Tuesday, April 29, 2008

‘Dissing’ men: the new gender war

By Jim Macnamara, 15 September 2006

Feminism has drawn attention to and fought against stereotypical and sexist portrayals of women in mass media, but new research shows that media portrayals of gender have largely done an about face in the past decade or so. There is a new “gender war” and the main target of discrimination is no longer women, according to research - it is men.

Gender studies have claimed that mass media portrayals and images are key influences that both reflect and shape society’s views of women and women’s self-identity. As well as attacking obvious sexist media portrayals such as page three girls and “girlie” magazines, feminists have challenged objectification, marginalisation, trivialisation and other negative portrayals of women in movies, advertising, TV drama and other media content. Their argument that such portrayals are damaging have won support from legislators and from many media professionals including film makers, advertising producers and editors.

Research shows that, while sexism against women remains, representations of women have evolved with less stereotypical portrayals and more women shown in heroic, successful, independent and sexually liberated roles such as in Buffy and the Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City and even in aggressive roles such as Kill Bill.

A 1995-96 study reported in a 2002 book, Media, Gender and Identity by media researcher David Gauntlett, found 43 per cent of major characters in TV shows were women - up from 18 per cent in 1992-93. The study reported that, on a character-by-character basis, females and males were equal in all criteria studied. Analysis of newspapers and magazines also has found portrayals of women improving - albeit there is still a way to go in some areas according to feminist scholars.

Until recently, gender theorists and media researchers have argued or assumed that media representations of men are predominantly positive, or at least unproblematic. Men have allegedly been shown in mass media as powerful, dominant, heroic, successful, respected, independent and in other positive ways conducive to men and boys maintaining a healthy self-identity and self-esteem.

However, this view has come under challenge over the past few years. John Beynon, a Welsh cultural studies academic, examined how masculinity was portrayed in the British quality press including The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times over a three-year period from 1999-2001 and in books such as Susan Faludi’s 2000 best-seller Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man. Beynon concluded in his 2002 book, Masculinities and Culture, that men and masculinity were overwhelmingly presented negatively and as “something dangerous to be contained, attacked, denigrated or ridiculed, little else”.

Canadian authors, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young in a controversial 2001 book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture reported widespread examples of “laughing at men, looking down on men, blaming men, de-humanising men, and demonising men” in modern mass media. They concluded: “… the worldview of our society has become increasingly both gynocentric (focused on the needs and problems of women) and misandric (focused on the evils and inadequacies of men)”.

The role of mass media in creating and or reflecting identity has long been debated and the findings of some studies have been questioned. Nathanson and Young admitted in their foreword that their findings were based on a small sample. Also, most analysis of media content has focused on movies, TV drama and advertising: mass media genre which are fiction and, therefore, not representative of reality and ostensibly “taken with a grain of salt” by audiences.

However, an extensive content analysis of mass media portrayals of men and male identity undertaken for a PhD completed in 2005 through the University of Western Sydney focusing on news, features, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media found that men are widely demonised, marginalised, trivialised and objectified in non-fiction media content that allegedly presents facts, reality and “truth”.

The study involved collection of all editorial content referring to or portraying men from 650 newspaper editions (450 broadsheets and 200 tabloids), 130 magazines, 125 TV news bulletins, 147 TV current affairs programs, 125 talk show episodes, and 108 TV lifestyle program episodes from 20 of the highest circulation and rating newspapers, magazines and TV programs over a six-month period. Media articles were examined using in-depth quantitative and qualitative content analysis methodology.

The research found that, by volume, 69 per cent of mass media reporting and commentary on men was unfavourable compared with just 12 per cent favourable and 19 per cent neutral or balanced. Men were predominately reported or portrayed in mass media as villains, aggressors, perverts and philanderers, with more than 75 per cent of all mass media representations of men and male identities showing men in one of these four ways. More than 80 per cent of media mentions of men, in total, were negative, compared with 18.4 per cent of mentions which showed men in a positive role.

The overwhelmingly negative reporting and portrayals of men in mass media news, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media was mainly in relation to violence and aggression. Violent crime, including murder, assault, armed robberies and attacks such as bashings, accounted for almost 40 per cent of all media reporting of male violence and aggression, followed by sexual abuse (20.5 per cent), general crime (18.6 per cent) and domestic violence (7.3 per cent).

Other major topics of media coverage of men were fatherhood and family, male sexuality, work and career, and men’s social behaviour. In all of these categories, men were predominantly reported and portrayed mostly negatively.

Fatherhood was also a prominent subject in relation to men, discussed in 361 media articles and features during the period of the study. Some media coverage positively discussed men as fathers, pointing to increasing recognition of the importance of fathers in children’s lives. However, along with recognition of the importance of fathers and the depth of many men’s emotional connection with their children, discussion contained an almost equal number of criticisms of men as “deadbeat dads”, “commitment phobic” and as perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual abuse within families.

Despite evidence of violence and abuse committed by women, such as a National Family Violence Survey in the US which found women just as likely to commit violence against men as men are against women, and a US National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect report in 2000 that found “where maltreatment of children led to death, 78 per cent of the perpetrators were female”, men are almost exclusively portrayed as the perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse.

As identified by Mary Hood in a 2001 book chapter, “Developing new kinds of relationships between men and children”, a “feminist construction of men as responsible for child abuse has had consequences for the relationship of non-abusive men [the vast majority] with children. A side-effect has been to cast a shadow over the interaction of all men with all children”.

One third of all media discussion of male sexuality examined in the study was in relation to pedophilia which demonstrates the distortion inherent in debate on men, given that a very small proportion of men are pedophiles.

Male homosexuality has become prominent in media representations of men, highlighted in TV shows such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and numerous press reviews that followed its international launch. Homosexuality is lightly and positively portrayed in Queer Eye. However, the program and media coverage generally continues to reflect gay stereotypes, and homosexuality is negatively portrayed in media discussion of gay marriages and social commentary reflecting homophobia.

Significantly, male heterosexuality was found to be equally negatively portrayed. Male heterosexuality is widely associated with what is termed “hegemonic masculinity” which is described as violent, aggressive and dominating. Traditional masculinity has become a target of ridicule in many forms of mass media from TV shows such as Men Behaving Badly to major newspaper opinion columns and cartoons.

The new idealised image of men presented in the media during the past three years has been the “metrosexual”, a term reportedly coined by British author Mark Simpson and made popular by New York trend-spotter Marian Salzman, referring to men who are fashion-conscious and well-groomed - often to the point of becoming effeminate such as wearing make-up and waxing to remove body hair.

