I was in the AVFM forums and one of the members posted an article by Michele Weldon, “When Children Are Better off Fatherless.” It was one of a series of articles in the New York Times addressing the question “What Are Fathers For?” with titles like “Valuable, but not Indispensable,” and “Fathers Need Their Children.” And yes, these two articles are as insidious as they sound, Happy Father’s Day.
I proceeded to read the article without seeing who this author was or what her background is but it did not take me long to develop a profile in my mind.
Somewhere in her history she was abused or disaffected. This resonates throughout her writing and her tone toward fathers and men in general. She spent the entire article surreptitiously defending her own situation as a single mother who raised three children.
Ironically, I happened to talk to my wife about this paradigm; one in which broken human beings have an inordinate influence in our politics, media and lives. The analysis I gave my wife was that the vast majority of people are functional, and then we have this minority of men and women who are not. What I find incredibly disconcerting is that in most cases we pander to broken women like children without actually addressing the underlying dysfunction and often alienate the men to the point they end up committing suicide or land in jail.
Lately it seems every time I read women’s writings on domestic violence, rape, parenting — and particularly men and fatherhood — the reality hits home that many of these women are not in it to solve the real problems that impact our lives and families, but to perpetuate their original violation and victimhood or to gain recompense for it. Often this centers around men.
Now back to that article; empty your bladder, move all wet materials away from your chair and swallow anything you may have in your mouth.
Right out of the block Ms. Weldon gives us the stats of 24 million fatherless children and conjectures caution that these children are not “doomed,” then after a bit of detail she proceeds to caution our society not to assume these children are “damned.”
“The 24 million American sons and daughters growing up without fathers are not all doomed. Nor are the children of lesbian parents. Nor the children whose fathers were killed in the line of duty as policemen, firemen, soldiers. Nor the children who have lost fathers to disease, accidents or suicide. Our society must be careful not to assume these sons and daughters are damned.”
Well that pretty much sums up her perspective on society and how they view these children, but please keep in mind she is contributing to a series of articles on what men are good for. I view this as some ground work for further dastardly deeds directed towards men and fathers and she does not disappoint.
“In the cases where the father is far from heroic – even abusive – his absence is also the absence of the chaos, anger, pain and disruption he would bring to his family. Americans encourage women to leave abusive partners, but mothers who do this end up in a class we shame and pity. The government itself sends the message that children are better off with a father. The reality is, many children are better off without their fathers.”
What on earth is the standard for a father being heroic, let alone relating a less than heroic father to abuse? Obviously an abusive father or mother should not be parenting. Further, I won’t speculate on why or what her motive may be to cite a positive government program which provides resources to fathers http://www.fatherhood.gov/ — and then implicitly dismisses it in the next sentence.
Then there is the final gem that “many” children are better off without their fathers. How many exactly is “many?” Is it a few, some, most? This whole statement sounds like fathers should just pack their bags and head for the coal mines.
Paul Elam wrote an article two years ago that continues to get a great deal of attention. It is about “evidence” by citation and other tactics that feminist ideologues use to control and corrupt the flow of information and data from research. If you have not read it, please check it out because it certainly did not reach Ms. Weldon, who cited Michael Lamb, a Cambridge psychologist, and Joseph Pleck of the University of Illinois to support her assertion that “many” children are better off without fathers.
“Michael Lamb, a Cambridge psychologist, wrote in 2010, “We think it is misguided to see increased paternal involvement as a universally desirable goal.”
“In the 2013 book “Fathers in Cultural Context,” Joseph Pleck of the University of Illinois writes: “The notion that fathering is essential to children’s social and personality development seems to be a uniquely American preoccupation. Current research actually provides little support for … this popular conception of paternal essentiality.”
It just so happens one of her readers (Brian) may have read the piece by Elam and corrected her in the comments section with a well-articulated response:
“Some of us have read Lamb AND Pleck; and this is a highly partial, even distorting use of their research conclusions. I wonder if the Times ought not to go to them to ask for their contribution to see if they agree with the way they are being characterized and over-read by journalists to provide the indifferent conception of fathers here.”
I have not read these two individual’s writings but you can find the rest of Brian’s response in the comments section of the article linked bellow.
Then my intuition noted in the beginning of this article is confirmed when Ms. Weldon tells us a little about her story
“The myth is personal to my family, because I raised my sons as a single mother. And they are not doomed because of that.”
So now it is a myth that children need their fathers because Ms. Weldon has “successfully” raised her three sons without one.
She continues her theme of fathers-are-not-needed when she quotes Will Smith in a scene from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”.
“In time for Father’s Day movie bonding, Will Smith stars in “After Earth” with his real-life son, Jaden. But a 1994 episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” shows a much younger Will Smith in a scene that is more real to many American boys. The Smith character’s father runs out on a promise to take his son on a trip, and Smith shouts: “I’m gonna get through college without him. I’m gonna get a great job without him and marry me a beautiful honey and have me a whole bunch of kids. And I’m gonna be a better father than he ever was.” And then he chokes, “How come he don’t want me, man?”
Then she goes on to write this:
“I know there is no possible answer to that question. But I also know it is time to stop damning the children who need to ask.”
Do you see a little projection going on here? This article has nothing to do with “what are fathers for” or what is in the best interest of children but a lot to do with Ms. Weldon’s need to solidify her own situation and maybe, just maybe, dish out some payback to the menz because of her failed relationship with her children’s father.
Herein is a classic case in which a woman who has experienced a broken marriage chooses to express her circumstance as litmus of fatherhood and provides examples from a sitcom to support her case that fathers are neither good nor needed.
What is even more disturbing is the New York Times lets this pass as legitimate commentary in their newspaper.