Trigger Warnings

Some of my posts deal with rape and that means that bits of this blog may be triggering.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The joy of single motherhood and why the patriarchy hates it so much

I became a single mother nearly 11 years ago, when the strain of trying to keep a relationship going with a man who was making no effort to keep a relationship going with me, became too much.

I fought very hard against becoming a single parent.  Like most of us, I’d swallowed the message that having two parents is the ideal way for a child to be brought up in our society.  It’s a myth that’s pushed very hard, sometimes subtly, sometimes really obviously, but always pushed.  I knew the bad news:  children of single parents are much more likely to truant, to be criminals, to use drugs, to go to prison, to get divorced, to be violent, to have mental health problems, to get cancer, to lower house prices, to be Daily Mail readers – oh the horrors I would be inflicting on my children if I was so selfish as to not subsume my outrage at being expected to tolerate intolerable behaviour from a man who lived with me, just because he was the father of my children and so that entitled him to a level of toleration for bad behaviour, that no-one would think was reasonable to tolerate from anyone else.

Over the years I’ve looked behind the statistics and discovered that they are a very cleverly promoted myth.  In every case except one that I’ve come across (out of loads) if you take out income as a variable factor, the outcomes for the children of lone parents are exactly the same as that of their peers.  And if their parent with care has a degree, even the low income ceases to be an important factor in outcomes for children.

Yep that’s right: the only reason that children of lone parents have consistently worse outcomes than children of two parents, is because they have a low income.  If you compare the children of poor lone parents with the children of poor couples, their outcomes are similar.  If you compare the children of rich lone parents with those of rich couples, their outcomes are similar.  The reason that children of lone parents have bad outcomes compared to children of couples, is because children of couples grow up in richer families.  That’s all it is – money. That is not something you are going to read with any regularity in the media.  Instead, they are shrieking at women that if we are selfish enough to leave the fathers of our children, we are disadvantaging our children.

It never seems to occur to the people who write those articles, to urge men to stop being such unacceptable living companions that women can’t bear to tolerate living with them even for the sake of their incomes and the respectable status they confer on us; or to pay a proper amount of maintenance so that they don’t disadvantage their children (the majority of non-resident parents pay no maintenance and of those who do, the average sum is a woefully paltry amount). It also never occurs to them to campaign for workplaces to be adapted to the needs of all its workers, not just the ones without caring responsibilities, so that more lone parents can work in jobs which actually pay enough to meet living expenses; or to call on benefits to be higher to ensure that children of lone parents are not disadvantaged.  No, the only solution they can see, is for men and women to stay together and role-model an unhappy relationship to their children.

Because that was the propaganda I’d heard all my life, I tried to hold the relationship together, before realising that I was the only one bothering to try to do that.  Women are given the very clear message from when they are very young, that relationships are their business – that they are responsible for working on them.  Look at magazines aimed specifically at boys and men versus those aimed specifically at girls and women.  It’s immediately obvious who has been appointed the guardian of the Sacred Relayshunship, where the onus lies, on keeping it healthy, happy and alive.

For years, I didn’t notice that I was the only one working on making this relationship work, because that was the natural order of things.  Women’s time, our energy, our focus, is directed towards making relationships work, because to break up a relationship, even where there are no children involved, is sold to us as a really big deal.  We aren’t told that every day, we should ask ourselves why we are continuing to be in this relationship; we are told that every day, we should do something to maintain it without asking why.  Breaking it up is seen as a frivolous, immature, flaky sort of way of carrying on – the sign of someone with “ishoos”, someone who is afraid of commitment, has psychological problems, can’t maintain a relationship because they are somehow damaged or wrongly-wired.

