I attended a couple of father’s rights meetings once, just to see. The ones I attended consisted mainly of men complaining – with, I should add, amazing bitterness – that they ought to be able to, you know, get a to-the-penny accounting of how child support money was spent. And maybe a line-item veto option. Not that they were interested in trying to control their ex’s lives or anything.
I was reminded of that reading Trish Wilson’s blog; Trish has been doing a lot of top-notch blogging on father’s rights misogyny lately (just go to her September 2004 archives and scroll). My favorite was this Guardian article on “Father4Justice,” a sort of support group for British divorced dads who like dressing up as Batman and hanging out on ledges. Here’s a sample:
Since children are not, as Lord Falconer has pointed out, to be divided up like CD collections, it is not terribly surprising that when these cases go to court many more parents profess themselves unhappy with the outcome. They must have been pretty unhappy before they got there. Those of us who have never been through one of these ghastly battles like to point out, the more piously the better, that such parents really ought to put personal animosity aside. But if they can’t, the courts will have to do it for them; occasionally deciding that shared parenting, in this battleground, may no longer be the best outcome. Even so, where parents go to court for contact, only 0.8% are refused. But this sort of objection is unlikely to make much difference to the F4J men’s approval ratings, at least while mothers seem so reluctant to dress up as cartoon figures and throw purple condoms at people.
Just as impressive is an American group, Equal Rights for Divorced Fathers. Are they misogynistic? Well, their t-shirt (sold to raise funds) bears the motto “Trust No Bitch.” Their founder likes to tell jokes like “What do you tell a wife who has two black eyes? Nothing, you told her twice already.” And that’s just for starters. What’s frightening is, at least until recently courts routinely referred fathers to this group. Trish has more.