CNN Owes Fathers An Apology

An open letter to CNN Living regarding “The New Playdate Playbook” by Deborah Skolnik.

Dear CNN Living,

Though I am not a father myself, I am a person who feels that the role of “father” in our society deserves respect. I am also a person who supports tolerance and acceptance for all people, regardless of their gender, nationality, or religion. For these two reasons, I am deeply disturbed at the following passage from the article referenced above:

 

The Sitch: You’ve accepted a sleepover invite for your daughter, not realizing that only her pal’s divorced dad will be home. You’re not OK with it. What to do?

The Solution: “Call and say ‘I’m sorry, and this is about me and not you, but I just don’t feel comfortable with a man supervising an overnighter,’ ” says Paone. Offer to host the girls at your place instead, if you can, or ask to turn the sleepover into a “late-over,” where your daughter stays only till bedtime. In the future, always ask who’ll be on duty before you say yes to a sleepover.

 

So, here’s “The Sitch” –  This article coldly slaps “divorced dads,” fathers, and men in general as assumed child molesters. I honestly wonder if you would publish an article that stated the above but instead of men, referenced a particular race or nationality:

“You’ve accepted a sleepover invite, not realizing that only her pal’s (racial minority) will be home…”

“‘I’m sorry, and this is about me, but I just don’t feel comfortable with a (religious minority) supervising an overnighter…”

If that wasn’t enough, statistics on child abuse show that 1. more women than men abuse children (see summary) and 2. female sexual predators are a real problem that is essentially ignored.

Fathers in general, and especially divorced fathers, get a lot of grief. They are not treated fairly in family court or in the court of public opinion. Suffice to say, it does not help when CNN Living casually labels them all child molesters.

My suggestion for “The Solution” – At the very least, I believe that CNN should publish a sincere apology to divorced fathers, fathers, and men in general. But perhaps CNN Living should also consider doing a story on the reality of female child abusers, or the struggles that dedicated “divorced dads” face. Better yet, why not do both?

Thank you for your kind attention.

–Mark Trueblood CNN Owes Fathers An Apology

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.

Comments

  1. Last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her 16th birthday by inviting six girlfriends to a Marriott hotel. My wife rented a suite. The girls were able to use the indoor pool, and of, course have the run of the rooms. My wife chaperoned. At first she wanted me to stay the night and co-supervise with her. I pointed out that the fatehrs of those teen girls might have a problem with me being around. Was I trying to get out of hanging with 7 16 year old girls. Yes. But, I thought about the fears and prejudice of people who have kids. I hang out with my 3 daughter – 16, 8, and 7 a lot. But I notice other fathers do not. I am often the only dad at a karate event or cheerleading deal.

    I find CNN’s endorsement of the this “sitch” abhorrent. They should be shamed. But I also know that more parents feel different than you and I Tom. Could I have handle a sleepover with female children? Of course. I’ve done it before. It’s a shame, and that’s the proper word, shame, for the majority attitude toward fathers and the company of other people’s daughters.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I would hope women would speak out about this double standard as well. I can imagine if I were the wife in that situation I might feel a little resentful — “why am I stuck supervising this by myself? I could really use a hand.”

  2. NickMostly says:

    <eyeroll>Yes, because the only thing that keeps me from molesting my niece and her friends is that her mother is around.</eyeroll>

    But I can’t say this type of thinking (or more properly, lack of thinking) is the exclusive province of women. Countless Christians, men and women alike, characterize atheists and other nonbelievers as no better than rapists, child molesters, and murderers; as if the only thing stopping them from committing such heinous acts themselves is their belief in the book of desert fairy tales they claim to follow.

    Isn’t it time to stop tolerating this coddling of fear and mistrust? What good can come of telling women it’s okay to fear men as child molesters and treat them as such? Why must we validate – and privilege even – emotional responses that are based in fear and mistrust? My favorite quote, one I’m going to embroider in my pillows and towels, comes from the “Ask A Lady” feature on The Hairpin: “…emotions are Just Emotions, not Accurate Reflections of Reality.” That this needs to be said to people provides me with endless amounts of frustration.

