Below, a clip from liz’s webpage at http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/014.htm
which she wrote nearly 15 years ago in 1996, followed by an errata:
What's this stuff really all about? Behind this movement is not just
divorce reform or "getting fathers involved," as the ostensibly harmless,
even beneficent, but farcical rhetoric of the National Fatherhood
Initiative puts it. It's a first step in an agenda to get those women
back under "control." A patriarchal backlash.
Consider this: even if everything Horn and his ilk claim about intact
homes were true, it still wouldn't present a viable argument. This is a
"problem" without an acceptable solution. We also could violate individual
rights and autonomy in all kinds of nasty and intrusive ways in order to
create a society which appears more seemly, neat, utopian, homogeneous,
We could make the argument that turning another segment of the population,
e.g. "blacks," back into slaves would enhance production and the economy
(as that argument was made in the old south) and the standard of living
for everyone else. We could make an argument for castration of any male
caught having sex out of wedlock -- now THAT would solve some of the
fatherless family problem, wouldn't it. Similarly, we could pass laws
preventing women from exiting marriages, punishing adultery, requiring
father custody or control of households. (And if these didn't accomplish a
thing for the welfare of children, well at least they would please some
self-and-other-controlling men, wouldn't they.) We could pass all manner
of oppressive and draconian laws which would prevent and eliminate all
kinds of perceived social "ills" and unseemliness. How about sterilizing
Some of this fathers-rights-anti-woman agenda is succeeding because of the
willingness of most to simply presume that into which they have been
inculcated in this father-loving society since childhood: the necessity of
having a "father." All we need is a claimed compelling reason, specious or
otherwise, to trample again on women's lives, such as a purported "need"
of children for two parents, one of each sex.
Most of us have fathers; most of us adore our daddies. But that's not
proof of a thing. When it's about willingness to sacrifice one
individual's welfare for the sake of another's, the crucial threshold
questions must be examined and answered first. In general, with regard to
father's rights rhetoric, that has not been done. It makes for great
By contrast, the position that children may NOT "need" two parents, and
that this really may be all about what MEN need, elicits high emotion and
It is just too upsetting a thought for many to contemplate -- oh my, who
would posit such a terrible idea, I love MY daddy, etc. That children
"need" two parents, one of each sex, has been presumed, and it's the
reason why over the past few years, many of the fathers rights groups have
added "children" into the names of their organizations. Being fooled by
that is not good scholarship and it's not intelligent.
But to the point: if "fatherlessness" is a problem, then how is it
supposed to be cured? With the feel-good prattle of the National
Fatherhood Initiative et al. giving lipservice to ineffectual programs,
child support collections and such things as the innocuous-sounding
"working with men to get them 're-involved' in 'broken homes'"?
Please. Traditionally, patriarchy has cured "fatherlessness" with
restrictions (not placed on men) regarding on how women may live their
adult lives, and use their very own bodies. This is, when all is said and
done, what is implied to follow the yammering about the "problem" of
"fatherlessness." Next come the solutions.
First are the "step ones," such as restrictions on divorce, requirements
that women name fathers on birth certificates or name their children after
the men, the imposition of the accutrements of marriage and "normal family
structure" onto the families created by women out of wedlock.
After that come the "step twos," a la Father's Manifesto, that women and
women's sexuality further be controlled, restricted, and reined in again
in all kinds of other ways, legal and social: from restricting entry into
jobs, to ending their suffrage, eliminating their right to own and manage
property, and otherwise going back the panoply of historical measures that
traditionally have been used to "encourage" women to get into marriages
and remain married. Pandering to Judaic and Christian religious notions --
completely inappropriate as a basis for law in the United States -- also
plays a major role here, as these religions essentially are about the
exaltation of "fatherhood" and patriarchy, and originally came about for
the purpose of institutionalizing this social ordering scheme.
Fathers are not in the home? Those who are concerned about this, and think
it important, should work on making living with men more attractive to
women. Obviously, some marriages succeed, and I doubt that many of those
in this age of readily available divorce are enduring merely out of
altruistic misery and abstract social commitment on the part of the
persons in them.
A little cessation of the silly and counterproductive talk about how
fathers "parent differently," are "important," are the "authoritative"
ones, are the "spiritual leaders," and are "critical" to rearing children,
and a little more talk about how men ought to get off that high horse,
role up their sleeves, cut the superiority drivel, and pitch in with the
housework, might go a lot further toward restoring marriage as a viable
and enduring institution. Sorry, guys: your way didn't work for the
majority of the population, and the clock is just not going back.
Silly liz. In 1996, the crazy nutjobs from the fathers rightstsers to the
Middle East Muslim whackos seemed... well surely, such primitive loons
that no one could possibly take them seriously. The National Fatherhood
Initiative should have fizzled out in a couple of years.
2010 -- Errata: correct analysis, wrong prediction. The clock is
indeed moving back. The only question is going to be "how far
back", and I no longer have optimism.
-------- --- just another little data point --------------
video here: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2705.htm
Following are excerpts from a religious program featuring Egyptian cleric
Yousuf Al-Badri, which aired on BBC Arabic TV, which aired on October 16,
Yousuf Al-Badri: In Islam, the marriage contract is a contract of
pleasure, which allows both husband and wife to derive pleasure from one
another. So if deriving pleasure lies at the core of the contract, how can
we possibly call it rape when a husband derives pleasure from his wife?!
Interviewer: What if it is against her will, using violence?
Yousuf Al-Badri: According to the hadith, if a husband summons his wife
and she refuses, she incurs the wrath of God in Heaven when she's asleep.
The husband is not allowed to rape her, but she incurs the wrath of Allah.
The Prophet Muhammad said that she must come to him even if she is baking
by the stove or riding a horse.
Interviewer: A marriage of contract is not a deed of ownership, in which
the woman relinquishes her honor, her mind, and so on.
Yousuf Al-Badri: This talk about honor is a new thing. We never heard of
it until these days. If a woman is at home with her husband, and she is
his companion and runs the household, and he asks her to give him food,
drink, and so on – how can we possibly consider it rape when he derives
pleasure from her, even if she doesn't feel like it, of if she abhors
it... How can we possibly consider it a kind of what is called "rape"?
This is not true.
Interviewer: She's his wife! Do you justify beatings or sadistic behavior?
Yousuf Al-Badri: Islam forbids beating unless it is done with a stick -- a
stick the size of a pencil or a toothpick.