Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Family Court Hell

Thanks to the many readers who been sending me this story over the past several days. Many of you expressed concern about the horrible story of Mark Harris, an English father who was jailed for waving at his daughter:

Denied access to his three children after his divorce, Mark was jailed for standing outside his house to wave to them. It took ten years and 133 hearings before they were reunited. How CAN the Government insist cases like his are kept secret?

Every day there is some reminder of what Mark Harris calls 'the lost years'.

It could be his daughter's reference to a particular birthday party or a family holiday. It could be talk of exams sat, dentists visited or pop stars worshipped.

Each time it happens, he feels a stab of regret. 'I missed so much,' he reveals, with understandable bitterness. 'They took my daughter's childhood, her formative years, from me. Lisa is 20 now. I didn't see her between the ages of ten and 16. An awful lot happens in a child's life in that time, and I missed it all....'

'What happened to my family is unforgivable. And that it was all sanctioned - ordered - by a system that is supposed to help families is outrageous.'

The controversial family court system has much to answer for in this case. Mark Harris isn't the first father who has questioned how it operates. Family court proceedings are notoriously secretive, and campaigners have long appealed for the proceedings to be more open and judges more accountable.

That is not to be, however. Last week the Lord Chancellor ruled that proceedings must remain secret - something that horrifies Mark and his girls.

...So angry is he about his experiences that he has written a book, Family Court Hell. 'Surely my story is evidence enough that the system needs to change.

'If it doesn't, the family courts are open to abuse by unaccountable judges and social workers with their own agendas, whose word is taken as law and who almost invariably favour the mother.


Mr. Harris says that his case is not unique, many other fathers are going through similar situations--heck, even in the US, being a movie star is no protection-- Alec Baldwin believes he has gotten the shaft and is writing a book about the experience.

It is common knowledge among men that they have fewer rights than they could ever imagine when they get into the divorce process. I sometimes wonder if in the back of their mind, some dads know that the deck is stacked against them and this is why they do not get too engaged with their children if they are not getting along with the mother. The less emotional engagement, the less pain and frustration when the courts, the mother and the lawyers finish with the process. Many men are told that they do not care about families and children and maybe some don't but my guess is that there are a number of fathers who had to disengage to save their emotional lives. This ends up being tragic for both the father and the children.

140 Comments:

Blogger dadvocate said...

I imagine that cases like Mark's are more common than many will admit, here in the U.S. and England.

Most divorced men I've known didn't fight for custody or joint physical custody because they felt the system is stacked against them and they didn't have a chance. Curiously, everyone I've known, including myself, who did, won, but often at a great financial cost. In the cases I'm familiar in which the father received full custody, there were obvious, extreme problems with the mother or the child's preference was the father.

Another court system that is secret is the juvenile court system. Ostensibly, the reason for this is to protect the kids from harm to reputation due to youthful indiscretions. However, when I was a juvenile probation officer I sat in many juvenile court hearings.

The burden of proof and presumption of innocence was less than in adult courts. I also felt that racial discrimination was strong on the judge's part. In general, I believe the kids would have been better off being publicly identified but having the full constitutional rights due to adult defendants.

11:33 AM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Wow, what an awful story. I wish it was more rare. I was so blessed in the outcome of my fight, I try to be thankful for that every day.

Helen wrote: "The less emotional engagement, the less pain and frustration when the courts, the mother and the lawyers finish with the process." This makes sense to me. I do know that fathers with more time with their post-divorce children are less likely to get behind with child support. So I think that fact supports the theory in a slightly circuitous fashion.

Trey

11:56 AM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I guess your speculation would answer one question I have always had: why the dads didn’t fight for their children when the mother was trying to sever their bonds, and why they don’t try to get resourceful about subverting her attempts to keep them separated. For example, one of my classmate’s had a boyfriend who had flowers delivered to her while in class. Instead, let the father send a note to the kid whose birthday he was not allowed to see. Make a paper trail to take to a judge, documenting each attempt thwarted. However, if jail time is what’s in the offing, then I guess I can understand why the fathers retreat. Too bad there aren’t more (or any?) class action lawsuits for this here and abroad.

The one mistake I think the dads make is not letting the kid know that their absence is the mother’s fault. If the kid thinks their dad doesn’t want them, that has a huge impact on them. Better for the dad to stop protecting the mom and let her answer to the kid for why he’s not around. Teenage rebellion (like with Lisa) can be a wonderful tool in the right hands…

I also think cases like this should be an incentive for people to do a better job of picking their spouses. I’m in the failed marriage business, you could say, and it’s rare for people’s spouses to change out of the blue (short of a head injury, mental illness, or substance abuse). One man married a woman who, out of sheer spite, had him falsely arrested while they were still dating.

He should have kicked her to the curb, but instead he met her at the altar and lived years of torment afterwards, thinking she would magically change all the while. He knew what she was, but disregarded it. This is not unusual--a lot of people mindlessly enter marriage without taking the time to consider their spouse’s character. However, if you’re a man, the stakes are too high to indulge in magical thinking.

Since I’ve had this job I’ve done some research for what people, men in particular, ought to do when they’re divorcing vicious spouses. I don’t have the links with me now, but one thing I would advise is finding a lawyer who is used to dealing with borderline personalities or other assorted defects, so he will be swifter on the uptake about court strategies.

The site I can’t locate now had tips on dealing with the Social Services minions who act against you, but in absence of the name, I would just advise operating on the presumption of an adversarial relationship and take the mindset of getting in it to win it.

One tip, a scenario I’ve seen again and again is the wife who gets loud and in her husband’s face over nothing: don’t assume she’s just off her rocker that day. It is a ploy to get her husband to restrain her or defend himself so she can bring him up on charges and make the path to divorce smoother. Sometimes the man can get himself out of it, but oh, the trouble if he can’t...the logic is that if she files for divorce from her nice husband then she's the bad guy, unless she can establish that he is the bad guy, hence the entrapment. When the wife starts getting violent and picking fights out of the blue, start shopping for a lawyer.

Sorry, I did not mean to make this post long, I had no time to write it shorter.

~~Tyrian Purple

12:07 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Matthias said...

There seems to be an inability of the courts to distinguish between abusive men and good men. My best friend's brother is a kind, good man who has been forced to share custody of his two children with his wildly promiscuous, abusive, drug addicted ex-wife... and just getting joint custody was a hell of a fight.

We hear and see so much in the media about abusive men that the courts sometimes forget that there are also abusive women, angry and vindictive people who know which buttons to push and what things to say in order to get their way in a legal system that favors them and their word based solely on their gender.

Add to that the fact that too many social workers try to impose their own view of ideal families onto those whose lives they control such that spanking becomes child abuse and raising one's voice becomes an indicator of psychological instability, when, in fact, these things can also be an indication of a perfectly normal person.

12:08 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Oh, yeah - it happens here.

And anonymous 12:07 PM, I sure wish I'd have known there are lawyers who are aware of, even specialize in the knowledge of how to handle borderlines, etc. I was led around by the nose, and dropped off at the cleaners. Any lawyer will take a case as long as his client has cash. Evidently, whether he is qualified or not.

12:34 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The family court situation is nothing short of a horror story, for both mothers as well as fathers. The courts do not act in the best interest of the child, they act in the best interest of whoever has the most money to keep up the fight the longest and pay the court whores to lie the best.

========================

Myth -- Family courts are biased against fathers in custody disputes.

Fact: "Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70 percent of contested cases."

Schafran, Lynn Hecht, "Gender Bias in Family Courts," American Bar Association Family Advocate, Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 26

Ruth I. Abrams & John M. Greaney, Report of the Gender Bias Study of the Supreme Judicial Court [of Massachusetts] 62-63 (1983), also citing similar finding from California and other parts of the nation.

Fact: "The various gender bias commissions found that at the trial court level in contested custody cases, fathers won more than half the time. This is especially significant in light of the fact that not only do fathers win more often in court when they take these cases to trial, but also that an overwhelmingly higher percentage of fathers gain primary custody -- by any means -- than were ever the primary caregiver of their children during marriage. Statistically, this dashes the argument that 'only the strongest cases are taken to trial,' and in fact indicates an extraordinary bias against mothers and the value of mothering and mothers' work."

liznote re the more than 40 state gender bias task force reports. Available from the National Judicial Education Program, 9 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013.


Myth -- Family courts are biased against fathers in custody disputes.

Fact: "Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70 percent of contested cases."

Schafran, Lynn Hecht, "Gender Bias in Family Courts," American Bar Association Family Advocate, Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 26

Ruth I. Abrams & John M. Greaney, Report of the Gender Bias Study of the Supreme Judicial Court [of Massachusetts] 62-63 (1983), also citing similar finding from California and other parts of the nation.

Fact: "The various gender bias commissions found that at the trial court level in contested custody cases, fathers won more than half the time. This is especially significant in light of the fact that not only do fathers win more often in court when they take these cases to trial, but also that an overwhelmingly higher percentage of fathers gain primary custody -- by any means -- than were ever the primary caregiver of their children during marriage. Statistically, this dashes the argument that 'only the strongest cases are taken to trial,' and in fact indicates an extraordinary bias against mothers and the value of mothering and mothers' work."

liznote re the more than 40 state gender bias task force reports. Available from the National Judicial Education Program, 9 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013.

=================================

In family court, no one wins, except the attorneys

12:44 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Meade said...

Well put, BR549. This is probably not the link Tyrian Purple was looking for, but it might help:
http://fathersforlife.org/fatherhood/paternity.htm

12:46 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Problem is that it is hard to assess this story without knowing all the background. Harris was not jailed simply for waving at his daughter. He was jailed for violating a court order by waving at his daughter. My questions are:(a)did the wave violate actually violate court order and, if so, in what way? (b) if so, did this violation of a court order warrant jail time because of particular circumstances in this case? (c) was the original court order prohibiting contact reasonable?

I just feel that it's hard to know the answers to these questions without knowing all the background and the reasoning behind the many decisions in this case.

If Harris had abused the children or the mother, the wave could have been an act of intimidation. But there is some evidence that that is not the case given that Harris's grown daughter seems to support his side of the story, but it's unclear.

It seems very difficult to me to assess particular examples of alleged gender prejudice without delving into the entire background of a particular case. The Daily Mail (as always)presented the matter in an overly simplistic way.

1:03 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

There is lots I could say, and lots I have said on this subject.

Let it suffice to say that "in for life" bureaucrats are every bit as guilty as elected biased officials. Who puts them there, for crying out loud? Long after an elected official is out of office, the lefty bureaus are still there.

As we all know, the longer a case goes on, the more money a lawyer makes. It is certainly not in his best interest to make quick and clean. The way they handle it is to accuse the other side of what they themselves are actually doing.

1:06 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The references given by anonymous at 12:44 rely on erroneous use of statistics. You can NOT extrapolate from a non-random sample to the broader population.

One cannot assume a priori that "Fathers who contest" are a random sample from all divorcing fathers. Period. The quoted statement "Statistically, this dashes the argument that 'only the strongest cases are taken to trial" is absolute nonsense and could only have been written by someone with little understanding of scientific method or statistics.

Assuming that a 50:50 male/female split would result when things are fair, whether it has to do with custody or employment or anything else, indicates lack of scientific/statistical knowledge.

If it is a myth that fathers are biased against, those who wish to shoot it down need something better than junk science.

Dr. Will
Statistician


Anonymous 12:44 said:

Myth -- Family courts are biased against fathers in custody disputes.

Fact: "Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70 percent of contested cases."

