courts if it makes itself an even deeper intrusion into families by trying to dictate how people run still more aspects of their lives.

The struggle for parental equality continues across all continents.

Why Is There a Men’s Movement?

Certainly nothing has compelled the men’s movement as much as our divorce practice of father-elimination. As one female supporter points out, “Whatever horrors blacks or women or other groups have endured in the past 50 years, nobody ever took their children away.”

But there is more to the men’s movement than that.

In the 1970s, when it was called Women’s Lib, I supported it. The female stereotypes of previous generations were, without doubt, oppressive in the post-war era. Many things had to change.

But by 1990 I felt compelled to join the Men’s Movement for all the same reasons: I abhor elitism, unfairness, injustice, and even more, persecution of the innocent. Amazingly, much of the new persecution is coming from the very forces that initiated in the ’70s. There are the lies such as the Super Bowl Sunday hoax, glass ceilings, and wage gaps, and boys have always lagged girls in school yet girls now get extra attention.

In part, I seem to just be this way. Before abortion was popular, I favored it, but when it became the “in thing” I found myself with many doubts. I wondered if changes in my alliances were maturing, aging, or a predilection to opposing whatever is popular. Well, those things may also be true, but I am also conscious of reacting to a society that only goes from one extreme to another.

The media, of course, is both reflection and means. Take the abortion so-called debate. The media covered it like a football game: who’s ahead and by how much? There was no public discussion of issues and nuances but all black and white, one extreme against the other. Anyone not in one camp was relegated to the opposite one. The media’s morality is to be on the winning side or loose market share. So much for our guardian of truth.

Who populates the men’s movement? It’s left wing is commonly people who used to be part of the women’s before it became Establishment and revealed very different colors.

Take Warren Farrell. Three straight times he was elected to the board of directors of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. But in the mid-80s, with NOW increasingly belligerent and insisting on sole-custody of children, he resigned and wrote The Myth of Male Power, still the seminal book of the men’s movement. While with NOW he was rich and famous: everyone wanted to know him. Today, he can barely get published. Why? Because he writes for what he always has: gender equality. He hasn’t changed one bit, including his empathy for women. Society has changed. It’s found a new, opposite extreme, the imagined excesses of one used to justify those of the other.

Columnist and author Cathy Young calls herself a disenchanted feminist and wrote Ceasefire!. The only political figure in North America with the courage to speak out for fathers is Canada’s Senator Anne Cools, who, as a social worker, championed the first batter women’s shelters. Stanford law professor Ann K. Mitchell founded Father’s Rights and Equity Exchange and still (!) calls herself a feminist, as does scholar and author Sussan Hoff Sommers who’s book Who Stole Feminism? exposes many of the feminist lies. All these women are heros of the men’s movement: the movement for gender equality.

But Susan Faludi – whose advocacy-research produced the book, Backlash claiming an increase in male oppression of women at a time all evidence showed the opposite – suddenly discovered an empathy for men and wrote the patronizing book, Stiffed. She claims the men’s movement owes a great deal to the women’s.

Yes it does. And if not for Adolf Hitler, we wouldn’t have had a V-E Day.

No Such Thing As Material Property

I dreamed about a divorce last night. The judge leaned down over the couple and said: “John, you came to provide the intellectual strength of the union. Your wife having freed you from the constraints of social obligations, you became more methodical and thoughtful, your mind rich with knowledge and ideas. “Give half your brain to Shirley.

“Shirley, you provided the social wealth. You acquired many friends for the two of you, John being somewhat dry and introverted. Stop seeing half of them. They are only for John now, whether he uses them or not. And stop laughing by fifty percent. With the security John provided, you discovered and provided that kind of joy thing. Knock it off. We’ll be keeping count.”

Any relationship is a balance of many dimensions: sex, humor, activities, and yes, money and property. It is a set of trade-offs, all combined and balanced.

If we equally divide the marital assets – whether those brought in or acquired during the marriage – fairness can only exists in dividing all, equally. For if you only take one – any one: the physical realm (property), social, or intellectual – and divide only that “equally,” someone is going to be cheated. It is not equal at all and we create a winner and loser and incentive for divorce.

This is the inherent, structural unfairness to our current divorce practices. Either divide all assets of the relationship equally, not just the material ones, or divide none. Either way is the only way both parties come out even.

If we divide all assets, then ensure that both equally retain what they were receiving and equally loose what they were providing, though I don’t know why this should be expected. If we divide nothing, both will equally lose whatever was being received, but equally retain all they can provide to another relationship. This would be as though the marriage, ah, ended. You know, like divorce.

Dividing only one asset, cheats. It can only possibly cheat. This creates cause for resentment if not motivation for murder, which one would think we are trying to do with this practice.

I suggest that upon divorce we presume nobody owes anyone anything: that each individual is always responsible for them self, that we remove the enmeshment view of a married couple and see it as a spiritual union only, not some material / business partnership.

