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Published: Monday, June 16 2014 5:10 p.m. MDT

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Karen R.
Houston, TX

IMO, there is a troubling similarity of language between this sentence written by Ms. Erickson:

"Support for feminism seemed almost to require it, and in its wake manhood was moved from the pedestal to the mud."

And this from the Doherty article she cites shortly thereafter:

"The old patriarchical model made men the measuring stick for the human; women were men with deficits. Feminists have effectively challenged this deficit model of womanhood...Men had to be brought off the pedestal, and women out of the mud."

I realize she made some small changes so the meaning coincided with her perspective on feminism, but it seemed pretty clear to me where she got the phrasing. Is this kosher?

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

This column seems like a thinly-veiled excuse for a diatribe against feminism and equality of the sexes.

No one who has seen a father with his child has any doubt as to the value of that love, and what the two mean to each other.

A conservative academic, ensconced at a conservative university might not be aware of it, but we've had some serious economic disruptions in the middle class family these last three decades. Union manufacturing jobs, and skilled and semi-skilled labor, are endangered species, as is the male who can support a middle-class family entirely on his own.

Moving those men, especially older or macho men, out of the blue collar world into other industries hasn't been as easy as moving women into white-collar, pink-collar, and service fields. This means working women have become essential to the support of many families. To dismiss this as radical feminism is to miss the point entirely.

Many of Ms. Erickson's examples are simply misreadings of poverty, and of mothers not marrying unemployable men because of these self-same rigid gender models she supports.

B Man
Orem, UT

Thank you for this excellent article and for the clear way that you have highlighted the importance of fatherhood and the masculine role of fathers. It makes me want to be a better father.

It is troubling to see how many fatherless children are being born throughout the country and around the world. We need to do all we can to support moral values, strengthen families, and encourage responsible fatherhood.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Great article with some crucially important but woefully neglected points.

The disruption and disintegration of the nuclear family is a challenge for our world with implications so dire it makes all of the worst poppycock fantasies of global climate warming/change/disruption/etc. pale to insignificance by comparison. If society feels like it is unraveling it is because of the unraveling of so many concepts of the family began to have its growing effects at least a generation ago. The effect will continue to compound.

nycut
New York, NY

Oh. Another author trapped in pink vs. blue, missing the vastness we each contain. It's a bizarre obsession that requires human qualities be assigned to men or women.

In real life, she learned fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity from her mother. Their father excelled at understanding feelings. My sister nurtures her children through upset then models problem-solving "like a man." My gay friends can do it all. Sometimes all at once.

My cohort didn't "learn incompetence," by suppressing selective qualities (which seems to have been ]an important social survival skill for previous generations). Women change tires. Men cook. Men who dance are considered artistic, talented athletes. Desirable partners. Women who do math aren't socially punished for being not feminine enough. Gay people aren't deficient.

We don't live on Venus or Mars. In 1950. We're all right here, and alright here, on Earth.

Genitals are incidental. Pants are skirts are just clothes. Love who and how you love. Do what you're gifted at doing, seek someone who's good at what you're not. Love, strength and compassion matter. Skills matter. Attentive, intentional parenting matters. The rest is noise.

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