Better Fathers and Husbands Through Feminism

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 10:33 EDT
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You knew it was coming. It’s so obvious that mass shooting—and the general problem of men who feel entitled to take out their rage by killing others—is a problem that stems in no small part from male privilege generally, and so those who strongly believe that straight men should be privileged over everyone else are quick to find distractions. Preferably of the “blame women” variety. Mike Huckabee set the tone, blaming women who want to have non-procreative sex for mass shootings. Luckily, it’s a tactic that hasn’t gotten mainstream traction, but it’s definitely percolating on the fringes. The gambit is to blame Nancy Lanza for raising her son in a “fatherless” home, even though his father was there for the first 17 years. I guess it’s that last year of being a minor that really does it.

But what really cracked me up about this column from Mark Overton and Geoffrey Mull (who seem to think that Sandy Hook was a high school, demonstrating their crack reporting that led them to believe that Adam Lanza grew up in a “fatherless” home)  is that the coded language blaming women for male violence has grown to the point where they’re accidentally letting slip in the idea that men should take responsibility, an idea they’re actively fighting against.

And to do that we need to be producing fathers and husbands. The solution is not an ever-growing police state, Orwellian school systems and squads of droning psychologists; it is role models – confident, full-time dads, who enjoy equal rights to their wives, rather than existing at their partners sufferance, forever at the potential mercy of unjust and oppressive laws that will render them destitute and ‘absent’ them from their own children overnight: and of course leave their children dealing with the emotional fallout. Only once men and women are equal in so-called ‘family’ law (an equality best brought about by reforming that secret and undemocratic division of the law to the point of destruction), will the modern entitlement currently selfishly claimed by women alone be fairly spread between the sexes, and allow equal parenting more likely to instill healthy self-confidence in young men, than anger and alienation.

Okay, they go off on this bananas belief that women have all these “privileges” and men are some kind of miserable underclass, so they’re paranoid idiots. The reality in the UK, where this column was published, is actually opposite:

Divorce makes men – and particularly fathers – significantly richer. When a father separates from the mother of his children, according to new research, his available income increases by around one third. Women, in contrast, suffer severe financial penalties. Regardless of whether she has children, the average woman’s income falls by more than a fifth and remains low for many years.

Having children at home is hard on the pocketbook, and child support rarely comes even close to making up for a man’s economic contributions when he was at home. It just feels like it’s more, because misogynist men paying child support don’t feel they’re getting return on their money, with “return” being defined as having a woman around to cater to you. Correcting for their factual information, we have them claiming that men and women should be equal parents, thus my highlights. Agreed! I know, they don’t mean it—what they actually want is for men to have a bunch of unearned privileges while women do all the scut work—but for the sake of argument, let’s think about what it would take to create these upstanding fathers and husbands who, in their egalitarian marriages, do their equal share.

Well, the answer is clearly feminism. It’s feminism that supports women getting education and careers, which makes it easier for them to form marriages where they aren’t dependent on men. Which, in turn, creates incentives for men to try harder when it comes to dating and marriage. It’s feminism that’s trying to tear down outdated gender roles that hold that men should be aloof patriarchs instead of diaper-changing, floor-sweeping participants in their family lives. Better fathers and husbands means men abandoning male privilege and outdated gender roles. I’m all for better fathers and husbands. But I suspect what it takes to get there is not at all what anti-feminists want at all.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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