« Fill Out My Prescription, Dammit! | Main | Irony Alert »

March 30, 2005

Hyper-Masculinity And The Fathers' Rights Movement

Lauren at Feministe and Media Girl (in the comments at XX), pointed me to an interview of Stephen J. Ducat, author of "The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, & the Politics of Anxious Masculinity." While this interview is about "anxious masculinity" in the Bush administration, I thought what Ducat said could easily apply to the fathers' rights movement.

Stephen J. Ducat: In a culture based on male domination and in which most things feminine tend to be devalued, even if they are secretly envied, the most important thing about being a man is not being a woman. This powerful adult male imperative to be unlike females and to repudiate anything that smacks of maternal caretaking is played out just as powerfully in politics as it is in personal life. In fact, political contests among men are in many ways the ultimate battles for masculine supremacy. This makes disavowing the feminine in oneself and projecting it onto one’s opponent especially important. This femiphobia--this male fear of being feminine--operates unconsciously in many men as a very powerful determinant of their political behavior.

This culture of male domination and "anxious masculinity" is not new. Michael Lamb discussed it in the mid 1970s in his book "The Role of the Father," especially regarding father absence. Father absence was first studied during WW II, when fathers were leaving their families to go off to war. A big fear at that time which plays out today is that without adequate male role models, in particular their fathers, boys would grow up to be feminized. The feminine was devalued, much in the same way Ducat discusses hyper-masculinity as seen in politics today. During the time father absence studies were first being conducted, a major weakness of many of these studies relates to the techniques used to assess masculinity and femininity. Anxious masculinity in the fear of anything remotely feminine was in existence at this time. Lamb also noted that the father is the parent most concerned with the adoption of cultural values and traditional stereotypically defined sex roles. There was more worry about how boys reacted to father absence than girls. Lamb wrote that "studies of the effects of father absence have been said to show an element of sexism in that more attention has been given to effects on boys than on girls." There was a real fear that boys raised without the fathers' influence would not be "man" enough.

Take special note of this excerpt. Even fathers feared that their children would become "sissies" if left to the care of women. This attitude of the fear of the feminine is more than fifty years old.

"(Stoltz et al. (1954) - 4- to 8- year old children separated from fathers for first two years of their lives.) Interviews revealed that the boys were generally perceived by their fathers as "sissies." Careful observation of these boys supported this view. The boys were less assertively aggressive and independent in their peer relations than boys who had not been separated from their fathers. They were more often observed to be very submissive or to react with immature hostility, and they were actually more aggressive in doll play than boys who had not been separated from their fathers. However, the facts that the fathers were present in the home at the time of this study and that the father-child relationships were stressful make it difficult to speculate about what influence father absence per se had on the children's personality development."

The fear of the feminine in this quote is outweighed by the fact that the fathers were present and their relationship with their sons was strained. Aggression in boys was valued over cooperation.

"Anxious masculinity" plays out in the fathers' rights movement with the Superhero protests in the U. K. These men would rather parade around as men with super powers that they in reality do not have than do the nuts and bolts of childrearing. I think the choice of costume is important. You aren't going to see one of the guys scale a building dressed as Spongebob or a less hyper-masculine character. No, it has to be a character that is a hyper-masculine male. These men strut for the camera's, flexing their arms as if they have bulging muscles. They don't. I wonder if such display actually shows how inferior these men really feel about their own masculinity. Fathers' rights activists often say that they are "victims" of "the system." Do they feel emasculated when they don't get what they want? I think that the changing roles of men and women, especially in the parenting realm, threaten these guys, so they put on displays of hyper-masculinity to cover their anxiety. Their talk of "equality" is actually about controlling women and children through the court system. They don't really want to be "equal" parents. They want dominance over their ex-wives through the children, and they have learned how to use the court system to get their way.

Posted on March 30, 2005 at 08:49 AM | Permalink

Comments

What I find amazing is how these guys find an age-old, very traditional mothering activity like breastfeeding so threatening. I can't imagine any historical precedent for feeling that somehow a mother nursing her infant is a threat to male authority. You even see this in so-called liberal couples, where the mother is pressured not to breastfeed so that both parents can feed by bottle "equally". If mothers demonstrated this kind of phallic envy (men shouldn't use their penuses for the purposes for which they were designed, because that is unfair to women), the neo-freudians and right wing would have a field day. Not to mention the average person. And yet breastfeeding becomes such a major unquestioned source of anxiety.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 30, 2005 9:24:06 AM

I think that Alan Johnson (The Gender Knot) posits a good theory for the underlying femiphobia and fear of being weak that drives hyper-masculinization. I have not seen extensive proof of the power/fear complex that he describes, but I'm willing to believe it based on anecdotal evidence from people that I've known.

Pity anyone who's strong enough to stand up and tell them they're not funny loses the respect necessary to be heard for doing so. Ugly bind to be stuck in.

Posted by: Poppy at Mar 30, 2005 9:48:44 AM

Men are jealous of women ability to procreate and our close natural bond with children...

It's sad, sick, silly and insane but that's the heart and soul of the whole thing...

Now that we know the source of Western man's mental illness what do we DO about it...that's the question...


Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 30, 2005 9:53:26 AM

This is truely bizarre. I guess I'm not meeting the "right" men.

I've never, not once met a father who was afraid to let the woman do the childcare. Even my father, an uber conservative Baptist rightwing politico, doesn't go down that road.

These men as described above seem like they are fringe, at best.