Lawyers will always want everything equated to dollars and presuppose what exchanges took place. Property is what gives them any role in divorce – the only thing that does – then turns children into property to fight over too. All to only one, none to the other.

But the total balance sheet of a relationship is solely up to the individual, upon which it is not for society to pass judgement. A relationship is a combination of many personal choices, not public business.

I would never suggest that a spiritual union does not have its physical expression. If it did not, it would not be so vital that fathers have as much direct involvement with their children as mothers. Any spiritual union must have its physical expression, but you cannot divide the material expression alone and assume you’ve fairly divided the relationship’s assets.

And why do so for marriage unless also for friendships, unless the purpose of marriage is to gain property? Is that what we wish to encourage?

“Marital property” is a figment of the legal system, purely to invent itself. There is no such thing. The hypocrisy is obvious as a couple does not equally assume remaining debt upon divorce. It is an excuse to extend female dependence upon men beyond marriage.

Domestic Violence Myths Are Violent

The gap between public perception about domestic violence (DV) and its reality is astonishing. DV was recruited as a weapon in gender wars, but those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

In 1984, Diana Russell claimed that 54% of women were the victims of sexual abuse. In 2000, an advocacy group claimed that one in three women around the world have been physically assaulted by their partner. The horrifying statistics keep coming, and varying, but all insist that men are an inherently serious problem.

We rarely hear of the hundreds of serious, academic studies on intimate violence that have been done over the last 35 years. They do not serve those using violence for their own abuse of others. The most authoritative studies are the three Nation Incidence Surveys commissioned by the Department of Heath. While the rate of mild violence, such as slapping or throwing a magazine, are about the same per year for each gender (around 20%), women commit over twice the severe partner assaults as men: punching, kicking, and threat or use of a weapon: 4.6% of women and 1.9% of men.

Why has domestic violence been an effective tool for women when there has always been very little and women commit more of what does exist?

Because of the morality. Men are supposed to protect, especially protect women. Women are not. Men do not perceive women as a threat, so rarely complain even when seriously abused. But male violence against women, however rare, has a high emotional impact, especially upon those same, allegedly villainous men. Female violence is ignored while all are horrified by men’s, until it seems the only kind that exists.

As Patricia Pearson documents in her book, When She Was Bad, this means women get away with murder. Literally. And when everyone only reacts to male violence you can bully legislatures into special provisions for women and no protection for men, a dangerous imbalance that invites more female abuse of men.

The natural bias is understandable, but is a bias and should be so regarded. Is female violence less bad? Murray Strauss is one of the academic researchers who feels that, to a child, it doesn’t matter which gender it sees hitting which. It models violence as a response.

And should women get away with crimes we don’t tolerate from men? Gender double standards were considered bad, when women took their brunt. Do we want our laws and practices based upon emotion, or real threats?

Erin Pizzey established the first battered women’s shelter in the world, but by 1998 was so alarmed at the political use of DV that she wrote a scathing article for the London Observer. “Unfortunately, at this time the feminist movement – hungry for recognition and for funding – was able to hijack the domestic violence movement and promptly set about disseminating dubious research material and disinformation.”

This is a disservice for real victims of DV, who can be anyone. The wrong thing is targeted, wrong solutions provided, and not provided to the right people. Advocates do not care about reducing family violence. They seek the power in vilifying others.

So far I’ve been nice.

Women commit 55% of spouse murders, 64% of all child abuse including 78% of what results in death, 81% of parent murders, and 55% of sibling murders. Mothers commit 55% of child murders while natural fathers commit 6.9%. Yet the more common forms of female aggression are relationship violence and emotional bullying.

In divorce, to protect children from violence, perhaps we should always award sole custody to fathers.

Want to play gender politics with DV?

Australian Custody Report: Hopes Set Too High

We set our hopes too high. No less than the new Prime Minister of Australia indicated a strong interest in, not just family law reform, but equal parenting. He gave a parliamentary committee six months to consider “a presumption that children will spend equal time with each parent.”

All of us, all over the world, waited with bated breath, forgetting that a prime minister is not a dictator, and Australia, God love her, is still a democracy. The government and its committee must live in the full political environment. You know what that means: lawyers, feminists, and others – each opposed to equality for their own reasons – will have their impact.

So when the report was released December 29, the anguish from parents’ groups has been palpable. “A majority of our Affiliate Organizations feel bitterly disappointed,” says Geoffrey Greene, Director of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia, and that sentiment is echoed around the world. Fifty-fifty residency was rejected. The full report is at www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/fca/childcustody/report/fullreport.pdf

It is understandable that 50/50 residency was the target. It is an operative definition of equal parenting, though the simplest and maybe not the best. But while in future articles I will list many of the things wrong with the report, it’s probably important now to console ourselves with three positives.

First, to open a nut, you first have to make a crack. You then keep working that crack until the nut finally opens. Purely in terms of tactics, consider the route taken to repress all use of tobacco. First came laws against smoking in elevators and TV ads Then smoking sections in restaurants, until now, many North American cities outlaw all smoking, some, even in the street.