    Off to write “Schrödinger’s Child Molester” now…

  3. daryll doda says:

    Unbelievable. Just speechless.

    As always. great article. First time poster, long time reader.

  4. wet_suit_one says:

    And you won’t find too many women decrying this double standard.

    Could you imagine the idignity of being asked to change seats on a plane while sitting with your own children because policy dictates “No men sitting with children”?

    Like seriously… Blacks faced a lot of idignities back in the day, and it’s approaching (but not equal by any stretch just yet) that level of treatment.

    Ah well, guess we all gotta take our lumps until we have our private jet to fly our butts around right?

  5. We all need to stand up and speak out against the assumption that men are potential sexual predators and women are not. Our sons and daughters need a man’s presence. I have 4 sons and a daughter and 12 grandchildren, half boys and half girls. Like many men, I’ve gone through times of fear (often justified in this male phobic society) that my attention to the girls might be misunderstood. Well, it certainly might be, but we have to risk being the fathers and grandfathers that our children need us to be, not the ones the media is afraid we might be.

  6. I think it’s a ridiculous double standard, and that the authors, as well as Dr. Paone, shouldn’t reinforce it by continuing to allow/confirm irrationality. Instead, imagine their advice had asked the person who expressed her discomfort by asking her to critically confront where that fear comes from and whether or not it truly holds water. On the whole, it’s a bad article in many other ways as well, but that’s hardly surprising.

    I’m not totally sure about the statistics cited here, however. The report does say that women rather than men have been the child abuser by a slight margin, but then again, the report also says that the most common form of child abuse is neglect (far beyond all others). By leaving that out, this article could be seen as suggesting that women were more frequently sex abusers, which I’d find highly questionable, but the data simply aren’t present in that study (i.e., type of child abuse examined by gender of perpetrator). At the very least, I couldn’t find it, but I only spent about 3-4 minutes looking through the tables. Since sexual abuse, I’d assume, is the primary type of abuse in question here, it does seem relevant.

    On the whole, I agree. It’s insulting and harmful.

    • Anthony Zarat says:

      From the 2008 child maltreatment report Table 4.5 (exculuding crimes involving both parents):

      Children murdered by their mothers: 477 (72%)
      Children murdered by their fathers: 189 (28%)

      Mothers are almost three times as likely to murder their own children, than are fathers. Mothers are also the overwhelming majority of pertpetrators of non-lethal forms of abuse.

      How would mothers feel if people presumed that they would murder any children left in their care?

  7. DavidByron says:

    People here seem to clearly see this situation as wrong. Why wasn’t that the case when the object of misplaced fear was not the woman’s daughter at a sleep over, but the woman herself in the Elevatorgate situation? They both seem very much similar to me. They are about women (or in this case anyone) having inappropriate fears about men and feeling that they have a perfect right to that prejudice, instead of being embarassed about it.

    • NickMostly says:

      You’re talking about this video: About Mythbusters, Robot Eyes, Feminism, and Jokes

      Not exactly the same thing, although I can see the parallels. I just watched it again to refresh my memory, and I realized she actually makes two points that she’s merged somewhat into one. At the start of her criticism of this anonymous guy (I presume he’s still anonymous) she frames it in the context of having given a talk about being “sexualized” which I take to mean being approached more for her being a woman rather than for her ideas. In this sense, I can see how off-putting it would be to be hit on right after you’ve given a talk about hating how you’re hit on at conferences.

      However it seems to me that it’s something very specific to her. Personally, were I an atheist looking to find a partner, what better place than at an skeptics conference? We’re constantly told that the best way to find love is to do the things we love doing, and find someone who also enjoys those things. If skepticism is important to me, I’m probably going to want someone in my life for whom it’s also important. So while Rebecca might not want to be hit on, I can’t help but imagine there are plenty of men and women who wouldn’t mind.