Recent research has shown “metrosexuals” to be mostly a fabrication of mass media - and not just advertising and TV drama. International current affairs show, 60 Minutes, devoted a major segment to “Metro Man” (August 24, 2003) and Australia’s other top-rating current affairs program, A Current Affair, devoted two programs to metrosexuals (September 19, 2003 and December 2, 2003). Men’s magazine Ralph (October 2003) published a quiz headed “Are you a metrosexual” in a tongue-in-cheek tone. But the underlying message was that, if a man is not a metrosexual, he is a sexist, football-loving, beer-drinking slob.

The research found that men are also objectified in women’s magazines and popular media in the same ways that women were in male-orientated media for several generations, but which is now regarded as blatantly sexist and “politically incorrect”. For instance, Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Guy without a shirt” section features male pin-ups such as David Beckham - for example, “Want to see Becks take a free kick - naked” (October 2003). The top-rating TV program, Sex and the City has extensively portrayed men as little more than sex objects and “handbags” for women’s amusement and pleasure.

In relation to work and career, men are mostly reported as power-obsessed “Atlas Syndrome” workaholics, neglecting their families and forming discriminatory “boy’s clubs” to prevent women progressing beyond the “glass ceiling”, despite many men claiming that this image is far from reality. Recent research such as Barbara Pocock’s 2003 book, The Work/Life Collision, reveals that, far from enjoying power and privilege at work, many men are suffering alienation from their families and even shortening of their lives through the stress of post-industrial work culture.

With the exception of a small minority of positive media portrayals of male heroes such as war veterans, fire fighters and rescuers, and an equally small percentage of portrayals of men as good fathers, husbands and citizens, the only males presented positively are men and boys who have been “feminised” and who exhibit their “feminine side”. The latter term highlights the gender bias against men in popular discourse.

Descriptions of male sensitivity, emotion and other positive attributes as men’s and boy’s “feminine side” lays claim to any good in men and boys as female. The implication and the message extensively communicated in popular culture is that maleness is innately and culturally evil and the characteristics of masculinity are undesirable and anachronistic.

Some try to dismiss concerns over negative representations of men arguing that they are simply reporting the facts; men are abusers, pedophiles, deadbeat dads and so on. Some men, yes. But, proportionately, only a relatively small number of men personify these negative stereotypes. Data from the Australian Bureau of Crime Statistics and international studies on violence and child abuse show these are substantially misrepresentations of men and male identity.

There are signs that men are concerned and conflicted by the shifting kaleidoscope of identities presented in mass media. During the period of research, a letter to the editor from a young man under the headline “Men in need of direction” stated: “The increasing trend towards this portrayal of men in advertising is a representation of the indeterminate role of males in modern society … men are less secure in the part they have to play in the social structure … for the young male, there is a great deal of confusion about the contribution they have to make to society and in relationships…”. The letter concluded by appealing against “lauding one gender and denigrating the other” (The Daily Telegraph, July 7, 2003).

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau reported in 2005 that TV commercials drew a record number of complaints from men during 2004 and that the number of complaints by men is increasing while those from women are decreasing. The Australian Federal Government’s advertising campaign against domestic violence which targeted only men as perpetrators of domestic violence was labelled “propaganda against men” with many men criticising its “stereotypical portrayals” (The Age, January 3, 2005).

As they seek their identity and role in society, men and boys today are being plunged into a vortex of social, political and economic change; feminist philosophy that dominates thinking about gender, and mass media images and discussions that condemn traditional male attributes and masculinities and promote confusing new identities such as “metrosexuals”.

To the extent that the negative views of men and masculinity in mass media reflect social attitudes, these findings have alarming implications for men and boys and for societies generally. Just as women have struggled against misogyny, men today face an increasingly misandric world that devalues and demonises them and gives them little basis for self-esteem.

Boys face education systems that inadequately cater to their needs and lack positive role models to help them grow up as healthy men. By propagating negative views of men and male identity, mass media are perpetuating them and giving them social and political traction. Widespread views on men as violent, sexually abusive, unable to be trusted with children, “deadbeat dads” and in need of “reconstruction” have the potential to and strong likelihood of shaping future policy making and political decisions. Ultimately, negative public and media discourse on men and boys could have major social and financial costs for societies in areas such as male health, rising suicide rates, and family disintegration.

In a book reporting this research released in September 2006 by Palgrave Macmillan, it is argued that the negative portrayal of men and male identity in contemporary societies is not only a matter of concern for men, but also for women. What is happening to men has an impact on women who live and work with them and who care about the health, welfare and happiness of their husbands, partners, brothers, male friends and their sons growing up and seeking their role and identity in a changing world.

This article is based on research findings from a PhD research thesis completed in 2005 through the University of Western Sydney and published in Media & Male Identity: The Making and Remaking of Men released by Palgrave Macmillan, London in September 2006.

Jim Macnamara is the author of 11 books on media and communication and works with a global media analysis firm, CARMA International.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two Mommies Is One Too Many

I cant say that I agree with all of Jame's views (I am not a Christian or a member of any established church), but I think he still raises some thought provoking ideas. You can read some of my previous posts on why two parents are important and while I dont have a problem with adults who want to have homosexual relationships I do think it presents problems when they decide they want to raise children - GR Klein

Time Magazine, 12 December 2006, By James C. Dobson

A number of social conservatives, myself included, have recently been asked to respond to the news that Mary Cheney, the Vice President's daughter, is pregnant with a child she intends to raise with her lesbian partner. Implicit in this issue is an effort to get us to criticize the Bush Administration or the Cheney family. But the concern here has nothing to do with politics. It is about what kind of family environment is best for the health and development of children, and, by extension, the nation at large.

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy - any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.

The voices that argue otherwise tell us more about our politically correct culture than they do about what children really need. The fact remains that gender matters - perhaps nowhere more than in regard to child rearing. The unique value of fathers has been explained by Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School in his book Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. Pruett says dads are critically important simply because "fathers do not mother." Psychology Today explained in 1996 that "fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children." A father, as a male parent, makes unique contributions to the task of parenting that a mother cannot emulate, and vice versa.

According to educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences. Other researchers have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of "maleness." They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers.

But set aside the scientific findings for a minute. Isn't there something in our hearts that tells us, intuitively, that children need a mother and a father? Admittedly, that ideal is not always possible. Divorce, death, abandonment and unwed pregnancy have resulted in an ever growing number of single-parent families in this culture. We admire the millions of men and women who have risen to the challenge of parenting alone and are meeting their difficult responsibilities with courage and determination. Still, most of them, if asked, would say that raising children is a two-person job best accomplished by a mother and father.