I had fallen for all those lies, so of course I went into denial about the fact that I was horribly unhappy in the relationship I had.  That is the most common self-defence women have in unhappy relationships: pretend it’s not “as bad as all that”.  They compare the relationships that other women have with the men they live with, with their own relationship, instead of comparing their relationships to that of the men they actually live with.  So for ages – weeks, months, years – women don’t notice that they are the only ones doing the emotional work of the relationship – the attempts to make everyone happy, to balance everyone’s needs, to ensure that the family unit runs as smoothly as possible.  The effort of doing this, is immense; when you let it go, it’s like putting down an enormous burden that you hadn’t realised you were carrying.  The day my ex left, I put on loud music and danced around the kitchen while I cleaned it.

Without that drag on my energy and resources, I was able to really grow and flourish as a person and as a mother.  One of the major advantages of becoming a lone parent, is that because of the stigma associated with it, unless you are deeply wedded to denial, you are forced to confront the choices you have made in your life; why had you taken up with a man who had absolutely no capacity for emotional intimacy, when that was what you deeply desired?  Why had you had children with someone who was obviously incapable of functioning as a parent?  Why had you chosen as a partner, someone who couldn’t do partnership?  It’s a question that’s often asked of lone parents by the smug partnered who don’t think to think before they talk; but it is also a question many lone parents ask themselves.  I would never have asked myself that, or found the answers, if I hadn’t split from my ex. 

So there’s another benefit of splitting up relationships – it prompts ruthless honesty. If you stay in an unhappy relationship, you never have to examine your motives and attitudes – in fact, in an emotionally unhealthy relationship, it is dangerous to do so, because it makes you question your relationship and leads you towards the dreaded break-up. Deep down, women in unhappy relationships know that, so they pull that comforting cloak of denial tighter around them to protect the family unit that is damaging them so much.

Without the energy-sapping requirement to keep an unhealthy relationship going, I was free to examine what did actually constitute a healthy relationship and I was also free to examine what sort of mother I wanted to be and could be.  While I was deep in denial about my relationship and childhood, I couldn’t come close to developing into any sort of aware, functional mother.  I would always have had to steer round the elephant in the room of this dysfunctional relationship in which I was trying to be a “normal” mother.  So many women do that.  They are desperate to give their children normal, healthy, happy childhoods, while at the same time doing so within the confines of a destructive, unhealthy, unhappy relationship.  Society tells them that if they leave this relationship, they will be dysfunctional, “broken” – when in fact, it’s exactly the opposite.  My family was broken all the time I lived with the father of my children.  The healing process started, the day I realised I couldn’t go on living with him anymore.  Now, we’re not broken; we’re fixed. 

When politicians and media commentators talk about broken families and I know they’re talking about mine, I always have a grimace about their sheer stupidity: I know that when my family really was broken, those idiots had nothing to say about us; as long as you’re in a couple, you’re not frightening the horses and any amount of dysfunction, emotional abuse, or even violence, can be justified in the name of the family.  As long as you’re not directly costing the state money from your domestic arrangements, they’re approved of, however unhealthy (the indirect costs, like decreased productivity, NHS resources for depression-related illnesses etc, are all worth the price of keeping the nuclear family together).

And yet there are so many couples who live unhappy, dysfunctional lives; who role model unhappiness to their children, who teach them that what to expect from adult relationships, is unhappiness, resentment, lack of respect, lack of love.  Those families are never called broken.  Because there is a man in them, so they’re OK.

There are so many myths about being a single parent.  The main one, is how difficult it is.  When we’re not being lambasted as being promiscuous, irresponsible, feckless hoo-ers, we are being talked about as some kind of super-women – they don’t know how we do it.  Everyone has a different experience of single parenthood, some find it harder than others, but the big secret that the media, right-wing politicians and abusive men, don’t want women to know, is how much easier it is to be a single parent, than to live with a man who doesn’t treat you as an equal human being with an equally important life and an equal requirement and entitlement, for leisure, rest, love and respect.

For many women, the drudgery of bringing up children on their own, is not that different to what they experienced while they were still living with a man.  Lots of men have a deep down belief (which to be fair to them, they’re not actually aware they have, until it’s pointed out to them) that they really shouldn’t have to do the boring, tiresome, unvalued, invisible work of running a house.  Up until the time children come along, they believe in equality and they pull their weight and do their fair share in their house.  But you know, that’s really easy when there are only 2 adults living there.  There isn’t actually that much housework to do, which is something you don’t realise until you’ve had children and then you realise how little there was prior to that.