Posted by: Carla at Mar 30, 2005 6:14:28 PM

Wrong, wrong, wrong...men in the fathers rights movement are not anti-maternal. And you're correct Carla, those guys are on the fringe. And if you haven't seen it Poppy, you'd be doing yourself a severe disservice to believe such tripe.

Men are becoming more and more paternal, as well as getting in touch with their feminine side. And paternal does not necessarily extend to all things macho. Sure men want to teach their kids to be tough, or to understand the concept of healthy competition (that's where aggression comes from...and it's not all-together a bad thing) but real men understand that true strength is about the ability to connect with their softer side side as well in connection with raising their kids. And for some reason (and after YEARS of hoping men would do just that) now women like you girls don't like it.

I am a masculinist(thus the name)and a very tough one at that. But that machismo does not extend to how I interact with my children or anyone else's. In truth, I know Chicago bikers who are more tender with their kids than the mothers of those same kids.

And men are not jealous of a woman's ability to procreate. Men may want to be parents without having to deal with a bad woman, but men certainly are NOT that stupid. Ask any woman whose given birth. Even they'll tell you that if there was any other way to have their kids besides the pain and discomfort of natural childbirth, they would have jumped on it. An enlarged prostate is quite enough discomfort down there, thank you very much.

And in spite of what you may believe, guys are not threatened at all when women publically breast-feed, they are merely distracted. I certainly don't mind one wit if a mother wants to breast feed publically as long as she doesn't mind my stopping to admire how adorable her child is while she's doing it.

Ducat's statements are just a ridiculous gesture at ass-kissing the power elite. Women.

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 30, 2005 7:25:10 PM

However, you do see increasing numbers of cases where even very young infants are subjected to joint custody arrangements which do interfere with breastfeeding. The harm of this has been pretty well documented. It just means that infants are subjected to more caregivers than they really need, leaving them vulnerable to attachment disorders. It's bad enough that we don't have paid maternity leave so all moms can stay home a year if they wish. It's too bad young infants have to be subjected to multiple caregivers at all, because mothers are forced to work whether they want to or not. And it's especially ridiculous when certain insecure fathers feel that they have to add to the confusion. Some babies just cannot swing from breast to bottle very well, and there is no reason they should have to.

Older children are another issue entirely. I'm sure that many are happy to go off and see Daddy. But I think the passing back and forth is just stressful for infants. And yet there are some fathers rights advocates who insist on it, although I have never seen any evidence that babies "need" anything but a mother at that age.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 30, 2005 9:00:01 PM

"And it's especially ridiculous when certain insecure fathers feel that they have to add to the confusion."

Wait a damn minute...of all the caregivers that you've just cited as 'adding to the confusion' yet you'll begrudgingly allow...you've listed dads at the absolute BOTTOM of that list. By what 'reasonable person' standard do you arrive at this conclusion? Oh that's right, I forgot...dads don't matter whatsoever.

Same old, same old...just more DAD bashing. It never ends but it does get boring.

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 30, 2005 9:55:10 PM

Men are jealous of women ability to procreate and our close natural bond with children...

My thoughts exactly, NY MOM! And that's why they have to march off to war. But there's hope. Ashcroft is gone and the mighty boobs of justice swing free to knock sense into these asses!

Would you do me a favor? Tell that nice little Heretik houseboy I want to give him a big Texas hello, would you now, sweetie? ThankYew!

Posted by: Laura Bush at Mar 30, 2005 11:30:12 PM

It's senseless to talk in generalizations. Some men act as if they are jealous of women's bonds with infants and do try to interfere with breastfeeding and bonding. Others respect the maternal-infant bond, including breastfeeding.

I happened to have a child out of wedlock whose father wanted to take the baby and have me send the breast milk to him. Not because I'm not an excellent mother but because he thought he "should have the right" to do it. It came across as grossly insensitive, competitive, and ignorant of both the baby's needs and mine. In a nutshell, narcissistic. (And, all of this after his initial strong demand that I have an abortion.)

Clearly, some men are capable of viewing parenthood through the needs of an infant (and the mother), and other men are grossly self-serving in their demands for "father's rights".

The courts don't often seem to notice the difference.

Posted by: blogbabe at Mar 31, 2005 1:07:47 AM

Well, I'm a grandfather whose dad was away when I was young. I also missed out on the raising of my son because of stress resulting in marriage breakup. From where I stand, the reason for wanting a man around a boy is simple.. kids emulate parents and lack of a behavioral model for a boy is not good. Oh yes. Literally 14 years later mother asked for help because kid was so screwed up as to be suicidal. I'm not suggesting that is usual, but who needs more drama from kids ?

Posted by: opit at Mar 31, 2005 2:29:00 AM

opit, I'm sorry that your grandson was suicidal, but wouldn't you as a grandfather and a man have also have been a male role model for him? Other men such as brothers, uncles, and male teachers could also serve as role models.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Mar 31, 2005 7:04:21 AM

Still, the needs of a 14-year-old boy are very different from a 4-month-old infant. Has no one ever babysat an infant that was basically distressed until mom got home?

It's one thing if dad and mom are able to communicate, dad is available to take care of the child while mom is at work, and is doing the actual caregiving and is good at it. It's another when the dad and mom do not communicate effectively, Dad's time is simply cutting into mom's time, and when or when the baby is simply passed off to yet another caregiver, dad's new girlfriend of the month, his mother, etc.

Babies need simple, consistent schedules. Being handed around like a hot potato with 4 or 5 caregivers generates long-term attachment problems, and the research backs this up.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 31, 2005 8:37:14 AM

Hmmm. Anybody see the irony between a study done during WWII -- a time at which men by the hundreds of thousands were dying as cannon fodder -- yet we still see women as the devalued gender.

