ISO Good Fathers (and Men)!

Writer Ruthie Blum made a compelling point about the larger culture in a post about the Sandy Hook massacre: What has happened to fatherhood? She offers numerous examples of absent or completely dysfunctional fathers associated with tragedies in recent years.

So what has happened to fatherhood? I’d hazard at least one guess: The kind of cheap “I am woman, hear me roar” feminism that permeates our culture has so completely devalued men’s role in the family — as both providers and protectors — that there are many, many males who genuinely don’t understand what their responsibilities properly are.

Men tend to live up (or down) to the expectations women have for them. In recent decades, we have demanded from them both too much (men should be more sensitive, domestically-oriented and emotional, like stereotypical women — except when we don’t want them to be!) and too little (offering easy sex with no reciprocal guarantee of love, support and commitment for ourselves and our children).


  1. Fake John Galt

    Women have demanded equality, and they have received it.

    If a woman is a man’s equal.  Why should a man be expected to provide for her?

    If a woman is a man’s equal.  Why should a man be expected to protect her?

    If a woman has the only and final say in whether a child is allowed to be born or aborted.  Why does the man have any responsibility for that decision?

    Women/motherhood have told men/fatherhood that it is no longer wanted, needed or desired.  So men/fatherhood have done what was demanded of them and stepped away.

    So when you see stuff like Sandy Hill it had nothing to do with men/fathers.  They were not even allowed to be involved. 

    Women have demanded equality, and they have received it.  Now they need to take the responsibility that equality demands.

  2. Paul Dougherty

    “Johnny, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

    “I want to be a fireman, or engineer, or investment banker, or cowboy…”

    ” How about being a father? Then those other careers will help you to get to that goal.”

    We don’t pay much attention to preparing our boys to be fathers.

  3. PsychLynne
    We don’t pay much attention to preparing our boys to be fathers. · 2 hours ago

    True.  This is my I like to say my husband and I are raising men…not boys, the culture can raise boys.  (See Kay Hymowitz writings)

    I think the concept of fatherhood has become  a bit of a mess.  Of course, if you want to make a difference you walk towards the messes. 

    BTW, enjoying your posts, Carol.

  4. Franco

    As a father, and a good one I believe, at least so far – I’ve had it with these pleas for men to do something, most often coming from women. Even when it’s fairly sympathetic and respectful, the female is saying in effect – You men need to do something about this. Or, in the case of the article at he link, a pretext for some more male bashing. I know a man who did this or did that. Likely she heard the story from a woman. Yes of course there are bad fathers. But the environment creates the problem as much as overly high taxes create cheating and flight, and I’m not implying it’s all economic.

     A women can make it impossible for the man to stay. I repeat. Women can make it impossible for the man to stay. This can happen by design or by accident. It can happen unconsciously, it can happen if the man is psychologically stable, it can happen if the man is honorable and true. 

    It’s now time for women who care about this issue to focus on something other than men as the objects to solve this problem.

  5. Franco

    Women are the architects and the keepers of the family. Men have little power in this field. Women have, to varying degrees, thrown their lot in with feminism. Men are in no position to help in this area, other than telling you gals what it’s like. I don’t want to whine or complain, though. We aren’t allowed to do that either without being insulted.

    So some first steps. Stop the male-bashing on TV movies and elsewhere. You gals might not see it  but it’s out there and it’s destructive. Don’t watch, or write a letter. Use your energy to push back, not expect men to do something.

    Allow boys to be boys. 

    Allow men to be men. 

    Fight back with other women. You don’t need to be an advocate for men’s rights, but don’t let females get away with not being responsible about these issues.

    But complaining to us men about the sorry state of affairs won’t help at all. We know. God, do we know. It is too bad that more women didn’t speak up 20 years ago. It’s okay, lots of men were duped too.

  6. Lavaux

    I imagine a 40 year-old guy who’s the father of two kids, married, working in a job in a marriage in a place in a life he’d leave yesterday for the life he imagines he deserves. Why is this guy where he is? Why does he stick it out?

    The answer to the first question: Because that’s what good men did when he was growing up.

    The answer to the second question: Because he loves his kids, maybe his wife, too, and he’s earned some measure of respect from his peers, who are all having second thoughts, just like he is.

    Now consider a testosterone-fueled twenty something who’s grown up learning that everyone is basically good, and nothing is expected of anyone except self-love. Is this guy going to get married because that’s what good men do? Probably not. Is he going to keep commitments when they become burdensome? Probably not.

    I’ll concede that American women are to be avoided as spouses because they want too much in return for too little. But don’t pin it all on them or men or society. Blame everyone involved.

  7. Lance

    I regularly explore the topic of fatherhood in my ongoing series of Notes From Daddy I share on the member feed. I have been writing to my girls now 4 and 2 since my oldest’s first birthday. While the exercise is as much a personal journey as anything, not only does it remind me of how essential the role of dad is on a child’s trek towards adulthood, it underline’s how critical the role of the child is on father’s maturation into manhood. I am committed to being the best father I can be, and have found so far, that in the pursuit of being that, I have become better at my everything else. Do my Notes address absentee fathers, or the challenges of being a father after a nasty divorce? No, but neither issue is part of the life I have lived, or the life I plan to give my girls. My wife and I have been together 15 years now. We waited 8 years to get married, and then another 5 to have kids. All that time waiting was spent planning and dreaming. And that has made all the difference in the world.