When children arrive though, suddenly all that equality goes out the window.  That’s partly because of maternity leave and so little paid paternity leave; but it’s not just that, because when maternity leave comes to an end, the pattern has been set: the mother is still doing the day to day caring for the child, the planning and over-seeing of the running of the household and the emotional work of keeping the family happy. The dim and distant days of equal leisure time, fade into memory and are put down to being non-parents, rather than the power-shift that has happened in the household.

So when you become a lone parent, you don’t actually have that much less leisure time, than you had when you were living with a man.  Many women actually have more – their time and energy isn’t being taken up with the wifework of managing the sacred relayshunship and negotiating with their partners.  Where men have contact with their children and take them away for the weekend, some women have far more leisure time than they would ever have had, had they stayed with the man who used to dump all the labour on them.  Some actually have more disposable income than they had while they were living with men; financial abuse of stay-at-home-mums is a feature of some relationships which hit the rocks and dole rates can look staggeringly generous compared to the pittance some women are grudgingly given by their mean and selfish partners (do I need to mention my friend who was paid £290 a month to buy all the food, clothes, books, uniform, transport etc., for her and her 2 sons?  Who was then criticised by her abusive husband for not buying enough meat and being a lousy money-manager?)

And the in the evenings, after 7PM (or 8PM or 9PM, depending on how old your children are), you have leisure time.  You don’t have to negotiate with another adult who feels he has more rights than you because he brings more money into the house, about what to watch on TV.  You don’t have to talk to him about his incompetent colleagues or his unreasonable boss.  You don’t have to have sex at his convenience.  If you don’t feel like tidying up, you don’t have to and no-one will criticise you.  If you want to spend an hour on the phone with your friend, no-one will demand your attention and sulk that they’re not getting it.

That’s all the things you don’t have to do. What you can do:

Watch what you like on TV
Go on the internet and chat to your friends all evening
Do exercise without interference
Read without being interrupted
Arrange dates with lovers who don’t demand anything of you
Have dates with lovers who don’t demand anything of you (children sleep very soundly)
Catch up with work
Write articles on how great it is to be a single mother
Get a babysitter and go out with friends
Whatever you want really

Where patriarchy is concerned, the Madonna-Whore dichotomy is never too far away and the flip-side of the Jeremy Kyle-candidate stereotype of single mothers, is the supposedly positive view of us as super-women heroines.  In a country where over a quarter of families are headed by single mothers, even our media cannot relentlessly portray all of us as feckless idiots, so they’ve had to come up with a stereotype that’s more positive, but equally off-putting for most women: the amazing, awesome, super-human single mother who is so competent and brilliant at it, that you, ordinary mother with husband, cannot hope to measure up to her, so don’t even think about dumping his lazy selfish arse, you’d better hang on to him because you’re not super-woman, you’re just a normal woman who would collapse into incompetence and have maladjusted children if you aspired to the saintliness of this impossible icon of virtue.

Screw that.  In the beginning, for the first few weeks and months, it’s hard to be a single mother.  But if you remember, any mother reading this, how hard was it to be a mother in the first few weeks and months?  I’ve had a new baby twice, once when I was living with his father, and once when I wasn’t.  I found it equally difficult each time, it was no more difficult without the father around than with him around.  

One of the most important things I have done in the decade I’ve been a single mother, is have the time and energy to reflect on mothering.  This would not have been possible if I’d had to negotiate parenting with the father of my children still living with me.  When you are balancing the needs of the whole family, you have to take into account the views of the other adult; and if those views are Neanderthal or simply not very informed, that means you have to water down your instincts and give house-room to their views, which may be idiotic.  If those views are downright abusive and your own childhood was also abusive, that’s a recipe for bad parenting.  If you don’t have someone holding you back from investigating how to be a good parent, because that threatens their unconsciously-held convictions, you are free to become a good parent.