I wonder how important and valued a 17 year old boy felt as he died on a foreign beach?

Posted by: craichead at Mar 31, 2005 9:37:19 AM

What irony? There is no comparison between dying soldiers and mothers being the devalued gender. Father absence studies began during WWII, and the differences between those fathers and divorced fathers are immense. The biggest difference being that, in war, mothers and children expect dad to eventually come back home.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Mar 31, 2005 9:47:38 AM

What I'm not seeing mentioned here anywhere is post-partum depression. My second wife had a really bad case of post-partum blues to the point that she really didn't want to have anything to do with our daughter for the first month or so. I was the primary caregiver for both of them until the mom's hormones finished adjustiing themselves.

With my first wife... our daughter was unable to digest the breast milk. It took us a few weeks to figure out what the problem was. I was working not just full-time, but overtime. Meanwhile, being a new mom and somewhat impatient anyway, my ex would get really, really, really frustrated trying to breastfeed... and our daughter would end up with her little tummy hard as a drum because she couldn't digest the breast milk yet she was hungry. Mom would hand her to me in frustration and go to sleep. I would pace in the dark living room softly signing silly little lullabuys (sp?) to my daughter until she finally dozed off. For several weeks there I was only getting a few hours of sleep each night. But I did it without complaining or reproaching my ex. I understood that she and our daughter were frustrated. Finally we got her on soy formula and the digestion problem went away for good.

My point is that I, the one with the penis and unable to bear children, did whatever it took to see to the needs of both mother and child and did it without complaining. Reading some of the posts here like NYMOM and Silverside you'd think men are the problem without exception. My first post here was one where I mentioned being a single father and Silverside responded with an incredibly snarky smart-ass comment about how my exe's must be skanks... implying that I, the one with the penis, ended up with custody not because I was a good parent but because the mom's were horrible parents.

Posted by: Kevin at Mar 31, 2005 9:57:23 AM

"And in spite of what you may believe, guys are not threatened at all when women publically breast-feed, they are merely distracted. I certainly don't mind one wit if a mother wants to breast feed publically as long as she doesn't mind my stopping to admire how adorable her child is while she's doing it.

Ducat's statements are just a ridiculous gesture at ass-kissing the power elite. Women."


Yes, we do mind when we're breastfeeding having anybody stopping and staring at us...If you were having lunch in public how would you feel if someone felt it was okay to get up in your face and stare at you while you were eating...

And not Ducat's statements are very realistic based on past history of men...not just what they say NOW but what MOST of them have done in the past...

As actions speak louder then words.



Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:07:30 AM

"These men as described above seem like they are fringe, at best."

No...they are quite common and have been throughout history...

Jealousy of women giving birth, for instance, is the underlying theme of most of our major religions with men trying to steal the concept of childbirth from mothers with their substitution of a 'rebirth through Christ' taking precedence over 'birth through women'. Even the very stupid idea of babies being born with sin already and not being able to enter heaven if they die before baptism or rebirth through Christ, they just wander through Limbo or something...ALL of that is male jealousy at work and their twisted attempts to downgrade birth mothers and give themselves more signficance through that rebirth crap...

Regarding breastfeeding, men have been jealous of this forever...and have been trying to ban, ridicule and interfere with this in anyway possible, since forever...and this has been going on since recorded history...and it's still going on...Even this phoney report recently released from Mt. Sinai Hospital about how doctors were 'concerned' that infants could be getting environmental toxins in their blood from breast feeding is more of the same BS all over again...

So if you haven't noticed this, you must have had your eyes closed for your entire adult life...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:22:17 AM

"Some babies just cannot swing from breast to bottle very well, and there is no reason they should have to.

Older children are another issue entirely. I'm sure that many are happy to go off and see Daddy. But I think the passing back and forth is just stressful for infants. And yet there are some fathers rights advocates who insist on it, although I have never seen any evidence that babies "need" anything but a mother at that age."

No baby can...and because it's easier for them to feed from the bottle this constant back and forth means they probably will stop nursing from the breast sooner...due to the selfishness of men...many who just dump these babies off on other women anyway when they are supposedly in their father's care.

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:29:09 AM

"Would you do me a favor? Tell that nice little Heretik houseboy I want to give him a big Texas hello, would you now, sweetie? ThankYew!"

I think Heretik is a WOMAN...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:33:30 AM

"Still, the needs of a 14-year-old boy are very different from a 4-month-old infant. Has no one ever babysat an infant that was basically distressed until mom got home?"

Yes, both my kids. And I've got news for you. When I left for work or school, they cried every bit as much as when she left.

A baby (4 months or otherwise) bonds just as significantly with dad as with mom. And once bonding has been established it doesn't matter whether a child is 4 months or 14 years. A child is going to be distressed if that child loses contact with whomever... That's why families also participate in caring for and bonding with newborns. And that's not passing around a child like a hot potato, that is what families do.

What about babies who are adopted at birth?

When a child is born, the umbilical cord is cut for a reason. And breast feeding per se isn't so much what bonds a child to a parent than the act of feeding itself. It may do wonders for the mother but an infant doesn't know the difference one way or the other.

When my kids were born, my ex went through the whole PPD phase as well. At night when they would wake up, my ex had breast milk stored so that I could wake up and feed the kids. Sitting in the near dark of Tony or Kayla's room, skin to skin, feeling my heart beat in their ears, listening to their breath as they drank...THAT'S what bonding is. And that's just ONE way of how dads bond with their kids and vice versa.