In raising these issues, Focus on the Family does not desire to harm or insult women such as Cheney and Poe. Rather, our conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples. Traditional marriage is God's design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth. When that divine plan is implemented, children have the best opportunity to thrive. That's why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children and what is best for society at large.

This is a lesson we should have learned from no-fault divorce. Because adults wanted to dissolve difficult marriages with fewer strings attached, reformers made it easier in the late 1960s to dissolve nuclear families. Though there are exceptions, the legacy of no-fault divorce is countless shattered lives within three generations, adversely affecting children's behavior, academic performance and mental and physical health. No-fault divorce reflected our selfish determination to do what was convenient for adults, and it has been, on balance, a disaster.

We should not enter into yet another untested and far-reaching social experiment, this one driven by the desires of same-sex couples to bear and raise children. The traditional family, supported by more than 5,000 years of human experience, is still the foundation on which the well-being of future generations depends.


Dobson is the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

McCain vs. Clinton: Gender Gap on the Pay Gap

From Warren Farrell

Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain have a gender gap on the pay gap.

Senator Clinton repeatedly introduces the Paycheck Fairness Act. John McCain has just announced he opposes it as a contributor to unnecessary lawsuits.

Their differences cover up a fundamental difference in what the pay gap reflects. Clinton understands it as a reflection of discrimination.

McCain understands it as the marketplace's reflection of the different work-life choices made by men and women. To Clinton, a law beyond the Equal Pay Act
is needed to protect women.

To McCain, preventing a pay gap would force employers to pay women equally even if they worked fewer hours or relocated less, or took fewer technical jobs or hazardous jobs - and this would make employers hesitant to hire women to begin with.

Who is right?

Dr. Warren Farrell, the author of Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap - and What Women Can Do About It, has studied the pay gap for more than a decade, and uncovered twenty-five factors that create the pay gap.

Ask him about these, or:

- What are the 25 ways to higher pay?

- What are the 80 fields in which women are paid more?

- How does the workplace discriminate against women?

- How does the workplace discriminate against men?

Ask Dr. Farrell "Who is right: McCain or Clinton?"

You can get a look at some of Dr. Farrell's findings at
http://www.warrenfarrell.com ; then click on "Warren in the News."

Or, email him directly for an interview: warren@warrenfarrell.com

Amy Winehouse bashing the boys

By GR Klein

Amy Winehouse has been arrested and charged with assault in relation to an incident at a bar in central London. It is alleged that the singer attacked two men punching one and headbutting the other.

This comes on the back of Amy's ongoing erratic behaviour and substance abuse problems.
Prior to the assault she was heard to be yelling, "I am a fucking legend..." as she proceeded to smash up the bar in what some witnesses described as the actions of a "violent lunatic".

Winehouse's husband is currently in hospital and Amy has previously admitted to bashing Blake when drunk.

Amy has been previously quoted as saying the following
, "I'm not a fighter, but if I am backed against the wall I'll kick the s**t out of anyone. I don't think your ability to fight has anything to do with how big you are. It's to do with how much anger is in you."

So here we go ago folks yes its true, "women can do anything" and Amy Winehouse is proof of that. I really enjoy Amy's music and might even agree that yes indeed she is a legend, but despite that violence is not acceptable regardless of how much talent you have.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fox attacks fathers in distress

I came across this outrageous story today. As if divorced fathers in America are not disadvantage enough already, now we have bunch of rabid vultures who want to rip them to shreds.

Today in America fathers can be jailed for failing to pay child support even if they are unemployed due to ill health and incapable of doing so.
This is a grave injustice and we must stand united to denounce TV programs (like the one featured below) that simply want to profit from the misery of others at the same time perpetuating the cliched myth of the "dead beat dad".

Yeah sure there are some fathers who dont pull their weight but destroying their lives and attacking them will do nothing to enhance their ability to meet the needs of their families. If men do resist paying child support it is often because the manner in which it is calculated puts fathers in grave financial distress.

You see when a women decides she doesnt want to be a mother they call her "pro-choice" and she gets a surgeon to rip the living fetus from her uterus and cast it into the trash like some left over rubbish. But when a father has trouble meeting his committments their is no investigation of the reason why just a mad witch hunt to catch this so called "dead beat dad".

GR Klein

From Reuters, Fox zeroes in on "Bad Dads"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After embracing the dark side of reality television with its marriage-busting hit "The Moment of Truth," Fox is taping the power of its unscripted division for the forces of good.

The network has ordered a pilot in which an avenger of penniless single mothers hunts down deadbeat dads and forces them to pay child support.

Jim Durham, director of the National Child Support Center, functions as a sort of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" for tracking deadbeats. In the pilot, a financially destitute mom is contrasted with her wealthy ex-husband, who is living the high life. Durham confronts the man at his country club to shake him down in front his friends. It's ambush reality TV -- but for a noble cause.

"(Durham) calls them on the phone and gives them the chance to do the right thing," said executive producer JD Roth ("The Biggest Loser," "Beauty and the Geek"). "Of course, those calls are never met with anything but yelling. Then he goes into their life, finds out what kind of assets they have and makes their lives miserable -- foreclose on their house, repossess their car. He will squeeze them until the women get paid."

Roth sold the idea to Fox with the title "Deadbeat Dads." But Fox president of alternative entertainment Mike Darnell famously concocts his own catchy titles for his shows. ("Nothing but the Truth" became "The Moment of Truth," and "Do You Remember 5th Grade?" morphed into "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?") Darnell has rechristened "Deadbeat Dads" with the very-Fox working title "Bad Dads."

"It's a show that depicts the sacrifice and heartache of incredibly brave women on behalf of their kids and then ends in the most gratifying way possible -- justice for these women," Roth said.

Sluggish government agencies often fail to persuade financially liable fathers to pay child support. Durham's National Child Support Center is one of several collection agencies that serve as a last resort for neglected single mothers.

Some critics say such companies do more harm than good. Child support collectors have come under fire for charging steep fees and using ultra-aggressive tactics. Durham bills his clients 34% of whatever he collects.

Roth counters that Durham's clients typically feel so abandoned by the court system that they're relieved to get any money at all. Plus, he said Durham is the only collector who extracts interest owed on the outstanding debt, so his clients often receive more money than if the absent dads had simply paid their bills.

As for the aggressive tactics, child support is not considered a debt per se, but an order of the court. Collectors are therefore not subject to following the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which regulates what tactics a collection agency can employ to collect a debt.

"I'm hoping that eventually this show changes how courts see deadbeat dads and how moms have to deal with it," Roth said.

If greenlighted to series, "Bad Dads" will provide Fox a fresh take on the law enforcement reality show, a genre the network pioneered with such Saturday night staples as "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted."

