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the feminist mafia speaks!

There's a bloke on Woman's Hour from that father's rights group Fathers for Justice, and he's pissing me off. He has just said "men want more caring responsiblities". Really? Do they? Because while I totally agree that men are discriminated in the courts - it's patently unfair and horrific that, for example, unmarried men have virtually no rights over their children - the fact remains that there are more women who have been deserted by the fathers of their children than there are fathers who are desperate to take more care of their children. How many men do you know who looked for the "caring responsiblities" which would entail giving up their job to look after their children? How many of you had fathers who did that? How many of you know people whose fathers fucked off and never looked back? I have a feeling that there are more of the latter than the former. And I speak as someone with a great dad who took part in a lot more of the childcare and housework than most other men of his generation I know, so there's no hint of personal bitterness here.

The man on the radio just said 'we now have a matriarchal society" and that "radical feminists run unchecked in the corridors of power". Fuck off, you bitter little man. There is no "feminist mafia". There's no matriarchy. The reason women are granted custody is because the legal system believes that women belong in the home looking after kids. If there was, as some father's rights advocates claim, a "powerful feminist" lobby running the country, we would have enforced equal pay rules, state subsidised child care and abortion on demand. We would not have rapists being given suspended or very short sentences.

I totally sympathise with the cause of fathers who have been denied rights. But I find it impossible to sympathise with many of the lobbyists themselves. They refuse to acknowledge that there are many, many fathers who delight in shirking their caring responsibilities, and act as if the country is full of fathers who are just dying to stay at home and change nappies, rather than women bringing kids up by themselves, whether they want to or not. They blame their situation on "feminists" rather than recationary old judges. They should realise that most feminists would be more than happy to share childcare responsibilities.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2004 02:30 am (UTC)
Word, Anna. Fabulous rant. You rock!
Mar. 3rd, 2004 02:38 am (UTC)
Arg! People from Fathers For Justice and Families Need Fathers keep phoning me up with their rants about how their lives are ruined by power-crazed feminazis and so on. I would sympathise with their position, because a lot of dads do end up unfairly pushed to the edges of children's lives, but there's no way children should be brought up around such views.

It's their rants about dads who have 'no contact' orders or have to see their kids with a social worker present who scare me the most though. The courts really don't hand out that kind of order without reason and yet FFJ and FNF get really angry about them all</a> rather than argue that on a case by case basis some of those orders may be based on false accusations.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 02:41 am (UTC)
Yes, absolutely! He seems to think that there's no dissonance between the fact that it's male judges making these judgments to give custody to women (because 90% or some such thing of judges are men) and the claim that women run the world. Perhaps we're such fiendishly clever creatures that we can make all these men in high-status jobs do exactly what we want, while we appear to be without significant access to power. Which, you know, we clearly are, but I'm surprised this guy is smart enough to spot it.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 03:17 am (UTC)
Speaking as a man, you'll find no argument from me.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 03:25 am (UTC)
Heh, thanks! I certainly don't think all men agree with what those lobbyists say - no men I know do, for starters.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC)
Well, I think the idea that there's some sort of feminist conspiracy is complete nonsense - borne out (for starters!) that there are very few female politicians in positions of power - the only one I can think of right now is Mary Harney, and in the UK, who is there? And in the USA, there's Condoleeza Rice, and that's about it.

Wake me up when the EU is dominated by female heads of state voting to make all men slaves...and then perhaps I'll start to worry about feminist conspiracies
Mar. 3rd, 2004 03:28 am (UTC)
Go Anna! I'm at work so I missed the interview with this bloke, but I did have the displeasure of reading the Metro this morning (I generally manage to avoid it now that I'm not in London), which had one of those 'and finally...' bits about some man who is campaigning to have the words 'masculinism' and 'masculinist' included in the dictionary. This man styles himself as a champion of the rights of heterosexual white men. AAAAAAARGH.

On the same page was a headline along the lines of 'Tories elect lesbian!' - I can't tell you how glad I am that I'm usually able to avoid the Metro. (By the way, is there an Irish Metro equivalent?)

Oh, and this: "radical feminists run unchecked in the corridors of power". Fabulous quote. I want some of whatever drug that man's on.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 04:36 am (UTC)
You can listen to him online, if you feel like being annoyed!

Oh, and when he made the "radical feminists..." remark, the feminist writer who was a guest just started to laugh. And rightly so!

There isn't an Irish equivalent of Metro, thank God - there's a publication with a similar name, but it's actually a paper aimed at immigrants, and is very cool. But I am familiar with the London one, and what a horrible rag it is.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 06:20 am (UTC)
Word, word, wordy mcword!

I don't know what it is about the fathers' rights lobbyists, but they seem incapable of directing their ire a the right people. They just don't even seem to think: do they realise that by opposing feminism, they're advocating a return to the days when women had absolutely no rights over their children whatsoever in the event of a marriage breakup? I just don't understand them at all.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 07:20 am (UTC)
I think they don't care. They live in a zero sum world. So they realise their rights currently suck, try to work out whose rights have increased and then blame those people. Idiots.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)
I think that some of the lobbyists are so blinded by bitterness and misogyny that they don't care. The man on Woman's Hour kept going on about how women may be discriminated against in the workplace, but men are discriminated against when it comes to childcare. And while essentially they have a point, I just keep thinking - so why aren't more of the men who do have a choice not looking after their kids? Because they're just not, and I sometimes wonder how much actual childcaring these men did when they were with their partners. Women are still doing most of the housework and childcare, and I don't see men lobbying for the responsibility of scrubbing the toilet and washing all the kids' clothes. I hate the way they're making it seem like women are all conspiring to keep men away from their children. Obviously there are a lot of men who do do an equal share, but they're certainly not a majority, and like I said in my original post, most women with kids would love more help looking after them!
Mar. 3rd, 2004 08:36 am (UTC)
Don't know how the situation is in Ireland. I know that here in Ontario the custody laws were rewritten recently to change the word "custody" to "parental responsibility" or something. I thought that sounded stupid, but then I asked my father (a family lawyer) about it, and he said it was a definite improvement, because often in a divorce where the mother gets full or almost-full custody, she will do things in the kids' lives without consulting the father - because she's bitter at him, because it's easier, because she thinks that having custody means she becomes the only "real" parent. And he, on the other hand, will be paying his child support and wondering what he did that means he doesn't get to be involved in his kids' lives any more.

So that's a problem. But there are also an enormous number of fathers who either skip off or fight tooth and nail - or impose ridiculous conditions, like "I'll pay child support when your marks improve" - when anyone asks them to hand over some support money for their kids.

I bet these "masculinists" are the same people who blame immigrants when they can't find a job.
Mar. 3rd, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
I have a story brewing, about a real matriarchy. These guys don't know how good they have it.

Crazy(you go, girl!)Soph
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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