February 13, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
But Glosswitch isn’t finished — not by a long shot. Not content with ignorance about her topic, well-known feminist history and basic biology, unsatisfied by frank misandry and outright self-contradiction, she soldiers on.
Meanwhile, the role itself is romanticised.
The role to which she refers is that of fatherhood. Ah yes, how romantic to be a father! Does GW have any idea of what fathers deal with? Apparently not because, as with all her other nutty misstatements of “fact,” actual knowledge would very much interfere with her fictional narrative.
As support for her assertion, GW cites a single song that she claims does the romanticizing. So let’s examine just how British society romanticizes dads.
Whether or not you’re a father, the culture offers plenty of discouragement for taking up that role. As too many people to count have pointed out, pop culture is rife with portrayals of fathers as incompetent oafs who have no idea of how to perform the simplest childcare tasks. But that’s the good news; at least those guys are trying. Worse are the routine claims that fathers don’t care about their kids, or, still worse, that they’re dangerous to them. GW herself contributes to this in her own article. So how about it, guys? Want to be a dad? Want to be laughed at, sneered at and feared? Yep, sounds romantic to me.
But if a man takes that leap into fatherhood, he may well learn that his partner has decided that she wants to stop working and stay at home with the new arrival. In the U.S., that’s true of at least six million mothers and in the U.K. it’s true of proportionately even more. That’s because the benefits offered mothers there, particularly unmarried ones, are far greater than here. But whatever the case, Mom’s decision to stay home full-time or to work part-time means Dad often has to work more. That of course means he sees his child less and then is excoriated by extremists like Glosswitch for doing so. Hence the fact that fathers experience more stress due to the work/family balance than do mothers. What could be more romantic?
That takes us to divorce. When Mom decides to leave, the romance of fatherhood really kicks in. That’s when she may accuse him of some form of child or spousal abuse. He’ll learn that an order has been issued to keep him out of his house and away from his child. He’ll get to start paying her child support, possibly based on income he doesn’t earn, despite not being permitted to see his child. Permanent child custody to Mom is virtually a foregone conclusion and he’ll be relegated to the status of visitor. If he’s managed to convince a skeptical judge that her abuse claims were false, he’ll get a court order giving him access to his children somewhere between 14% and 20% of the time. But that order is barely worth the paper on which it’s printed. She can violate it time and again with virtual impunity. (In Australia, she can violate it with complete impunity because there, it is the law of the land that access orders are not to be enforced by the court’s contempt power.)
So post-divorce, Dad may well be faced with paying money he can’t remotely afford to a mother who refuses to allow him to see his kids and at whose contempt of court, judges smile. And of course if Dad falls behind on his payments, he goes to jail.
As Glosswitch understands it, that’s romanticizing fatherhood. Really.
But, and I want to emphasize that I am not making this up, it actually gets worse. All of her virulent anti-dadism I’ve written about for three solid days is actually, mere prelude to this:
And yet I am, tentatively, pleased that Labour is proposing an increase in paternity leave and paternity pay.
Yes, of course. Having spent her entire article trashing fathers, she now wants us to believe that she’s all in favor of Labour’s proposal to increase their leave time to four weeks, i.e. to less than one-ninth of what mothers receive. But, just in case we missed her toxic anti-father message (as if we could), her very next sentences are more of the same.
It could have done without the “father’s month” branding, which makes me think of a big, macho version of Woman’s Hour…
I find myself cringing slightly at the notion that “more fathers want to play a hands-on role in childcare particularly in those first crucial weeks of a child’s life” (what, you mean while it’s still a novelty?).
Yes indeed, she wants us to believe that the person who cringes at the notion that fathers want to do more hands-on childcare simultaneously wants them to have greater parental leave. Why exactly would anyone “cringe” at fathers doing more childcare, particularly someone who’s just complained that they don’t do enough? This of course is the same person who has not a clue about the fact that they already do, as the data from all countries of the OECD demonstrate. It’s almost as if GW fully understands the power that mothers exercise over fathers and children and is loath to see it diminished. But that couldn’t be true, could it?
In What Should We Tell Our Daughters? Melissa Benn asks whether today’s young men “are being brought up to see that the work of the home is work, a form of labour they should recognise, value and share”. I’d count parenting and caring work as part of that, but the answer to Benn’s question is, I think, no. If anything, I doubt young men really think about it at all. Perhaps I underestimate them, but simply failing to anticipate the need to perform a role can be much the same as expecting someone else (a mother, a woman, not you) to do it.
Too bad Ms. Benn and GW didn’t ask the same thing about women and girls. Should they too be brought up to value what men typically do around the house? Should they recognize that, when the plumbing gets stopped up, someone has to fix it? Should they notice when hubby uses his time away from work to rewire the lamp, scrape and paint the eaves, change the oil and filters in the car? One would think so, and of course countless women do, just not women like Glosswitch.
After all, she’s the one who’s ignorant of the data on men’s hugely increased time spent on childcare. She’s also ignorant of the fact that men do more of the paid work than do women. How’s that for “failing to anticipate the need to perform a role” being “much the same as expecting someone else to do it?” Yes, for Glosswitch, women never take men for granted the way she claims men do toward women despite the fact that, when those millions of women elect to take years, sometimes decades off work to care for their kids, it’s the men who are still trudging off to work to support their lifestyle choice.
All that’s pretty typical of the extremist feminism Glosswitch’s mutterings exemplify. Meanwhile, I have a better suggestion, one that’s at once more reasonable, more humane and easier. Why don’t we all recognize that we’re in this together and most of us are doing our best to pull our own weight? Let’s have mothers notice when Dad paints the baby’s room and let’s have dads notice how often Mom gets up in the night when little Andy or Jenny cries. If Mom wants to stop working for ten years in order to care for the children, let’s make sure she only does so if Dad agrees of his own free will, i.e. he’s not browbeaten into the deal with shaming and threats of divorce. Let’s drop the utterly false rhetoric that fathers are per se deficient or that the decision to be a mother in some way lets down the side of feminism.
The fact is that most couples work out their division of labor on their own and with regard to the unique contributions and needs of each partner. I have a male friend who’s a writer and married to a lawyer. Over the course of their marriage, she’s out-earned him. She went to work every day and he stayed home with their son, doing the lion’s share of the hands-on parenting. That arrangement worked for them and their son is now a fully functioning adult.
The point being that most couples figure out their own needs and arrange their relationship to meet them. In healthy couples, each partner understands and respects the contributions of the other. If one does more childcare and the other more paid work, fine. Radical feminists like Glosswitch want to see every inequality as anti-woman, but they’re not. More to the point, it’s absurd to demand that each adult in a couple do exactly the same amount of diapering, cooking, cleaning, paid work, car repair, etc. as the other. People differ and they adjust to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s not victimizing women, it’s sharing.
And above all, let’s stop penalizing fathers in family court simply because they’re not mothers. Children need both parents and fathers and mothers each tend to parent in their own different ways. Both ways, and the combination of the two, are beneficial to children, so we should give each and all the respect they deserve. Mothers are not better or more necessary than are fathers and vice versa.
Once courts and laws start to recognize that the unique contributions fathers make to their families are neither more nor less valuable than those made by mothers, we’ll start to make some headway toward healthier, happier kids, far less hateful divorces and a less dysfunctional society.
Of course people like Glosswitch will still complain and shed bitter tears that equality in parental roles in some way victimizes women. But we can get used to that. After all, some things never change.
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