"I've seen 'Cops,' and I want to watch more than a crack addict with his pants around his ankles running away from a police car," Roth said. "These guys owe money, and they should pay."

Lobbying the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner

I sent off the following letter to the newly appointed Australian federal discrimination commissioner in response to an inquiry currently being conducted to explore the provision of maternity leave or the more gender neutral parental leave (see my previous post here)

I have read an article that quotes the new federal sex discrimination commissioner in her support for paid maternity leave.

I find this a rather curious stance to take, for while on the surface support for paid maternity leave seems to be very progressive, when we look at examples of best practice internationally we see that the most effective models (ie Scandanavia) are ones where discriminatory language is avoided and all people regardless of gender are given access to the same parenting choices.

Furthermore an insistence on the essential role of motherhood invokes 1950's ideas of families in which gender was the key determinant for social and career opportunities . It further forces women to be confined within this role and denies the important contribution that fathers can make.

If we want equal participation of women in the workforce and government we need equal participation of men in families and with children. Traditionally many social norms have discouraged men from fulfilling this role therefore we need affirmative action programs to help men bridge this gap, in essence we need support for men as parents, which will in turn support women in their careers.

If all the women are working who will care for the children.......................................

Biological determinism was used in the past to keep women in the home, with the idea being that the biological role of mother was supposedly incompatible with a whole range of career choices (this idea has now be rebuked) . However, now it seems the same logic (biological determinism) is being used by feminists to support the argument of paid maternity leave as opposed to parental leave because women have certain biological needs associated with motherhood.

Which in fact may be true, but do men have no needs as fathers, do children have no need of their fathers, do men not love their kids, do men not have the right to choose to spend time at home with their kids, do I as a man and a human being have the right to be supported in my role as a parent.

Much research has proven the important role that fathers fulfill and at present we live in the most under fathered generation in living history. Prior to the industrial revolution most families grew up in an extended situation with children exposed to both parents on a daily basis.

The industrial revolution began to remove fathers from the family, while the modern post industrial society continued to support this trend. The feminist revolution, divorce and the family courts have ousted men from the home and the massive rise in juvenile delinquency is certainly related to this fact.

Children need and have a right to have access to both of their parents and in order to develop a balanced adult identity.

A program of paid maternity leave may also leave women open to further discrimination in the workforce with employers deciding that it is cheaper to employ men because they have no such access to such support.

By legislating for parental support instead you can circumvent his problem and indeed this what the world leaders in this field have done.

So lets join with worlds best practice and not invoke antiquated notions of family that clearly discriminate on the grounds of gender.

I have made a submission to the Productivity Commission on this issue (submission number 1)


GR Klein grklein5@yahoo.com.au

Boys need regular doses of action to keep mind on study


Short, regular doses of exercise between lessons helps boys concentrate and learn more in class, says a specialist in educating boys, Dr Michael Irwin.

Dr Irwin, an Auckland-based senior education lecturer at the University's College of Education, says five to 10-minute bursts of vigorous activity, such as skipping or running, several times a day will help boys settle. It
is one of the key points he will make at a seminar on boys education later this month. The seminar is a precursor to an international conference on boys' education at the University's Auckland campus later this year.

"Overseas studies have reported a significant improvement in learning if this practice is followed," he says. Girls would also benefit if schools were to adopt the practice of building in mini-exercise routines, but biology and socialisation meant that boys generally have a greater need for regular physical activity.

He also recommends that schools create "communities of men" - including fathers, older brothers, uncles and grandfathers - that are involved in school activities.

Organising camps, lunches and other events for boys and their fathers or significant male carer would compensate for the "dad deficit" experienced by many young boys, he says. "There's a saying that 'it takes a village to raise a child'; I think boys need to be associated with a community of men
as mentors in raising them to be fine young men."

Of concern is the lack of positive male role models for boys, whatever their family circumstances. "We need to re-look at the whole issue of the place of males in society and their role in raising children. Education for boys is about looking at the end product. What type of young men do we want to produce? I think we need to look at the whole person."

Dr Irwin will run a short course called Issues and Solutions for boys' education on 18 March. The course will cover the latest research to provide strategies to enhance boys' educational achievement.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Study: Divorce, unwed parenting cost taxpayers billions

From USA Today

Study: Divorce, unwed parenting cost taxpayers billions

New York (AP) - Divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing cost U.S. taxpayers more than $112 billion a year, according to a study commissioned by four groups advocating more government action to bolster marriages.

Sponsors say the study is the first of its kind and hope it will prompt
lawmakers to invest more money in programs aimed at strengthening
marriages. Two experts not connected to the study said such programs are of dubious merit and suggested that other investments - notably job creation - would be more effective in aiding all types of needy families.

There have been previous attempts to calculate the cost of divorce in
America. But the sponsors of the new study, being released Tuesday, said
theirs is the first to gauge the broader cost of "family fragmentation" -
both divorce and unwed childbearing.

The study was conducted by Georgia College & State University economist Ben Scafidi. His work was sponsored by four groups who consider themselves part of a nationwide "marriage movement" - the New York-based Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Families Northwest of Redmond, Wash., and the Georgia Family Council, an ally of the conservative ministry Focus on the Family.

"The study documents for the first time that divorce and unwed childbearing - besides being bad for children - are costing taxpayers a ton of money," said David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values.

"We keep hearing this from state legislators, 'Explain to me why this is
any of my business? Aren't these private matters?'" Blankenhorn said. "Take a look at these numbers and tell us if you still have any doubt."

Scafidi's calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes. The $112 billion estimate includes the cost of federal, state and local government programs, and lost tax revenue at all levels of government.

Reducing these costs, Scafidi said, "is a legitimate concern of government,
policymakers and legislators."

While the study doesn't offer formal recommendations, it does suggest that
state and federal lawmakers consider investing more money in programs
intended to bolster marriages. Such a program has been in place in Oklahoma since 2001; Texas last year earmarked about $15 million in federal funds for marriage education.

"Because of the very large taxpayer costs associated with high rates of
divorce and unwed childbearing, and the modest price tags associated with most marriage-strengthening initiatives ... programs even with very modest success rates will be cost-effective," the study says.

But Tim Smeeding, an economics professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, who was not involved in the study, said he's seen no convincing evidence that the marriage-strengthening programs work.

"I have nothing against marriage - relationship-building is great," he
said. "But alone it's not going to do the job. A full-employment economy
would probably be the best thing - decent, stable jobs."

He also noted the distinctive problems arising in black urban areas where
the rate of single-mother households is highest.