Of course, there are multiple lessons in this such as one extreme only replacing another. Feminism began with reasonable demands to also not know where to stop, and we would do well to be careful ourselves. But the tactical point remains: We are being successful. We got sympathetic coverage and public support, so with the nut cracked, we must keep pushing. This is not a lottery: there is no instant win.

The second success is the use of the word, “Equal.” The first recommendation reads, “. . . the Family Law Act 1975 be amended to create a clear presumption, that can be rebutted, in favour of equal shared parental responsibility . . .”

If that word alone makes it into the law (and even if it does not as it’s in the base document), it will be the first time anywhere the assertion of equal parenting has been made. Even Tennessee’s laws, arguably the most progressive, do not use that term, but still, for instance, require designation of a primary residence. No such thing is in the Australian Parliamentary report. Don’t underestimate the long-term importance.

Finally, the report recommends a “Families Tribunal with power to decide disputes about shared parenting responsibility . . .” with courts only used to enforce Tribunal orders and peripheral cases.

OK, this could be iffy. If the courts can subvert the intent of existing law, there’s nothing stopping any other agency from similarly imposing their personal and political agendas. You can bet that any tribunal will get the usual bullying from feminists. This is why explicitly legislating 50/50 residency is important: hard-coded, it’s a lot more difficult to declare it open to interpretation. Indeed, the same giant kluge in the family laws of all countries remains. The committee re-emphasizes, “best interests of the child.” That, along with “In the name of the Lord” and “national security,” has always meant whatever suits the one using it.

One or the other will come to pass, and there is no reason, yet, to think the worst. The best think is that the committee realized that family law must be removed from being administered by the legal establishment and moved strongly in that direction.

You’ve got to feel good about that.

Essence of Girl / Boy

An initial dogma of feminism, no longer much used but whose influence lingers, was that all gender differences are culturally induced. There are no real ones.

It flies in the face of about five bodies of science, whose findings I will attempt to represent.

Femininity is sanctuary. Masculinity, the energy to define and maintain it. One cannot exist without the other, the very existence of one creates the other, equal parts of the same whole.

Mother is comfort and safety. Father, independence and adventure. Female inner, male outer; the yin and yang of life.

To understand the genders, look at how societies use them as symbols. Female is for things gentle and comforting; male, protection and permanence.

Goddess of the stream, the seasons, the moon Femaleness is for what changes and adapts: acceptance and malleability. Maleness is for permanence: the sun, mountains, and that which gives a society permanence: authority and tradition. In Egypt, when the Pharaoh was a woman, for formal ceremonies she wore the wig and false beard of the office. The office holder could be anything. The office – that for which it stood: what binds a society together and to its generations – was male.

Those who see submission or dominance reveal themselves, not the genders.

We want women to be pure, perfect and sacred. Men especially do as it creates them. So when a woman commits a crime we have a thousand excuses. For a man, there are none. Maleness is responsibility. We do not understand a violation of his sacred trust, any more than a women.who kills children.

Male strength is in overcoming. It is immediate. Female strength is in endurance. Women win by coming last. No society can survive without both the strength to resist and endure. Women have always been as strong as men, simply in their time.

So even strength assumed two forms, rooted in the same duality of The One. Wildly different natures, each needed for the other, each with the same root: life’s longing for itself. Life made two from one to make many.

It is why a young man cannot simply walk down the street but must leap to grab a branch and yell to a distant friend. (And why the young woman finds this foolish, yet oddly intriguing.) Because maleness is about boundaries and limits. He must know and test his to know his world. (And the young woman must learn how to control this independent force: how the two attach.)

Women sense; men understand. Women feel; men do. Which is superior? Who can do without the other?

Sex is not what draws us together. That is physical manifestation. Each nature seeks its complement, equal halves of the same whole. Men and women equally seek the new life from within themselves via the other, and that new life means as much to both for the same reason: it is why we exist in this form. Both value and nurture, each in their way, both examples of the many equal aspects of Life.

Distorted patriarchy pushes away. It treats all things as objects: action without feeling. Distorted matriarchy holds too close. It stifles and invades, not seeing another as separate. We each need some of the other.

If one of Life’s energies distorts in a society, both do equally, such is their tie.

There has always been natural gender equality. The only thing that changes is the lense through which we see. Social context forms much of that lense, and sometimes needs adjustment. But chronic images of inequality reveal the lusts of the observer, not what really exists.

We Abort Fathers

In our rush from central authority in abortion to individual choice, we seem to have missed an issue or two, and options that might satisfy more people.

The media thoughtfully presents us with only two positions: no abortions ever or abortion on a whim. An important social issue is covered like a football game: which side’s ahead by how much?

Most people are equally uncomfortable with both mindless extremes, so I’d like to raise one small, over-looked matter to offer an option that might bridge some of the gaps.