Fact: "The various gender bias commissions found that at the trial court level in contested custody cases, fathers won more than half the time. This is especially significant in light of the fact that not only do fathers win more often in court when they take these cases to trial, but also that an overwhelmingly higher percentage of fathers gain primary custody -- by any means -- than were ever the primary caregiver of their children during marriage. Statistically, this dashes the argument that 'only the strongest cases are taken to trial,' and in fact indicates an extraordinary bias against mothers and the value of mothering and mothers' work."

1:47 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger dadvocate said...

...reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70 percent of contested cases."

How many cases are never contested because the man thinks he doesn't have a prayer? These contested cases could very well be the ones where the woman is completely nuts, an addict or such.

...higher percentage of fathers gain primary custody -- by any means -- than were ever the primary caregiver of their children during marriage.

How are we defining "primary caregiver?" Who determines who is the primary caregiver? Do we assume the woman is the primary caregiver even though she and the father both work full-time? My ex-wife claimed to be the primary caregiver although my entire work schedule revolved around picking up the kids from school, caring for them, feeding them, etc. which until about 6:00 PM at which time I would return to work. Our time with the children was very equal.

Studies can easily be biased to garner the results you want. Indeed, a woman I once worked with who was taking graduate social work classes in the evening came to work one day and began telling me how the professor had taught them to manipulate statistics to get the outcome they wanted from a study.

Working in marketing research, we put great effort into accurate results. Our reputation and livelyhood depends on it. For academic types, getting results that please agencies granting money can be quite important.

1:47 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact: "The various gender bias commissions found that at the trial court level in contested custody cases, fathers won more than half the time.

Presumably fathers contested custody only when they were likely to win.

So this statistic means that in more than 50% of cases where each party thought they were in with a chance of sucess, the father won.

"More than half" covers a lot of ground, but if the cases were roughly 50-50 this would imply that men and women were about equally good at judging their chances of success. As you might expect. It tells us nothing about what criteria were necessary for the father to succeed.

BTW - the fact that the system claims to be fair tells us very little about whether it actually is. There was a time when many Southern states claimed to treat blacks and whites "seperately but equal". What makes you sure that the system is any more honest now than it was then?

If there are powerful interest groups desiring option A, and the decision between A and B is made in secret it is wise to be skeptical of claims that the decision was made fairly.

1:50 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Anon 12:44

Well, you might have set the tone with the very first "myth" on that page of misandry.

"Myth -- A father's involvement is crucial for the well-being of a child."

Supposed positive findings about father involvement are appended with stuff like "However, these positive outcomes may result because of the fact that the fathers sampled wanted to be and enjoyed being involved in childcare, not just because they were involved per se."

Then, you might have provided the title from one of their harpy pages -- "AAML | AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS: a website permeated with father's rights drivel"


But to address what you posted:


"... reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70 percent of contested cases."

So, in cases where they don't roll over, they win custody rights -- and some indeterminate percentage of times it's primary -- but only 70 percent of the time in toto. What is the percentage for women? If greater than 70, it's no win for 'our' side, is it?



"... at the trial court level in contested custody cases, fathers won more than half the time."

Won what? Custody, joint custody?

"This is especially significant in light of the fact that not only do fathers win more often in court when they take these cases to trial, but also that an overwhelmingly higher percentage of fathers gain primary custody -- by any means -- than were ever the primary caregiver of their children during marriage."

It is of no significance that the father was the wage earner and the mother stay at home. That little "by any means" is inflammatory and meaningless because it equates intimidation with facts indicating a spouse is unfit. Both fit that phrase.

"Statistically, this dashes the argument that 'only the strongest cases are taken to trial,' and in fact indicates an extraordinary bias against mothers and the value of mothering and mothers' work."

Actually, it supports it. Men tend to take stronger cases to court and not persue weaker ones. And? It also indicates no such bias because we don't know the determining factors in those contested cases. Pure PR.

Please correct any misunderstandings on my part.


Oh, by the way, the linked site is very much against joint custody.



I recommend people to go and visit. It's a hoot, although I don't think that was their intention.

1:52 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous D said...

eh, the myth thing :shrug: when you are already being run bankrupt by the divorce proceeding, how do you possibly have the money to go to court to try and get sole custody when it is a dice roll? Those averages are codswallop IMHO, because even within the same district it varies BY JUDGE. A national average in that case is worthless. My lawyer told me point blank I couldn't afford it, and said the fallout from trying and failing was far worse than NOT trying. There is a BIG HOWEVER. If my ex- had significant personality flaws, and was a danger to the kids, then there in no way I would stop.

Basically this thing has to be taken on a case by case basis, and you have to care about the KID FIRST. Arent you leaving because you are tired of fighting with your ex all the time? Do you want her to control your after-divorce life too? Then always be a thorn in her side. If you are anywhere near neutral with your ex, concentrate on being the person you really are for your kids. In a few years your kids will figure it all out... my 13 yearold mentioned that his mom blames everything on me." I asked him if that seemed true to him. He answered "no."

Most kids eventually figure their parents out. They spot the manipulator, they spot the vicious, they spot the lies. If you are the person that had a hand in all that, they will not forgive you as adults. If you are who you always were and it is apparent to them that it is the other parent that is a little out there, they know that too. They figure it out if you live in a little dive of an apartment and you never have money, yet you work all the time... they notice that their mom has a nice house, yet never works. As they get older they get it. Make sure that your own actions are beyond repproach.

The only person you can control in all this is you.
D

1:53 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Oh crap, thought I was done then read this in "Myth -- A father's involvement is crucial for the well-being of a child."

"[I[nfants with less involved fathers were significantly more attached to their mothers than were infants with highly involved fathers."

That's right folks, one reason a father's involvement isn't crucial for the well-being of a child is that the infant will fix some of it's finite waking hours in the day to the father.

1:55 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would believe almost any horror story, because I am in the middle of one. My wife of 15 years became distant over about 2 years, we were going to counseling, but then she suddenly flipped out and fled with our three children, age 12, 9, and 6.

I have subsequently been accused of being distant, of sexual abuse, of violence, of being mean, of killing pets. At one time I was accused of taking my children to a torture chamber where I killed another child. Of course, none of this ever happened. But my wife has convinced my children this happened.

Despite my wife being found to be delusional and paranoid by the appointed forensic psychiatrist, she still has the children, and I see them very rarely. The therapists are in favor of "reunification" but nobody seems willing or able to hold my wife accountable for her bad behavior. She has gone through 4 attorneys and is searching for a fifth.

All I can tell about the system is it is very expensive, very slow, and very reluctant to impose change if it might be blamed for an adverse result. Better to leave the children with their crazy mother than risk taking them away, even if they agree the mother is unbalanced.

Anonymous for a reason.

2:41 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another way of trying to comprehend the level of the insanity and seething, vicious hatred of men that goes into how bills become laws in the Family Courts, look no further than the petitioning & advocacy of your friendly National Organization Of Women. Here is a happy-go-lucky fun quote from those fun gals taken directly from their official website: (you can go the page itself and read the full article)

http://www.now.org/issues/family/050307pas.html

"Parental Alienation Syndrome (sometimes called simply Parental Alienation) is not recognized by any professional body. It is simply a legal defense (disguised as psychological phenomenon) designed by Dr. Richard Gardner in the late 1980s to protect fathers from consequences of their abuse."

Of course behide this disgusting and flimsy proganda, the actual truth is that restraining orders are given out like candy everyday based on wildly exagerrated or out and out fraudulent accusations of violence are made by millions of women everyday either out of vindictiveness, to gain assets, or simply because they are bored, with absolutely no conscious at all, implying a kind of 'amorality' like that of an animal who has no moral compass or basic, fundamental sense of right or wrong. So how convenient that virtually all men who are in the midst of a divorce or past divorce are now automatically legally branded as 'abusers,' thus now any divorced father is 'abusive,' making the creepy statement by the creepy organization technically true, but only an idiot would buy into this overall rhetoric, but this is precisely how these radical women think, and it is very common. So we are supposed to just simply forget that any man would want to be his child- if he is severed by the mother, who has deemed him 'unfit'- he doesn't deserve to see his children.. this is the implication here. This is hatred, pure and simple that would give Hitler goosebumps.

Even if PAS is not currently "officially" recognized- who cares? Who doesn't know someone personally that has been alienated from their father by their mother? And what feminist doctrine/psychology/propaganda ISN'T based on truly hideously sleazy and questionable science?

And then there is the mainstream women who say and do nothing about all of this. They claim 'they do not agree with' radical, man-hating, neo-lesbian, feminist doctrine, but do nothing. Their silence is deafening. Thanks ladies, for NOTHING.(except dr. helen I guess). You are at least half the reason we are in this breakdown of society and slowly becoming a third world nation.

2:49 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say it's actually pretty simple. Getting married MEANS giving up your rights to a woman. It MEANS giving her protection if you later get it in your little head that you don't want to be a work horse for her.

Getting divorced is simply enforcement of the marriage promise. She has no responsibilities for the most part.

From that point of view, the question becomes: Why the hell did you set up that situation if you didn't want it?

I've never married because I never understood why I should put my balls in a woman's purse (uhh ... so to speak). But when I look around me, I see the men who get the hardest are the former "real men". "No wife of mine will ever work". Blah-blah. Well, they got that right. No wife of theirs WILL ever work. These men should finish what they started - whether the wife divorces or not, whether she turns into a useless nagging bitch or not.

3:32 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole underlying message here is that men/fathers are alsways a potential 'threat' to their children, yet it has been proven statistically that women/mothers abuse children far, far more (and murder children far more than fathers/men, mostly boys).

Then we all know what the female response to this fact is 100% of the time- everybody say it with me, "because women are with children more than men." Oh, stupid me! Of course- this 'logic' makes perfect sense, everyone says. But can anyone explain to me why this 'logic' doesn't apply to any other situation?

For example, according to this 'logic'- wouldn't most people who steal money be people that work at banks? You know, they are 'far more likely' to steal the money because they are 'around it more.' Of course we all know this is not true. People who work with the public- shouldn't every last one of them be assaulting at least 2 people a month?

This 'logic' is INSANE and it is SICK, because it is this very attitude that helps to perpetuate more women harming more children.

Who do you think should be with the children more often now?

3:51 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:32 said:

I've never married because I never understood why I should put my balls in a woman's purse (uhh ... so to speak).


Actually, Andrea Dworkin did say this quite literally in a speech in St.Paul, MN around 1983 or so. She said that men should have them surgically removed and given to their wives or girlfriends as a token of their shame for being male.

4:01 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Anonymous at 3:32 p.m.:

Getting married MEANS giving up your rights to a woman.

I am extremely curious to know what you mean by this? What are your "rights to a woman" and what "rights to a woman" do you have before a marriage?

-- M the F

4:31 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger John Doe said...

There are so many, many of these stories getting out now, when, oh when are they going to make a difference?

4:40 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, Margaret, that's a pretty astounding "edit" you made there at 4:31.

I have no "rights to a woman," But I do have rights, and when I get married, I "give" them to her.

That was just in case your little feminist mind couldn't see that from reading it a second time.

Rusty

4:41 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margaret 4:31 said:

I am extremely curious to know what you mean by this? What are your "rights to a woman" and what "rights to a woman" do you have before a marriage?


Is this a joke Margaret? Or a grammer lesson? Surely you know what Anon 3:32 meant.

Will

4:42 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

john doe:

They'll make a difference when the male vote starts to get large enough to speak with one voice. It ain't happened yet, but the volume is growing, day by day.