And later on when you eliminate a dad like that from his child, that is the distress that you place upon a child just the same as if you eliminated a mother.

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 31, 2005 10:33:34 AM

"...implying that I, the one with the penis, ended up with custody not because I was a good parent but because the mom's were horrible parents."

Because she might feel as I do that if a mother is NOT a horrible parent she should ALWAYS have custody of her children...otherwise you are simply not entitled to that custody...it's equivalent to theft of a woman's child...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:37:41 AM

"It may do wonders for the mother but an infant doesn't know the difference one way or the other."

This is NOT true...but it's more of men's attempts to degrade the mother/child bond...more jealousy at work...

Sad, sick. silly and insane...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:40:24 AM

"due to the selfishness of men...many who just dump these babies off on other women anyway when they are supposedly in their father's care."

Happens, sure, and I have known non-custodial mothers who did this when their kids "visited."

That's not right either.

Posted by: kohoutekdriver8 at Mar 31, 2005 10:49:08 AM

"otherwise you are simply not entitled to that custody...it's equivalent to theft of a woman's child..."

Seems like nothing more than the opposite side of the same coin which used to have men who thought that wives were valuable mostly just for their capacity to bear heirs and that both the children and the wife were the husband's property.

Oh sure, no doubt you both have a fantastically nuanced rationalization with which you excuse your gender bigotry to yourselves. But, it's really no different. Misandy I believe is the word for it.

Posted by: Kevin at Mar 31, 2005 11:00:36 AM

Kevin, If you are there in the home, taking care of your wife who is recovering from pregnancy and labor and contributing to care for the baby, you are not the kind we are talking about. There is a tendency to confuse fathers who are already committed to and living with their families (both mother and children) with fathers with no commitment to the mother and what in many cases may be a dubious commitment to the child. The kind of dad we're talking about is the kind who would insist on taking the baby for their visitation, even if the weather stinks, the kid has been running a fever, and is currently sleeping. The kind of dad who after 10 minutes of crying dumps the kid with his mother and goes out drinking with his buddies. I have nothing against good dads. My son's dad is a wonderful, doting dad. He does a great deal of his care, especially after I returned to work full time. I have no problem with him or other dads like him. I do have a problem with dads who are insensitive. Like the ex, who insisted that I had to drop off my daughter at his house one evening, even though it was snowing hard and I had a 3-month-old baby at the time who had been crying for hours. The ex insisted I had to bundle up them both so she could come. Actually, my dear partner, one of the kindest, most decent gentleman you would ever meet, called him up and told him to get his ass over to the house as he didn't feel that I should have to either leave the baby when he was obviously not feeling well, or drag him out in storm. My goodness, I didn't even know he was capable of such strong language! But ex did get off his butt and pick up my daughter. Although the infant in question wasn't his infant, it shows the insensitivity that some people can have as to the needs of babies.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 31, 2005 11:03:32 AM

"Misandy I believe is the word for it."

No...

Reality is the word for it...and fairness...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 11:50:02 AM

Speaking of hypermasculinity and homosexual panic, the New York times notes today that (male) leaders of the major patriarchal religions --Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-- have joined in a "rare show of unity" in attempting to block a WorldPride Festival and parade in Jerusalem.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 31, 2005 12:22:34 PM

"Speaking of hypermasculinity and homosexual panic, the New York times notes today that (male) leaders of the major patriarchal religions --Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-- have joined in a "rare show of unity" in attempting to block a WorldPride Festival and parade in Jerusalem."

Sad...but very very predictable...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 12:45:08 PM

Silverside, if that's what you mean then you really ought to articulate it better or more often because to be blunt I have received the impression from your comments that it's all men.

NYMOM, lots of vile things have been justified throughout history on the basis of their being defacto reality and "fairness" in the eyes of the bigots who practiced them. Bigotry is what it is. Denying it or trying to rationalize it doesn't alter the reality of it. Once upon a time lots of folks sincerely believed that objective reality was that the Earth was flat. It didn't make it so, though. Same here. You can believe what you wish. But, that doesn't make any of it so.

Posted by: Kevin at Mar 31, 2005 1:16:06 PM

Diggin' on your posts, Kevin. Nice to read a rational viewpoint that's not riddled with meaningless generalizations about either gender.

Posted by: blogbabe at Mar 31, 2005 1:17:38 PM

"NYMOM, lots of vile things have been justified throughout history on the basis of their being defacto reality and "fairness" in the eyes of the bigots who practiced them. Bigotry is what it is. Denying it or trying to rationalize it doesn't alter the reality of it. Once upon a time lots of folks sincerely believed that objective reality was that the Earth was flat. It didn't make it so, though. Same here. You can believe what you wish. But, that doesn't make any of it so."


It is NOT bigotry to demand that mothers get preference in keeping their own damn children...to suggest otherwise is bigotry and as I said earlier either jealousy or attempts by men to evade their financial obligations...

When you invest nothing, contribute nothing, DO nothing you have NO RIGHTS and should have none...

It's an abomination to even continue pushing this issue and keep trying to make arguments to separate mother from their children...a complete abomination...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 1:53:17 PM

"The kind of dad we're talking about is the kind who would insist on taking the baby for their visitation, even if the weather stinks, the kid has been running a fever, and is currently sleeping. The kind of dad who after 10 minutes of crying dumps the kid with his mother and goes out drinking with his buddies."