For hundreds of years women lived under the threat of “ta heck with the mother, save the child” in any pregnancy. This one, universal rule was applied irrespective of rape or even the mother’s survival. (Interestingly, feminists today call that valuing of children over women a patriarchic tyranny – as though exclusively men’s idea – while insisting that men don’t care as much about children as women do. But that’s another story.)

I can accept declaring abortion an individual choice. (Though confess I can equally accept some arguments for societal regulation). The unspoken problem is, if individual choice, who’s? That hinges upon, who is pregnant? Who’s life and child are at stake?

“A woman’s body, a woman’s choice,” declares the fetus the woman’s body, not its own nor any part of it anyone else’s. If only women have children, how can they expect anything from men as a consequence of a choice that is only their’s? If only women decide whether any child exists, that certainly makes it only her’s. To suddenly declare it also his when she wants the costs covered is not human rights but some very strange privilege.

One gender has hijacked human reproduction. External tyranny over women is replaced with a female one over men and their lives and bodies.

Today, we are persecuting hundreds of thousands of men as deadbeat dads who not only did not have the same choice over whether they became parents, but because someone else’s choice has been forced upon them.

How did women get this much power over somebody else’s life? If it is wrong for women to be subjected to someone else’s choice, how is it right for them to do it to others?

How did we create such an obvious distortion? How did men allow it to happen?

The mechanics of birth (that women carry and nurse a child) should not be confused with what and who’s it is. If men carried and nursed it, would the mother disavow it? Would it no longer be as much her’s? Why expect men to when women carry it?

There are two possible solutions. If women can opt out of pregnancy irrespective of his wishes, men should be able to, too. But that just makes the parents equally able to duck. There is still no accountability to the natural consequence of their equal behavior: the child. Who speaks for it?

The second option is to declare that, for adult consensual sex, a couple gets pregnant, not a woman. The child is the result of two people’s equal choices, and accountability belongs where it naturally occurs: to each other. You already controlled your bodies (that’s how you got pregnant), and gave your consent to him/her as the possible other parent by having sex. (Not to shock anyone, but that’s where babies come from.) You are equally beholden to each other for the consequences, and unless the mother’s life is directly threatened, the child’s life hinges on the consideration of both, equally. Not one.

Surely the unborn is entitled at least to the equal consideration of both its parents.

Paternity Fraud: Female Violence Against Men

Any fraud a man commits is called a crime. In forty-six states, the one exclusive to women is protected.

Your wife could have an affair, become pregnant, and tell you it’s your child knowing full well it is not or may not be. She may even divorce you and have you pay child support. If you acquire DNA evidence that you and the child are the victims of deceit, not only is she not charged with an offense, the courts insist that she’s right. The child is yours forever and you pay support, not the real father who could be found.

Estimates are based on limited dat

a but range from 3% to 5% of all children may be fathered by someone other than who they call by that name. The June 3, 2002 Colorado Rocky Mountain News editorial describes such a case and takes the side of the offender:

“More than 11 years after a man agrees that he is the father of a child and will pay support, he decides he wants out of the deal because maybe, just maybe, he isn't the biological dad after all. Should he be able to cut and run? Of course not. It would wreak havoc on the life of a helpless youngster . . . at least not if he waited more than six months after the original decree.”

Current laws were written before DNA testing and the divorce rate was 3%. No one could be certain of paternity in any case so the assumption had to be made. If a woman lied or was uncertain, there was no way to tell for sure. Men were held to account for anything their wives did. You’re her husband; you’re the father of all children.

Whether such a law should or should not continue in the face of hard evidence only now available is not up to the courts, but us, the public. This Colorado columnist likes the law just fine.

She calls fatherhood, “agrees that he is the father,” avoiding reality and whether either man involved has a right to the same certainty about his parenthood as any woman. She asks whether a husband should be able to “get out of the deal” (making fatherhood a deal into which men are to be snared) on a “just maybe,” then leaps into a case where everyone knows for certain.

She characterizes the man as heartless and irresponsible for objecting to being deceived, oblivious to the heartlessness it took to effect it. She uses the “helpless youngster”as the reason to pretend it didn’t happen (using children for self-interest) when everyone now knows it did. She gives no thought that the child may be devastated by this trickery, to the devastation to both men (men should just take it), nor that a child might have a right to know his true parentage or at least not be lied to about it.

The net effect of her position is to preserve the mother’s situation; everyone else’s life is in ruins and should remain so. Justice is, “I tricked him fair and square. He had six months to risk our marriage by calling me a liar, now I’ve got it all, so should keep it.” It does not lie in truth or honesty.

As to the relationship between the tricked husband and child, since society doesn’t care about that in our divorce laws it’s cynical to suddenly raise it here. Surely what becomes of that should be up to the un-father as we cannot legislate relationships.

How would that column have read if it was about a woman deceived by a bigamist? And a man cannot so easily hide a child he has outside of marriage.

But I am happy to go along with this. No, really I am. So long as when I murder my wife no one says anything nor puts me in jail lest doing so upset the children.