Rusty

4:43 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am extremely curious to know what you mean by this? What are your "rights to a woman" and what "rights to a woman" do you have before a marriage?"

You have GOT to be kidding me! Did you just move to the U.S.? I'm assuming you're in the U.S., right?

Where do you even start? This is only the beginning:

1. No rights concerning chidren- you have no legal rights as to whether you are going to have children or if they are going to be aborted & you cannot 'correct' your own children anymore as a father without the mother's oversight.
2. No rights in divorce.
3. No rights in your own house (go ahead, try and tell your wife she is going to do what you say- she'll dial 911!)
4. No rights (or options) in reference to work- you are now a SLAVE that must harder and harder and harder every year to meet her demands for more and more useless crap consumer items or else she will divorce you, and what happens if she divorces you?
There is about a 90% chance that your wife will:

1. Get 50% of everything you own.
2. Get custody of the kids.
3. Get Alimony.
4. Get Child Support.

In addition, now let's say you want to go golfing with your friends on Sunday, and she says, “I’m going to be very upset with you if you go golfing, I want you to watch the kids while I go get my hair done” — what do you think you’re going to do? Risk loosing items 1, 2, 3, and 4 above, or say “Yes dear”? And this is where all of these mousey men come from, wimpering around behind their wives.

I could go on all day- but you need get yourself educated!

4:55 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

margaret @ 4:31

What you've done here is clearly demonstrated the self-centered nature of the feminist: EVERYTHING gets read and evaluated in the context of "I, woman."

5:19 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could imagine this man in this story telling women (which he undoubtedly has) about the horrors of divorce and child visitation and having no rights as a man and being told by these women, "you're just bitter."

I always like to respond to this one with, "...and?"

For a woman to say, "you're just bitter," she might as well be getting up in front of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving meeting with parents whose children were all killed in drunk driving accidents and getting up in front of them and telling them, "you're all just bitter."

Is there anyone out there who is really stupid enough to beleive that women are the 'more caring' sex anymore? All of their feminity-hell, their very humanity has all but vanished in this post-feminist culture. In fact, does anyone out there believe that women are even capable of caring about another human being anymore?

The only time you see it anymore is when you see them do it in that really fake, condescending manner, such as, "oh, you're wife left you for another man, and now you can't see your children? You poor thing.. you must be really lonely.. oh, well- got to go... bye!" Yes, she has to go all right, because she can't wait to call half the neighborhood and tell them all about what a pathetic excuse for a man you are because 'you're not doing anything about your situation,' and laughing at you all the while.

Women, marriage, children- what a nightmare. Nowadays I can see through women so clearly it's as if they aren't really even standing there.

5:58 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt Margaret only acts disingenuous, as with this failure to parse a simple sentence, to "spur debate". No doubt.

Playing dumb is a typical troll tactic. Don't feed the trolls. Ignore them.

6:03 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Radish said...

Day-um. Anon 4:55 PM and 5:58, I appreciate that you've had crappy experiences with total bitches, but I shouldn't have to point out that not all women are lazy, materialistic, self-centered, controlling harpies--just like not all men are vicious, callous, self-centered controlling abusers. You sound like feminists.

(I've often suspected my general lack of interest in gold-digging and slave-holding is a contributing factor of my spinsterhood. You want to play golf? Fine, I got stuff I want to do. Although I'd appreciate if you picked up some beers on your way home, because we're out.)

6:16 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All of their feminity-hell, their very humanity has all but vanished in this post-feminist culture."

American women entered an active phase of self-destruction. Why do you think nowadays girls drink, smoke and use drugs more than boys (as statistics tell us) and why there are so many cases of mothers killing their offspring? Because American Woman (Western Woman) is a species that is not fit for life anymore and is doomed to disappear from Earth.

6:17 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

anonymous 2:41 PM

I feel for you, like you wouldn't believe. We could read each other's mail, and only the names would be different.

All the signs are there, and they know exactly what is going on. But they won't tell you if she says they can't.

Find a better lawyer than I had, and get those kids.

6:34 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I shouldn't have to point out that not all women are lazy, materialistic, self-centered, controlling harpies--just like not all men are vicious, callous, self-centered controlling abusers."

Are you finished with your little 'Barney' style life lesson? *Sigh* (eyes rolling) OK, here we go for the 645,169,161,616,818,126th time, the law DOES NOT FACILLITATE EVIL MEN, THE LAW FACILLITATES EVIL WOMEN.

And how do you tell if a woman is capable of doing something like? Answer: You can't! Do you actually think the man in this story would have married this woman if he thought she was capable of this? NEWSFLASH: 90% of the time a woman does this this sort thing it comes as a complete shock and a surprise to the father.

Women are infamous for always being in 'stealth' mode- (i'm certain you more than a little about this) I have seen women do things that no one would have ever dreamed of- and besides the family court system makes all of this 100% legal- therefore 'right' by condoning and facillitating it- now she's 'justified' in her mind and sleeps just fine at night.

You are addressing an extremely complex issue with an extremely simpleton-like approach.

6:45 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Yeesh, was I lucky. Reading all these and knowing friends of mine and what they've been through. Yeowsah!

My first left me with my 1 1/2 yr old daughter to go with a guy, riding around the country and breaking into warehouses. Learned that later.

The moment I figured out she'd split, I filed in abstentia and won complete custody.

I dealt with my daughter's "I'm not worth anything" feelings for several years after that.

Capper was, she showed up at my door the day before that wonderful Aug 11, 1977 and said she wanted to talk about a divorce. I feigned being mad and told her I didn't want to talk until the weekend. When she showed, I informed her the divorce was final the day before.

Not fair? Cough! And?

6:51 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

M the F 4:31 PM

margie, margie, margie. Now come on...

Putting your parenthesis around -rights to a woman- instead of -giving up your rights- in an effort to change the meaning of what anon 3:32 said is just plain silly. It is easily the worse use of taking something out of context I have ever seen.

7:03 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am extremely curious to know what you mean by this? What are your "rights to a woman" and what "rights to a woman" do you have before a marriage?"


Marriage in America is a steeply one-sided affair these days. Maybe this was ok in the old days, when women didn't work, were second-class citizens, etc. Then I could see a point to women getting, alimony, child support, etc. How else would they survive?

But now, after the feminism of the last 30+ years, women are more than equal. They often have even more education and make more money than men.

The marriage contract should be updated to reflect these changes.

The government marriage contract should only deal in property rights. And it should be a fair one, fair to both parties.

That is all we "extremists" -- MRAs, MGTOWs, whatever you want to call us -- ask for. Fairness.

You do not have to be an MRA to realize that marriage grants no legal benefit to men whatsoever.

Then why should an intelligent man engage in it?

You do not even have to buy into the whole all American women suck bit to realize this. I mean, I'm sure there are some decent to good American women out there.

But this has nothing to do with the marriage contact. Even if you lived in a small town in America where some of the women were ok, that would not change the nature of the government marriage contract. It is inherently unfair.

If you wish, you can have relationships with women. You can date them, treat them nice, all of that. You do not have to be a woman-hater, a misogynist, or some paranoid freak to see that from the legal standpoint, marriage is a one-sided affair stacked against men.

We need national marriage reform in America, much like the 1990s Republican Contract with America included welfare reform. It did not end welfare, but changed the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC) to the Temporary Aid for Needy Families Program (TANF).

Welfare, since the 1930s, was a guaranteed lifetime federal payment to anybody who didn't have a job. It had no work requirements and was overly generous, creating all sorts of social and economic distortions and disincentives with real consequences for society. It was taking away the incentive to work from countless inner-city nieghborhoods, destroying families, and is a major reason why so many inner cities are destitute and in ravages to this day.

The Temporary Aid for Needy Familes program (TANF) replaced the New Deal era welfare program with a temporary safety net program where there was a 5-year lifetime limit on welfare payments. Also, people were required to get a job or be in some kind of training program to collect such payments.

A perfect solution? No, but an improvement. At least it was reform, an improvement, and a step in the right direction. In NYC, for instance, welfare roles are way down compared to their heyday before the Newt Gingrich Republican revolution.

The marriage system and family court system needs precisely such reforms. For instance, a 5-year limit on alimony, which should instead be called something like "temporary spousal support". There is NO reason a woman should need more than 5 years of temporary spousal support payments. You can finish college, a training program, whatever, in such time and get back on your feet. It is more than an adequate safety net for women who do need such support to regain their economic independence.

There should be documented proof during that 5 year period that the women is taking steps towards achieving financial independence.

There should be a "cap" on alimony, I mean temporary spousal support, just as there are now caps on some medical-malpractice lawsuits.

Perfect solutions? No, not at all. But this is probably the most we can reasonably expect our government to do.

Such a package of laws might be enough to get some reasonable men to marry once again, just as caps on medical malpractice damages might be enough to get some doctors to start practicing once again. It would be an improvement.

But in the absence of such reforms, in is simply rational for men to forego marriage. Just as it is rational for doctors to flee states like Pennsylvania -- a state notorious for its outlandish malpractice lawsuits and even more outlandish medical insurance costs -- to practice in other states where malpractice settlements are more reasonable and insurance costs less oppressive.

At least a doctor can make a few bucks in these other states while serving his or her patients.

You do not have to be angry, a woman hater, a misogynist, a conspiracy theorist...you do not have to have some chip on your shoulder to recognize the legal and economic reality.

Simply stated, the government marriage contract creates an inequitable burden on men. It provides no legal or financial protections, only liabilities and no father's rights for his children.

It is an irrational decision.

This is why men will not marry.

7:16 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

One more, and I'll shut up, I hope.

oligonicella 1:52 PM.....

I know you've heard this one:

Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Poke around google and altavista long enough and one can find stats to support just about any spin on any subject.

I'm getting out of here or I'll be up all night on this thread.

7:18 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Actually, I was genuinely curious. I would have said, "Getting married means giving your rights to a woman," or "Getting married means giving your rights up to a woman."

I suspected that there was a benign explanation for what anonymous said, which was why I ASKED him, instead of accusing him.

I think those of you who see nefarious motives wherever you look demonstrate more about your own paranoia than anything.

7:24 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think those of you who see nefarious motives wherever you look demonstrate more about your own paranoia than anything."

Last time I checked, 'paranoia' was 'imagined' fear. The divorce court systeme is real & fact that men have no rights in a marriage or to their children. Calling men paranoid in this extremely hostile culture is just rude, insulting and condescending.

Since you're a woman, I know you are incapable of understanding any concept unless it applies only to you and women in general. The situation men are in today in regards to divorce laws is akin to rape being made legal, then when women complain, saying this is insane, us men just say, "hey, you're just being paranoid." (We'll thrown in that you just hate men for good measure).

Like most women, you can't even buy a clue when it comes to the most important, basic issues of family law and fatherhood. You really don't have the faintest idea, do you? Pathetic.

7:42 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

As for the statistics about the guys getting primary custody if they contest it -

My story is that for the 1st 3 years of my daughter's life, I was the primary care giver. Her mother worked, and with the commute, was out of the house 50-55 hours a week, during the middle of the day. So, I stayed home much of the time and worked from there when possible.

Then, upon getting divorced, I figured I had a chance at primary custody. After all, I had spent more time care giving.

No, both the marriage counselor and my attorney advised me that the courts would give the mother custody because of the sex of the child. I as assured that if I was willing to spend $10,000s of dollars, the outcome would probably be the same, AND I would end up paying her mother's attorney's fees too.

So, I didn't contest the primary custody nor the child support, and so fell right into the statistics.

