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Author Topic: sexism?
sarazzz
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Do you feel that the courts play more in favor of the woman? Women seem to always get full custody of their child. Even if the man is a good father he only gets visitation rights. Women seem to have to be alcoholics and drug addicts for the court to even consider giving the father full custody? This seems very unfair to men in my opinion because of all the great fathers out there? Is it really fair to ever blame men for commitment with all that they have to lose in a marriage? No wonder men are afraid, I think women make them afraid a lot of the time. Imagine being a great father and husband, getting divorced and only getting to see your kid 3 times a week.
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CutiePie4eva
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i actually saw a show about that topic awhile ago. it used to be that the courts would automatically want the mother to have custody of the children because of the whole idea that a mother will protect her children from everything that is a mere danger. supposedly mothers are supposed to be closer to the children than a father, not only because of that maternal instinct... but also because of she spend about 9 monthes with the child while she was in pregnancy.

so the issue was brought up and courts are still trying to get into the groove of looking at fathers as potential parents with full custody. i think its quite interesting... and i'll try to do some research to find some sites. =)


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CutiePie4eva
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i searched and searched and came up with two sites that seem a bit helpful... i guess i dunt really know what to refer to this issue as.
http://www.fathermag.com/808/GenderBias.shtml
http://www.abs-comptech.com/custody.html

hope i helped =)

[This message has been edited by CutiePie4eva (edited 08-06-2002).]


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sarazzz
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But in all actuality, don't you think it's better to have a positive male role model more than a positive female role model. Look at all the kids in this world who grow up without fathers. Males tend to become more violent and angry towards women and the world in general. Females become more promiscuous because they're looking for the paternal attention they never got. Not having a mother means you're missing out on something special definitely, but I think more likely you can grow up more well adjusted with a postive male role model than a positive female role model. Sort of like the army, you will be more likely to fall in line with a male drill seargent than a female. I think that's what it comes down to. Falling in line in the world. You can't be in line when you're causing trouble and bringing babies in this world at 14. That's not to take attention away from the importance of a mother though. But I think that the world is based more on a male set rules. The world is a tough place and males are tougher. I think a father can better prepare his kids for the real world than a mother. Even a strict mother isn't as powerful as a strict father I don't think. But then again, a lot of single mothers in this world raise great kids too!
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Zanney
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First off - I agree that it appears that there is a definite trend towards awarding mothers custody. Not too fair, but probably stems from society's traditional view of mother as nurturer, father as provider/breadwinner (which he can technically still fulfill through child support payments).

However, I don't agree that mothers would neccessarily make a better role model, or vice versa. My mother died when I was a year old, so I grew up an only child, with just my father raising me. This is just my opinion, but I don't have a mom and I feel like there is an integral part of my existence missing. My father did a great job, by the way!

But I think there is a reason that there is the commonly held belief that there should be both a male and female role-model. It takes two to conceive, you may also say that ideally, these two should also rear the said conception.

And as an interesting side note: I recently moved to Australia (from Maryland, hey sarazzz!), and they have these ads on TV saying how men without custody have one of the highest suicide rates, and that men should be supported. There are support groups specifically for this. It's good to see a step in the right direction!

Rose-Anne

PS: As another note, I would suggest that there were a few inflammatory remarks in your last post which you might want to look out for, including assumptions like girls become promiscuous because of a lack of paternal attention, and the comment about teenage pregnancy being "out of line". We just need to be careful not to assume anything unduly or offend anyone ok??


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Zanney
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Actually, this whole topic reminds me of the Robin Williams' movie "Mrs Doubtfire"...
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Heather
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As a former teacher and student of child psychology and sociology, what I can say is that what most practical evidence as well as studies seem to show is that what appears to be best -- worldwide and historically -- for most children is to have a WIDE variety of formative influences, family members and role models of varying genders and ages.

Nearly all people are not reared in a vacuum, therefore (thankfully) no one has to "choose" if a "male role model" or a "female role model" is "better." Even sinngle parents or widoews/wideowers tend not to raise their children all on their own. In fact, in most cultures, the nuclear family we put so much emphasis on in the states isn't a common unit at all, but instead what is more commmon is a larger extended family.