      But then she also frames it as being one of “safety.” She notes the time of day, that she’s in a foreign country, that it’s a proposition in the elevator, all things that heighten her fears. I don’t know how often women are sexually assaulted in elevators, but I’ll take it on faith that it’s a concern. But what I just noticed on re-watching it is that it’s not clear that it was a sexual proposition. It sounds possible he wanted to talk precisely because he was interested in her ideas, and was just unsuccessful in his attempt to put her at ease.

      I think the way she called him out can be interpreted as somewhat patronizing. “Guys, don’t do that” may feel lighthearted to her, but it’s obvious many people didn’t read it that way. It was all good spectator sport, particularly given the schism it caused among the outspoken members of the skeptic community (Dawkins vs. Myers vs ERV vs Watson), but her video and the responses probably did more damage to gender relations within the skeptic community than anyone could possibly have imagined.

  8. I hope that father kindly told that mother that he would be going forward with the sleepover but excluding her child to honor her wishes and concerns.

    I understand and support parents who are cautious about sleepovers. They should be. However, it truly is an insult to men to suggest that all men are automatically suspected to be child molesters/abusers.

  9. The attitudes towards men and children make me sick. This is why I am fearful around kids, especially as a photographer I get quite nervous when I have a very visible dSLR in my hands and knowing the pedophile hysteria that is out there. CNN should be blasted for allowing such filth to be written.

  10. And once again, a major media outlet couldn’t resist stereotyping all fathers, and men in general, as potential child molestors and abusers.

    If this were done to mothers and women in general, heads would roll in the company and the complaints would skyrocket. But since the concerns of men don’t count, it’s perfectly fine to paint them as monsters in the making.

    Seems like fathers and men are always being painted with a bullseye for target practice.

    Rob: “I’m not totally sure about the statistics cited here, however. The report does say that women rather than men have been the child abuser by a slight margin, but then again, the report also says that the most common form of child abuse is neglect (far beyond all others). By leaving that out, this article could be seen as suggesting that women were more frequently sex abusers, which I’d find highly questionable, but the data simply aren’t present in that study (i.e., type of child abuse examined by gender of perpetrator). At the very least, I couldn’t find it, but I only spent about 3-4 minutes looking through the tables. Since sexual abuse, I’d assume, is the primary type of abuse in question here, it does seem relevant.”

    Who cares? Who the hell cares about how many mothers abuse their kids?

    The point is, there are women and mothers that commit atrocious acts on their kids just as men and dads can do. The only problem is, one is addresed, the other ignored. Guess which one is given the most attention?

  11. MichelleG says:

    “more women than men abuse children ”

    No way am I condoning abuse, but what that tells me is the fact that women are primarily the caregivers (including babysittng/daycare) than men. The problem with spending the most time with children is that along with providing their physical and emotional needs, they are also expected to discipline them at the same time. If the roles were reversed and in the same percentage, can men really say they would do a better job at care giving and fathering than mothers? Especially when plenty still think “nurturing” is a female job?

    Parenting is one of the toughest jobs around, guaranteed to be stressful and joyful too…but the amount of stress could be as difficult as a CEO’s, which I’m sure many CEOs would prefer working over parenting. Office environment is more peaceful and social, and it PAYS. I don’t think you need to be a CEO to appreciate work as an alternate “escape” from family responsibilities…money is a good motivator.

    • MichelleG:
      In my opinion parenting is tough. But, unless you fail to provide a good foundation in your kids from day 1 (think of the parents in supernanny) in my opinion it is both easier and MUCH more fulfilling than just about any paid labor outside the home.

      Also, I agree and disagree with you about why mothers abuse more often. I don’t think it has so much to do with intact or intact couples in which mothers have more child minding time.

      I don’t believe that more child-minding time will impact a healthy adult in such a way that they are more likely to abuse. That’s like saying the more a person drives, the more likely they are to enact a road-rage incident. Well-adjusted people don’t do either, no matter how many hours they spend at it.