8:08 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

I do not believe that Margaret is doing anything but wishing to have a discussion. I think that if you answer her question in a genuine fashion, she will respond in kind.

Trey

8:23 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Anonymous at

The situation men are in today in regards to divorce laws is akin to rape being made legal, then when women complain, saying this is insane, us men just say, "hey, you're just being paranoid." (We'll thrown in that you just hate men for good measure).

Actually, your assumption of nefarious motives on my part is more akin to a situation in which rape is made legal and a woman then assuming that you will commit rape. A woman who makes such an assumption would rightly be called paranoid -- just as a man who assumes without knowing me that I have nefarious motives is rightly called paranoid.

I am actually interested in discussion and I am grateful to Trey for giving me the benefit the doubt.

8:52 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

I am quite sympathetic to the claims that gender bias favors women in custody decisions. I don't have a clue how often such bias happens but I don't doubt that it happens. People tend to automatically assume that women are better suited and more inclined to take care of children. (Of course, I am guessing that some of you on this thread SHARE this bias that you are now complaining of, given some of the traditional beliefs many of you have about the proper roles of men and women!)

I am less sympathetic to complaints about the 50/50 split of marital assets and the payment of alimony.

First of all, the whole point of marriage is that you are agreeing to become a unit, a unit that shares everything with each other. I say this as someone who has brought in a substantially higher income than my spouse for the last 10 years. Nonetheless if we get divorced, my husband by rights SHOULD get half of the house and half of our savings even though he brought in only 30% of the income. After all, we are partners, not just roommates. It's impossible to actually quantify each of our contributions. Even though I may bring in a higher income, he works more on making sure our lives toghether go smoothly so that I can focus on my more demanding job. In doing this, he is not just a servant but rather a contributor to a joint venture - our lives together. Just like anonymous at 7:16 says, if you don't like the idea of sharing your income, don't get married! (Or at least don't get married to someone who earns less than you!)

As for alimony, the laws require judges to factor in things like the length of the marriage, the age of the parties, and the ability of the parties to earn money in the future. A long-married elderly homemaker is going to get a much larger alimony award than a young, well-educated person with plenty of earning power.

Marrying a person with greater earning power than you reduces your risk of having to pay alimony because that kind of person will be able to get along just fine after a divorce. If you marry someone who earns a lot more than you do, you may even have a chance of getting some alimony yourself even if you are a man.

If you prefer a partner who has much less earning power than you do, then the risk of having to pay alimony is part of the price you pay for your preference. That risk is also a price you pay if you prefer a partner who is going to sacrifice her earning power by staying home to care for the children.

11:04 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Also a young person with his or her own earning power is likely not to get any alimony at all!

11:06 PM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margret. I understand your reasoning here and am happy that your husband contributes to your success. Your reasoning however flies in the face of many of the marriages of my male friends.

For example, I have a friend, we'll call him A. He works in tech, and makes a good living. His wife does roughly nothing to facilitate his life, they have no children, and a cleaning service. He works, his wife stays home and writes. She has never sold a work, and has little prospect of selling her writing, but writing is her dream. So throughout their marriage, he has contributed tremendously to supporting her pursuing her dream, and she has basically contributed nothing. If they were to divorce, she would get 50% of the assets. That seems sort of unfair to me, since she was a net liability to him the entire marriage, and he a net asset to her.

Take another friend of mine, B. He also works in tech and makes a good living. His wife is pursuing an expensive degree in an area that makes no financial sense (ie, degree holders never begin to make enough to cover the cost of their student loan payments). Once again, she doesn't work, they have a cleaning service, and no kids. His wife is a net liability to him, he is a net asset to her. If they were to divorce she'd get half his assets, he'd get half her student loans.

I see marriages like these a lot with grossly asymmetrical contributions (and it's not always the husband over contributing, I have seen it be the wife). Why should assymetrical contribution lead to symmetrical division of assets?

1:06 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:06:

I have no idea why men want to keep housewives. They turn into useless, fat-assed idiots. At least those women are pretending they do something in life, most housewives don't even pretend.

I have never married, but if I did I wouldn't allow her to just sit at home. To the point where I would file for divorce if she tried to force it on me. I have run across a whole lot of women where I KNEW that they would simply quit their jobs if I married them - no interest in that on my part.

Frankly, I don't mind if tough-guy men who brag about how useless their housewife is (and thus how "in control" and able to earn they are) get stuck with alimony, lawyer's fees for her and an inequitable distribution of assets. Jerks get jerky stuff done to them. The men you describe do not sound like these tough-guy men, however, just victims of women wanting to sit on their fat ass.

2:24 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:24am:

Nope, neither of the men I describe are tough guys, and neither of their wives are really bad people.

What they are is victims of a version of the 'we are in this together and will support each other in following our dreams' myth. The problem is that when the dust settles, one partner puts all their energy into following their dreams, and the other partner puts all their energy into providing the resources necessary for the first partner to follow their dreams. There isn't any real reciprocity.

I think part of it is that we men don't really express dreams the way women do. They tend to suppress them when they see what the available parameters are in the real world.

I think part of it is that society tends to see men who put their dreams before their families well being as nere-do-wells, whereas somehow it's OK socially for a woman to pursue a really out there dream rather than contributing to the family.

I think in some sense dreams are really at the root of it. Traditionally a husband was supposed to make a womans dreams come true: the house, the car, the lifestyle, the support for the 2.4 kids, etc.

This was because for all intents and purposes, a woman was prevented from providing those sorts of things for herself. As a society we've grown past that in many ways (many women are perfectly able to move forward their own dreams thank you very much :) ), but we still have relics and vestiges that seem to be pretty crushing of men's dreams. I'm not quite sure what to do about that...

3:11 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Anon. at 1:06 a.m.

(Yes, indeedy, I am up all night trying to finish a project for work!)

You raise a great point, which is helping me to really think deeply about my views of marriage. I still think the 50/50 division of assets acquired AFTER marriage is the best way to go, regardless of the relative contributions of the spouses. Here are my late night thoughts:

1) If the court were to value the relative contributions of each spouse, the intangible non-income contributions would probably be grossly undervalued. These intangibles are hard to identify, track, and quantify -- things like emotional support, picking up the drycleaning, writing thank you letters, etc. etc. etc. These things may not seem like much but they can add up to a huge part of a person's life. I worry that with a system other than a 50/50 division, the lower earning spouse will get a very raw deal indeed.

2) I also think that basing a division of marital assets on relative contributions can lead to degrading power dynamics in a marriage, particularly when one spouse is much stronger economically than the other. Supose I am a woman of humble background with no education beyond high school, and I marry a brilliant stock investor who can generate zillions of dollars with just a couple hours of work a day. If I have to "earn my keep" by waiting on the guy hand and foot to match his contributions, it becomes more of a master-servant relationship than a marriage. If he has the power to just cast me out of the standard of living to which he raised me, I become beholden to him throughout the marriage, like a concubine or a servant.

3) Marriage is supposed to be a lot more than just a business relationship. If it were just about our relative contributions as measured in hours or dollars, we could just draw up a business contract. But I think you should be able to relax and lean on your partner in marriage, without worrying about how your reliance on your partner may affect your financial status upon divorce. It may be that at times, one partner is pulling 90% of the load. Maybe you are physically ill, or depressed, or just going through a rough patch and aren't doing much of anything. Both you your partner have taken vows to support each other in good times AND bad without qualification. (And yes, both partners have a moral obligation not to take advantage of each other, but you should also feel free to rely on your partner if you are going through difficulty.)

4) And again, I think marriage IS a big risk. Choose your spouse carefully. If you find out your spouse is a bad apple, cut your losses sooner rather than later. The good news is that we live in a period when no one, male or female, HAS to get married. We are all free to forego the risk and remain single! (But while the risk is big, the potential reward is big if you find someone on whom you can rely until death do you part.)

3:14 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm not quite sure what to do about that..."

Don't get married. That's a solution that has worked well for me. I have lived with women on a long-term basis, and that's enough for me. I view marriage as a man giving up a lot of control over his life - giving up many rights in a sense - and not getting anything but an illusion in return. The woman has NO responsibilities to the man.

3:14 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Following up on Anonymous 3:11am

Now that I think of it, the situations I was describing in Anonymous 1:06am are such that I really think the wives would try to find some way to support their husbands in pursuing their dreams if their husbands would express them. But they don't. They're world is hemmed in by their responsiblities, real and perceived, until there is really no dreaming left.

'And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;' - "Renascence," by Edna Saint Vincent Millay

3:16 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... if you find someone on whom you can rely until death do you part."

---------------------

Did you read that in a Harlequin Romance Novel?

Men ought to look through crap like that to see what is really going on.

3:22 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Ha ha at 3:22 a.m.

Actually, no. It's in the damn vows. Some of us take them seriously.

3:27 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

It is intriguing to me how much you guys hate feminists and yet seem to have all sorts of things in common with us.

Reading feminist blogs, it seems that feminist women tend to be just as skeptical of marriage as an institution, and see little benefit in it. Maybe it is just an institution that has outlived its usefulness to either sex. Most of us can get what we need from a looser relationship with the opposite sex. (Of course, having kids is another whole can of worms, because we mostly need each other if want to become parents.)

(Yes, I am happy to be married, but I definitely don't think it's for everyone.)

3:38 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most of us can get what we need from a looser relationship with the opposite sex."

------------

No, marriage is still useful as a tool for otherwise untalented women to acquire assets. Ivanna Trump springs to mind.

Otherwise, there isn't much use for it.

3:43 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous anon for a reason said...

in my wifes situation, she was abused physicall by her mother, really nasty abuse and documented. so one day they divorced, and SHE got custody, and he had to pay, but it was such a bad situation, and that the MOTHER, didnt want the child around. she arranged it so that the father would pay more money, just to keep the child with him, because he knew the mother would kill or severely abuse my wife.

he had to work 2 jobs, just to keep his daughter with him, he had to sell the house for her, he and his daughter had to live in their car.

effectively the Mother blackmailed the father, because she knew he loved his daughter. and got a lot more money out of him.

is this fair, definatly not. but with the law being the way it is, and modern women being the way they are.

4:05 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

I seem to recall that the Donald had an affair with Marla Maples, which is what precipitated the divorce. That's kind of what I mean by power dynamics. If it weren't for Ivana's right to a portion of the marital assets, Ivana might have been in a situation where she would have to tolerate an affair because Donald was the more economically powerful spouse. There would have been no way for Donald and Ivana to have had a relationship and children without her being totally subordinate to him.

4:05 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger jw said...

I know a bit about fathers with custody having been one and having known a LOT of them. When I went to court to get custody, it was just to get a piece of paper! That's true for most fathers with custody as most already have defacto custody before going to court.

Remember, for fathers with custody, the sum of maternal walkaways and negotiated father custody goes over 50% of all fathers with custody!

For women convicted of husband abuse, the overwhelming majority get custody of the children: That is not at all true for men convicted of wife abuse. Forty-three percent of those women will abuse the child(ren), that's the same number as the men who abuse their wife.

Let's be straight up here, the man-haters use these things to "proove" that men are treated more than fairly! It is nonsense, at best and I think it is fair to call the situation hatred of men and children.
------------------------



Margaret: For Canadian Law, one right a man does indeed give up to his wife on marriage is the right to choose to be or not to be a father: That right goes to the wife. The only thing she cannot do is go to court and get a court order forcing him to give up his semen (and there is a lot of work happening in feminist circles to take THAT away from the men too).