I got news for you...GOOD dads do this very same thing. Sure, we make mistakes (we can't ALL be the pope) But a father who insists on visitation with a sick child SHOULD be considered a blessing. That is, if he is actually taking care of the child, I'll grant you. But if a sick child had to go to a hospital, does bad weather negate that necessity?

These are the moments that dads bond with their children as well. And from experience I can tell you HANDS DOWN, my adopted dad was way WAY more pleasant and fun when I was home sick or layed up for two months from a broken leg. Even with beer on his breath.

As far as dads going out with the boys after he drops the kids off...well what easier generalizations can you possibly make giving where you point the finger?

I guess my ex and her girlfriends sitting around the house after I've picked up the kids to take for the weekend, only to return them to her trashed house full of empty wine bottles, plates stacked up to the ceiling and the stench of pot wafting through the place and her boyfriend asleep on the couch (and her's is an upper-middle class neighborhood)...that doesn't count does it? After all, she didn't actually go OUT anywhere to do it. And she probably had her mom watch the kids during the party...

Who are you kidding? Unless we are talking about a "clear danger" in a dad's contact with his children, ie. drug or alchohol abuse, mental illness with violent tendencies or outbursts, domestic terrorism, or mentally impaired to the capacity that a judge may rule him incapable of parenting etc. etc.(sickness and insanity)---ALL of which sensible dads everywhere would agree is unsuitable for a child---then what are we REALLY talking about?

We're nitpicking the every day dads that certainly aren't perfect, but are every bit as capable of proper parenting even at the worst of times and even in spite of mistakes that we make along the way. After all, parenting isn't something you KNOW, it's something you LEARN. The difference is, who's willing?

Because the bottom line is THESE are the times when we bond the most to our children and they bond to us. The is where the love of a child for his father grows from. These ARE those moments.

And I think that THAT'S what pisses off SOME women...that we and our and children bond so profoundly and significantly and that we carry such deep love for one another, that our love and regard for our fathers is equal and yet as unique as our love for our mothers...that all this is accomplished WITHOUT the need to birth or breast feed...I think some mothers in truth feel incredibly threatened and maybe even a little betrayed...or maybe even just a little bit jealous?

Which brings me to words I've noticed bandied around here such as the term 'jealous.' Oh there are plenty more, like 'sick and insane,' but I'll get to them in a sec...

I admit I am jealous of my ex. And any woman who has been blessed to be a parent, even if they DO take that blessing for granted. I can say that because I have given the subject much thought...nigh I can admit that I have obsessed over it. I want my children. I want to be their fulltime dad! The key to my jealousy is the amount of obsessive thought that "I've put into that concept" something that I want, that someone else has. I covet that thing...

But jealousy from men about child-birthing and breast feeding??!! Man(sic) you are shining a flashlight in an empty well. As if that's what we're getting drunk over, at the bar after we've dropped off the kids (I'm laughing hysterically now)

Look, I know where I am, and I like Trish in spite of it...and I am amused at the myriad of ways you'll find to accuse men and father's rightsters...but jealousy over breast feeding and child-birth? Well ladies that dog just don't hunt (ok, now I'm laughing too hard to write...

As for 'sick and insane,' either get a court order that says so, or stop projecting yourself NYMOM.

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 31, 2005 2:11:59 PM

"Which brings me to words I've noticed bandied around here such as the term 'jealous.' Oh there are plenty more, like 'sick and insane,' but I'll get to them in a sec..."

Well you forgot 'sad and silly"...

But yes, it is about jealousy from men over women's procreative role in giving children life and the close, natural mother/child bond...you are all insanely jealous of that...

I actually was listening to one of you talking about it a few years ago...Alan Detzowitz (not sure if I spelled his name right) but he was wondering what would men be doing in the 21st century? He said women would be raising children but now that the end of history was here and there would be no more wars, what would men's role be in the future?

Little did he know how creative you all would be at stirring up trouble from Custody Wars to this latest War against Islamic Fundamentalism...it appears you all will remain busy for generations causing more and more trouble...

Like YOU in particular like to do on every site you appear on...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 2:34:08 PM

"Jealousy of women giving birth, for instance, is the underlying theme of most of our major religions with men trying to steal the concept of childbirth from mothers with their substitution of a 'rebirth through Christ' taking precedence over 'birth through women'. Even the very stupid idea of babies being born with sin already and not being able to enter heaven if they die before baptism or rebirth through Christ, they just wander through Limbo or something...ALL of that is male jealousy at work and their twisted attempts to downgrade birth mothers and give themselves more signficance through that rebirth crap..."

So Jesus Christ taught of the precedence of the spirit over the flesh (which is what that is all about--the "birth" language is simply metaphor) because He was jealous that women can give birth??? And the major religions originated in male jealousy over childbirth while at the same time men were "not very interested in children" as you've claimed before? I swear, I've heard ideas around here that simply floor me, they're so peculiar. I've yet to meet a man who wished he could go into the labor-and-delivery instead of his partner. And I certainly didn't consider it a privilege when I was there, either.

And the concept of unbaptized infants not entering Heaven is not in the Bible. It was invented later by the Church not to "downgrade birth mothers" but to give themselves more power over everybody, men and women alike. I suppose the veneration of the "Mother of God," the Rosary, the Miraculous Medal, and the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Virgin were likewise expressions of male jealousy of mothers?

Posted by: at Mar 31, 2005 4:52:04 PM

The above post was mine. Sorry

Posted by: Anne at Mar 31, 2005 4:52:56 PM

"The above post was mine. Sorry"

Don't be...I knew it was yours as it had your markings all over it...