People of all genders can be tough and can be tender. To say one group is more than the other creates exactly the sort of thing you're taking issue with to begin with, sarazzz, so I'm amazed to see you do the same thing. The sort of generalizations you're making (including those about prommiscuity and pregnancy) just don't hold water as anything but subjective generalizations. And it's generalized thinking on gender, trying to simplify it to the lowest common denominator, that brings about things like a disparity in custody issues. If you don't want to foster things like that, I'd suggest you let changes in your thinking start with you.

Custody law is a relatively new thing historically, and I'd agree, in a good number of courts, there seems to be an issue that favors a parent not by character, but by gender. And it's truly unfortunate, especially since basing the notion of who is and who is not a good or responsible parent on gender, like many of your own generalizations, just doesn't hold water.

The trouble is, history is not in the favor of men when it comes to this. For nearly all of our world history in the western world, mothers were the primary parent, with fathers often not present, either because they chose not to be, OR because it was simply the way of the world that men were away from the home working. In more recent history, there have been grave problems with many fathers in terms of supporting their children and their families, fiscally and emotionally, as well as with abuse situations (which is hardly exclusive to fathers, but it is still a factor in the courts). But those times long past are gone, and currently, there are plenty of fathers who are excellent parents (just as many as mmothers, I'd gander) and who if they WANT full custody (bear in mind, not all parents do, male or female) should be equally eligible for it. With some urging and a little time, that situation is improving, albeit slowly -- change takes time and again, custody law is relatively new.

That said, sara, please turn the tone of your posts down a notch. Because you're upset or angry about one situation, it doesn't really help you or anyone to take that anger and make broad value judgements about others which will make them upset or angry, too. Thanks!

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Rizzo
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I never had a "strong male role model" when I was growing up. My dad was somewhat effeminate, and then, when I was about 10, had a sex change.

And guess what? I didn't have sex until I was 18. I've only had one sexual partner. I've never been pregnant. So I don't believe that no father figure=promiscuity. The most promiscuous friend I have was mainly brought up by her father, after her mother died.

I'm not saying that I'm better than her, or that mothers make better parents than fathers. But I wonder about your "drill seargent" analogy. Should a child's upbringing be like boot camp? I'd hope that it could, instead, be a loving environment, no matter what the gender(s) of the parent(s).


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sarazzz
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I'm not saying that a children's upbringing should be like that of a boot camp. Just that you will be more likely to listen up when a man is speaking. I don't know if it's part of nature that makes us that way or what? And I'm not trying to make generalizations as if all people raised with a single mother are going to be bad kids. I'm just saying that if you look at kids with a history of violence, these are not kids that come from a normal stable family, unless their genetics are in some way unstable. A lot of the time it's single-mother households who are having trouble raising their kids, understandably because the father may have left. That's not to say all kids in those situations are like that though. Sometimes it's fathers who beat their mothers who put that value in their kids. Sometimes it's the mother who is abusive. I just believe that a good father would have a better chance of raising a good kid than a good mother. I also never understood how men's jobs are made out to be so meaningless. If a woman is a stay-at-home mom, everyone acts like her job is automatically the toughest. Like a construction worker working in 100 degree heat doesn't have it tougher. But anytime you say that the man has the toughest job, depending on what his job is, people are quick to say, "no way, the mother has the toughest job because she's the mother and that's the way it is." I sometimes feel that men are not appreciated for what they do. I know a lot of women feel that their stay-at-home mom job is free, but somebody has to pay for the water, electricty, house and food. Do those things not matter atleast a little bit. But anytime you say that a man has an important job, it's looked at like well, "that's his job so he shouldn't be rewarded for it." But a woman doing her job needs to be complemented by men all the time. Do women not have responsiblities or is everything just from the goodness of the heart. I think if you want respect, you should distribute it equally to the man in your life. It's not too much to say thanks for bringing home a nice paycheck that will make your week a lot nicer. But how many women do you honestly think thank their husbands for the money he brings home?
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Rizzo
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quote:
I just believe that a good father would have a better chance of raising a good kid than a good mother.

That's your opinion, but I believe that a good person has the best chance of raising a good kid.

Not all men are tough. Not all women are wimpy. Not all men bring home the paycheck for the family. Not all women stay at home with the kids.

Yes, there is sexism directed at men. There is also sexism directed at women. Both are bad, and should be fought against.

But sarazzz, it seems like you're just fighting sexism with sexism. You complain that it's sexist, how women are seen as better caregivers. But then you cite a whole bunch of outdated, sexist stereotypes in order to back up your argument.