Anything else she can freely do. The opposite does not at all apply; no woman can be forced against her will to become a mother, not under Canadian Law. ALL married men can be forced very much against their will to become a father, that is the LAW.

4:05 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If it weren't for Ivana's right to a portion of the marital assets, Ivana might have been in a situation where she would have to tolerate an affair ..."

------------------

No, she could have (gasp!) gotten a job and lived at the level she WOULD HAVE lived at if it were not for her craving for money (and hence "marrying up" an egotistical jerk whose only attraction to a woman is money).

Men can't do that for the most part. When men grow up, they realize, if they are not trust fund babies, that the ONLY WAY to get money is by doing it themselves. Work.

Women know that there are two paths: Doing it themselves or getting it from men.

I DON'T find it such a bad thing if a woman had to go back to the level she WOULD HAVE been at if she had not married the rich chump.

4:24 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

JW,

In the context of the discussion f marriage, though, it's not marriage that triggers the man's lack of a right to choose whether or not to become father. It's having sex with a woman that cedes control to her as to what should happen in the event a pregnancy results.

That's a whole 'nother can of worms. I know it won't make me more popular around here, but I am committed to the notion that it should rightfully be up to the pregnant woman alone whether or not to abort a pregnancy.

Both sides take a risk upon having sex -- the man takes a risk that a woman will make a decision he doesn't like in the event of pregnancy, the woman takes the risk that her body will be taken over by a pregnancy that (even if wanted) may result in serious health hazards or the need or lengthy bed rest or surgery or (if the pregnancy is unwanted) an abortion. I don't see how you can allow a man to control that decision when its impact is on someone else's body and time and energy health.

I wish there were a way to make the fact of pregnancy more fair, but biology simply doesn't allow it -- just as biology doesn't allow me a shot at the glory of the NFL. If it's any consolation, it is also the woman who has to actually UNDERGO any abortion or pregnancy and all that entails.

I have no idea about feminists trying to force men to provide semen against their will. I can't imagine any rationale for that, and I am wondering what the whole story is there?

4:31 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... but I am committed to the notion that it should rightfully be up to the pregnant woman alone whether or not to abort a pregnancy."

-----------

That's fine. How about an addition to that: "It's a man's right to control his own wallet". Meaning that a woman can choose whether to abort or not, and a man can choose whether to support or not.

All of a sudden, feminists don't like the sound of that.

4:34 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

Anonymous at 4:24 a.m. --

The problem with your theory is that it's degrading when rich man to just take a woman into his lifestyle only to be able to dismiss her when he gets sick of her, like some kind of geisha. I mean he can, but then it really can't be properly considered "marriage," can it? It's more of a "kept woman" arrangement in which the woman consents to be there and invest time on the man's sufferance alone. If that's the arrangement Donald had wanted, he shouldn't have entered into the marriage vows.

Look, Donald is not some stupid, Harlequin-reading romantic fool. His whole schtick is "the art of the deal." He wouldn't have married three times if he thought it was a bad deal for him. He gets something out of these marriages too -- a dependent woman willing to have his kids and who is sort of the crown jewel of all the sycophants who surround him. He doesn't want some independent ball-buster -- but he has to pay a price for these women giving up other opportunities in order to be at his beck and call.

You will be glad to know that a feminist named Linda Hirshman is advising women to marry men with less economic power. The question is that if more women do become willing to marry down, how many of you would actually be willing to marry up?

4:47 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

That's fine. How about an addition to that: "It's a man's right to control his own wallet". Meaning that a woman can choose whether to abort or not, and a man can choose whether to support or not.

All of a sudden, feminists don't like the sound of that.


You're right -- because the CHILD has a right to support. And yes, as I said, I understand that it's not fair, but I just don't see a way to make it fair without screwing over the child or screwing over the woman because that's the way biology works.

(Also that theory wouldn't give you the right to prevent a woman from getting an abortion because you wouldn't be asked to support a child that isn't born so that decision would have NO impact on your wallet.)

4:50 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Margaret said...

As always, it's been a pleasure. Signing of 'til next time.

5:08 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Men usually make the decision to marry based on a young woman, her looks and body are at the peak of her life, and men are blinded by the sex part of things.

It's a whole different picture 20 years later, but he's stuck. I've listened to enough semi-drunken, older married men at family reunions, weddings etc. to get the picture. These are not even divorced men. They will probably stay married. I also notice that they crane their necks around to make sure the wife isn't in earshot and they also whisper a bit.

Here is what Arthur Schopenhauer said about 150 years ago:

In the girl, nature has had in view what could in theatrical terms be called a stage-effect: it has provided her with superabundant beauty and charm for a few years at the expense of the whole remainder of her life, so that during these years she may so capture the imagination of a man that he is carried away into undertaking to support her honorably in some form or another for the rest of her life, a step he would seem hardly likely to take for purely rational considerations. Thus nature has equipped women, as it has all its creatures, with the tools and weapons she needs for securing her existence, and at just the time she needs them; in doing which nature has acted with its usual economy. For just as the female ant loses its wings after mating, since they are then superfluous, indeed harmful to the business of raising the family, so the woman usually loses her beauty after one or two childbeds, and probably for the same reason.

5:16 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margret 4:50am

I would agree that the child has a right to support. But I find it passing strange that the mother may, at her discretion *after* the birth of the child either

a) Put it up for adoption
b) Drop it off at a firestation or hospital anonymously in many states.

and be completely off the hook for providing any support for the child, while there is almost *nothing* a man can do to sever his obligation. If the issue really is that the child has a right to be supported, why then can women so easily escape that obligation for a child already born, and men cannot?

5:33 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margret 4:47am

I guess the fundamental issue when considering whether a man has an obligation to allow a woman to continue to live in a lifestyle he provided her while they were married is this:

Is ceasing to give the same as taking?

Why is it degrading for a man to stop supporting a woman in a certain lifestyle when it is clearly not degrading for him to fail to provide her that lifestyle to begin with.

5:38 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... -- but he has to pay a price for these women giving up other opportunities in order to be at his beck and call."

------------------------

WHAT other opportunities. The opportunity to get money out of a different man? Bejeezus, if they had any ability or talent in life, they wouldn't be taking the route of a high-paid hooker.

And the basic idea here is that if a woman is going to act like a high-price call girl, she damn well better be paid for it. What a worthy goal, while a cancer researcher working 12-hour days gets paid a small fraction of what these high-price hookers get.

6:01 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:33 a.m.:

Good points. I am shocked that dropping a child off anonymousaly at a hopsital is legal. I never heard of such a thing, but that strikes me as something that should be considered a criminal act.

As for putting a child up for adoption -- that's interesting. Iassume that cuts off both biological parents' obligation to support the child? Also, I wonder does the biological father have rights to take the child if the mother doesn't want it?

-- Margaret F.

6:40 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am shocked that dropping a child off anonymousaly at a hopsital is legal."

-------------

Those are called "safe haven" laws. Almost every state has a form of them now. You can just chuck the kid into the nearest hospital or fire station, or just give it to a police officer.

No questions asked.

6:43 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it degrading for a man to stop supporting a woman in a certain lifestyle when it is clearly not degrading for him to fail to provide her that lifestyle to begin with.

Because he gets to control her with the threat of taking it away.

And even if you don't think it's degrading to her, then what you're describing is still fundamentally different from marriage. I think marriage by definition (in the civil sphere) is about becoming one economic unit.

Marriage is also about promises, promises that the parties rely upon. He doesn't just get to break his promise of being one economic unit by taking up with another woman or casting his wife aside on a whim. If he wants the wife to just be a kept woman/concubine, disposable at whim, he should be straightforward with her so that she knows that's the situation.

And the basic idea here is that if a woman is going to act like a high-price call girl, she damn well better be paid for it.

Well, in some ways, traditionalist marriage is not unlike prostitution. Of course, when feminists point this out, everyone says we are bad, horrible, mean people. (And in fairness to traditionalist couples, these relationships presumably consist of factors other than sex, such as love, affection, and commitment.)

- Margaret F.

6:50 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:43 a.m.

Huh. Well that seems unjust. Not to mention a little insisting to mothers.

I really do have to leave now! Thanks for the discussion!

-- Margaret F.

6:52 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant insulting to mothers. Whatever. I am exhausted. Gotta go.

-- Margaret F.

6:53 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

margaret 4:50 AM

Perhaps you were tired at the time, after burning the midnight lamp.

The child has a right to support - that is, provided the woman allows it to be born. The man can't control that. No one has the right you see, over a woman's body. A woman has the right to say who shall live, and who shall die if the human to be is in her body. If the man would prefer to have the child, and is willing to raise the child, but she does not want to carry the child to birth, it's dead. End of story. If she decides to have the child, the man pays for support, even if he doesn't want the child. End of story.

Technically, it's a fetus. One of the more famous bobs and weaves. A loaf of bread pulled from the oven way to soon is but a blob of dough, too, right? It is a human being, becoming, as soon as sperm and egg meet. To say otherwise is simply not true. Even if it is a winnable argument legally. The aborting of the "fetus" is murder in my eyes.

Speaking of technically, is margaret in blue the same individual as margaret the feminist? I know it's only the points being made that matter, but I still get confused as to who I am reading, as with anonymous.

7:11 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I keep forgetting to say I'm the feminist when I'm in blue.

It depends on which computer I use to log in. If I log in from one place it comes up in blue automatically; in the other computer I have to log in anonymously because I forgot my google password. (Flaky woman that I am!) Sorry for the confusion but it's been me the feminist throughout this thread.

Peace out! I'm really out the door now!

--Margaret the F

7:16 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger P. Rich said...

Marriage, it seems to me, is a worthless institution if not entered into for the purpose of creating children and providing them a safe and healthy environment in which to mature - at which point the purpose has been served.

Other forms of this contract have either been distorted by the romantics (Note the Cinderella myth ends at the castle door.), or are abused in ways described here, e.g., marriage as a substitute for taking responsibility for one's own future development and achievement.

Regarding the latter form, I have one comment: pre-nup. It's time we did away with the, "If you loved me you wouldn't ask me to consider one of these." That is called emotional blackmail. Waiting to sort it all out in the rancorous atmosphere of a divorce is just plain silly. And like any contract, a pre-nup can be amended if and when children become a consideration.

Hell. For that matter, do away with the nuptials and just have a cohabitation contract. What? That takes all the romance out of the picture? Bwah hah hah hah hah hah...

9:09 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prenuptial agreements are not cast in stone. A judge can throw them out / modify them at his whim.

If you get an attorney for the woman, have him explain everything to her, provide generous terms for her in the agreement etc. then you have less of a chance of a judge throwing the agreement out.

Nevertheless, they are certainly not a sure thing.

9:22 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two big reasons for throwing out / modifying prenuptial agreements:

1) The spouse claims that he/she didn't understand what he/she was signing. This works especially well for women, and even better if they can cry and act dumb during the hearing.

2) Unconscionable terms. You have to flip her some money to leave. Basically. A good enough chunk that the judge won't get motivated to throw out the agreement.

9:26 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

MArgaret wrote: "I am actually interested in discussion and I am grateful to Trey for giving me the benefit the doubt."

You are welcome, but there was no doubt: I read your posts. They spoke for themselves, and showed your intent and purpose. I think it speaks volumes of the people who thought you were a feminazi terrorist, how their hurt and trauma has clouded their ability to read and correctly infer from what is in front of them.

What happened to them must have been horrible, but when tragedy and abuse scar your life and warp your perceptions it is crucial to get help to repair the damage.

