By Kinsee Morlan, Staff Columnist The fathers’ rights advocacy group, Fathers 4 Justice, has beenbusy in recent weeks. From a Batman appearance on the walls ofBuckingham Palace to an appearance by Batman, Robin, and yes, evenSuperman on the rooftop of the Bristol County Court building inLondon, these guys are letting their presence be known.
Jason Hatch, aka Batman from the Palace, is willing to go to thesegreat heights in the name of his two young children, to whom he haslittle or no access.Traditionally, courts in Britain and the UnitedStates tend to favor the mother when considering child custodyrights, and Hatch has had enough.
Way to go, Dad! I am tempted to dress up like Catwoman and climbthe walls of a local preschool to back these guys up. However, I’llonly do it if I can extend their message to include not only theinjustices of separated families, but also to draw attention to theinjustices suffered in families that are still together.
Susan Okin, political theorist and author of “Justice, Gender andthe Family” says, “It is not easy to think about marriage and thefamily in terms of justice. For one thing, we do not readilyassociate justice with intimacy.” Okin points to the family as themost threatening existing unjust institution. The injustices withinthis “foundation of society” have continued to exist because they’vealways been ignored. The civil rights movement didn’t touch thefamily because of a general assumption that somehow love makes thefamily automatically just and untouchable in terms of laws andlegislation that would protect the weaker members’ rights.
By weaker members, of course, I mean the women and children. Therights of children within the family are a joke. They are subjected- in most traditional families – to anauthoritarian-structured patriarchy. The mother is just barely betteroff than the children are; she is relegated to the status of a slave.
OK, OK, I know it’s hard to think that a family could be so bad,but it’s these accepted norms that are so deeply sunk into ourtraditions that are so dangerous and threatening to progress. It’ssimply expected of moms – pseudo-scientifically backed becauseof the thicker cerebral cortex, which now says women are better at”multitasking” – to juggle a career, child rearing, householdchores and cooking, all while still being beautiful andcompassionate.
I call the scientific claim ludicrous, and I call the duties ofmotherhood ridiculous. Okin calls these expectations “unpaid labor”and asks for the state to step in. She wants government subsidizedchildcare; the earlier you put kids in daycare, the better for thewomen, and she wants special exceptions in the working world forwomen who are pregnant or have children under the age of 3.
In instances in which the woman is unable to work outside of thehome, Okin calls for a separate paycheck to be issued directly to themother from the working husband’s company. All’s fair in love andwar!
I couldn’t agree more. Even families such as mine – thatpretend to be democratic and just on the surface – arebubbling over with sexism and oppression. I love my dad – he’sa great guy, but my earliest memories are of my mom. Besides, I thinkthe only thing my Dad knows how to cook is goulash.
So, when I heard about Fathers 4 Justice, I got excited andstarted running. I’m trying to drop a few pounds so I won’t look solumpy when I go to put on that catsuit. If fathers want to bear thebrunt of child rearing, have at it! Take the kids – and whileyou’re at it, take some cooking and cleaning classes too.
– Kinsee Morlan is a journalism junior.
– This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TheDaily Aztec. Send e-mail to email@example.com.Anonymous letters will not be printed – include your full name, majorand year in school.