Feminism Denies Male Nurturing to Exploit It

Some feminists like to insist that nurturing is what distinguishes women, even makes them superior to men. Congressman Barbara Jordan said, “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have. He’s just incapable of it.”

Even anthropologist Margaret Mead, a staunch defender of fathers and fatherhood, considered nurturing by men socially induced, not natural nor instinctive. This perception is basic to our culture.

What’s funny about it, certainly from feminists, is how they rely upon male nurturing for much of what they get. Women have always known that the surest way to get anything from a man is to play helpless and / or innocent. “I’m so sorry officer. This car is new and I didn’t know I was speeding.” What female cop would buy that? Most male cops do. It is an appeal to the male reflex to protect and assist the weak and innocent, as in raising children.

(Many women are disgusted to see others do this, unaware when they do it themselves.)

You could say that the common female negotiation strategy of sweetness is a similar reliance on male nurturing. There isn’t a six-year-old girl who hasn’t learned how to twist her daddy around here little finger. Playing child is part of female survival skills, but exploitive when taken beyond real needs or not part of equal exchange.

(It’s not the only female strategy. For women who cannot bring themselves to bargain there is emotional and moral bullying. “I am deeply offended.” But that equally relies upon the male need to make women – by extension from children – happy.)

Feminists quickly learned that crying, “Women have always been oppressed,” got men moving. It’s playing dependent, but by now so over-played that Cathy Young, for one, believes feminists infantize women more than any man ever has. Women are not that blameless, incompetent, or stupid that they are always or inevitably oppressed. But, damn, the myth works well.

Obviously a ploy is going on, so what is telling is what being plied. If men didn’t have the understanding or compassion to which Barbara Jordan refers, women would have gotten the back of the hand they claim men only give them back when women first complained. But complaining worked so well so quickly it’s gone on to test its limits, which are yet to be found. Victim woman gets results.

Why? Because of the very thing so many want to deny about men: their reflex to protect, to help the weak to self-sufficiency. To nurture. It is a biological reaction in men upon which all society has always relied. Human societies would not exist were it not there.

Some anthropologists speculate that the reason women have smaller bodies, retain a child’s high-pitched voice, and have more protruding eyes than men is to appeal to men as needing care like a child. If so, how could anyone say there is no such thing as male nurturing? If there weren’t, the small-frame-protruding-eyes bit wouldn’t work any better than playing helpless.

It’s as though the male instinct to nurture came first, then women put themselves in its path to get its benefits. Not enough, they then claimed to be the only ones who had the instinct, and to complete the coup recruited men to that view. How?“You want us to be special, don’t you?” Eye-bat, eye-bat.

It may be that men have an even deeper, stronger nurturing instinct than women, so fundamental it is taken for granted. If it didn’t exist, it couldn’t be exploited. It gives women power.

Male Nurturing 101

The real gender bias we all face is a society that defines aggression as “what men do,” and nurturing as “what women do.” This blinds us to the equal aggressiveness of women, and, more tragically, equal nurturing of masculinity.

In her book, Odd Girl Out, even Rachael Simons casually refers to, “. . . the female orientation to relationship and connection – to nurturing and care-giving,” as thought they were one and the same. This in a book whose very purpose is to expose that what women do – emotional connecting and personal relating – can be and is as easily used to aggress and bully as nurture. What women do – or their orientation to emotion and personal contact – is one thing, and very important. But how any one women uses it, when and for what, is subject to personal traits and circumstance.

By the same token, our society considers the very phrase, male nurturing, an oxymoron. Men just don’t, only women do. Now that’s sexist.

This is a real, persistent perception error equally held by men and women and equally damaging to all. It is especially damaging to children because of what it leads us to either facilitate or discount and frustrate.

What is male nurturing? If no image came as immediately to mind as if I’d asked, “What is female nurturing,” you know the bias to which I refer.

I was sitting in a park watching a couple with their eight-year-old son. Everything she said was along the lines of, “Be careful,” “Put your sweater on,” “Look out,” and everything he said was, “Hey, look over there,” and, “Let’s try this.”

Femaleness is comfort and safety; an inbound energy. It’s what men seek from women and children need from them. (If you think men only seek women for sex you’ve been reading too much Freud. Worse, you’ve sold out to a purely material view.)

Male nurturing is exploration and independence; an energy that deals with the outer world and just as need by children. (And what women seek in men.)

The inner and outer energies, the yin and yang of life. Children need direction and example in both, equally. How can one be more important? Imbalance can be said to be when one is emphasized over the other, particularly to the other’s exclusion. We must live with ourselves inside, but exactly to live in a world that exists outside ourselves.

Why do we only call what mothers do, nurturing, when what fathers do is just as vital?

Child development literature is consistent on many mother-father distinctions across all cultures. For one, fathers play physically and roughhouse far more with their children. While our puritanical society (which one might call matriarchal when it comes to children) dismisses play as frivolous, even created the “Disney Dad” stereotype for resentment, and today’s puritans (a.k.a. feminists) call it “male aggression,” the truth is it is as vital as anything mothers do.