And here’s another thing: when you bring up your children by yourself, you develop a sense of self-confidence and pride that feels really great to have.  I am actually extremely proud of my achievement: I’ve brought two children into the world who are happy, well-adjusted, decent children.  I’ve broken a cycle of violence, alcoholism and dysfunction.  I’ve shown both of them, that it’s possible to be happy, fulfilled, strong, loving and have a joyful life when you are single.  I hope that my example, means they never settle for a relationship which makes them unhappy, which doesn’t fulfil them, which drains their joy in life.  I could never have done that for them, if I had lived with their father.  And I’ve done it by myself, with a minimum of support.  I’m  proud of that, it don’t sound broke to me.

I have had some support; neighbours who help out, who babysit for free occasionally; brothers who take the traditional role of male mentors which were always taken by maternal uncles before the nuclear family became the norm in the West; friends who I know will drop everything at 3AM if there was a genuine emergency, bosses who allowed me the flexibility I needed to function as a mother and a worker at the same time (all workers should be able to do this).

And this is the big secret that the media don’t want women to know: that being a single mother can be bloody great.  I don’t want to sound smug or anything, but every morning when I’ve dropped my daughter off at breakfast club and my son and his friend off at school, I feel a surge of joy as I hit the motorway on my way to work.  Every day my life is filled with joy and gratitude for the life I have: freedom to be me, freedom to have fun with my children (and without them), freedom to take lovers when I want to, freedom to arrange my social life the way I want to, freedom to live without a man exerting control over me or stunting my development as a human being.

This freedom, is profoundly threatening to patriarchy.  I am not being controlled by a man.  I am not deferring to a man.  I am not servicing a man domestically, sexually, physically, emotionally.  I am liberated.  That’s why single mothers get such a bad press: because deep down, when society sees women like me bringing up our children by ourselves, doing it well and enjoying it, they feel a sense of panic: where the hell is the man in all this? 

So they have to tell other women, that this really isn’t a desirable way of living.
Hence the constant warnings that children of single parents do badly (some of them do, the poor ones, but no worse than the children of other poor parents), the constant propaganda in our music, films, TV programme, popular culture, self-help books, that tell us we should be looking for hetero-normative monogamous relationships, the constant calls for single mothers to be punished with poverty, so that we are disincentivised from choosing it. The constant implications that our lives are somehow lacking, our families are somehow not as real as the families where there is a man at the helm.

When you’ve done it for a decade, you know that your family is happy and content and whole.  It’s not broken, it’s not dysfunctional, it’s not lacking in anything that would make it better. I’m not saying that women should reject living with men en masse; some men are very nice and make delightful house-mates; but if women saw lone parenthood as a realistic, viable and actually quite sensible option, patriarchy would fall.  Because men would have to behave much, much better in their relationships, to persuade women to continue to live with them. 

And that is why single parents are under attack again – because deep down, patriarchy knows that we are on the front line of undermining it.  There are too many of us now, to marginalise us as feckless anti-social harpies – everyone knows a lone parent who is just a normal woman and doesn’t fit the stereotypes. There are too many men and women, who have actually grown up in lone parent families and haven’t ended up in prison or on drugs, to keep promoting the lie that women need to live with men to raise children successfully.  This is profoundly threatening to men who don’t want to treat women with decency and respect; if women could easily leave a relationship which wasn’t fulfilling their needs without being punished with poverty and social stigma, and all women who lived with abusive men simply left them, some men would never be able to persuade a woman to live with them again.  Let’s look at the hierarchy of happiness, which has consistently returned the same results over and over again since happiness has been measured by market researchers:

Married men
Single women
Married women
Single men.

Married men are the happiest group in society, single women are happier than married women and single men are the least happy group.  That tells me that hetero-normative monogamy serves men an awful lot better than it serves women.  No wonder they keep pushing it at us.  No wonder they don’t want us to know how good it is to be a single mother.