"A high number of African-American men have been in prison - that limits
their future earning potential and makes them bad marriage partners,
regardless of what kind of person they are," Smeeding said. "A marriage
program doesn't address that problem at all."

Another expert not connected to the study, University of Michigan
sociologist Pamela Smock, suggested that bigger investments in education
would pay long-term dividends - improving economic prospects even for children from fragmented, disadvantaged families.

"Providing a global number doesn't give us anything to go on," said Smock, who was skeptical of the study's $112 billion estimate.

"We're now nearing 40% of kids in America born out of wedlock," she said.
"I can't fathom that those marriage programs, even with increased
investment, are going to reduce that."

Blankenhorn said it was "fair criticism" to note that the study made
multiple references to marriage-strengthening programs while not proposing other strategies for reducing the cost of family fragmentation.

"Maybe we should have been more ecumenical," he said. "Let everybody have their say. Let's try things out. ... Nobody knows exactly the strategies
which are going to work."


Source: "Divorce, Unwed Parenting Cost Taxpayers Billions," Associated
Press, 15 April 2008.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Incestuous Veronicas?

By GR Klein

Take a look at these two pictures - one shows the pop duo Tatu (who are not related) in a romantic embrace the other shows the Veronicas (who are sisters) in a romantic embrace. What is the difference?

The Veronicas like to attract attention and what better way to do that than to tap into the typical male (and increasingly female) lesbian fantasies. However, these girls are related and so not only are they implying a lesbian connection but an incestuous one. Bloody outrageous!
Let me just say that I agree all people should have the freedom to love another person regardless of gender, however incest is where I draw the line.

In Australia there has been a major story about an adult father and daughter who have had a mutually consensual incestuous relationship and recently had a child (John and Jenny Deaves, see pictured below with their child). Most public opinion has ferociously condemned their actions as irresponsible, offensive and a threat to a civilised society.

How is that we can be horrified by a case of "real" incest yet titilated by the concept of "stylised" lesbian incest that the Veronica's personify.

It sells thats why.

Russian pop duo "Tatu" were created for this very reason and made a chunk of money for their promoters. Now it seems that the Veronicas have taken this same concept and ramped it up a bit to include one of the greatest taboos in our society - incest.

Take a look at any Veronicas promotional material (Check out this video at bottom of page) and you will find that in many cases they are caught in provocative embraces, with seductive expressions to dare us to imagine what might come next.
Here is food for thought - can you think of any successful male brothers who have been in the music industry and created an image that implied they were in a sexual relationship ? ( the Chris Crocker video of him kissing his brother doesnt count - because while they may have attracted some fame, they have no talent)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How Much is Paternity Fraud Worth?

Fathers & Families, 18 April 2008, By Ned Holstein, MD, MS

Marion, IL - Two mothers are suing an Illinois hospital because their newborn babies were switched at birth. Although the mistake was rectified within hours, Mary Jo Bathon and Kassie Hopkins are each demanding $50,000 for the mistake.

It is interesting to note the different levels of importance society attaches to mother-child mix-ups versus father-child mix-ups. Hospitals take elaborate precautions to match the right mother to the right newborn - wristbands immediately after birth, footprints, and more.

No steps whatsoever are taken to insure that babies are matched to the right fathers, even though a simple DNA test, now available for under $30 from RiteAid pharmacies, will do the trick.

ABC reported the snafu under the headline, "A Mother's Nightmare." When is the last time a case of paternity fraud was reported as "A Father's Nightmare?"

Mothers whose babies are accidentally switched for only a few hours apparently think it may be worth $50,000 in pain and suffering. Not a single father has collected a dime for having his child switched away from him for decades, even though it has often been done deliberately. And some fathers are required to pay child support for children fraudulently switched to them, even when the switch is discovered. (Under this line of precedents, perhaps Mary Jo and Kassie should each be required to pay child support to the other calculated according to the Illinois Child Support Guidelines.)

Other fathers turn up when they belatedly learn that they have a baby who is about to be "switched" to adoptive parents. Such men are widely reviled.

Somehow society views mothers whose babies are switched as deserving of great compassion, whereas fathers in the same situation are assumed to feel no pain. They are expected to suck it up, be a man, and get along in life. It is the same attitude that assumes that fathers don't really mind very much if they are reduced to seeing their children only four days per month, or if their children are moved far away from them.

Fathers & Families has filed a bill in the Massachusetts Legislature to prevent the babies of fathers from being "switched" at birth. It calls for DNA testing in all out-of-wedlock births to determine the true paternity of children. We persuaded the Massachusetts Medical Society to endorse the bill by pointing out the increasing importance of genetic-based medicine these days. Despite this prestigious support, the bill's prospects are poor in this session of the Legislature.
Apparently, determining a child's true father is not worth much. Tell us what you think it is worth below.

Sorry girls, we men can be better parents than you

Daily Mail,8 April 2008, Tom Sykes

How reassuring it must have been for full-time mothers to read the latest Government-backed "research", stating that while just 42 per cent of fathers read bedtime stories to their children, 76 per cent of mothers can be found tucking up their offspring and turning the pages to Peter Rabbit and Roald Dahl with them come 7 o'clock.

The subtext to this spurious finding, which has the endorsement of Schools' Secretary Ed Balls, has a depressing ring of familiarity.

Indeed, it sometimes seems that any state-supported research on parenthood is designed to deliver one simple message - Mummy good, Daddy bad.

Let's be clear, the reason that men are usually not present at children's bedtime is because of one simple fact: money.

In the real world - as opposed to the corridors of power where Mr Balls, a father of three who doubtless reads bedtime stories to his children - on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, has spent most of his working life - money earned persists in maintaining an inconveniently close correlation with the number of hours spent in the office.

And the single most important contribution the majority of men believe they can make to the wellbeing of their family is to be an effective financial provider.

Put these two ideas together and you have the real explanation as to why dads can't often be on hand to tuck their little darlings in at the end of the day, much as many might long to.

It is disgusting that men are implicitly criticised for trying to provide for their families.
Of course, if it was just Balls and his paper-shuffling minions who had nothing better to do than propagate this offensive idea of dads as hard-hearted brutes who won't even read their children a story at bedtime, we fathers could dismiss it as a load of old, well, balls, and get back to work.

But, sadly, the myth of incompetent dads is put about just as enthusiastically by mothers, too. For evidence of this fact, simply visit any park in any town this weekend and observe the sight of dads trying their hardest to make the most of the few hours they have with their children and being criticised by their wives for "doing it wrong".

Or think of the harridan-like mothers who always speak so dismissively about their partner's parenting skills: "He's useless", "He doesn't know one end of the child from the other", "He can't even change a nappy", "He just can't handle them".