Dad doesn’t use all his strength. Researchers have realized that in this play-fighting children are learning give-and-take, to read other’s clues, dealing with chaos, self-control, and fair play. They are learning vital social skills physically, the way children first learn anything.

Fatherless children – equally boys and girls – are more socially insecure, and throughout their lives have fewer, less deep, and less lasting friendships.

Dad is critical to socialization and confidence in dealing with the world, and that’s just one part of male nurturing.

Killing Men

The National Institute of Mental Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They offer an FAQ page on suicide at www.nimh.nih.gov/research/suicidefaq.cfm One entry reads:

Why do men commit suicide more often than women do?

More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but women attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and women report higher rates of depression. Several explanations have been offered: a) Completed suicide is associated with aggressive behavior that is more common in men, and which may in turn be related to some of the biological differences identified in suicidality. b) Men and women use different suicide methods. Women in all countries are more likely to ingest poisons than men. In countries where the poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources scarce, rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males. More research is needed on the social-cultural factors that may protect women from completing suicide, and how to encourage men to recognize and seek treatment for their distress, instead of resorting to suicide.

To: wittenbc@mail.nih.gov, ti4g@nih.gov

Subject: Gender bias in mental health care

Dear Clarissa Wittenberg and Thomas Insel,

I am disappointed in the gender bias shown by your answer to, "Why do men commit suicide more often than women do?" It does not explain it, but is likely a large part of the reason.

The first sentence contains a “but women,” reflecting the answer’s “so what” attitude toward men since it then spends the answer avoiding men’s suicide to talk about women’s. (By the way, men commit more suicides in all countries with the possible exception of China. The author might get their facts straight.)

The psychologists I’ve heard suggest that women attempt suicide as a cry for help. That is, they only attempt it, confident of getting the attention they seek. Men commit it exactly because they know they never will get attention, which your website confirms.

The answer dismisses the fourfold greater male suicide rate as male aggression, which blames men for theirs while being concern for women’s. No study has ever supported this bias. Men and women may express their aggression in different forms but there’s every reason to consider both genders equally aggressive. Love, hate, and aggression are not gender-specific. Indeed, the evidence suggests that women commit more aggression exactly because these gender biases allow them to get away with it. (See When She Was Bad, Odd Girl Out, etc.)

Men commonly have more outbound energy than women. Calling that aggression is the very bias to which I refer. I even wonder if your own science and research contributed to your website, or only superstition.

It always surprises me how the last thing psychologists look to for why people behave as they do is the way they are being treated. It isn’t mentioned, but a major source of the overall discrepancy is that divorced men commit TEN TIMES the suicides of divorced women. You don’t suppose the different rates reflect how men are treated by society verses how women are treated, and that this answer is a fine example? How can mental health professionals cure anything while an instrument of the very forces whose effects it seeks to cure?

Since women go to the doctor four times more often than men, some say the medical industry is geared for only treating them. Perhaps it’s good that NIMH ignores the needs of men. If you offered anything it would probably be inappropriate for us anyway. Given your sympathy and understanding of male suicide, you wouldn't be much help.

Revisiting Andrea Yates

On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates methodically drowned her five children. It was a horrible case into which gender politics inevitably intruded.

Most in the men’s movement were angry at the many women who wanted her husband punished for her crime, and that’s all they saw. Certainly the Dallas chapter of the National Organization for Women sought a return to the 1700s when, if a woman committed a crime, her husband paid.

One can understand resenting the double message from the very women who claim to seek independence. It highlights how reactionary feminism is: to not want women responsible for anything but always blame men. And these are the very people who, had Andrea divorced before this horrible incident, would have equally insisting she get sole custody. Who would they blamed then?

I saw the opposite. The fact Andrea was on trial at all, not husband Russell, was a major step toward equal accountability instead of just equal opportunity. This time, only a minority sought a male scapegoat and tried to play the gender card.

Back in the 1980s, women who committed a crime got off for having been abused as a child or neglected as a wife, rationales that would never be accepted for a man. Heck, a Washington State study found that 90% of prison inmates had been abused as children. No one takes past mistreatment as an excuse for men, though maybe they should. The point is the double standard.

But in 2001, women almost universally reacted that this crime was too much of a disgrace to all women to allow excuses. Women were fed up with feminist double standards.

Perhaps the greater tragedy is that, this, and many other articles, are about the gender politics. Did Andrea get a fair trial and reasonable consideration, or only men and women as social groups and is that what a trial should be? This is the effect of gender wars.

Distinguishing private from secret is inconvenient to the media. In the name of some alleged right to know, there is no privacy nor fair trial. The O.J. Simpson case, coming so soon after the Rodney King affair in the same city, was never about whether this man committed these murders. Promoted to the public realm it could only be a trial of public issues: Should blacks get away with murder just like they see whites doing?