      In my opinion it has to do with family courts and welfare workers not doing their due diligence to keep children out of the hands of clearly abusive mothers.

      Look up the story of Baby P. The toddler died at 18 months old after his short life-time of abuse at the hands of mom and her live-in boyfriend.

      The mother & son were visited some 80 times during the child’s lifespan.

      The mother covered up the facial bruises by covering the boys face in chocolate. She covered up his removed fingernails by putting mittens on his hands in doors. She covered up the childs BROKEN SPINE by putting him in a swing (all these during child services visits).

      Effing really? Where was the due diligence. Feminists have been trying to highlight individual cases where (supposedly) abusing dads have used false accusations of the mother alienating the kids against the dad to show abusive dads are getting custody.

      In fact, in every instance feminists try to publish books or movies (like Breaking the Silence which was removed from PBS because the ombudsman said it did not adhere to journalistic standards of integrity) Glenn Sacks has debunked them and shown a COURTROOM full of experts decided against the mothers having custody for good reason.

      The fact that feminists can’t find abusive dads getting custody shows that when mothers lose custody you have custody evaluators, guardian ad litums, psychiatrists and every expert rain down to make sure that mother doesn’t lose custody unless it’s proven.

      Fathers don’t experience ANYWHERE near that kind of diligence for the protection of their parental rights. The net affect is that the family courts (or welfare investigators) routinely look the other way as abusive mothers get custody (or in the case of welfare investigators the mothers instigate abuse).

      We need to stop making excuses for mothers (like child-minding time) and hold them to the same standard of behavior we hold dads to.

      • The mother & son were visited some 80 times during the child’s lifespan.

        They were visited by child protective services I meant to say.

      • MichelleG says:

        I agree some parents should not be allowed to reproduce and children’s and court services should have better handle on custody cases; weeding out the lies and the truth – this is no easy task.
        —————————————
        “I don’t believe that more child-minding time will impact a healthy adult in such a way that they are more likely to abuse. That’s like saying the more a person drives, the more likely they are to enact a road-rage incident. Well-adjusted people don’t do either, no matter how many hours they spend at it.”

        “We need to stop making excuses for mothers (like child-minding time) and hold them to the same standard of behavior we hold dads to.”

        No way was I making an excuse (I would be the last person to condone abuse). I was merely pointing out the fact that mothers/women are primarily the caregivers, so the more mothers you have as caregivers, there’s no doubt going to be a percentage of deranged women who abuse. Similarly if you have more cars on the road, there’s no doubt you’ll get more road rage and car accidents…it’s all about ratios. If you don’t put any airplanes on the roads and less trucks than cars, then of course there’s not going to be airplane incidents, and there will be less truck accidents. So the accountability for these road rages and accidents would on the surface indicate that cars are the problem.

    • The feminist ideology has given rise to the abuse industry which has become all powerful. Child abuse may not be something which we commonly understand, but whatever the experts of the abuse industry want it to be for their own benefit. Here is a link to the news report that Indian couple have children taken away by Norwegian social workers because they fed them with their hands.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2088337/Norwegian-authorities-away-children-Indian-couple-eating-hands.html

      • MichelleG says:

        i read that link. That is cultural misunderstanding and a lack of proper communication of expectations and tolerance. i think the Norwegian child services were just following their own westernized parental guidelines. Aren’t we always telling foreigners that if they want to live in our country that they would have to follow our customs/rules? Norway was laying out and making sure their house rules were followed. This is the same as parents (Norway) giving the babysitter (Indian couple) special instructions to care for their children. I don’t see this as feminist ideology, sorry. Good try.

        • @MichelleG

          “This is the same as parents (Norway) giving the babysitter (Indian couple) special instructions to care for their children.”

