January 3, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
This follows up my previous remarks on Terence Mentor’s vastly ignorant piece on fathers that appeared in the Washington Post, I suspect, to make amends to readers for its uncharacteristically informed and well-written piece on shared parenting by Michael Alison Chandler (Washington Post, 12/29/17).
Last time I pointed out that Mentor’s notion that men have always forced motherhood on unwilling mothers has no basis in fact and is contradicted by the known science of parenting behavior. It’s also contradicted by casual observation of the type even Mentor is capable were he not blinded by his social justice warrior biases. Does Mentor see, for example, chimpanzee males forcing chimpanzee females to nurture their young? How about dogs? Cattle? Mice? No, he doesn’t. That’s because those and all other social mammals produce the hormones that in turn produce parenting behavior. Almost invariably, it is the female of the species that produces the hormones and cares for young.
Humans are the same, except that, unlike the animals mentioned, humans are a bi-parental species. Human males come equipped with the same parenting hormones as human females, but have receptors for them in different parts of the brain. That means fathers parent somewhat differently than mothers and tend to take a secondary role in caring for children.
If Mentor knows a thing about the science of the topic about which he chose to write, he nowhere lets on. But, as so often happens, the ignorance of the piece doesn’t stop there. Neither does the thing that animates it. I refer of course to anti-father bias.
You see, Mentor, like so many other SJWs, simply assumes that, if a father isn’t doing what a mother does to care for kids, he isn’t being a parent.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: We shouldn’t complain about not being respected as parents when we gladly gave that right away for generations.
(Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re a writer, never “guess” what you’re trying to say. If you’re that unfamiliar with your topic, rethink writing about it at all. It’s a rule Mentor should have heeded.)
See? Fathers who go off to work to put a roof over their child’s head, food on the table and clothes on its back aren’t doing parenting work. I don’t know what Mentor imagines they’re doing, but whatever it is, according to him, it benefits the child in no way. That fathers’ provision of shelter and resources constitutes precisely parenting behavior should be obvious, but plenty of people are loath admit it. Indeed, perhaps the surest way to get a man to increase his work hours and earnings is to make him a father. It’s one of the commonly observed phenomena about men, but again, Mentor either doesn’t know it or refuses to admit it.
And what’s this nonsense about “gladly?” Men “gladly” chucked away home and family to toil in the mines and sweatshops? Does Mentor know the first thing about conditions in those workplaces for the first, say, 300 years of the Industrial Revolution? He should listen to the song called “The Springhill Mine Disaster.” It’s about the burial alive of numerous men in an accident that happened, not in 1658, but in 1958, i.e. within living memory. The men who weren’t killed spent a week without food, water or light in a space that was, in the words of the song, “three feet high and a hundred feet long.” Sound like fun? Did they do that “gladly?” Would Mentor? Or would he prefer to spend his time on the surface, in the fresh air and sunlight taking his kid for a walk in the park?
A lot of people understand fathers’ work for what it is – sacrifice for their wives and children. Not Mentor. Toiling away in the corporate jungle is apparently his idea of fun, while mothers caring for children is the next thing to being shanghaied by the local press gang.
You don’t even have to look very far — just really look at what the mother of your child has to go through.
Yes, look at that. But please, by whatever means necessary, don’t look at the fact that she, along with countless other women now and throughout history, have chosen to do exactly that, i.e. raise their own children. As I said last time, the social science is replete with every kind of study, survey, observation, etc. telling us that women generally prefer caring for children to doing paid work. They routinely opt for doing so when the opportunity presents itself. And men’s picking up the earnings slack is what allows them to do it. Far from fathers forcing the maternal role on mothers, they enable their choices. Has Mentor ever heard of maternal gatekeeping, the process by which mothers marginalize fathers in the lives of their children? Apparently not.
But his WaPo piece gets even worse. SJW that he is, all these dastardly deeds (men who work to support their families, women who care for children) are the product of a vile “patriarchy.”
The patriarchy takes away our ability to make our own choices…
Yes, were it not for the “patriarchy,” women wouldn’t want to care for children and men wouldn’t want to provide for their wives and children. Because of “patriarchy,” no one “make[s] our own choices.” Really. Is it possible that Mentor believes such nonsense?
I can’t guess, but the very next clause is where Mentor goes haywire.
— like my choice to be as engaged a father as possible…
You see, Mentor has already told us that he’s an engaged father and he “takes his role very seriously.” But, according to him, he can’t do that because the “patriarchy” doesn’t allow him to, except that he does. So what is this “patriarchy” that “takes away our ability to make our own choices,” but doesn’t do so in Mentor’s case? Mentor doesn’t bother to answer, likely because he’s blissfully unaware of the contradiction in his own article, indeed in a single sentence. The “patriarchy” makes gender roles rock-solid, but somehow not for Mentor. Come to think of it, not anyone else either.
You don’t want people to call dads babysitters? Take away the novelty. Make sure you are the most engaged and active father you can be. Encourage other dads in your community to do the same.
See? All anyone has to do to defeat the dreaded “patriarchy” is ignore it and do what he/she wants. Do you want to be “an engaged, active father?” Just do it. Simple as that. Gee, it’s beginning to look like that “patriarchy” is a pushover.
Or here’s another suggestion: people have the ability and the freedom to do what they want within the confines of their abilities and resources. Like Mentor, countless fathers have done just that, with no interference from the “patriarchy.” What a concept.
I’ll administer the coup de grâce next time.
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