Likewise, the painfully public trial of Andrea Yates promoted it from seeking the right treatment of an individual case to a trial of social issues. Andrea never had a chance at fair consideration. The public wants public executions, not justice, as happens when any part of the justice system is served to the media. Give me private trials (not secret, private) any day, and keep the media and public circuses out. A presumption of innocence means trials and family tragedies are not for public entertainment. What an obscenity!

But the case carried an even greater social indictment: how we treat the mentally ill. We do nothing, provide no facilities nor care, but wait for a crime to then throw them in jail.

Andrea was very sick. During the trial, psychiatrists testified that they’d never seen such a bad case. Where were they before the murders? They are a better scapegoat than Russell, who did whatever the experts told him to do.

But scapegoats are for ducking one’s own responsibility. Our jails are full of the retarded and mentally ill. As long as we provide no facilities, the blood of these crimes is on our hands.

Jane Fonda Speaks Again and Feminist Projection

Jane Fonda is writing her memoirs. The world holds its breath.

Has she learned some discretion since her foray to Hanoi during that war? Will she reveal a hidden intelligence? Now in her 60's, can she impart old woman wisdom? Will she simply be coherent?

If her speech to the National Women’s Leadership Summit is any indication, the answer to all the above is no.(Available at thewhitehouseproject.org/whp_news/Jane_Fonda_speech_03.htm) She continues to be a dreadfully ordinary example of a not-too-bright, adolescent feminist.

But as a stereotype her, what one might call thinking, is useful for insights into the human phenomenon of projection. Typical from her speech is: “The Male Belief System, that compartmentalized, hierarchical, ejaculatory, androcentric power structure that is Patriarchy, is fatal to the hearts of men, to empathy and relationship.”

I have no idea what ejaculatory or androcentric are but they seem to be male so must be bad. While the logic is not clear, the emotion is.

Ms. Fonda may have discovered that women live by relationships and men by facts and logic, though mistakes these for Beliefs. While it is wonderful if she values being a woman, what does she think of men? Her verbal ejaculations go well beyond the usual female desire to turn men into women (which corresponds to the male desire for women to think like men), to a conviction that women are inherently superior beings, with men, poor dears, incapable of anything human as long as they cling to being male. She gives no reasons for this conclusion, only monotonously extols it. This is commonly called prejudice.

Ms Fonda is full of ill feelings and cannot abide anyone different from her. It is this, her own ugliness, she projects onto men, which handily justifies its expression from her.

This is not new. Neither Jane nor feminism nor women hold a monopoly on projecting one’s own evil onto others. Few are not sometimes guilty to some degree. (That driver didn’t signal! He’s not proper, like me.)

Righteousness has long been a common obsession in our culture, but when it becomes a cult it is a social pathology. Yesterday’s Temperance Movement and KKK – both driven by righteous superiority – are today’s zero-tolerance of drugs or crime, smoking, alleged dead-beat dads, and masculinity. It is our own evil we project onto others, to justify our brutality. It provides someone to be superior to and beat up.

A male Black doctor who grew up in Atlanta in the 1960s recently said that he does not believe the amount of prejudice in society has reduced. It simply finds new targets with changing fashion.

“Male hierarchy” is another projection. For decades I was never sure what feminists were referring to. I thought it may simply be that men orient themselves by structure (as with maps), while women are inclined to orient by relationships (as with landmarks). To inject morality into this validates holding the reverse value.

But having now read “Queen Bees and Wannabes” and “Odd Girl Out,” I finally understand. The female hierarchy is far more extensive and compelling to women than anything in the male world, so this is projection, too. It is projection of both the significance, depth, and meaning of the female hierarchy for women, and its confining nature. Projected onto others, you don’t have to face yourself.

It’s like blaming men for the contortions to which women subject themselves for beauty when the pressure for that comes from women. And consider those sneery allusions to male competition. It’s nothing to that of women, feminist demeaning of everything male a fine example.

No wonder the majority of women are embarrassed by feminism. “Quiet, sister. Don’t let everyone know we can be as uniquely ugly as uniquely appealing.” After all, there’s more power in being appealing.

So the next time you’re treated to one of these feminist diatribes, don’t just sit there in pain. Look for the projections – of evil, hierarchy, and matriarchic control – and feel grateful if you’re not as effected by them as are they. It’s not men they hate, but themselves.

Women In War

The latest Iraqi war has re-ignited debate about women in the military. Should they be in combat, or there at all? It highlights the continuing contradictions and moral struggles in the sound-good ideal, gender equality.

During peacetime, feminists demanded equal opportunity in the military. Progressively, they got it, even for most combat duty. But they got it by concessions like different height and fitness standards. To be equal, women were special.

When confronted with Jessica Lynch’s capture and the death of a mother, Lori Piestewa , suddenly more women than men were crying, “Not that equal.” Conservatives threatened to be prove right.

On one hand, a Baltimore Sun article published at the beginning of the war chronicles Emily Hummel who’s dream had always been the Air Force

It was shattered when the special operations unit she craved was still designated all male. The article’s message was clear: same old male oppression.

