Sunday, December 5, 2010

(a clip from 15 years ago in 1996) - What the Fatherhood Initiative is all about-- “Get those women back under control.” - Year 2010--It’s only gotten worst.

Below, a clip from liz’s webpage at

which she wrote nearly 15 years ago in 1996, followed by an errata:


What's this stuff really all about? Behind this movement is not just

divorce reform or "getting fathers involved," as the ostensibly harmless,

even beneficent, but farcical rhetoric of the National Fatherhood

Initiative puts it. It's a first step in an agenda to get those women

back under "control." A patriarchal backlash.


Consider this: even if everything Horn and his ilk claim about intact

homes were true, it still wouldn't present a viable argument. This is a

"problem" without an acceptable solution. We also could violate individual

rights and autonomy in all kinds of nasty and intrusive ways in order to

create a society which appears more seemly, neat, utopian, homogeneous,



We could make the argument that turning another segment of the population,

e.g. "blacks," back into slaves would enhance production and the economy

(as that argument was made in the old south) and the standard of living

for everyone else. We could make an argument for castration of any male

caught having sex out of wedlock -- now THAT would solve some of the

fatherless family problem, wouldn't it. Similarly, we could pass laws

preventing women from exiting marriages, punishing adultery, requiring

father custody or control of households. (And if these didn't accomplish a

thing for the welfare of children, well at least they would please some

self-and-other-controlling men, wouldn't they.) We could pass all manner

of oppressive and draconian laws which would prevent and eliminate all

kinds of perceived social "ills" and unseemliness. How about sterilizing



Some of this fathers-rights-anti-woman agenda is succeeding because of the

willingness of most to simply presume that into which they have been

inculcated in this father-loving society since childhood: the necessity of

having a "father." All we need is a claimed compelling reason, specious or

otherwise, to trample again on women's lives, such as a purported "need"

of children for two parents, one of each sex.


Most of us have fathers; most of us adore our daddies. But that's not

proof of a thing. When it's about willingness to sacrifice one

individual's welfare for the sake of another's, the crucial threshold

questions must be examined and answered first. In general, with regard to

father's rights rhetoric, that has not been done. It makes for great

political soundbites.


By contrast, the position that children may NOT "need" two parents, and

that this really may be all about what MEN need, elicits high emotion and

shocked horror.


It is just too upsetting a thought for many to contemplate -- oh my, who

would posit such a terrible idea, I love MY daddy, etc. That children

"need" two parents, one of each sex, has been presumed, and it's the

reason why over the past few years, many of the fathers rights groups have

added "children" into the names of their organizations. Being fooled by

that is not good scholarship and it's not intelligent.


But to the point: if "fatherlessness" is a problem, then how is it

supposed to be cured? With the feel-good prattle of the National

Fatherhood Initiative et al. giving lipservice to ineffectual programs,

child support collections and such things as the innocuous-sounding

"working with men to get them 're-involved' in 'broken homes'"?

Please. Traditionally, patriarchy has cured "fatherlessness" with

restrictions (not placed on men) regarding on how women may live their

adult lives, and use their very own bodies. This is, when all is said and

done, what is implied to follow the yammering about the "problem" of

"fatherlessness." Next come the solutions.


First are the "step ones," such as restrictions on divorce, requirements

that women name fathers on birth certificates or name their children after

the men, the imposition of the accutrements of marriage and "normal family

structure" onto the families created by women out of wedlock.


After that come the "step twos," a la Father's Manifesto, that women and

women's sexuality further be controlled, restricted, and reined in again

in all kinds of other ways, legal and social: from restricting entry into

jobs, to ending their suffrage, eliminating their right to own and manage

property, and otherwise going back the panoply of historical measures that

traditionally have been used to "encourage" women to get into marriages

and remain married. Pandering to Judaic and Christian religious notions --

completely inappropriate as a basis for law in the United States -- also

plays a major role here, as these religions essentially are about the

exaltation of "fatherhood" and patriarchy, and originally came about for

the purpose of institutionalizing this social ordering scheme.


Fathers are not in the home? Those who are concerned about this, and think

it important, should work on making living with men more attractive to

women. Obviously, some marriages succeed, and I doubt that many of those

in this age of readily available divorce are enduring merely out of

altruistic misery and abstract social commitment on the part of the

persons in them.


A little cessation of the silly and counterproductive talk about how

fathers "parent differently," are "important," are the "authoritative"

ones, are the "spiritual leaders," and are "critical" to rearing children,

and a little more talk about how men ought to get off that high horse,

role up their sleeves, cut the superiority drivel, and pitch in with the

housework, might go a lot further toward restoring marriage as a viable

and enduring institution. Sorry, guys: your way didn't work for the

majority of the population, and the clock is just not going back.



Silly liz. In 1996, the crazy nutjobs from the fathers rightstsers to the

Middle East Muslim whackos seemed... well surely, such primitive loons

that no one could possibly take them seriously. The National Fatherhood

Initiative should have fizzled out in a couple of years.

      2010 -- Errata: correct analysis, wrong prediction. The clock is

      indeed moving back. The only question is going to be "how far

      back", and I no longer have optimism.


-------- --- just another little data point --------------

video here:

Following are excerpts from a religious program featuring Egyptian cleric

Yousuf Al-Badri, which aired on BBC Arabic TV, which aired on October 16,


Yousuf Al-Badri: In Islam, the marriage contract is a contract of

pleasure, which allows both husband and wife to derive pleasure from one

another. So if deriving pleasure lies at the core of the contract, how can

we possibly call it rape when a husband derives pleasure from his wife?!


Interviewer: What if it is against her will, using violence?


Yousuf Al-Badri: According to the hadith, if a husband summons his wife

and she refuses, she incurs the wrath of God in Heaven when she's asleep.

The husband is not allowed to rape her, but she incurs the wrath of Allah.

The Prophet Muhammad said that she must come to him even if she is baking

by the stove or riding a horse.



Interviewer: A marriage of contract is not a deed of ownership, in which

the woman relinquishes her honor, her mind, and so on.


Yousuf Al-Badri: This talk about honor is a new thing. We never heard of

it until these days. If a woman is at home with her husband, and she is

his companion and runs the household, and he asks her to give him food,

drink, and so on – how can we possibly consider it rape when he derives

pleasure from her, even if she doesn't feel like it, of if she abhors

it... How can we possibly consider it a kind of what is called "rape"?

This is not true.


Interviewer: She's his wife! Do you justify beatings or sadistic behavior?


Yousuf Al-Badri: Islam forbids beating unless it is done with a stick -- a

stick the size of a pencil or a toothpick.


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