We are unlikely to change the world while we are still bleeding.

Trey

9:54 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago I was working too long and too hard putting my wife through graduate school. We had two children along the way. She met someone in school and had an affair. She wanted to continue the affair and we divorced. We were going to share custody and at the last moment she filed for sole custody which I then did also. I was a good provider and Dad. Probably too preoccupied as a husband. Then the fatal day came that I was so naive not to have understood. It was the process whereby men lose custody of their children. I reported to the family court mediator. We talked about many things and then came the question that had no right answer I was later to understand. So Mr. ---
are you angry about your wife's affair? In a matter of fact tone ( which is about how I felt then) I said yes. Well HER recommendation to the court came down that I should not have custody: because-I was a bad father-no, I was abusive to my children or wife-no. The reason was that I MIGHT show my anger about the situation, mind you that no history of this existed!

11:03 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon (11:03) wrote: "The reason was that I MIGHT show my anger about the situation, mind you that no history of this existed!"

Amazing. Horrid. Words fail me.

I went to psychology grad school, and one thing became very evident to me while there. The people who are admitted to psych grad school have two things in common: they are good students and do well on standardized tests.

There is no screening for neutrality, mental health, or even common decency. And yet, we are too often set up as secular priests with enormous trust and power. Too often, it is misplaced trust.

For some of us, we are posioned in grad school, some of us were poisoned before, and some of us are just not well. Thank GOd some of us limp along and do OK and doubt our doubts and work to limit our bias and stick to the facts. But I do not think that there are enough of us who do that.

The person in this matter was apparently terrified of male anger. If that is so, she had no business doing that type of work. No business at all.
Trey

11:45 AM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Marriage is also about promises, promises that the parties rely upon. He doesn't just get to break his promise of being one economic unit by taking up with another woman or casting his wife aside on a whim. If he wants the wife to just be a kept woman/concubine, disposable at whim, he should be straightforward with her so that she knows that's the situation.

While I completely agree that marriage vows should not be able to be discarded lightly, the current legal environment seems to favor the woman in these situations over the men, unless the woman is clearly unhinged.

IOW, it is easier for a woman to be the philanderer and gain custody and child/spousal support than it is for a man.

Quite frankly, I think that the person who breaks the vows should have to bear the burden,especially financially, for destroying the marriage.

11:55 AM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous jim2 said...

"Much anger in him" - Yoda, ESB

My marriage with my Brownie Troop co-leader ended badly. She did dishonorable things (other men), gamesmanship things (tried to get me angry), enlisted the older of our kids in her conspiracy against their will (dad would get sooo angry), and retained a very competent and aggressive lawyer.

Unlike some other guys in this thread, I had consciously recognized the risks of marriage even when young. I simply accepted them. Being a dad to children who love one back is simply worth it, at least for me.

She had problems, some physical and some emotional. Honestly, I think the physical ones stemmed mostly from self-induced stress over the years. She obsessed over too many too small things and it wore her down. We had active, athletic, and very gifted children who enriched my life far more than what she took me for at the end.

I fought back legally enough to ensure that I would emerge able to move on, but not as much as I could have. I was not out for a financially optimum outcome. My absolute priority was to retain the goodwill of my kids, and squabbling for the last few grand might have endangered that. I have always held that one can be seen best when one is on the high road.

The self-induced stress took quite a toll on her, eventually leaving her almost a caricature of the bright young fem I had fallen in love and entered into (what i thought would be) life alliance with. I tried to help her and get her help over the years, but nothing ever helped. Eventually, she regarded such efforts or suggestions as attacks or insults.

I loved her. I love my adult kids and the next generation they are producing, and they all seem to love me back still. (They are on different terms with their mother.) I love my current wife, and she and my kids seem to have entered into a neat mutual admiration society.

The money, the property, and the other stuff (like the good silver snuck out while I was absent) are all small stuff.

I tell folk that I had a good breedeer marriage, but am now in my fun marriage.

Life is good. ;-))

12:53 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Since you're a woman, I know you are incapable of understanding any concept unless it applies only to you and women in general...Like most women, you can't even buy a clue when it comes to the most important, basic issues of family law and fatherhood."

Nice friends, Helen.

If a poster said something like that about men, you'd jump on that shit like white on rice. Way to show your fair and balanced approach.

jw said: "For Canadian Law, one right a man does indeed give up to his wife on marriage is the right to choose to be or not to be a father: That right goes to the wife."

Um, bullshit. There's nothing in Canadian law that forbids a man from using birth control if he doesn't want to be a father.

1:01 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding financial matters, women tend to put men in a double bind. A woman will usually have expectations about income and status, and if her husband fails to meet them, she will either leave him or will stay and make his life a living hell. This is as true for the janitor who doesn't get promoted to senior janitor as the VP who doesn't get promoted to CEO. On the other hand, if he DOES meet the financial demands, it will usually involve a lot of hours worked. In this case, she will be angry at him for being a workaholic and shortchanging his family.

Certainly not all women are like this, but there are a lot who are.

anonx

1:02 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The money, the property, and the other stuff (like the good silver snuck out while I was absent) are all small stuff."

------------------

Good, then give the rest of the stuff you have to me.

I'm sure you won't mind.

1:07 PM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Great news jim2. The relationship, love, and respect for and of your kids is what matters.

Anyway, time wounds all heels.

1:08 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, in some ways, traditionalist marriage is not unlike prostitution.

Or slavery. One party earns money, the other party spends it. It is possible to get a little carried away with analogies.

1:17 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous jim2 said...

1:07 -

;-)

Did I have kids with you, too?! Wow, I'm sure glad THAT did not come out in divorce court!

+++++++++

br549 -

Thank you!

Time has indeed continued to wound her. Living well really is the best revenge. Anger just gets in the way.

1:21 PM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger Adrian said...

"Will men be willing to marry up once all us women follow the tune of some feminist?" First of all, most men and women don't consult with their gender relations strategist before they act the way a gender politics activists might. Secondly, it is sociologically impossible for men to marry up while women marry down on average -- how could that possibly work on average? I guess a lot of people wouldn't be getting married. Even if it could work out, it is natural for people to marry laterally -- other people in their own socio-economic class. And, that's really the best advice if you are to give such advice. (Also, Margaret, I think that right there is at least one reason someone would think that you is a "feminazi" -- the fact that you talk like that -- like a feminist. You are talking there as if you are imminently concerned with gender politics and that we all not only should but even would follow the advice of some sort of spokesperson for our gender.)

Secondly, the characterization of a well kept woman or a geisha and so on is begging the question. Or, the idea that this is what it is and that that's demeaning to women certainly is begging the question. Only people who are already against that sort of thing think of all that in that fashion or think it is demeaning. All you are doing is just scoffing at someone else's idea of marriage.

And, finally, that child support is the child's right is a big modern legal/political lie. What it really is is compensation to the other parent for supporting the child. If the man was directly on the hook for supporting the child like that, then the woman would, for instance, be justified in not entirely supporting the child when the man failed to make his payments since, after all, his part isn't her responsibility. And, the check would go to the child not the mother (somehow) to be spent only on the child and only for necessary things that could be used to legally compel someone to have to provide. And, the support that the child gets would be just the minimum a child has a right to expect from the man -- whatever the man's half of the minimum amount that is required to support a child sufficiently to keep CPS from taking the child. In other words, legally speaking, all parents "owe" their children is a minimum level of care, and so if it was really just the child's right, then that is all the child would be entitled to.

But, it happens nothing like that. Instead, child support typically just goes to the custodial parent for them to spend pretty much however they deem fit. And, child support is based on the couple's relationship to each other -- how much they each make, and so on -- rather than on the child and its legally compelling needs per se. In other words, characterize it however you wish, the way it is actually handled is as a civil compensation by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent for the fact that the custodial parent has the burden of supporting the child -- a burden that they have whether the the other parent happens to pay "their fair share" or not.

But frankly, though family court is an outrage and affront to justice, one reason it persists the way it does is because it isn't so simple to say that men should have equal rights or that the parents have equal rights. The law is a crude ax and we are trying to use it to cut butter. It goes to show just how much those traditionalists are right for seeing that there is no way to win at the game of divorce, so just don't do it. (I'm not quite a traditionalist in that regard, by the way, coming from divorced parents and marrying a divorcee, myself -- I am just saying that there is A LOT more to that position than most people, particularly its critics, seem to be able to even possibly imagine.) At any rate, I think this is one issue where I might disagree with Helen, though -- not that Mark didn't get brutally shafted -- but socially speaking, the children should tend to go to the mother. And the fathers should tend to pay child support. That is the natural outcome, and if it isn't happening that way, in general, then we are flying in the face of a lot of aspects of human nature in some misguided effort to force some egalitarian outcome that only superficially appears to be so.

No amount of politics or exceptions to the rule will ever change the fact that little girls like to wear dresses and play with dolls and little boys like to run around in their loin cloth and play with pretend weapons. That basically translates into the fact that children under the age of 9 should be raised by women and boys 9 and up should be made into men by other men. The real mechanisms behind all of this, probably originating biologically, are far too complex for even trained experts to know all the details of. Saying something like "women should all start marrying men with less economic power" is not only crazy, stupid, bad advice for individuals to follow, but, like most such doctrines, carries with it the implicit conceit that humans can actually know enough about such things to be able to engineer society like that.

2:16 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

Margaret, don't know if you're still looking in here on this thread. I'd like to hear your opinion of this legal sitaution:

Several years ago, my wife was involved in real estate for a while. One of the things she learned in her training is that, according to Alabama law, when a husband dies, his wife has survivorship rights to the couple's residence. This survivorship right supercedes any provision of his will. He cannot will the residence to anyone else as long as his wife lives; when he dies, it becomes hers.

Fine. Survivorship rights are in general a good thing. Only the reverse situation doesn't apply: if the wife dies first, and the husband's name isn't on the deed, she can will the house to someone else. The heirs can then force the husband out of the house, without compensation. Unlike the female, the male has no survivorship rights. If both names are on the will, the husband can stay in the house until he dies, but at that time the probate court gains jurisdiction. And if the husband's will disagrees with the previous provision of the wife's will, the wife's will usually controls, even though her death preceded his.

Opinions?

3:42 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cousin dave,

If your wife is not a lawyer (doesn't sound like it), she could be getting it a bit wrong.

I DON'T know about Alabama law, but I know that there are parallel concepts of "dower rights" and "curtesy". "Curtesy" applied to men, but it was abolished. "Dower rights" applied to women, but they were extended to men in most states.

I just wanted to make the point that she may have been fuzzy on the real details.

3:56 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

anon 3:46: I'll ask her again tonight, but I recall her training textbook being emphatic about this point.

4:11 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

anon 3:56 again: Doing a bit of Googling, it appears that dower and curtesy rights were eliminated in Alabama some time ago. I don't recall ever seeing those terms in my wife's real estate textbook (yes, I read some of it, just out of curiousity). So I don't think that is the type of survivor right that applies. I'll continue to research.

4:50 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"First of all, most men and women don't consult with their gender relations strategist before they act the way a gender politics activists might."

Boy, is that the truth! Here's an excerpt from the book "Sexplotation."

"It is always necessary to judge a woman by her actions, never by her words. All women lie, especially to themselves. She will swear she has no interest in money, yet
she callously rejects anyone with an unimpressive salary (unless she thinks she can goad him into a more lucrative career), while offering herself without compromise or conscience to a big spender with a platinum card, even if she is not physically
attracted to him.