But once pictures of female POWs appeared, every call-in show was full of – mostly women – decrying a mother or women in harm’s way. Not a father in harms way, who, according to all studies is just as important to their children. Only mothers. Sounds a little sexist.

The best (or worst) was a woman interviewed on MSNBC. She wanted the military to reflect society (be 54% women), but not let those women near "harm’s way,” only provide support.

Ah, what does she think the military is? She wants it both ways: feminist equality.

The anchor didn’t have the courage to ask the obvious question. “Are you saying women should return to the kitchen and only supports men’s efforts, or that only meaningless men should be used as cannon fodder?” Feminist self-contradiction.

The morality, sacrifice-men-and-save-women, is an instinct for species survival. One man can impregnate many women, but each women can only get pregnant every ten months. Women are precious here. The question has long been, what role should this play in a 21st century industrialized society in which I haven’t seen a sabertooth tiger for months? Species survival is not an issue now. Shouldn’t women pull their own weight, or only have opportunities and not their incumbent sacrifice? Why should men still take all the brunt?

For feminists, equal opportunity in a peacetime army never included the draft. I have a friend who believes that gender affirmative action can only be first in the draft. He’d like to see 27 million female bodies pile up before one more poor guy has to sacrifice his life serving his country. That would be gender equality.

I don’t strictly agree but keep the argument handy in case some feminist gets annoying.

What do I think? I think two things. We will have problems with this so long as when, confronted with differences, we can only seek superiority, so deny that what has always made men and women equal are our differences. Second, what happened to individual choice?

Today’s US military is 15% female (not 54%). I think that will be a high-water mark for generations because women today feel pressure to prove they’re “just like men.” In reality, men and women simply have different interests.

But if any man or women wants whatever position in the military and are qualified, it should be open to them irrespective of gender, race, etc.

Jessica Lynch is a hero to me, despite what she may now be saying.

She’s a firecracker and selfless, just right for the military. Not all women are so inclined, but those that are should be welcome.

Not all men are so inclined, either, so mind very carefully what I am saying. Women being different need not mean special, nor mean oppression for men. If a man does not want to be a warrior, he should have the exact same right of choice. There should be no draft at all.

I No Longer Support the Women’s Movement A Man Speaks Out

To be honest, one thing that compelled my support of Women’s Liberation in the ’70s was generation-identity. Every generation wants to prove it’s better than the last, so we men and women of that age seized upon society’s vision of women to prove our parents were backward. We invented equality.

Of course, very generation also thinks it invented sex.

That’s not all there was. Like many, I had a profound commitment to the idea that every human is equally important as the next and equally entitled due dignity and respect. At that time, commerce had become the only thing that made anyone matter, and women were disadvantaged there by customs from a different era. Things had to change. And change they did, rather quickly, I’m proud to say.

The problem is, I still hold those values today, so find myself at odds with feminism and allied with the men’s movement instead. Let me explain.

Even in the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment gave me pause. Despite the appeal of its being “ours” and apparently righting old wrongs, it seemed to tempt more new ones. If rights are only by special mention there are no human ones for all. If you only have rights as part of a group, we have tribes vying for theirs, not a society of infinite color.

History has born this out. Today, women have reproductive rights expressly at the expense of the same for men. If a women finds herself with an un-intended pregnancy, she can terminate it on only her word. What if the father, however equally surprised, is happy to have and raise that child? Is he to have no feelings; not see it as equally his?

As bad is if he does not feel ready for nor want to be a parent, yet she decides he will. Suddenly, it is equally his, but only in terms of money. How many of these so-called Deadbeat Dads are kids enslaved by someone else’s choice?

The women’s movement was never about equality and never pretended to be.

The back of the membership card for the National Organization for Women says it all: “Equality for women.”

The women’s movement insists upon special attention to girls in school, though boys have always lagged girls. The men’s movement seeks equal treatment. The women’s movement fights to protect sole-custody for mothers; the men’s does not seek the same for fathers but equal parenting. The Violence Against Women Act provides services and protection for women, but there is no violence against men act nor even one for children.

I oppose women’s rights. I also oppose father’s rights, gay rights, French rights, or any special rights. The cry of rights today only hides a selfish agenda; one to the detriment of the equality rights were meant to protect. By their nature, human rights must be understood and be for all at once, not over-defined by group or context.

I believe in something the media finds boring as they cannot sensationalize it: Equality. The same consideration for all. I believe Blacks should take pride in their heritage, but equally so should White Southerners. I believe in respecting the needs of Jews, but equally those of Arabs. And I believer that women should be honored as both human and women, but equally so should men, not denigrated for it. That does not describe the women’s movement today.

So I joined the men’s, and found that half its members are women.

But if some time in the future the men’s movement also corrupts, I will oppose it, as well.

©2007 KC Wilson

*    *    *

To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French



Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Menstuff® Directory
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of Gordon Clay
©1996-2019, Gordon Clay