InkWell’s male-bashing forum continues (click onto the April 22 Mailbag for links to help you catch up). On April 26, we heard from radio talk-show host/fathers’ rights advocate Glenn Sacks about the hostility of many rad-fem family-court judges toward divorced fathers who desire only to be with their children. Reader T.M., a divorced dad who’s experienced the system himself, writes with kudos for Sacks.:
“Ours is a tough row to hoe, but worth the blisters on our hands; worth it for the kids. I’ve hung in there despite false allegations designed to cut me out of my children’s lives 100 percent, with the real abusers feeding my children lies that their father had abandoned them for a new life of craziness and violence.
“Filed against me, with the help of gender-hostile feminist agencies, were a bogus child protective order, and after reconciliation later on, a restraining order. It’s too easy and tempting for those with no morals or conscience to abuse the abuse-protection system, which has now become not much more than a system of institutionalized child abuse in too many cases. Mothers who abuse the abuse-protection system are in effect severely abusing their own children, even more than they are abusing their husbands. I’ve watched my children and others fail in school, socially, and in relationships as a result of this whole process of some mothers’ and abusive agency workers’ trying to make children upset at fathers and drive a permanent wedge between them, breeding hostility through the systematic emotional abuse and brainwashing of children.”
And reader J.L. chides me for complaining about the fathers who don’t “hang in there” as T.M. did. While I’m certain that many divorced motherstake out their grievances against their kids’ father in immature and even monstrous ways, I’m still hard on fathers who retaliate by refusing to pay child support and by sometimes even denying that the chilren are theirs. J.L. e-mails:
“Ms. Allen…seems to be squarely focused on the money flowing from fathers to mothers. Lets talk about money. Where is the clamor for mothers to show they care by ensuring they spend a state-monitored amount of their income on their children? Why is it assumed that unless fathers are paying a portion of their income to mothers, they are not properly caring for their children?…Only divorced fathers are forced to prove their love by paying a state mandated amount of money so that someone else can raise their children. The entire concept is ludicrous. Mothers and fathers should provide for their children as a component of active parenting. In a society where neither gender has the upper hand in the ability to generate income, both parents should have an equal responsibility to meet the financial requirements of their children. If money is a measure of parental love, then mothers come up short as often as fathers.
“Unfortunately, Ms. Allen discards the possibility of shared parenting by claiming that ‘kids need domestic stability’….Personally, when I divorced 10 years ago and was denied the ability to remain a regular and frequent parent, the issue was not domestic stability. The issue was not my fitness as a parent. The issue was not my history of regular and frequent parenting. The only issue was the systematic justification of taking a large percentage of my income and giving it to my children’s mother. That was all there was to it. Although I had been an active parent, to allow me to remain in that role would have exposed child support for what it really is…a subsidy for the mother of my children. To admit the truth would have been to admit that as a female she was entitled to my continuing financial protection.
“Fast-forward two years later, and I had re-established my parental role. For the last eight years I have been sharing parenting of my children. Of course, the redistribution of my income has not stopped, but as a ‘good dad,’ I do nothing to jeopardize what my children need most…me….I’ll keep subsidizing the parenting of my ex while also paying for my own parenting.”
Naturally I don’t know your personal situation, J.L. but in fact, most mothers need the father’s financial protection when the children are young–and sometimes when the kids are older, too, if they’ve been out of the job market for years to be full-time homemakers and mothers. Naturally ex-wives shouldn’t be spending the kids’ school-tuition money on spa getaways for themselves, and there might be a good case for closer court monitoring of the way support payments are spent. You also misnterpret my position on shared parenting. I’m completely in favor of it and joint legal custody as well. But everyone, and especially children, needs to have just one home. I do myself, and I’m an adult. I’d hate it if I had to come home from work three days a week to one house and two days a week to some other house on the other side of town. Too much disruption. Surely two mature adults can figure out between them where their children ought to live. And I can’t repeat it too often: divorce is much more expensive–and painful–than marriage. That’s why wise counselors like Dr. Laura Schlessinger say, “Don’t do it, period,” to parents of young children contemplating divorce.
And here’s one our wonderful female readers, K.S., a feminist after our own IWF hearts:
“I consider myself a feminist if that characterization is defined as one who desires equal opportunity for women. However, I am very disappointed in the women’s organizations commonly seen on TV or quoted in the media. The National Organization for Women does not speak for me.
“I came across your website because it was mentioned in a book I recently read by Bernard Goldberg called Arrogance: Rescuing America From the Media Elite that deals with bias in the media. What I am looking for is some accurate, non-partisan information about the present status of women in the world of business. I don’t need a survey …to tell me that there are very few of us at the top levels of the corporate world, though the numbers are improving. I want to know how to help women move up the corporate ladder or into their own businesses (this area is starting to explode) without telling them they are victims, without government intervention and without requiring that they all think alike on the so-called women’s issues.
“If you can direct me to appropriate, well-researched resources, I would greatly ppreciate it.”
My suggestion, K.S., is that you look for the writings of some of the dynamic women who have served as staffers, board members, and friends of the IWF over the years: Click to Amazon and search for books by Christina Hoff Sommers, Daphne Patai, Christine Stolba, Danielle Crittendon, Sally Satel, Heather Mac Donald, and Kay Hymowitz. Read former Ladies Home Journal Editor Mryna Blyth’s new Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness–and Liberalism–to the Women of America about feminist bias in the feminine media (the IWF is sponsoring her). You’ll get a well-researched, non-NOW eyeful.