Sub-Par Father’s Day Experiences–Why So Many? What Can We Do About It?

 

Why so Many Father’s Days are Not Fun in the 21st Century

and as the site’s slogan reads, The world changes when we do

Davd  June,2011

In my last posting, i named a foundation condition for a Really Good Father’s Day (and wrote a little about why it’s rare). I do believe that great Father’s Days are possible, that a joyful and immensely valuable fatherhood is possible, and that while Feminists and Feminism have done us much wrong and some evil, there is more than Feminists and Feminism to the reasons why so many men who could be good fathers and happy at being fathers, are suffering. Fatherhood is a choice and it has costs; the costs can also be blessings, and Feminism aside,  Father’s Day can be degraded by failure to think about the choice, think about the consequences, and choose an overall life-style that supports fatherhood well. That said, Feminism and legal changes that have their main roots in Feminism and their secondary roots in misplaced “chivalry”, are “obviously” the most powerful causes of Father’s Day pain and suffering this year.

The grossest, most obvious reason why many Father’s Days are Not Fun in the 21st Century, is the manipulation and exploitation of what used to be “Family Law” (and now, one might validly contend, could be more accurately called “Anti-Family Law”), to evict good and willing fathers from their homes but continue to tax them for the support of their children. As an American blogger with ties to India (“Futurist”, 2010) puts the matter,

The concept of ‘no fault’ divorce by itself may not be unfair.
The concepts of asset division and alimony may also be fair in the
event of serious wrongdoing by the husband. However, the combination
of no-fault divorce plus asset division/alimony is incredibly unfair
and prone to extortionary
[sic] abuse. The notion that she can choose to leave the marriage, yet he
is nonetheless required to pay her for years after that even if he
did not want to destroy the union, is an injustice that should not
occur in any advanced democracy. Indeed, the man has to pay even if
the woman has an extramarital affair, possibly even being ordered to
pay her psychiatric fees. Bogus claims by ‘feminists’ that women
suffer under divorce are designed to obscure the fact that she is the
one who filed for divorce. Defenders of alimony insist that a woman
seeking a divorce should not see a drop in living standards, but it
is somehow acceptable for the husband to see a drop even if he did
not want a divorce. ….

Even if the woman chooses to leave on account of ‘boredom’, she is
still given default custody of the children, which exposes the total
hypocrisy of feminist claims that men and women should be treated
equally. Furthermore, the man is required to pay ‘child support’
which is assessed at levels much higher than the direct costs of
child care, with the woman facing no burden to prove the funds were
spent on the child, and cannot be specified by any pre-nuptial
agreement. The rationale is that ‘the child should not see a drop in
living standards due to divorce’, but since the mother has custody of
the child, this is a stealthy way in which feminists have ensured
financial maintenence of the mother as well. So the man loses his
children and most of his income even if he did not want divorce. But
even that is not the worst-case scenario.


(He goes on to summarize the “Bradley Amendment” which, in the US, punishes with imprisonment men who fail to pay support orders, even if their failure to pay results from having been fired or laid-off from jobs they held when the order was written.)

These are men who have fathered children, set self-interest aside to nurture them, and been kicked out of the home by selfish ex-wives and ex-cohabitants who went to court, exploited misandric laws, and “turned them into cash slaves.”

Not much for these men to celebrate. They are the most-abused, miserable victims of “Feminist” legal success. .. and we should not forget their children are victims also.

There are also men who have sired children by accident and never intended to father them1, who have likewise been “turned into cash slaves” by support orders whose rationale died as women came to be both able to avoid pregnancy, and able to earn incomes as good as men’s. A century ago, when contraception was not available to most men or women2, men and women both knew that coitus carried the risk of pregnancy. Unmarried pregnancy was shameful then, and women had fewer opportunities to earn incomes. Men were expected to support their children, and many employers favoured fathers as workers for the valid reason that they had need for the income. Because they had more need for income, fathers were more likely to be diligent workers and less likely to quit their jobs unexpectedly, than bachelors with only themselves to support.

That was the case in 1911 and substantially the case as recently as 1961–though in 1961 affordable condoms gave men a way to minimize the risk of pregnancy. Even in 1961, two generations ago in time, it was mainly the man’s job to “provide contraception”3, and unmarried sex was still disapproved-of, if less so than in 1911. By 1986, one generation ago in time, the female contraceptive “Pill” was the commonest method used. Today, the condom’s main reason-for-use is the same reason given for allowing it to be sold back when unmarried sex was disapproved-of–namely, prophylaxis, or preventing the spread of disease. To insist on a condom today, can be interpreted as a confession that one carries a STD, or a suspicion that the woman with whom one is about to couple, is infected. It could well be that it’s more embarrassing for a man to initiate condom use today than it was in 1950-65!4–and embarrassment dampens eros.