20 comments:

  1. Fabulous post brilliantly written - couldn't agree more!

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  2. Each Person Resonates And Attracts Those Of A Same Vibration, Including Those In Denial About It . . .

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    1. Er, could you be less enigmatic, Kurt?

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  3. I would like to point out that I am a single parent, and I have nothing but respect for single parents but this piece is simply vitriol and does nothing to promote the wonderful experience of parenting in any form. But then maybe I am just opposed to it because I'm a clueless woman-hating man?

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    1. Yes I think that's probably likely Tomek. There's no vitriol in my piece, I'm merely pointing out that women have a real choice about living with men and that really upsets some men. They hate the idea that we could ever have a world with free choice, because if we did, men would have to behave much, much better than they currently do towards women. 1 in 4 women live with domestic violence; 1 in 4 are raped or sexually assaulted. The power balance in hetero-normative relationships swings in men's favour as soon as that couple have children. Being aware of that and pointing it out, can give women a choice about whether they enter into that way of parenting. Some men (the crap ones) hate the idea of women having those choices, because they know that if they did, they'd never be able to control a woman again and oh my, how threatening is that.

      I'm going to black you now, because the vitriolic comment you posted along with this one, shows that you're not a poster I particularly want to engage with.

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    2. Oh and just to add, the men who are nice, don't feel threatened by women having choices - they know they're nice enough, that women will choose to live with them. It's the ones who want to keep the door open to behaving like entitled arses in their own relationships, who get angry about the suggestion that women don't need to live with men and can be happy without them. They know that if all women know that, they'd never get another woman to fuck or pick up their socks. Whereas the ones who don't behave like entitled arses, are confident that women would want to live with them because they want to, not because they need to. In a sane world, that is what every healthy man would want from a relationship.

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  4. Ahhh what a breath of fresh air! I couldn't agree more. I will never forget how incredibly happy I was the day I kicked my alcoholic, bed-wetting, emotionally-stunted husband out. I'm a great mother and I have many fantastic single mother friends, who are raising fantastic kids. I can wholeheartedly say that we are all so much better off without those "men" hanging round our necks.

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  5. What an intelligent and well thought through post. I agree with you about single mothers being an affront to patriarchy. I love the idea that instead of women being blamed for the collapse of their marriage men would feel the need and pressure to step up and be kind and good human beings in relationship to women. Unfortunately I have not found the blame and disrespect stops with the dissolution of the marriage and this affects the children greatly as they move in to teenage years, where they supposedly have more say in the matter of what they want to do and who they live with. Unfortunately teenagers don't know what they are choosing. They will go with the parent who gives them an "easier" time of it (I.e. Gives them what they want) but the sorrow and heartbreak is that this will make their lives harder and potentially more dangerous. I am deeply distressed by patriarchy and the propensity for our culture to blame mothers so quickly if you dare to have ideas and thoughts about what's right for your child rather then playing into the fathers destructive agenda. Geez it's an eye opener and so hard. All I can say is choose very carefully who you have children with. And if things still go wrong find stellar women friends who will have your back because you will have to work very hard to not go under if the father of your children stays present in a destructive way.

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  6. All I got from this crap is 'I'm a woman and I should be absolved of all blame because I couldn't keep my legs closed'. If you and the other legions of single parents had done what they did 100 years ago you and your son would be dead. Did it occur to you the problem with your relationship wasn't him but you? Maybe you shouldn't have been such a narcissist. Tyoical self entitled woman. You are not independent as soon as the state collapses you and the rest of the single parent legions will starve and you have the nerve to call this single mother paradise a 'patriarchy'?

    BTW if marriage is so oppressive for women why is it men are the ones who aren't popping the question?

    If you don't want a man then fine but don't pretend that what you are doing is heroic. It is not. It is selfish and a waste of resources.

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    1. Blah blah blah blah I hate women blah blah.

      If you're going to post on my blog try and make it a) interesting b) intelligent and c) something to do with the post. Otherwise, try not to bother.