In our era of explosive technology and entrepreneurial freedom,
many "nerds" are capable of generating fortunes, and where there is easy prey, there
are cunning predators. D

Dating and marriage, once voyages of discovery and partnership, have become nothing more than sexual blackmail. Few women want to
put forth the hard work and sacrifice it requires to earn significant amounts of capital;
instead they demand a large payoff just because they are biologically female.

It is one thing to live off a man, but quite another to deny it. The intricacy of a woman's self-deceit is astounding and complex, and while she may secretly be aware
of her calculating motivations, she will rigorously defend herself against any invasion of the truth. She believes in her personal innocence and virtue, camouflaging her prostitution with such euphemisms as "I'm looking for a professional man" or "I don't
care how much money a man makes, but he has to have a status job" or "I don't need a man's money-I have my own money" (while she's toiling away at an unskilled job,
lives in a dilapidated apartment, and is insanely jealous of any woman she knows who's married to a doctor or a lawyer).

The articles and advertisements in the magazines she reads offer her no instruction about how to be successful at work with
business skills (this is the province of men's publications); instead, they teach her how
to more profitably merchandise herself with cosmetics, clothing, and locating herself where the rich men are. She lies to herself whenever she rejects a man without a "good" job, because if she didn't, she would have to admit that his income is all she
really cares about. She would be forced to admit to herself that she's a whore.

So if a man were to offer her a hundred dollars to go to bed with him, she would be outraged and morally offended. But if he were to spend the same amount at an upscale restaurant, she might-if he slavishly succumbed to her hypocritical game-allow him to
have sex with her. In either case, the deal is the same-her body for cash-but by accepting a meal instead of dollars, she can sugarcoat the transaction with "romance", thus enabling her to perpetuate her "I'm a nice girl" fantasy. A man will not get laid until a woman has convinced herself that she is not a whore-that is, until she has forced him to pretend that he has no sexual interest in her, while simultaneously paying an exorbitant price for her company.

But what if her date took her out for a fast-food hamburger, or worse yet, logically used a coupon? Supposedly, in her mind, since she believes she's not trading sex for money, it shouldn't make any difference. The point would be to simply enjoy the
company of her escort. But woe to him, even if he's the nicest guy on the planet. She would instantaneously brand him as "cheap" and "having no class" and never see him again, all the while continuing to persuade herself that a man's personality is far more important than the thickness of his wallet. And sex would not even have crossed her
mind. Her date would have committed the blackest of sins-by taking her to an inexpensive restaurant, he has implied that her body isn't worth very much. A man will always have to pay and pay dearly-to be allowed to enter her bed."

7:40 PM, June 27, 2007  
Anonymous SM777 said...

Well, anon 7:40 p.m., it's a good thing we have prostitutes.

Just strictly sex, no strings, no headgames. Most of the time, they are less expensive than "dates" with far fewer headaches.

11:56 PM, June 27, 2007  
Blogger jw said...

Anonymous 1:01 said "Um, bullshit. There's nothing in Canadian law that forbids a man from using birth control if he doesn't want to be a father."

All a woman has to do is cheat to get pregnant and her husband is the father. She can also, if she can afford it, use several sperm banks around the world that do not ask questions. In either case he is the father with no way out of the situation.

As for birth control:

- In theory it is not proper for a Dr. to ask a wife's permission for her husband to get a vasectomy: In practice there are few, if any, Dr.'s in Canada who will do a vasectomy without the wife's permission: You can't even ask a husband about a tubal ligation!

- There are no drug methods available for male birth control.

- If he uses condoms she has the perfect right to use the turkey baster.

- She has the right to use sexual assault: He's still the father with no way out of it. Male survivors almost never seek charges, are almost never lsitened to when they do and female sex offenders are usually only fined for offenses against men. Plus, female sex offenders get the child every bit as often as non-offending women.


I could go on. The worst of it is comments like yours! I do not see why some people so loudly demand that gross unfairness is fair because it only hurts mere males.

4:19 AM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:00 AM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 9:00:

Why do you interpret a site pro-male site with being misogynist? And what is with "serving the city of Knoxville?" You must be mistaking me for someone else.

9:47 AM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Well, the KKK sees the rest of us as n lovers. So I guess the answer to "who is a misogynist" depends on your perspective.

Having said that, some of the comments about women in this thread have struck me as biased, bigoted, and blaming.

My suggestion is to know a person really, really well before you sleep with them. Being REALLY picky about who you marry is all upside. Learning how to spot the jerks, regardless of gender, is an important skill to have for everyone.

Trey

11:25 AM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look: if a man isn't going to sign up for the sacramental Catholic view of marriage (lifelong, faithful, and non-contraceptive), and find a woman to marry who believes similarly, he has no business getting married. Companionship, financial support, sex, etc., are all available outside the bounds of marriage and with fewer presumed future obligations. If you are going to have a relationship that is an open-ended series of transactions (be they social, practical, or intimate) and not an irrevocable covenant, you are better off sticking to the pay-as-you-go method.

The intrinsic purpose of marriage is to ensure that a man and a woman who desire a sexual relationship with one another will remain together as the best means of providing for their likely offspring. Digest that for a second.

Now, what the west has been doing progressively is to (a) remove the presumption that sex leads to children (through contraception and abortion); (b) remove the presumption that sex is reserved for marriage (through further removing the legal prohibitions, even unenforced, against adultery and fornication); (c) remove the presumption that children result from marital sex (further through IVF, gay "marriage" and someday cloning); and, (d) end the presumption that spouses will remain together (through no-fault divorce). So the present unhappy situation is the logical result of destroying the underlying rationale for marriage itself. The Hollywood view of marriage as being about romantic love is a mirage; in reality, marriage has become far more transactional in outlook, destroying proper and natural relations between the sexes. We have all become both users and used.


-- craig

12:29 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just checking back in and wanted to say the following:

The laws as they are written in the United States are virtually ALWAYS gender neutral, unless you are talking about a law that relates to pregnancy or an archaic law that has not been taken off the books. Even when exceptions exist under state law, they are often (when challenged) struck down as violative of the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution (such as an archaic Michigan statute which prohibited swearing in front of women and children).

In my state, which I think is representative, laws relating to alimony, custody, child support, division of marital assets, inheritance, employment, sexual assault, and domestic violence are written in gender neutral language. The "safe haven" laws discussed above, in which there is no prosecution for dropping off a baby at a hospital or police station, are written in a gender neutral fashion.

I would also note that in recent decades we have moved AWAY from gender bias in the manner in which statutes are written. No longer can women opt out of jury duty in rape cases. Statutory rape laws now applies to women who sleep with minors as well as men who sleep with minors. The law allows men to receive alimony, whereas before alimony was only available to women. So I just can't get on board with the notion that somehow men are being treated more unfairly under the law than in the past.

Certainly the law, while written in a gender neutral fashion, may have a disparate impact on men versus women (or vice versa) because of common social arrangements. A man can receive alimony but he is more likely to be the economically powerful partner in a marriage and is therefore more likely to have to PAY alimony. But today, unlike the past, we can't necessarily assume that a woman will be relying on her spouse for support. So social arrangements are becoming more equitable as well.

So I see both the law and society changing to become more evenhanded in the expectations placed on people based on gender, which I think is what most commenters on this board claim to want.

-- Margaret the Feminist

12:44 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Trey at 11:25 a.m. I am new to this site and do not have any reason to believe that Dr. Helen is a misogynist (although, yes, women can be misogynist), but the comments threads on this site contain strong strains of misogyny. I am thinking particularly of the many comments about how "all" or "most" women act/think/behave in various evil and contemptible ways. It's weird and grotesque and disturbing.

When I read feminist blogs, I rarely (if ever) see these huge generalizations about how "all" or "most" men behave.

-- Margaret the Feminist.

12:57 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

margaret@12:44 - I don't disagree with you regarding how laws are written. But we all know that after laws are written they have to be interpreted and applied by judges, juries, and lawyers. The issue isn't so much that the laws are unfair; rather, it's that they're applied unfairly.

Of course, the same complaint about the law is made by numerous sub-groups within society. This blog happens to focus on men.

2:38 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

margaret@12:57 - I think that reasonable feminists do not say vile things about men in general. Radical feminists regularly do, however, as do many feminists and other women who happen to have been hurt by men at some point in their lives. (I imagine plenty of the latter have blogs, too.)

Since Dr. Helen is a psychiatrist, it could be that some men who have been "burned" by women end up here looking for information, help, or maybe just a place to vent. That might explain the anger against women in many of the posts.

Not saying it's ok - just that there's a reason for it.

2:58 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but no mention is being said about misanthropy.

is it bad to want everyone to be treated the same, in law, in life.

women for the past 40 odd years, have brow beaten males, and denigrated them, by legal routes.

a man is now just a walking sperm donor and wallet. thats what a lot of women think and treat us like, and you dont think that men can be tired of it. i am getting married to a wonderful woman, we are married in our hearts, but legally we need too, (her rights and my rights need to be codified), why is having children the only requisite for being married. does it mean i love her less, no.. love is. marriage is just a convention of legal responsibilities.

maragaret a few feminist authors, andrea dworkin, read what she said, read her quotes, the S.C.U.M. manifesto. hell even germaine greer, all writers and all read by so many women..

3:29 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god, jw. Are you pulling this shit again? Last time you declared this shit about the requirement of the wife's consent to a husband's vasectomy, it had happened to your daughter in FLORIDA. Now you're saying it's Canada.

And it is NOT true that if a woman get pregnant by someone else that her husband then is the father. Jesus Christ, you don't know anything about the law. That much is obvious, so please stop talking about what you don't know.


And sweetheart, if a woman gets sperm from a spermbank, the sperm came from a WILLING donor who gave knowing and consenting to a women getting pregnant with it. So how does this translate into a man being forced into fatherhood?! Christ, you're stupid.

6:14 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

margaret 7:24 PM June 26,2007.

Sorry, missed that post first time around. The last sentence of the post is a nice weave. But bull crap all the same.

7:16 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Margaret the feminist,

"I am thinking particularly of the many comments about how "all" or "most" women act/think/behave in various evil and contemptible ways. It's weird and grotesque and disturbing."

You go on to say that "feminist" blogs do not behave in this way. Surely, you jest. Go talk with Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon, Jessica at Feministing or others at Firedoglake. Tell them in the comments the same things you have told us. Say "Amanda, I have no reason to think you are a misandrist (some women are of course!) but the comments on this blog contain strains of misandry.... I think it is weird, grotesque and disturbing."

Talk to the women at these "feminist" blogs the way you have been allowed to talk to others on this site and see how long you last. Not long, I am afraid.

No, you have not been necessarily rude here but you have shared your feelings and thoughts with the commenters and they have responded, some even kindly such as Trey who defended you at one point. Are there some men who have commented on this site who say some things that may be construed as angry or hostile? Yes, but as Bugs pointed out, there are men out there who find this site because they have been hurt. There are a zillion places for hurt women to go, the talk shows are open to all of them, magazines, blogs, the whole country. Where does a man go who is hurt and wants to share--if they want to share here, I am okay with it. People are always telling men to talk more, open up and then when they do, you come here to say, "Shut up! I can't hear that."

I hope that the sharing will make them feel better, and find they are not alone. We do not just talk about women here, there are many other topics that are of interest (I hope) to men and the women who care about men as well as women's issues such as a post I did examining whether or not daycare is harmful to kids. This blog is a place where people can share their feelings, some of them are painful or angry. If that is too much for you, go where you feel more comfortable or stay and engage in dialouge but do not come here and tell us essentially that we are a bunch of misogynists. This is nothing but name calling and it is unnecessary.