Not surprising, then, that many men sometimes “have unprotected sex” rather than raise questions about his or her STD status during foreplay. Some of those men sire children. Some are named as sires of children whose actual sire is another of the mother’s plural sex partners. Using 1911 standards, many courts will order sires who are not and will not be fathers, to pay child-support to mothers even if those mothers can support their children quite adequately with their own earnings. They may not suffer the pain real fathers who began to raise children and were then evicted without good cause, suffer, but they certainly suffer economically; and raising money to pay the court-ordered support may take away freedom they would otherwise have, to work “part-time”.5

For mere-sire men (including a significant fraction who are not sires in fact but are taxed as sires by The Law), “Father’s Day” is a reminder that they are being punished economically under a misuse of the word “father”. Their suffering is a reminder to us all, that sexual abstinence is the one totally prudent strategy to avoid this kind of legalized abuse.

It might also remind men, that earning a lot of money and having a lot of personal wealth, makes one a target of the least fair-minded of women. Frankly, in the year 2011, a man who has an active sex-life should think more than twice about having a high income! As this website’s slogan reads, The world changes when we do; and one way we can change our lives and the world, is by–not being wage slaves!

In fact, we might show-up the job-and-money-grubbing aspects of Feminism by preferring to stay home and raise children–a choice popularized as early as 1976 (the year the very successful novel, The World According to Garp, was published). A man who spends more time with his children than does their mother, and whose income is lower, has much less risk that she will seek a divorce and much more chance to get custody of the children if she did–not as good a chance as a stay-home mother, but better than that of a work-away father.

(While i’d recommend stay-home fatherhood before the 1955-standard pattern of commuting-to-work fatherhood, it isn’t the ideal if the mother then commutes to work. Working mothers, especially those with high-ranking jobs, will be tempted to adultery–and so very-well-may stay-home fathers whose neighbours include many stay-home mothers. It’s still best for both parents to stay home most of the time–and in small towns and rural areas, the risk of adultery is lower because moral standards are more old-fashioned and because people know one another better. It’s natural for humans to respect the paired status of people whose mates they know, more than that of people whose mates they don’t.) Hence, my recommendation of the Family Territory.

There are many fathers who do live with their children but are intimidated by those misandric laws and dare not fully assert themselves–who are “henpecked” not by nature, but because of their legal disadvantage. Not all mothers are bullies, but mothers who do have an inclination to bully, are supported in that inclination by laws biased in their favour. Bullying and intimidation are both what mathematics calls “continuous variables”–they vary from zero to complete, like proportions and percentages. Only very, very brave men are not intimidated at all by laws that put us at a systematic disadvantage.

There are at least three categories of suffering men, then, for whom Father’s Day might be miserable and won’t be as good as it could be:

  • Fathers denied the right to be with their children simply because laws favour rejecting wives over loving fathers;

  • Sires [and shamefully many non-sires who were named by pregnant former sex-partners] forced to pay support for children as if it were still 1911;

  • Henpecked fathers who happened to mate with a woman who, given the advantage of biased laws, became a bully.

But let’s keep in mind, that not all women are misandric: In spite of the encouragement present-day law gives to women’s abuse of men,  many men still have good marriages! (In spite of all the encouragement 1950 laws gave to white Southern Americans’ abuse of Afro-Americans, many white Americans still treated other races fairly. But many did not, and is a good thing that those racial-discrimination laws were changed.) If you are in one of those good marriages, or if your marriage is closer to good than bad–enjoy it. Just don’t pretend that unfair laws are fair or that misandric notions are true. Remember that you are one of the lucky or the wise–perhaps both–and that neither folly nor bad luck makes your brother deserve to be abused.

Systematic disadvantage is one reason that Father’s Day can be hard for many men. There are others. Usually, the worst suffering comes from systematic disadvantage rather than from lifestyle choices; but men, especially fathers and those who wish to be, should “count the cost”. Life is too short to do everything that might be worth doing; fatherhood is a choice, and choosing fatherhood means choosing to pass-up something else. It’s possible to have a “less than fun” Father’s Day because you’ve taken on more “to do” than you can do.

This repeats somewhat, a main point of my last, “Good Father’s Day” posting: Fatherhood has costs relative to “industrial society” and worldly career ambitions. There will be times when any father who works in a bureaucracy has to choose between his children and his career. There are also major temptations “in this promiscuous generation”, to adultery, for urban working mothers and [sub]urban stay-home fathers. That’s one big reason why a Family Territory is a better setting for fatherhood, even than a suburban or city home supported by a careerist mother.