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    2. Ronaldo, you're talking out of your arse, shut it and move on :-)

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  7. Dear Ms. Hags,

    It was a pleasure reading your post and hearing your arguments. Of course I agree that men should keep up their appearences and provide help in the household, just like women should. And as a successful, fit and straight urban male in his thirties, I can tell you that the sitution you describe has often served me quite well. I have options, and am fortunate enought that can afford to live a life on my own terms instead of having someone controlling my every move and raiding my pocketbook relentelessly.

    You see, people respond to incentives. Many men in the past have looked to long-term relationships as a way to gain access to the joys of long-term love, sex and femininity. Many men used to deal with insatiable, overbearing wives (some are "nice" of course, but many are not) because, well, that was their price to pay to raise children in a family environment, one of the most treasured, joyful and wonderful experiences a man can have.

    The problem is, no matter what we look like, women gravitate to the best of the best. Without any constraint, most men are left without any options. While you might not give a flying f*** about their specific needs, they are very real. We are more than parasitic, accesorized house-mates. We consider ourselves an important element in any child's rearing, and while your own "experience" might teach you otherwise, numerous unbiased, academic studies reinforce the fact.

    As men have become more and more "disposable" in the minds of women, easy to divorce, easy to trade-up and take everything from, men have acted accordingly and have slowly begun to withdraw their commitments. This is not revenge or anger; it is the normal, predictable, expected economic behaviour in an overpriced monopoly.

    If all you want to do is destroy the nuclear family, raise children on your own and sex up any hot guy east of Tuesday, well please, by all means, be our guests. However, don't expect us to foot the bill, either directly or through the state. It won't happen. If things do get pushed that far, we'll simply stop working or getting married. This is our version of being raped and we will avoid it at all costs. It's our version of "Freedom", like yours, to do whatever we want, as we want it. And as a man, when you have it all figured out, you're the envy of your friends.

    p.s.: On a finishing note, I thought Ronaldo was a) Interesting, b) Intelligent and c) on topic. He simply had "the nerve" to call you out on your own vitriol. Please have the eloquency to respond with something better than an unworthy Ad Hominem; otherwise your response simply comes out as a pustulent diatribe.

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    1. Francois the number of unbiased academic studies which show that the only really important factor in a child's rearing in terms of measurable outcomes is money and/ or the educational attainment of their primary carer, far outweigh the ones which show that what children really need is a father.

      You seem to argue that men have "withdrawn their commitments" as you put it, as a response to women having the freedom not to live with them. But they have always had the option of withdrawing their commitments - many men in marriages in the past, did the bear minimum in terms of contributing to their families, the good ones shared the resources out better than the bad ones. Nothing's changed in that sense.

      When misogynists talk about women seeing men as "disposable", they're projecting their own views of women. When they whinge about "footing the bill" for women's currently unpaid labour, what they mean is, they want women to continue doing the socially necessary work of bringing up the next generation of human beings for free and for men to continue to freeload off of women's free labour.

      Misogynist's version of being raped is basically men not being at the centre of the world being serviced by women, so forgive me if I can't be arsed to engage with that.

      And of course you agree with Ronaldo. You're both woman-haters. Enjoy each other's company, but try and do it away from my blog, there's a dear.

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    2. Dear Ms. Hags,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply,

      I agree that many men in the past never committed to their families and were aloof. That they are educated and pressured to be held to their responsibilities these days is a good thing. And it definately should be a man's role to provide for his family, both financially and emotionally. And I'm sorry to say, there is no reputable scientific article that will dispute that the presence of a father is socially beneficial to the upbringing of children (mothers nurture, children end up resenting the mother's overbearing love, and fathers teach the child to detach themselves from it while controlling their emotions; setting the foundations of a functioning, emotionally stable adult). I'm afraid that anything else is simply wishful thinking.