  8. Joseph Eagar

    I’ll concede that American women are to be avoided as spouses because they want too much in return for too little. But don’t pin it all on them or men or society. Blame everyone involved. · 54 minutes ago

    I like that (though I don’t know about the demanding women part; I don’t have much experience there, other than early-20s women, but I always thought that was normal at that age).

  9. Schrodinger

    I think it all goes back to the debasement of the Judeo-Christian ethos and the denigration of marriage.

    Marriage makes men and women partners in rearing the next generation. Outside of marriage, men and women become competitors. Single men and women compete for economic resources. Divorced men and women compete for their children.

    Men and women could both learn from Ephesians 5:21-33.

  10. iWc

    Hedonism dominates, and our decadence matches or exceeds that of the Roman Empire. There is no credible “gentle slope” way back.

    Our society is toasted.

  11. BrentB67

    I agree that in general men have been defanged and economic opportunity has faded.

    The percentage of our nation engaged in manufacturing or engineering things is shrinking and often the design portion is software that while important lacks a masculine edge.

    I am not sure about the feminism aspect of it, but in some cases men have been reduced to sperm donors and we are still good at that.

    All of that said men have fallen from a leadership largely by our own doing.

    The question you ask is legitimate, but there is a certain chicken or the egg aspect to the answer(s).

  12. Nick Stuart

    Looking forward to hearing from Carol in the comment feed after a day or so when she’s had some time to mull over these comments.

  13. TheSophist

    I take it you missed the mass debates about chivalry and male-female relations going on here at Ricochet :)

    I’ll sit back and watch this one; little left unsaid on those threads. :)

    Welcome to Ricochet, btw, Carol.

  14. Jim  Ixtian

    Firstly, welcome. You’ve done fine work guest hosting the Hugh Hewitt show.

    Secondly, the link to Ruth’s article is bad.

    Thirdly, some of this territory has been covered in the more vitriolic, dyspeptic conversations we’ve had post-BO’s re-election here and here.

    Lastly, although this vblog (NSFW) by GirlWritesWhat has been referenced several times at Ricochet, IMO, it is still the best analysis of the problems we face.

  15. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Jim Ixtian:

    Lastly, although this vblog (NSFW) by GirlWritesWhat has been referenced several times at Ricochet, IMO, it is still the best analysis of the problems we face. 


    Paged through GirlWritesThat’s blog. A lot of what she says is right, but the  best  analysis?…

    Though she recognizes the crucial role that feminine chastity has played in history, much of what she writes seems to assume that that role is now more or less obsolete: there is much mention of women taking ownership of their sex lives, little mention of the fact that chastity is the ideal way to “woman up”, given women’s natural difficulty separating sex from emotional attachment.

    Maybe this is because she has sex like a man. She admits she’s always felt more like one of the guys than one of the girls — and it shows.

    Also, her disdain for those defending traditional morality from a perspective other than that of men’s rights is just baffling. Doesn’t she recognize that they and she are (or should be) on the same side, that it’s a  good  thing to frame the same argument in different ways to appeal to different people?

  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    I never met my male parent. My female parent was- to be charitable- a worthless derelict. Worse, my experiences since childhood have taught me that men have no rights a womyn should feel bound to respect.

    I’m very sorry this had to happen to you, Xennady. No wonder you’re so angry.

  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    TheSophist pointed out in another thread that tradition-minded women should treat tradition-minded men as allies, not enemies, in the sex wars. He was right. Likewise:

    All you men in the men’s-rights crowd should know that tradition-minded women are your best allies in this fight, not your enemies.

    And you should know that, to a tradition-minded woman, the pervasive sense of grievance (understandable though it may be) of the men’s-rights movement comes across to a traditional gal as, quite simply, unmanly.

    There, I’ve said it.

  18. Guruforhire

    Girlwriteswhat has mentioned in one of her videos in that if forced to choose between the status quo and the traditionalism she would choose traditionalism.

    I kind of feel you about the unmanly thing, but its like going to the doctor.  I feel unmanly going to the doctor anytime when I am not in danger of bleeding to death.  One has to work within the framework we have, and democracy only responds to whiny little [there is no appropriate word outside of the vernacular so fill it in].

    I think the anti-traditionalist stuff is primary a result of the atheism thing.  So they are trying to develop an egalitarian model of relationships that isn’t rooted in religious tradition.  Which is fine.  What I think they acknowledge more than traditionalist women is the influence of technology and its impact on masculinity.  The traditional arrangement is now preferable more than it is necessary.  The traditional arrangement makes the most sense in a world of poverty and brutish desperation.  It still the happiest form of a relationship we have now, but its not necessary for survival so to speak.

  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    TheSophist: I take it you missed the mass debates about chivalry and male-female relations going on here at Ricochet :)

    I’ll sit back and watch this one; little left unsaid on those threads. :)

    Even so,  someone  should link to the conversation you started on this topic. Allow me.

  20. BlueAnt

    Whatever happened to the idea that men were savage animals that needed to be tamed by civilization?  (And that women were one of those strong civilizing forces?)  Have we dumped that idea, or did we just keep the part where men are generally bad, but now women get to be just as bad and society gets all the blame?

    Not saying men should be savage, but if that is assumed to be the default state then a lot of the sticky existential questions get answered neatly, albeit somewhat lazily.

    It’s slightly tangential to the question of fatherhood.  But it’s been understood since ancient times that fatherhood, in the nurturing family sense, requires a civilizing framework.  And this framework is notably deficient in certain libertine societies.

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