The repetition of such negative judgements ensures that they swiftly fulfill themselves - and justify their roles in life.

Isn't there a great conspiracy among mothers to propagate the idea that only women can manage children, and are thus indispensable to their families?

It's time to fight back, chaps. The truth is that when we do have time to spend with our children, men are actually just as capable at rearing their offspring as women - and, although women don't like to acknowledge it, in some areas of parenting fathers do even better than mothers.

For example, when my wife Sasha went away on a well-deserved break with her girlfriends to Barcelona last weekend, she left me in sole charge of our two children (both under the age of two) for the first time. Her trepidation was immense.

She foresaw the house descending into utter chaos in her absence. She could hardly have been blamed for imagining that her return would be greeted with piles of unwashed plates and clothes, a pair of unwashed children and a frantic wide-eyed (and probably also unwashed) husband to boot.

After all, that's the perceived wisdom about dads.

But in fact, Sasha came home to find Benjamin's routine unchanged (bed at 7pm) and her five-month-old daughter - who had been sleeping irregularly - going to bed at 7pm on the dot, taking one quick bottle at 10pm then sleeping through the night.

She was furious. As she saw it, I had performed an act of parental treachery.

"But don't you feel happy we can relax tonight?" I asked as I prepared a peace offering of green curry and resigned myself to a conciliatory two hours of watching Sex And The City.

"No. I feel undermined as a mother," she replied.

I am not the first father who has been caught in this particular parent trap. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. My friend Paul, for example, took advantage of his
girlfriend going away to make a few changes to the routine of their nine-month-old son, which he regarded as long overdue.

"I started to feed him solids and got him going to bed at the same time every day," he says. "It only took a few days of crying at bedtime and then he would just go to sleep quite quickly.

"Then she came back from the break, went straight back to breastfeeding the baby and all my hard work was for nothing."

Paul believes that his wife's emotional attachment to her child got in the way of her being able to stick to a routine.

For him to put the child on a routine, by contrast, was a practical not an emotional task. I agree. When the baby cries, my wife's instinct is to pick her up, while mine is to turn the radio up.

Another friend, Jim, an experienced father with three well-trained children under his belt, says that it is "chemically easier" for men to shut their ears to a wailing infant. "I am the first to admit that I don't actually enjoy looking after them," he told me. "But you need a bit of 'bad cop' to get a baby on the routine. And generally, that's just easier for a bloke to do."

Of course parents do often disagree on the best way to rear their children. And I can see that it is not ideal for marital relations for dads to re-program children while their mothers are away in the way that I did.

But forget the hurt feelings of my wife for a moment.

The real question is this: whether it's failing to read a bedtime story because you're trying to pay the mortgage, or putting the child on a strict routine so you're able to enjoy dinner with the woman you love, why is it always fathers who are told that our way of doing it is wrong - even when all the available evidence suggests that, actually, we might just be doing it right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grannies killed homeless men for life insurance

AAP ,From correspondents in Los Angeles, Courier Mail April 17, 2008

A 77-YEAR-OLD woman was found guilty of killing two homeless men to pocket millions of dollars in life insurance that she and an alleged accomplice had taken out on the victims.

After a four-week trial, Helen Golay was convicted by a Los Angeles jury of two counts each of murder and conspiracy in the killings of Paul Vados, 73, in 1999 and Kenneth McDavid, 50, in 2005.

Local media dubbed Golay and her alleged accomplice, Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, the "Black Widows" following charges that they had taken out life insurance on the two men before they were run over by a car and killed.

The jury found found Rutterschmidt guilty of one of the conspiracy charges, but the panel of 12 was still deliberating on the other three charges.

Prosecutors have not sought the death penalty against either of the defendants, but they face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of murder.

The two women, who have been friends for more than 20 years, were arrested in May 2006.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Women who like to have sex with children

Just when you thought is was safe to go out another women gets caught lusting after boys and still others are caught having sex with children. The true scale of female sexual abuse may never be known but you can be sure of one thing, the statistics grossly under report this issue (see Germaine Greer at right in the nude masturbating over her new book the beautiful boy a tribute to female pedophilia)

Some research suggests that in fact it is women who are responsible for the majority of the offenses committed against children such as physical abuse, sexual abuse and murder.

Yet common myths would suggest that it is men who are the major culprits. In most society's it is women who spend the bulk of the time with children and as such they have plenty of time in which to committ such offences.

The key difference for men and women is when it comes to handing our punishment. The quote below comes from research conducted by Dr Phillip Resnick (
recent studies by Susan Hatters Friedman, M.D., Sarah McCue Horwitz, Ph.D., and Phillip J. Resnick, M.D. support these findings).

".....mothers convicted of murdering their children were hospitalized 68 percent of the time and imprisoned 27 percent of the time, fathers convicted of killing their children were sentenced to prison or executed 72 percent of the time and hospitalized only 14 percent of the time."

Because of the overwhelming cultural bias against men in this regard, it is assumed that when women do engage in such behaviour it is less damaging than such behaviour by men. Check out the Gentler sex offender

We are more accepting of female touching and intimacy and as such often oblivious to the abuse that is going on. I know I was abused by several females as a child and no one noticed.

However, here is the key point I want to make. Just because I was abused by a women, and that many women engage in abusive behaviours does not in anyway suggest that all women are bad. But this is what the raving loony radical feminists do, they go here are some bad men and therefore all men are bad.

What I can condemn is any form of sexual abuse perpetrated against children, and the reality is both men and women are equally culpable in this regard.

I found the following list on the net - GR Klein

Adrianne Hockett: Accused of having sex with a 16-year-old special-needs student in a Houston apartment she rented for the get-togethers. The boy has testified the pair would "have sex, drink beer and smoke weed."

Amber Jennings, 31: Initially charged with having sex with a 16-year-old, the counts against the Sturbridge, Mass., woman were reduced to a single charge of disseminating harmful materials to a minor. She reportedly admitted e-mailing naked photos of herself to a former student.

Amber Marshall, 23: Northwest Indiana woman allegedly had sexual contact, including intercourse, with several students, and turned herself into authorities, telling police she knew what she did was illegal.

Amira Sa'Si, 30: Clayton County, Ga., woman remarked she didn't think her relationship was inappropriate based on her Internet research, learning the Peach State's age of consent is 16.

Amy Gail Lilley, 36: Inverness, Fla., woman charged with an alleged relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Angela Stellwag, 24: Delran, N.J., woman accused of having sex in her apartment with a 14-year-old boy she met in school.

Beth Raymond, 31: Private-school employee from Pownal, Maine, charged with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree sexual assault of a juvenile male.

