Ross D. Parke and Armin A. Brott, Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be(Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999). ISBN 0-395-86041-5. $24.00.
First, the pluses. This book bends over backwards to be fair to mothers. As a divorced dad, I like that. Why? Because we can’t reasonably ask for fairness if we won’t demonstrate it. Nevertheless the book’s refusal to indulge in an anti-woman meow-festival doesn’t prevent it from leading the reader to a decisively anti-Gender Apartheid system conclusion. This is probably the book’s best service.
Also good is the book’s marshaling of empirical evidence supporting how critical fathers are in the lives of their children. No one except an ardent supporter of the Gender Apartheid system could come away from this book without a deep appreciation of the irreparable harm being inflicted on children and society by the scourge of state-sponsored fatherlessness. Similarly, the book does an excellent job exposing and then exploding the anti-father, anti-male stereotypes that characterize our culture.
Finally, though not anti-woman, the book is antifeminist (if by “feminist” we refer to the radical, so-called anti-patriarchy feminist wing now running the otherwise laudatory movement for women’s equality). It exposes radical-feminism’s agenda and state-sponsored terror apparatus and is a very effective manual for arousing proper anger at the Judicial-Legislative-Administrative axis grinding down our society and children from misguided philosophy, unmitigated greed and cowardice. Anyone interested in an even better nonacademic primer on this subject (and everyone should be!) will be richly rewarded by Lynne Chaney’s “Telling The Truth.”
The minuses of the book are disturbing.
Too often it buys into the very stereotyping it unmasks. For instance, at the bottom of page 117, it says: “Even in the happiest relationships, there’s little argument that fathers aren’t always as involved as they could and should be.” Oh really? Says who? Says what research? I believe if the authors are going to indulge in this kind of anecdotal speculation, they should at least make the anecdotal point known well by many men that the reason fathers may not be involved (assuming that’s true at all) is the dictatorial attitude of so many women when it comes to issues connected to children and the home. Men become uninvolved (if they become uninvolved) out of conflict aversion.
The numerous examples of conceding arguments that aren’t arguments at all but unsupported rants against men and fathers is not the worst weakness of this book, however. The worst weakness is that it never makes the critical argument about the sheer unconstitutionality of the entire Gender Apartheid system. It never discusses the equal protections guaranteed all individuals under the 14th Amendment. Because of this omission, it fails, in its “Ten Things Men Can Do” section, to admonish men to go into court and make the constitutional argument against Gender Apartheid, write their elected representatives, write letters to the editor, and take the debate high grounds by staying on message with the winning combo of Fatherlessness & Equality.
On balance this book is well worth the price, does an excellent job of generally surveying the landscape and providing a basic educational primer. I look forward to future works from Parke and Brott.
Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be
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