If you often hear people talking about how hard it is to raise children, they're probably just reacting to the hundreds of years during which men's work was much more highly valued than women's. I think it's nice that traditionally feminine work is finally getting a bit of recognition. But I agree, bringing home a paycheck can be lots of work too.

I also agree with you that fathers can be great caretakers. Especially ones that are loving, kind, fun, intelligent and hardworking. Same goes for mothers.


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Zanney
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quote:
Originally posted by sarazzz:
I sometimes feel that men are not appreciated for what they do. I know a lot of women feel that their stay-at-home mom job is free, but somebody has to pay for the water, electricty, house and food. Do those things not matter atleast a little bit... I It's not too much to say thanks for bringing home a nice paycheck that will make your week a lot nicer. But how many women do you honestly think thank their husbands for the money he brings home?

As Rizzo pointed out, the idea of hubby/father being the breadwinner and the mom being the housewife is a little dated. There are an awful lot of working moms nowadays. In fact, there are many, many working couples, and the caretaking role traditionally fulfilled by the mother is being squeezed into the spare time that either parent has.

I'm not too sure where your idea of women "not saying thanks for the check" is coming from, but I would suggest that in couples where one works and one stays at home, there is a tacict (or even spoken) agreement that one works specifically so the other can take care of everything else. Both roles come with major, unique responsibilities, so, yes, the caretaker should acknowledge the breadwinner and vice versa.

And while I appreciate that it's your view that male role models are more likely to rear children more effectively than their female counterparts, I have to agree with Miz S and say that just one over the other is not the best way. As I mentioned upthread, I had no mom, just my dad. So I got raised with a "good strong role model", and while I love and respect my father very much, I still feel that my upbringing would have been far more complete had I had a mother, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles etc.

RAK


[This message has been edited by Zanney (edited 08-07-2002).]


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Maharet
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I'm sort of thinking about & developing this idea in my head while I write, so I'll try and be coherent LOL.

In Australia, at least in my state (Western Australia {We have very imaginative name-makers here! lol }) there are HUGE debates going on about how unfairly fathers are being treated over mothers in the Family Court (the place that decides custody if the battle goes to court). The argument is that mothers on the whole, are still the ones spending most of the time with the children on a day-to-day basis, while the father goes to work, therefore the primary carer is the mother and she usually gets main custody rights with the father getting access visits, I think is the way it pans out.

Both my parents are happily handfasted. I guess that this *has* had an effect on my level of sexual activity. (I have had 'what I consider to be' sex with another person once in my entire 18yrs). I don't know what I'd be doing if they'd dissolved the handfasting, but I'm almost sure that b/c of their current relationship and b/c of my huge extended family that it wouldn't have ended in a bitter court battle....

I'm getting off track. IMO, it's not the fact that a child/teen has a male or female single parent that causes the problems, it's that they have a single parent. . The single parent is (usually) trying to hold down a job and raising a child with little outside support. If s/he had emotional support and maybe finanical support as well then I believe at the very least we'd have less stereotypes of problems that the children would face! LOL. That's my main critisisim of the nuclear family not that it's a man/woman/children, but that it's usually isolated. If the breadwinner or the child-carer (note, no gender given) becomes sick and is unable to do their job, often finding help is hard. Whereas if they were part of an exteneded (happy! lol) family then help would be much easier to come by.
Phew, my fingers ache now lol
Hope that made sense

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Aria51
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I'd like to remind a few of you that some of us here, myself included, are single parents, and take quite a bit of offense to the suggestion that we're not good parents because of a) our gender or b) our lack of a partner. It's just not a fair assumption to make.
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duckling
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Women traditionally did not get custody of their kids in a custody battle. And in certain cases, they don't get it now. The American justice just has a lot of problems that aren't going to solve themselves. Racism, sexism...it goes on.
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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by duckling:
Women traditionally did not get custody of their kids in a custody battle.

Before I pull my hair completely out, would you be so kind as to share the location of such facts? Every study I've ever seen has stated that women are granted custody of children in far greater numbers than men, with the feeling being that "kids need a mother." Never in anything I've read or learned have I seen any documentation to support what you've just stated, and unless something has changed drastically in the eight months since I graduated from college, I can't really see your claims as being substantiable.

We don't tend to support blind statement of "facts" without documentation here at Scarleteen. It turns out that there are a lot of preconceived notions that we all have which cannot be backed up with reputable information. So by sticking to posting those facts which have documented proof behind them, we can all learn something. And that makes it better for all of us.