      I'm talking about something darker, more biological. I have lived for 10 years in a city where income is more or less equal across gender and where marriage has been inexistant for decades. Over time, the quest for the most ideal sexual partners seems to have created a small society of cads, and large group of single mothers and childless men. From our point of view, many mothers appear to be leaving their relationships with perfectly okay men out of boredom, out of biological impulse, or simply because their girlfriends have dared them to do it. It's like SATC meets Charles Darwin. And in the end, I do believe it has created a lot of unnecessary regret and suffering.

      Result: we've adapted. We're more wary about entering a relationship, and many women come to us simply to get off. Heck, the situation has allowed me to get easy, consequenceless sex with plenty of women. Sure it's fun, but is that the route to true happiness? Something tells me that it's not. In essence, it is starting to become the consensus among young men my age that women will gleefully destroy families that have anything less that the most stellar, amazing, extraordinary alpha-males in them. And even if so, at one point that they can get bored with 'em. And these are polite, successful, good-looking, educated, interesting men I'm talking about here. What we're coming to believe, year after year, is leading us to understand that left to their own devices, women will become extraordinarily selfish (a trait that runs contrary to functioning, civilized society), and we are adapting accordingly.

      Now, I believe that I'm being very polite and respectful here. Already, I'm impressed that you haven't deleted my posts. But as someone who supposedly welcomes open discussion on your blog, the least you could do is avoid labelling anyone who doesn't agree with you as a "woman-hater". It comes off as immensely immature. Try instead to understand where we're coming from. I've seen too many broken men in desperate situations to pretend that it's not true.

      That being said, the word misogyny comes often in your posts when you discuss anything that disagrees with your point of view. If that's the game we are playing, I could easily debate that you are at best a hardened, vengeful, biased misiandrist. I feel sorry for you.

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    3. Francois what are you talking about that men are held to their responsibilities these days? 3 out of 5 resident parents in the UK, 90%+ of whom are women, receive no maintenance whatseover from their exes. Only 5% are lone parents because they are widowed, so that means that the majority of non-resident parents (90% of whom are men) are simply not being "held to their responsibilities". Of those who do pay the average figure is risible and in no way reflects a fair contribution. Further, have you looked at the number of fathers who go part time in order to do their fair share of parenting when they are actually living with the mothers of their children? I can tell you, it's nowhere near the number of mothers - men are taking nothing like an equal role in parenting.

      There may be no "reputable scientific article" that will dispute the presence of a father is socially beneficial to the upbringing of children, but there's plenty of research to show that it makes no difference whatsoever as long as economics and/ or education are good. Wanting to believe that's not true, is simply wishful thinking.

      You haven't lived in a city where income is more or less equal across gender, because there is no such city anywhere. The data is clear: poverty is a gendered issue. There's also no city where marriage is non-existent. Your POV about mothers leaving perfectly OK men is probably wrong: leaving the father of your children is a huge deal for most women, if they've chosne to do that, then the alternative -staying with him- must have been unbelievably bleak. When you talk about successful, good looking, extraordinary alpha males, Charles Saatchi springs to mind. You have no idea how men behave towards women when they are behind closed doors and other men aren't around to witness their behaviour.

      I believe you think you are polite and respectful but when you come out with misogynistic rubbish like "women left to their own devices become extraordinarily selfish" and cheerlead a men's rights extremist rubbish, it is quite clear where you are coming from and it's not a place that respects women. If you don't want to be called a misogynist, don't use a tone which betrays your deep seated, unaware, smug misogyny.

      Last point, there is no such thing as misandry. Misogyny isn't a dislike of women, it's a system of discrimination which excluded women from public society for centuries, which enslaved us and which dehumanised us, from the effects of which our society has still not yet recovered. Women still do not have their rightful place in society because it is so dominated by men and the male point of view, that all of us see the world through men's eyes instead of through people's eyes. That is seen as the norm and men like you percceive any progress in women's position as an attack on your rights, when all it is is a long overdue re-balancing of human society. There has never been a system in which women enslaved men and the invention of misandry as a pathetic attempt to frame individual women's decision not to focus their lives around men as the equivalent of centuries of dehumanisation, is just a bit sad and yes, a bit beta I'm afraid.