However, you’re where you are right now, and if you do decide to work toward a Family Territory, you’re not likely to have one by this week unless you had one already last week. If you’re among those who have been abused as fathers or as sires, i encourage you to get together with other men in the same situation, and not “because misery loves company” but because there is strength in numbers–and often, inspiration in sharing stories and insights. If you haven’t men to get-together with where you are, and can move to New Brunswick, leave a comment with contact information and i’ll e-mail or maybe phone you.

Don’t especially try to have a great Father’s Day if you’ve been shut-out of fathering children. Great Father’s Days are matters of luck and whether or not you have a Family Territory to go home to; in today’s biased culture, both of those run much more often against men than for us. What i suggest you aim for with this Father’s Day depends partly on your situation; but in general,

  • If your grandfather is alive, near enough to meet, with-it enough to talk, and strong enough to walk, include him!

  • Let your father decide if he wants an all-men Father’s Day or one including some of the women in the family. (If you have sisters, and they want to be involved, encourage your father to include them unless they want to be disruptively involved. If they don’t want to be involved, don’t pressure them.)

  • If you aren’t a father yourself, or not yet–think about how you ought to reorganize your life to be a father and whether you’re willing to do it.

  • Whether or not you are, whether or not you choose to be a father–be a mentor if you have aught to contribute to boys who must grow up in this hard time.

All men are mortal, begins the commonest classic example of a logical syllogism. The syllogism continues,
Socrates is a man; Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

“Was mortal” we might quibble–Socrates died more than 2,000 years ago, before Jesus of Nazareth was born; and so today, he’s either completely gone, or living in another state than a human body. I myself suspect that he lives on in some other form, because of the wisdom and brotherly charity of what Plato reports of his sayings. His was a good story; and i believe our Creator likes, and rewards, good stories.

Whatever has been done-wrong to you, whatever you have had to suffer that you do not deserve, you can still live a good story. Nurturing boys into manhood, nurturing men younger than you through the aging process and the crises in their lives–that makes any man’s story better.

If your children are with you this Father’s Day, i urge you to talk with them about their stories and yours. If they are not, whether you have children or don’t, be ready to “stepfather”, or to “uncle”, children and especially boys who are within your reach and don’t have their own fathers to be-with. Talk with them about life as a story, Remind them and yourself that all men are mortal. Exchange thoughts and assessments about truth and fraud in “modern society” about legal biases and the “school culture”, about organizing in co-operatives and other ways of “adapting to a woman’s world where men are systematically disadvantaged”. (See my earlier posting on this site about this topic–and it’s not nearly all that can or should be said.)

There are things in everyone’s story, that he cannot control. We are not punished, nor rewarded, for those. We are judged on the quality of our stories, given what we had to deal with, and what we knew.

Live a good story, Father’s Day and every day.

References Cited:

  • Futurist”, 2010 “The Misandry Bubble” www.singularity2050.com/2010/01/the-misandry-bubble.html. Posted January 1. To my knowledge, this writer does not represent the World Future Society.
  • “Futurist”, 2011 “It is Time to Expose Misandry” www.singularity2050.com/…. Posted January 1.
  • Irving, John, 1976. The World According to Garp [a novel]. NYC: E. P. Dutton.
  • Logan, Lorne D. 1975. “Transition in occupational choice: A case study of traditionalism and influence in a Maritime community” Paper read to the Canadian Sociology-Anthropology Association meetings, Learned Societies Conference, Edmonton.
  • Sunderland, Ruth 2011. “Adultery and the Alpha Woman”. London Daily Mail, May 23. Circulated by Jeremy Swanson, May 25.

1A sire is a male biological progenitor. A father is a man who raises his natural child. A man whose sexual activity causes a pregnancy he did not intend to cause, is a sire; only if he accepts the work of fatherhood and the mother accepts him as her mate, does he become a father.

2Reliable low-cost contraception first became available [in the form of affordable rubber condoms] in the 1930s. Earlier, condoms made from animal membranes existed but were less reliable and more costly. “The Pill”came into public availability in the 1960s, giving women control of the risk of pregnancy without abstaining from “sex”.

3A contraceptive technique called “the diaphragm” was available to women by 1961, as i recall; but the condom was much more readily used between the beginning of foreplay and the beginning of coitus, as well as much more easily acquired.

4Having been sexually abstinent for some years now, i should not speak to this question myself–as neither should a faithful, long-married man.

5Logan (1975) found that men who worked at the Michelin tire factory in Nova Scotia, earned less on average than men who followed more traditional work-styles. The commonest reason for a man to “take a job at Michelin” was because he had to make regular monthly payments and traditional income was irregular.

 

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About Davd

Davd Martin (Ph.D., 1966, Sociology) has been a professor, a single parent on a low income from a small commercial herb garden, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. His men's-interest essays and blogs have appeared on "The Spearhead" "A Voice for Men", and "False Rape Society", as well as this site.
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