AND YES it's is all indicative of MALE jealousy...unlike you I happen to believe that ALL SCRIPTURE was written by man...so all of these concepts are from man...not a God...

Sorry to have to be the one to tell you...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 7:02:00 PM

Ugh...my skin crawls everytime I read NYMOM's stuff...

Posted by: Masculiste at Mar 31, 2005 7:28:55 PM

"Ugh...my skin crawls everytime I read NYMOM's stuff..."

Well quit reading my stuff you trouble maker...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 10:23:24 PM

It is NOT bigotry to demand that mothers get preference in keeping their own damn children...to suggest otherwise is bigotry and as I said earlier either jealousy or attempts by men to evade their financial obligations...

Yes it is.

It's also bigotry when you devalue the role of fathers just because they have a penis and one or more was lousy to you once.

Posted by: Carla at Mar 31, 2005 10:33:03 PM

-once.

Bad editing. Sorry.

Posted by: Carla at Mar 31, 2005 10:33:31 PM

"These men as described above seem like they are fringe, at best."

No...they are quite common and have been throughout history...

Coming from an individual with a freakishly skewed view of men, I find that assertion at best a stretch.

Jealousy of women giving birth, for instance, is the underlying theme of most of our major religions with men trying to steal the concept of childbirth from mothers with their substitution of a 'rebirth through Christ' taking precedence over 'birth through women'. Even the very stupid idea of babies being born with sin already and not being able to enter heaven if they die before baptism or rebirth through Christ, they just wander through Limbo or something...ALL of that is male jealousy at work and their twisted attempts to downgrade birth mothers and give themselves more signficance through that rebirth crap...

Regarding breastfeeding, men have been jealous of this forever...and have been trying to ban, ridicule and interfere with this in anyway possible, since forever...and this has been going on since recorded history...and it's still going on...Even this phoney report recently released from Mt. Sinai Hospital about how doctors were 'concerned' that infants could be getting environmental toxins in their blood from breast feeding is more of the same BS all over again...

I'm not going to argue with you on the religion issues, mostly because I agree in some respects. Except that I think what you're outlining is more of a fringe idea than mainstream for religions. It hardly applies to all men and not even the majority of them.

Which men have been trying to ban breastfeeding? Please cite their names and the legislation they've introduced.

Posted by: Carla at Mar 31, 2005 10:38:49 PM

"Which men have been trying to ban breastfeeding?"

Augustus Caesar

Henry the 8th...

to name a few...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 11:46:52 PM

"Coming from an individual with a freakishly skewed view of men, I find that assertion at best a stretch."

Well it's nothing personal BUT I don't post here for YOUR approval...and frankly don't care what you think...

Actually I can't remember a post that you put up here that had anything of interest in it that I even wished to respond to...

"Please cite their names and the legislation they've introduced."

I don't exist to function as your private fact checker...Okay moron...


Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 31, 2005 11:50:21 PM

"Which men have been trying to ban breastfeeding?"

Augustus Caesar

Henry the 8th...

No offense...but those guys have been dead for quite some time.

Got any that are still breathing?

Posted by: Carla at Mar 31, 2005 11:59:07 PM

Well it's nothing personal BUT I don't post here for YOUR approval...and frankly don't care what you think...

Actually I can't remember a post that you put up here that had anything of interest in it that I even wished to respond to...

Which explains why you respond to my comments so often.

"Please cite their names and the legislation they've introduced."

I don't exist to function as your private fact checker...Okay moron...

You made an assertion. If you can't back them up then it's meaningless to make them. The burden of proof for assertions made is on she who made them.

If you can't do it, just say so.

Posted by: Carla at Apr 1, 2005 12:01:48 AM

How in the hell could either Augustus Caesar or Henry the 8th ban breastfeeding? I mean, there wasn't any formula back then!

Posted by: La Lubu at Apr 1, 2005 10:13:24 AM

For anyone who is interested, here is an article about breastfeeding and custody. Yes, some fathers have tried to interfere with breastfeeding schedules when they fight for custody and visitation. The article is by Elizabeth Baldwin, who died a couple of years ago. She's well-known for her writings about breastfeeding. Run a Google search of her name if you want to read more.

Is Breastfeeding Really A Visitation Issue?

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 1, 2005 10:29:06 AM

"How in the hell could either Augustus Caesar or Henry the 8th ban breastfeeding? I mean, there wasn't any formula back then!"

They forced all noblewomen to use lower class wet nurses...

Kind of what plantation owners did with their infants...forcing slave mothers to feed their babies, frequently at the cost of starving their own infants...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 10:34:09 AM

There have been countless cases about women being given citations for breastfeeding in public...it is NOT allowed in every states...If you don't know that then you must never reads the newspapers...The latest incident was a woman asked by a security guard to leave a daycare center when she began nursing her infant...parents called him since they were afraid she might scare the other children if they saw her nursing...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 10:38:14 AM

"For anyone who is interested, here is an article about breastfeeding and custody. Yes, some fathers have tried to interfere with breastfeeding schedules when they fight for custody and visitation. The article is by Elizabeth Baldwin, who died a couple of years ago. She's well-known for her writings about breastfeeding. Run a Google search of her name if you want to read more.

Is Breastfeeding Really A Visitation Issue?"

Just briefly reviewing that article I can see that it missed a big point...Allowing breast milk to be pumped into a bottle and fed to a baby WILL eventually stop baby from breastfeeding...as it is easier for them to get the milk from a bottle (which is why so many babies today suffer from colic) then it is from the breast...so eventually they will stop nursing at the breast and always want the bottle...thus causing all those digestive problems that are so common in infants today...