Bethany Sherrill, 24: Daughter-in-law of school-board president is charged with molesting a middle school student when he was 14.

Carol Flannigan, 50: Boca Raton, Fla., music teacher reportedly slept with 11-year-old former student, and also had a simultaneous sexual relationship with the boy's father.

Celeste Emerick, 32: Police in Huber Heights, Ohio, say she hosted a party where students were shown porn.

Christina Gallagher, 26: Jersey City, N.J., woman ordered to pay more than $1,000 in fines, sentenced to a lifetime registration as a convicted sex offender and ordered to attend therapy for having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Deanna Bobo, 37: Arkansas teacher allegedly had sex twice with a 14-year-old boy in his own bed while his parents were not home.

Donna Carr Galloway, 33: Married mother of two found naked in a car with a 17-year-old student.

Elisa Kawasaki, 25: Officials say ex-biology teacher had sexual relations with a 16-year-old student on up to 20 different occasions.

Elizabeth Miklosovic, 36: Grand Rapids, Mich., woman pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female student she "married" in a pagan ritual.

Elizabeth Stow, 26: Woman from Fresno, Calif., area convicted of having sex with three of her students was sentenced to nine years, but the judge suspended that sentence and gave her one year, possibly on house arrest, as well as faces five years probation.

Ellen Garfield, 43: Former student says teacher took him into an empty classroom where she worked, partially disrobed, and coaxed him into having sex with her in 1998. Garfield was acquitted of all charges in September of this year.

Emily Morris, 28: Alabama woman faced a possible 20-year sentence, but received one year in jail for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old student.

Erica Rutters, 29: York, Pa., woman allegedly wrote erotic messages to a 17-year-old student and had sexual intercourse with him four times in her apartment.

Georgianne Harrell, 24: Sylvester, Ga., woman charged with performing oral sex on a 9-year-old boy, allowing students to gaze down her blouse and slashing her wrists with glass in front of her students. She pleaded not guilty.

Gwen Ann Cardozo, 33: Colorado woman charged with having sex with a 17-year-old male student.

Heather Ingram, 30: Mathematics, science and business teacher in British Columbia had sex with a 17-year-old student.

Janelle Marie Bird, 24: Accused of having a two-year affair with a 15-year-old student from East Hill Christian School, in Pensacola, Fla.

Jaymee Wallace, 28: Basketball coach in Tampa, Fla., charged with having an 18-month lesbian relationship with a student.

Joan Marie Sladky, 28: Redwood City, Calif., woman sentenced to six months in county jail for having sex with a 16-year-old student after pleading no contest to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation and penetration with a foreign object.

Katherine Tew, 30: Married English teacher from Greenville, N.C., arrested for having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Kathy White, 39: Charged with having sex with a 17-year-old student in Lumberton, Texas. Victim alleges: "She just started grabbing me and hormones were on and it just happened."

Kelly Lynn Dalecki, 28: Woman from St. Augustine, Fla., pleaded no contest to charges she had sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Kristen Margrif, 27: Michigan woman accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student in her car or at his summer workplace.

Kristi Dance Oakes, 32: Former Tennessee high-school teacher allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old boy who was in her biology class the previous year.

Lakina Stutts, 40: School-bus driver admitted to cops she had sex with a 14-year-old student in her home and in a car outside the boy's home.

Laura-Anne Brownlee, 26: Former music mistress at a top private school in Belfast, N. Ireland, was sentenced on six charges of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Laura Lynn Findlay, 30: Middle-school band teacher in Buena Vista Township, Mich., charged with having sex with at least 5 students, one as young as 14.

Margaret De Barraicua, 30: Sacramento, Calif., area woman arrested after police found her having sex with a 16-year-old male student in her car while the woman's toddler was strapped into a seat in the back.

Maria Saco, 28: Passaic, N.J., woman sentenced to a year in jail for an intimate relationship with a teen student who was 14 when they first met.

Mary Kay Letourneau, 34: Des Moines, Wash., woman did prison time after having an affair with a sixth-grade student, and had two children by him. The couple recently married.

Melissa Michelle Deel, 32: Bristol, Tenn., woman pleaded guilty to crossing the state line into Virginia to have oral sex with a 13-year-old male student.

Michelle Kush, 29: Ohio woman allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old boy several times during summer break.

Nicola Prentice, 22: British woman from Sheffield, England, given a 12-month suspended jail sentence after she seduced a 16-year-old student and began a 19-month affair.

Nicole Andrea Barnhart, 35: Colorado woman reportedly told police she loves the 16-year-old boy with whom she was having sex. She pled guilty to felony sexual assault on a child, resulting in a two-year prison sentence and a minimum of 10 years in a sex-offender probation program.

Nicole Pomerleau, 31: High-school English teacher in Charlotte, N.C., accused of having a sexual relationship with her 16-year-old student.

Pamela Smart, 22: Media-services director at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.Y., had convinced her 15-year-old lover to murder her husband. The Nicole Kidman film "To Die For" is based on her story.

Pamela Turner, 27: Former model and beauty-pageant contestant accused of having a three-month sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy.

Rachelle Vantucci, 32: Ex-substitute teacher in western New York admitted having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

Rebecca Boicelli, 33: Redwood City, Calif., woman gave birth to a baby last year and DNA test results gave prosecutors enough evidence to prove the father is Boicelli's former student, who was 16 at the time of conception.

Rhianna Ellis, 24: New York City teacher who allegedly had a 10-month affair with an 18-year-old, and allgedly gave birth to his baby.

Robin Gialanella, 26: Elementary teacher in Toms River, N.J., engaged in kissing, and inappropriate conduct and conversations with two sixth-grade boys, ages 11 and 12. She was sentenced to 364 days in jail.

Robin Winkis, 29: York, Pa., woman allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old boy after giving him alcohol.

Samantha Solomon, 29: Fired after school bosses learned she was having sex with a teenage boy. She denies the charges.

Sandra "Beth" Geisel, 42: Albany, N.Y., woman was fired from her job at an private all-boys school after police in found her in a parked car with a 17-year-old. She pleaded guilty to a single count of rape and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Shelley Allen, 35: East Texas teacher's aide accused of sexual assault and faces a possible 20 years behind bars.

Shelley White, 24: Geography teacher in Britain had been engaged to be married before she kissed a 15-year-old student on at least three occasions. She avoided jail, but received 12 months community service.

Stephanie Burleson: Volleyball coach and teacher at Floresville High School in Texas six years ago, pleaded guilty to all charges for molesting a 16-year-old female student. She was sentenced to 10 years probation, and required to register as a sex offender.