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logic_grrl
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Well, if by "traditionally", duckling meant "until the 19th century", then it's certainly true in that sense. Until that point (in Britain at least), custody pretty much automatically went to the father as children were deemed to be his "property", and writers and early feminists such as John Stuart Mill spent quite a bit of energy protesting this.

I don't know if this is what duckling meant, but in any case, here's the documentation :

"Under most Western legal codes until the nineteenth century, the father was deemed to have primary rights over his children ... In the course of the nineteenth century there were some reforms, such as the 1839 Infant Custody Act, which allowed the courts to give mothers custody of children until they reached seven, and which also made provision for mothers to visit their children at arranged times... Under the 1857 divorce legislation the reform went further. The divorce court was empowered to exercise discretion and could make arrangements for the custody, support and education of children as it saw fit under the special circumstances of each case... In 1873 women's rights to custody were extended even further, and later, in the twentieth century, it became a principle that custody of the children in cases of divorce was vested in the wife unless there were compelling reasons why it should be otherwise."

Phillips R (1988) "Putting Asunder: A History of Divorce in Western Society", Cambridge Cambridge UP p.601-2.


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by Aria51:
I'd like to remind a few of you that some of us here, myself included, are single parents, and take quite a bit of offense to the suggestion that we're not good parents because of a) our gender or b) our lack of a partner. It's just not a fair assumption to make.

My Dad is a single parents raising a 15 y/o girl and he is a very good father so I take offense to that, too. Please watch out for the generalizations.

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Whatsthatmommy
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Studies have shown that children who were breastfed have better iq's than children who weren't. Also mothers do better jobs than raising children then fathers (as a whole i bet there are really great fathers to)
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Zanney
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quote:
Originally posted by Whatsthatmommy:
Also mothers do better jobs than raising children then fathers (as a whole i bet there are really great fathers to)

Again, we need to watch out for generalizations, please!! It is impossible to make a statement like that when there is no way for you to back it up, and there is also a lot of people who could take offense to that (myself included, as the daughter of a fantastic single father) - so it is just better not to say those kind of things.


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Milke
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Women most definitely also carry and bear children better than men; that's just the way things are, but there're no reasons beyond the physical that men and women are that different. Some women make incredible parents, some women kill their children, and there's a huge range in between. Same goes for men. If a man loves his children, wants them to be happy, and healthy, and makes sure he's able to provide them with what they need, he's no less fit a parent than a woman in the same situation would be.

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ukartgurl
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sdddd

[This message has been edited by ukartgurl (edited 04-18-2005).]


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witch_baby
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That's not always true. I live with my dad until just three months ago.

He and mom separated when I was three, divorced when I was four. Dad got custody, and at the time he was definitly the more capable parent. I'm really glad I went to dad and I know that mom would have been a terrible "main" parent. (I live w/ her now because she's better now and it worked better for school and stuff).

So don't automatically assume courts just like women better!

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tjd
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quote:
Originally posted by witch_baby:
That's not always true. I live with my dad until just three months ago.

He and mom separated when I was three, divorced when I was four. Dad got custody, and at the time he was definitly the more capable parent. I'm really glad I went to dad and I know that mom would have been a terrible "main" parent. (I live w/ her now because she's better now and it worked better for school and stuff).

So don't automatically assume courts just like women better!


Statistically it is clear that the family courts int he US are still one of the strongest bastions of sexism left today. yes there has been some progress, but still the general attitude of most family courts is that the dad should "pay and go away". This is particularly true if the divorce has been an acramonious one. As for the oriional assertion at the top of this thread, it is more like 3x a month than 3x a week that a divorced dad is able to see his kids. The standard order of visitation in ohio is 2 weekends a month and one night a week for dinner.
As for some of the other points made in this thread. Statistically, children raised in single parent families are at great risk for all sorts of problems growing up (ie drug use, academic failure, psych problems). Usually single parent families are mom only families. Dad only families tend to do somewhat better statistically, but much of that could probably be due to single dad's being a self selected group that is more motivated (after all they had to fight in most cases to get custody, it wasn't just granted to them). Again, all thes things are statistical generalizations and have to do with probabilities and there are many many individual cases that do not fit the statistical norms (ie most of these measures have very wide standard deviations).
As for your individual case where your dad was granted custody, that doen not disprove sexisim in family court any more than the fact that Thurgood Marshall was on the supreme court proved that there was no racisim in the late 60's and 70's.



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