This is just another example of the selfishness of men attempting to interfere with best interest of child...and attempt to fracture mother/child bond...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 10:45:33 AM

Thanks so much for that article Trish...

I'm going to use it this week on my own blog to show mothers how a selfish beast can get a Judge to interfere with an infant's breastfeeding so he can have 50/50 custody...probably to avoid paying child support...

It really makes me sick when I hear other women supporting these monsters...of course, most of them already have custody of their own children but they would subject some other mother's poor kid to being thrown around like an old football between households, just so the father can get 50/50 visitation and avoid paying child support...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 10:55:00 AM

NYMOM- If parents' rights are to be decided by alleged actions of historical figures I trump your Henry VIII with Medea, who killed her kids 'cos she didn't like hubbie running off with new main squeeze sea nymph/ goddess whatnot. I suggest her actions justify automatic father custody in every case.

Posted by: Steve at Apr 1, 2005 10:58:01 AM

NYMOM: "There have been countless cases about women being given citations for breastfeeding in public...it is NOT allowed in every states..."

There is no law in any state that outright forbids breastfeeding, and many states have exempted breastfeeding from public indecency exposure laws. Here is a link from La Leche League which details breastfeeding laws per state:

A Current Summary Of Breastfeeding Legislation

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 1, 2005 11:05:03 AM

NYMOM: "Just briefly reviewing that article I can see that it missed a big point...Allowing breast milk to be pumped into a bottle and fed to a baby WILL eventually stop baby from breastfeeding...as it is easier for them to get the milk from a bottle (which is why so many babies today suffer from colic) then it is from the breast...so eventually they will stop nursing at the breast and always want the bottle...thus causing all those digestive problems that are so common in infants today..."

Pumping breast milk into a bottle didn't stop me from breastfeeding. I was starring in a play while I was breastfeeding, and during intermission I expressed my breast milk into a bottle because it needed to be done. I couldn't breastfeed during that time because I was busy acting. I portrayed Elvira (the ghost) in Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." My son didn't want the bottle over my breast, and I breastfed for nearly a year.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 1, 2005 11:12:47 AM

"My son didn't want the bottle over my breast, and I breastfed for nearly a year."

But many children do prefer the bottle especially if it's being given 50% of the time...as it dispenses milk faster and more easily then the breast...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 11:45:24 AM

"I knew it was yours as it had your markings all over it..."

Thank you. :-)

Although neither of our religious beliefs has anything to do with it. Seeing some kind of "uterus envy" as the underlying theme of the major religions is a wild stretch of the imagination, no matter where you think Scripture came from. Particularly when it's inconsistent with much of what you've said previously. I feel like I'm back in Abnormal Psych learning about Freud's absurd theory of "penis envy" all over again. Um...OK...whatever. But I'm sure it was perfectly obvious and logical to him.

But unlike you, I care very much about equal protection of the laws. While not perfect, it's our best protection from self-appointed know-it-alls who can tell us all how things ought to be-- and in large numbers might be able to convince a majority to assign one group lesser rights than another because, well, it's just nature and common sense, you know? Yes, that IS bigotry.

Posted by: Anne at Apr 1, 2005 12:02:03 PM

"NYMOM- If parents' rights are to be decided by alleged actions of historical figures I trump your Henry VIII with Medea, who killed her kids 'cos she didn't like hubbie running off with new main squeeze sea nymph/ goddess whatnot. I suggest her actions justify automatic father custody in every case."

We were discussing historic precedent, laws and social mores that impacted women...not some odd cases of a woman, with no power or position, that does some off-the-wall crap...

The point was that men are and always have been extremely jealous of women's close natural bond with children...and have tried in MANY ways in the past to separate them or denigrate the mother/child bond. For instance, by restricting breastfeeding to being an unpleasant job forced upon another women putting her own infant at risk, by being forced to nurse someone's else's child.

So an odd case of a woman killing her children has no bearing on this discussion...it's about men who had the power to make these rules in an attempt to interfere with the mother/child bond for their own greedy and selfish reasons...

Even Frederick Douglass mentions in his autobiography that it was the selfishness of his own father and other men like him that caused them to separate slave children from their infants at birth...and caused him to have no contact with his own mother from birth practically...

AND we are seeing the same thing NOW being played out ALL OVER AGAIN with men attempting to separate mothers from their infants so they can get 50/50 custody and avoid their financial obligations...so it's history repeating itself all over again which it has a tendency to do to those who don't remember it.....

So it bears repeating to women that MEN have been doing this since history was first recorded...attempting to interfere with the mother/child bond...especially to stop breast-feeding...it's part of their historic jealousy....

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 12:02:07 PM

"I knew it was yours as it had your markings all over it..."

Thank you. :-)

Although neither of our religious beliefs has anything to do with it. Seeing some kind of "uterus envy" as the underlying theme of the major religions is a wild stretch of the imagination, no matter where you think Scripture came from. Particularly when it's inconsistent with much of what you've said previously. I feel like I'm back in Abnormal Psych learning about Freud's absurd theory of "penis envy" all over again. Um...OK...whatever. But I'm sure it was perfectly obvious and logical to him.

But unlike you, I care very much about equal protection of the laws. While not perfect, it's our best protection from self-appointed know-it-alls who can tell us all how things ought to be-- and in large numbers might be able to convince a majority to assign one group lesser rights than another because, well, it's just nature and common sense, you know? Yes, that IS bigotry.