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    4. Ms. Hags,
      Nice if you to frame the discussion as one of "beta" :-) but having lived in France (continental Europe), I understand where you are config from.

      In fact I live in Montreal, Canada. Most likely the most emancipated city in the world. You have no idea what it's like until you have lived here.

      We have an official feminist government. Child support payments are deducted directly from salary, and all a mother has to do is name the man for it to happen. Men try as much as they can to be nice, but they are terrified of their women. I moved here from English Canada with no idea it was as such, and today try my best to be a role model to the kids I teach, those who have been raised to bow to women their entire lives. Through my part time classes, I teach them to stand up for themselves.

      I've seen what it's like when women take complete control. It ain't pretty. They are the first to complain about how unmanly and weak their men have become.

      Deep down, I think you're hurt, and I don't judge you on that. What I'm saying is that while men might seem bad in your eyes, women are not aware of the damage they are capable of inflicting to society. "There is no wrath like a woman scorned". Just keep it in mind. That's all.

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    5. Ah dear Francois, I'm almost getting fond of you... almost. I'm sorry you're terrified of women, that would explain the latent hostility. However, you've no need to be - they're much less likely to murder you or inflict violence upon you than men are and they are not busy proving to you that they come above you in the pecking order so if you treat them like human beings, they're probably more comfortable to be around than men. If they're not, you're probably doing something wrong. I offer that in a spirit of helpfulness.

      You probably haven't noticed that in Canada, most of the government, judges, company directors etc. are still men. So much for the matriarchy having taken control.

      LOL at your attempt to pop-psychologise me across the interweb. Thank you for your concern, however I'm not hurt, just liberated. I don't spend time, work and energy focusing on men. Just withdrawing that attention is enough to get you labelled a man-hater or "hurt" in our society.

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  8. Herbs, if you are still here. I think you fucked up and you have no intention of taking responsibility, so you looked around for anything to excuse you of it and low and behold you have it- Feminist theory. Patriarchy theory excuses women of anything. If they kill their child- the patriarchy did it. If they get knocked up on a one night stand- the patriarchy did it. If they don't get promoted in the workforce- the patriarchy did it.

    Society today is exactly what women have designed it to be. You have successfully voted time and time again to replace fathers with the state. Whether you give a shit I doubt, but I must remind you that it is not sustainable. The country is broke. The West in general is broke, Men make up the majority of the tax payer base, the employers and make up less of the public sector jobs than women. Just remember that before you whine about 'patriarchy', for this patriarchy has sustained your gender war long enough.

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    1. Ronaldo how nice to hear from you. The problem with your mansplanations, is that they are all wrong because they are based on false premises.

      Firstly I didn't fuck up. Splitting up with my ex was the beginning of understanding myself, my upbringing and my life. If I'd stayed with him, it would have been a fuck up.

      Secondly, patriarchy theory as you call it, does not excuse individual women for individual wrong or bad actions, feminism critiques actions and responses from a political POV. Just as Marxism doesn't excuse working class people from bad actions, but critiques the social, political and economic context of those actions.

      Society is not how women designed it, but how men did. Men kept women out of the public sphere, refusing to even let us vote, for centuries. What we live with now, with a few tweaks here and there, is what they have designed. That's why most lawmakers, representatives and people with high status jobs are men and why 90% of the world's property is owned by men.

      I haven't voted to replace fathers with the state, I reject the man-made state. Also I'm not opposed to fathers, I'm opposed to bad fathers. The country isn't broke, David Cameron has just declared that for people flooded in unsafe tory seats, money is no object. The male state can find money when it wants.

      It's not women who have waged a gender war, it is men. Women have never castrated men en masse, bound their feet, burnt them as witches, stopped them from participating in society, trafficked them for sexual exploitation, bartered them for marriage alliances, barred them from workplaces so that they couldn't earn a living, dumped their parenting responsibilities on them, etc. Men constructed a society where they did all those things to women. And then men like you whine about women waging a gender war. LOL.

      Have a nice day now.

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