Susan Eble, 35: Former teacher's aide is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy.

Tara Lynn Crisp, 29: Police allege she had sex with a student at least three times beginning when he was 14.

Toni Lynn Woods, 37: The Braxton County, W.Va., woman confessed to having sexual intercourse with three juveniles a total of four times and oral sex with one of those juveniles and another juvenile a total of four times. She resigned.

Some are more equal than others

World News Daily, 9 October 2007, By Stephen Baskerville

The substitution of the re-titled "Women's Equality Amendment" (WEA) for the same old text of what was known in the 1970s as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a real-life validation of George Orwell's fictional portrayal of the opportunism of extremist political movements and their tendency to turn high-minded ideals into the opposite of what they promise. In "Animal Farm," Orwell's allegory of the Soviet revolution, the pigs proclaim that "All animals are equal." Once they seize power, the pigs revise the principle: "But some animals are more equal than others."

Promoters of the WEA claim that it will prohibit discrimination against both men and women. But if so, why the name change? The entire U.S. Constitution has always been gender neutral, and without the help of feminists. The aim of the new sexual militants is not to ensure the "equal protection of the laws," but – precisely the opposite – to signal that only one sex is equal.

Whatever the situation 35 years ago, today's name change is a declaration not of weakness but of strength. Virtually all forms of "discrimination" against women have been proven to be false or eliminated. Warren Farrell has shown the fallacy of the "wage gap." Christina Hoff Sommers demonstrated that, far from being privileged, it is boys who are now struggling under feminist changes in public education.

In fact, if any group faces systematic discrimination today, it is males. And it is not trivial. Men routinely lose their children, along with everything else they possess (including their freedom), in divorce courts, because child custody is virtually automatic to mothers, even when the mother is the one breaking up the family. Feminists not only defend but celebrate this "divorce revolution" and resist shared parenting provisions that would allow children to have their fathers as well as mothers after divorce.

Much more is at work here than just than the principle that, all else being equal, young children need their mothers. Men lose their children even when they have given neither consent nor grounds to divorce and are legally faultless. Further, the legal innovation that opened the door to mass fatherlessness was itself the creation of organized feminism. As author Judy Parejko has shown, the National Association of Women Lawyers designed the "no-fault" divorce system as long ago as the 1940s.

So perhaps we need a resurrected ERA to protect men. I would be very
skeptical. It is precisely to head off that possibility that feminists have
changed the name to permit only feminist-approved definitions of equality.

Feminists and their judicial allies are very adept at redefining words to
suit their interests. For example, laws already provide for gender equality in child custody. Feminists circumvent them by invoking different male and female roles ("primary caretaker") when it works to their advantage. These ensure that "the hand that rocks the cradle" is a feminist one.

Thus do feminists either ignore or invoke biological reality to suit their
immediate interests and make up new rules as they go along. According to their most tortured definition of inequality, feminists argue that because only women have babies denying taxpayer funding for abortion is discrimination against women.

The opportunism is visible in existing feminist legislation. Promoters of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) claim it protects both men and women. Yet laws against violent assault already do that. VAWA, on the contrary, eliminates the gender-neutrality of criminal law by skewing it toward one group; as such, it is essentially a "hate crimes" law. And this clearly is the purpose, since otherwise why do feminists vehemently oppose changing the name of VAWA to one that is gender neutral? VAWA-funded programs specifically exclude male victims of domestic violence, though a virtually
unanimous body of scholarly research demonstrates that men are equally likely to be assaulted.

Here too the consequences are far more serious than "discrimination."
Patently trumped-up domestic violence accusations are likewise used in custody cases to break up families by ensuring not only that divorcing mothers get monopoly custody of children, but that the children will be excluded from contact with the "patriarchy" represented by their fathers. Further, fathers are criminalized not for physical assault but for domestic "violence" that has no precise definition and may be no more than verbal insults. The Orwellian irony is when "human rights" groups like Amnesty International promote the violation of human rights by VAWA in the name of women's equality.

"Power is the alpha and the omega of contemporary Communism," wrote Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas during the repression of the 1950s. "Ideas, philosophical principles, and moral considerations … all can be changed and sacrificed. But not power." Something similar can be said about today's feminism, an ideology with no fixed principles. At times gender differences are "social constructions"; at other times women have special "needs." Women are oppressed by gender roles, but those same roles make women more "compassionate" and "caring." Women and men must compete on equal terms, except when men must be excluded from certain competitions in order that women can win. Fathers should share equally in rearing children,
but sole custody must always go to mothers, regardless of fault.

Alison Jaggar, author of "Living With Contradictions," proclaims openly that feminists should insist on "having it both ways": "They should use the rhetoric of equality in situations where women's interests clearly are being damaged by being treated either differently from or identically with men." Her words are revealing. This "rhetoric of equality" is just that: rhetoric. As with Humpty Dumpty, words like "equality" change meanings as convenient; "interests" alone endure. But the bottom line is always power: to increase the power not so much of women, as of those women who claim to speak on behalf of the rest.

Those who want to know where the feminist revolution is now going may wish to read Orwell's account of how the pigs' revolution turned out.


Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., is assistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of "Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family," (Cumberland House Publishing, 2007).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Maternity leave vs Parental leave

By GR Klein

The Australian Productivity Commision is currently engaged in an inquiry to review Australia’s provision of support to new parents. However, the term 'parent' is soon relinquished and in its place the authors instead begin referring to "women and mothers".

I have made a submission to this inquiry to highlight the discriminatory language that is used. Australia and the USA are the only two OECD nations that have no comprehensive program to support parents while they care for their newborn children.

So to remedy this situation (which clearly shows how backward we are in this country) the government in all their wisdom trots out a document straight from 1955 that clearly casts women as the carers and men as the breadwinners.

The best international models (ie in Scandanavia) use the term parental leave to avoid the traditional stereotypes that would restrict people to certain roles based on gender.

Feminists have fought for decades to get women into the workforce however the new legislation that the Australian government is considering to bring in (comprehensive maternity leave) will potentially expose women to renewed discrimination.

As an employer if I have a choice between two candidates for a new position and one is female and other is male, some employers may decide that to save money they will employ the male because they will not have to pay them maternity leave.

The solution to this problem use the term parental leave and ensure that any legislation is clear that it applies equally to both men and women, so that all employers know regardless of gender all people will have a right to access the same levels of parental support when their children are born.

Unfortunatley companies like Dominos Pizza Australia (Click here to tell em what you think) continue to live in the past as they announce with great exuberance their comprehensive materntiy leave program that clearly disadvantages and discriminates against men, and places women at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.