Posted by: Anne at Apr 1, 2005 12:02:44 PM

My children didn't prefer the bottle over the breast, either, despite the fact that I was working full-time, and they were bottle-fed while I was at work.

Posted by: blogbabe at Apr 1, 2005 12:03:07 PM

"Yes, that IS bigotry."

No it isn't...it's stopping gender neutralized idiots from using our children like little guniea pigs in all kinds of weird social engineering schemes...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 12:06:06 PM

"Pumping breast milk into a bottle didn't stop me from breastfeeding."

Breastfeeding is also no guarantee against colic, as I learned the hard way.

Posted by: Anne at Apr 1, 2005 12:06:45 PM

"So it bears repeating to women that MEN have been doing this since history was first recorded...attempting to interfere with the mother/child bond..."

Well, I guess the feminists totally wasted their time trying to expand women's possibilities beyond the roles of homemaking, childbirth and childrearing to which they were being confined by MEN who saw that as a woman's only proper place. Too bad you weren't there to point out that men didn't really want that, and to explain why they were acting as if they did.

This is really getting bizarre. Bye for now.

Posted by: Anne at Apr 1, 2005 12:24:57 PM

"Pumping breast milk into a bottle didn't stop me from breastfeeding."

Breastfeeding is also no guarantee against colic, as I learned the hard way."


Well there are no guarantees in life I understand accept death and taxes...but I would say it's one benefit of breastfeeding for many...in a world where nothing is 100%...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 12:39:55 PM

Regarding purported male "jealousy" of women's ability to give childbirth. I have never heard a man say that he'd like to pass a football-sized human being through a vagina of his own. Is this purported "jealousy" also purportedly unconscious? That's one of the problems with armchair psychoanalysis. A lot of it is HogWash!

Posted by: blogbabe at Apr 1, 2005 12:42:04 PM

"Well, I guess the feminists totally wasted their time trying to expand women's possibilities beyond the roles of homemaking, childbirth and childrearing to which they were being confined by MEN who saw that as a woman's only proper place. Too bad you weren't there to point out that men didn't really want that, and to explain why they were acting as if they did."

Feminism, like most young movements, had its impact and I guess was useful for helping women achieve equality in education and the job market...I don't believe MOST women agreed to signing off on our children in order to obtain equality in the education and employment areas...that was never part of the deal...so probably men and their addled-brain female enablers misunderstood that...

If I fulfil the educational or job requirements I should be entitled to get the degree or the job no matter if I'm a man or a woman...that's common sense...that should NOT come with an addendum to it that I agreed to sign my kid off into all kinds of weird custody arrangements so a group of mad scientists can study them and see whether or not they can thrive in assorted environments...

That wasn't part of the deal...

I don't accept it as a legitimate exchange no matter how many lawyers, judges, and other professionals tell me it's in my kid's best interest...I don't believe you...

Sorry to disappoint...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 12:49:18 PM

Re: Medea. You have the implications of the story all wrong. To the ancient mind, the outrage was not in that the children were murdered. It was that Medea, a mere mother, usurped the father's prerogative in killing the children. Classical cultures very much defined the killing of children as father right.

Posted by: silverside at Apr 1, 2005 2:11:20 PM

"Re: Medea. You have the implications of the story all wrong. To the ancient mind, the outrage was not in that the children were murdered. It was that Medea, a mere mother, usurped the father's prerogative in killing the children. Classical cultures very much defined the killing of children as father right."

Hi...where were you all day...

Good point about Media...that I didn't even understand...

But the bigger point that I was making, but failed to was that she was not a 'real' historic figure...whereas Augustus and Henry VIII were...

So she was irrevelant to the discussion we were having about laws and social mores put into effect by men to stop breast feeding by mothers...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 2:45:59 PM

"Classical cultures very much defined the killing of children as father right."

Was this universal with the ancients...since the reason Agamennon's wife gives for having him killed was that he murdered their 12 year old daughter...in that whole 'sacrifice to the Gods for a fair wind thingy'...and that was mentioned by Homer as a reason so I'm not sure if this was universal...and they don't get any more ancient then Homer...but I guess classical is not as ancient as Homer...so are you saying civilization got more barbarous the older it got (which wouldn't surprise me after what just happen in Florida with that whole starvation thing btw)...but is that what you are saying; that classical societies permitted certain things that even the ancients wouldn't have allowed?

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 1, 2005 2:54:14 PM

NYMOM, you COMPLETELY missed my point. I was not talking about custody at all. I was pointing out that while you maintain that men are jealous of women and their role as mothers and have tried throughout history to interfere with the mother/child bond, it was precisely MEN who kept women confined to the role of childbearing and childrearing and convinced them that that was their only natural and proper sphere, until feminism arose to give them choices. The very role you say they resent is the one they strove to keep women in for so long. It doesn't make sense. I think we have to look a little deeper for the true source of "Western man's mental illness...":-)

Posted by: Anne at Apr 1, 2005 3:32:40 PM

NYMOM, you got me stumped. It sounds like you are a far greater scholar in this area than I. I have read some very general works and essays on the subject of women in the classical world. I am certainly not in a position to evaluate what all the cultural/legal variations from one Graeco-Roman culture to another in every century. Certainly there must have been local variations over time. I suppose that is a given.
The insight on Medea is not original to me. I saw it in Phyllis Chesler's book, Mothers on Trial, which provides a historical survey of these issues.

Posted by: silverside at Apr 1, 2005 3:35:05 PM