7:23 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margret,

If you look for example at tha California Safe Surrender Law you will note that while it does provide that the child may only be surrended by it's parent or legal guardian, it does not provide any mechanism for verifying parenthood. It also does not require consent of both parents, only one.

What do you think the reaction would be to a man turning up to abandon a child under that statute? My guess is the police would be called and kidnapping charges brought. In the best case I am certain they would demand permission of the mother. For all intents and purposes the statute allows *mothers* to anonymously and unilaterally sever their parental responsiblities but not fathers.

Use of gender neutral language in the text of statute does not provide any guarantee of gender neutral application of the law nor gender neutrality in it's effect.

Just as the language in many of the offensive Jim Crow laws around tests for voting rights were language neutral but racist in application, many of these laws are written in gender neutral language but sexist in application.

7:49 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:49 p.m.

Use of gender neutral language in the text of statute does not provide any guarantee of gender neutral application of the law nor gender neutrality in it's effect.

No quarrel with that. Part of my point is exactl that I don't the laws themselves as written are a problem. What's happening on the ground in court is a different story -- and one that is much harder to assess.

-- Margaret the Feminist

8:24 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaargh. Sorry for the typos.

No quarrel with that. Part of my point is exactly that I don't think the laws themselves as written are a problem. What's happening on the ground in court is a different story -- and one that is much harder to assess.

-- Margaret the Feminist

8:25 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't feel sorry for men that get hosed in divorces WHILE AT THE SAME TIME think that women are human beings.

And also acknowledge that some women are stuck with jack asses for husbands, and stick around for the sake of the children. Naw, I'm sure that NEVER happens.

Except when it does.

9:10 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

Naw, I'm sure that NEVER happens.

I think that the complaint of many here is that the judicial system and popular culture assume that it's all that EVER happens.

All women are human beings. Some of them just aren't very good at it.

9:55 PM, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bugs said:

"I think that reasonable feminists do not say vile things about men in general. Radical feminists regularly do, however, as do many feminists and other women who happen to have been hurt by men at some point in their lives. (I imagine plenty of the latter have blogs, too.)

Since Dr. Helen is a psychiatrist, it could be that some men who have been "burned" by women end up here looking for information, help, or maybe just a place to vent. That might explain the anger against women in many of the posts.

Not saying it's ok - just that there's a reason for it."

Just reverse all your terms. Some women/feminists are hostile toward men. But many of them have been "burned". Seems like you'd understand.

*pausing for readers to think*

I find it really interesting that on various occassions Helen has suggested that women who do nothing, who don't speak out against this oppression of men are equally to blame. And yet Helen doesn't speak out about the misogyny here.

LOTS and LOTS of people have been burned by the opposite sex. Making generalizations and extrapolating about an entire sex based on that is stupid and wrong and in no ones's best interest, including that of the hater.

Helen can provide a forum for these discussions if she wants. Sure that could be a good thing. But spare me the business about how this is all to some beneficial purpose. What would be beneficial would be talking sense and bringing everybody together, reminding everyone that we are individuals and deserve to be judged on our own merits. I can only assume Helen is interested in the increased hits caused by controversy or in presenting herself as something oh so unique.

As if being able to drive a stick shift, fire a gun, and change a flat is all that is necessary to establish yourself as a super cool chick!

10:42 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon, (10:42) I agree with your points about gender mistrust. But I think that Helen lets us discuss things freely here, and does not have the desire or inclination to correct opinions or even facts that she disagrees with. She has posted as much somewhere else, saying that she does not read every post.

That is certainly her perogative. I know that some other blogs police what is said for ideology. I also know that it is not done here. I have never met her, but from reading her posts, I get no sense that she tries to drum up traffic by stirring up misogny. I think you are wrong there.

If you stick around, you can and did give voice to some valid criticisms about the vituperative stance toward women that is sometimes voiced in these topics. Honestly, Helen has no need to comment and critique when posters such as yourself do.

So thanks, and stick around.

Trey

12:02 AM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i dont think men really are angry, they are bitter really.

this is dr helens blog, her rules her choice. if you dont like her posts, or our comments.. then simple answer.. dont read them..

is that so hard to do

3:39 AM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Margie(not to offend, I love the sound of margie)

The blog carries Dr. Helen's name. Started and somewhat administered by her. But it is NOT her and NOT ABOUT her. It's for those who come in, post and discuss (even vent). An open platform for that to occur. That's the way I see it, anyway.
Most of the trolls who enter here try to make it about her. She expresses an opinion, or more like starts a topic, and the posters take of with it like scalded dogs. If you look closely, Dr. Helen posts much less in here than any regular. A hell of a lot less than you or me. (Kinda scary she has more of a life than we do, eh?)

Most of the trolls attack the Doc personally, mainly I guess, because the blog is popular, and growing. A man could of had the idea, but didn't, I guess. I am happy SOMEBODY did.

A couple people coming in lately have stated that a couple of still current threads have "really made the rounds". So I expect the trolls to rise again. Hell, we already have a feminist lawyer camping out here, right?

*waiting for readers to think* (sic)
I must read your posts more closely. Evidently, some of what you say is profound. I just haven't seen it myself.

6:59 AM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

br549,

I think you were responding to anonymous at 10:42 p.m. That wasn't me.

- Margie

8:27 AM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow-up to 'Life is Good' on 27 June, who said this:

Speaking in my hubby's voice:
"She had problems, some physical and some emotional. Honestly, I think the physical ones stemmed mostly from self-induced stress over the years. She obsessed over too many too small things and it wore her down. We had active, athletic, and very gifted children who enriched my life far more than what she took me for at the end.

...My absolute priority was to retain the goodwill of my kids and regain the pre-stressed-out wife.

The self-induced stress took quite a toll on her, eventually leaving her almost a caricature of the bright young fem I had fallen in love and entered into (what i/we thought would be) life alliance with. I tried to help her, but didn't realize I was adding to her stresses and self-doubts within my demands, what became (to her) almost controlling demands. And as her confusion built, she one day insisted that my expectations that she coud 'Tough it out' weren't enough. She got psychiatric help. I always thought they were quacks, and I still think that often.

But between us we found ways to fix the physical -- working with the doctors, reading about the anti-depressant drugs on the internet and message boards, finding out the behavior techniques to alleviate her obsessive compulsive emotional tendencies. Above all, neither of us going disorder-paranoid of each other, but again being a team.

Eventually, she regarded my efforts no longer as controlling demands and no longer as attacks or insults.

And I became more comfortable with the more cluttered and hectic life of 'Married with Children'. I wouldn't see the quacks myself (no Anger Management course for me), but I have calmed down, adjusted my perfectionist expectations and we're working better together.

She still has some latent perfectionist tendencies; always will. Her latest book reading is a book on healing from ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), and how that type of chaotic upbringing can lead to her type of personality.

Life is better. For better, for worse; ...in sickness and health.

2:49 PM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

anonymous @ 10:42 pm: "I can only assume Helen is interested in the increased hits caused by controversy"

What about when she tells people to stop posting on a thread? Or she turns off anonymous comments? That probably hurts her traffic.

4:26 PM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She turned off anonymous commenting for maybe 24 hours. Probably noticed a drastic drop in hits. As for telling trolls to stop posting? Unlikely they would listen, she knows that, and continues to post some inflammatory material. I think those actions speak louder than words.

6:29 PM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

anon 6:29

site meter is at the bottom of the "cover page" of this blog. see for yourself when the "hits" drop.

They don't. To quote the 60's era DJ's... the hits just keep on commin'!

How was your hospital stay?

Oh, crap. I'm feeding the troll queen.

8:49 PM, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't help but notice the contrast between Margaret's prose and style, classy, informed, educated, intelligent, and that of Helen, opinionated, "snarky" and plain stupid, petulant, "spoiled." Is she really that braindead or is she putting us on?

Make sure the APA reviews the "forensic" techniques of this "psychologist" - she can't even construct an argument.

9:56 PM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Let's see, you disappeared for a while, and went elsewhere to bother
folks. Then margaret in blue showed up,(out of the blue) and also M the F when not in blue. I found it interesting and asked margaret in blue and M the F, flat out, if she were in fact your more intelligent, softer spoken replacement until you were again released. You see, margie came in and camped out while you disappeared at the same time. Accent grave on camped out.

Now you're back, and I don't see margie. Both margaret in blue, or M the F , and you pubic, er, publius, seem to have some training in legal matters, the lingo especially.

The question I have, is how many personalities do you have to along with this training?

10:38 AM, June 30, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

10:40 AM, June 30, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

br549: "site meter is at the bottom of the "cover page" of this blog. see for yourself when the "hits" drop."

That is a neat feature. I didn't know you could view the traffic on another person's blog, advertisers must love it!

9:00 PM, July 02, 2007  
Blogger Mark Harris said...

Hi, I'm the author of Family Court HELL, the book about the child access case that was deemed the UK's worst ever.

If anyone is interested in looking further into what was done to me and my children, please visit www.penpress.co.uk. The book is on their homepage and has some detail there.

One of the most appalling actions of the courts (Judges all named and shamed) was when one of the Judges accepted the mothers boyfriend was regularly abusing the children, heard the same man make five threats to kill me (the father), from the witness box while giving evidence-then sent him home to carry on living with my daughters while jailing me for waving to them.

There is lots more of this sort of legal misbehaviour too in the book and a lecturer at Howard University, Washington DC, Dr Stephen Baskerville has done a chapter in the book which confirms such behaviour often takes place in the United States family courts as well.

Mark & Lisa Harris, UK.

7:57 AM, July 03, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Mark & Lisa Harris,

Thanks very much for stopping by and providing us more information on where to get your book. Thanks for writing the book.

1:52 PM, July 03, 2007  
Blogger Tina said...

Hi Helen,
I found your site quite by accident and was surprised to see that Mark Harris had created such interest in the States. In order to publicise the injustice of his family's experience, he had to self publish. Our book I Want to See My Kids! is a guide for dads like Mark who try to stay in their children's lives after divorce and separation. Tim Forder and myself researched this subject for over five years - speclatively filming interviews with a view to making a documentary. We first met Mark dressed as Santa Claus on the first ever Fathers4Justice demonstration back in 2002. He wasn't seeing his children then and had just recently come out of jail for waving at his young daughters. We interviewed judges, CAFCASS, (Family Court Welfare Officers), lawyers, mums, grand parents and children. Oh, and dads, hundreds and hundreds of dads. Grown men, to whom I was a complete stranger would tell me their stories - how they had lost their children to the British family courts. They would weep and beg me to help them. Sometimes Tim and I would cry too. He is a father who has been through the family courts as well.
I went on to produce the documentary on fathers rights group Fathers4Justice in 2004. But both Tim and I felt that the subject was just to big to be covered in an hour long TV programme. Our fathers could not be named, our grandparents went unidentified and our children are voices in the dark - we had an independent publisher who could not publish anybody's name without risk of prosecution. And so, whilst we wrote an honest appraisal of the dire situation for a dad in our family courts and tried to give advice from those who know only to well the pitfalls - the secrecy remains. One dad who is featured in the book had his story covered by the Daily Mail. George is his pseudonym.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=461823&in_page_id=1879
Our book is available on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Want-See-My-Kids-Separation/dp/1905745079

We hope this is of interest to your readers.

All the best
Tina Rayburn & Timothy Forder

6:40 PM, July 05, 2007  
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2:51 AM, June 08, 2009  

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