Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dads v Feminism

The NY Times has a debate on Fathers' Rights and Women's Equality:
Cases of celebrity fathers pressing for greater parental rights, have gotten a lot of attention in the past year.

But are father's rights a legitimate claim for equality, or a conflict with women's interests?...

Unmarried men have little security in child rearing decisions and custody outcomes. Legally, the extent of unmarried men’s decisions about reproduction and children stops at the sexual act. Beyond that, the mother has the most leverage to make decisions about visitation and possible adoption. Why? Because law and social practice assume that unmarried men in intimate relationships have no interest in commitment, stability or responsibility. ...

But even the more moderate groups within the fathers’ rights movement engage in a backlash against feminism when they attempt to discredit the experiences of female victims of intimate partner violence and roll back legal protections for all victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Self-proclaimed fathers’ rights activists minimize the well-documented prevalence and severity of domestic violence against women, accusing domestic violence advocates of promoting false allegations that alienate children from their parents. ...

We cannot define the campaign for fathers’ rights -- as diverse a movement as feminism -- by the actions of a divisive and partisan subset. Doing so obscures the father's rights movements simple goal: to insure that when a marriage fails, men are legally empowered to remain fully engaged parents.
While this last opinion supports married or divorced dads, a couple of others are for unmarried dads:
The fathers’ rights movement contends that the treatment of fathers and mothers is unequal under the law, but the real difference is between married and unmarried fathers.

My research shows that family law makes it much harder for unmarried fathers to sustain a relationship with their children. In most states, if a child is born to married parents, the mother’s husband is automatically established as the legal father. By contrast, unmarried fathers have to take additional steps to establish parentage.
Until recently, the purpose of marriage was understood as a legal step to establish paternity. So I don't have any objection, in principle, to requiring unmarried dads to take additional steps to establish parentage.
In South Carolina, where I’m from, the adoption laws generally allow birth mothers to decide whether to put newborns up for adoption.

But luckily for me the state’s Responsible Father Registry for single men who have, or are about to, father children, requires that they be notified if the child is put up for adoption. I had followed the advice of a friend and signed up when my partner was pregnant.

After the birth, to my surprise, lawyers contacted me to say their clients, a couple in California, had arranged to adopt my child. Had I not registered, I would not have known.
Regardless of fathers rights or state registries, a child put up for adoption should go to a natural parent before a stranger.

Some people say that feminism is consistent with fathers rights, because feminism is about equality and dads just want equal rights as parents. But you rarely see feminists supporting any such equality. Feminism is more defined by the political agendsa of the leading feminists.

CH (Roissy) defines:
The goal of feminism is to remove all constraints on female sexuality while maximally restricting male sexuality.
Viewed this way, there is no way to reconcile dads with feminism. Nearly all feminists say that a pregnant woman has a right to an abortion at any time and for any reason, and the dad has no say in the matter.

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