          It is very offensive to refer child services as parent and the real parents as baby sitters. Child protection agencies across Western countries is pretty dictatorial. German child welfare agency “Jugendamt” is very notorious is this matter. They do not just mistreat foreigners but their nationals as well. Here is another link

          http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2010/March/Child-Welfare-Agency-Echoes-Nazi-Germany/

          • MichelleG says:

            The child protection services’ policies are extreme and strict for sure; but non-sexist. I don’t see how this is connected with feminist ideology! There’s a correlation though with this strictness to where Norway is ranked in the world with their Health Care system, 11th in the world. They don’t get there by being lax.

            It doesn’t explain in the that link, but I can see how hand-feeding kids is a BIG no no. Hand feeding babies/young kids (as opposed to sanitized spoon) presents problem of germs/bacteria that could enter the child and make him/her sick. Babies and young children are known to have weak immune systems. The WHO ranks the Norway’s Health care system at number 11th in the world (United States at 37), while India ranked in at 112. Who are you going to believe knows best?

            The 3 year old child sleeping with the father was inappropriate behavior? Weird. They must have different standard of parenting than Canada/United States which recommends 5 – 7+ years of age to sleep alone. I can see reprimanding the parents or communicating expectations as appropriate measures, but removing the kids for that is way extreme.

            • NickMostly says:

              It doesn’t explain in the that link, but I can see how hand-feeding kids is a BIG no no.

              Your intuition is wrong here.

              Hand feeding babies/young kids (as opposed to sanitized spoon) presents problem of germs/bacteria that could enter the child and make him/her sick.

              By dry weight, bacteria comprise upwards of 10% of your body’s mass. There are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Ten times more. Think about that for a moment. You should also thing about everything else that goes into a child’s mouth when not at the dinner table.

              Babies and young children are known to have weak immune systems.

              No, they aren’t. The immune system of a healthy infant is fully developed by about six months of age; before that there’s not much you’re going to be hand-feeding to a baby anyway.

              This is what happens when we rely on our gut instinct to make and justify policy decisions. Fortunately we have Science™ to correct our faulty intuition.

              The WHO ranks the Norway’s Health care system at number 11th in the world (United States at 37), while India ranked in at 112. Who are you going to believe knows best?

              This is a textbook case of confusing correlation with causation. Hmm… what other variables might account for the difference in health outcomes? Extreme poverty? Lack of access to medical facilities? Nah, those can’t be it.

            • I’m aware that our bodies contain billions of bacteria…i actually feed more bacteria into my system – good bacteria, through probiotics, yogurt, cheese; this helps combat the bad bacteria in the gut. Germ and dirty hands, last time I checked don’t count as good bacteria, so should be avoided. Kids put enough dirty objects into their mouths (as you pointed out), so let’s not add more to it – instead of hands, use a spoon to feed them; this is easy to accommodate! What’s the big deal? Treat the kid with class, instead of some baby gorilla. Next are you going to argue that, ruminating on food and delivering it mouth to mouth is healthy too? And can you imagine, if the parent’s hand had an open cut or sore, or blood and all this was transferred into the child’s mouth…and that parent has an infection or contagious disease???
              —————————————–
              Babies and young children do have weaker immune systems than adults, and they’re also at the age where most of their vaccinations and immunization happens. 15 month old babies, alone receive about 7 vaccine shots.

              Your baby’s vaccination and immunization schedule may recommend the following vaccines:

              * Birth- Hepatitis B
              * 1-2 months- hepatitis B
              * 2 months- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine, Hib vaccine, polio vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
              * 4 months- DTaP, Hib vaccine, polio vaccine, PCV.
              * 6 months- DTaP, Hib, polio (6-18 months), PCV, hepatitis B (6-18 months)
              * 12 months- MMR (12-15 months), Hib (12-15 months), chicken pox (12-18 months), PCV (12-15 months)
              * 15 months- DTap (12-18 months)

              —————————————–

              Norway in 2011, was ranked the best country to live in based on health, education and income. This also translates to having HIGH standards…they’re overachievers, alright. Lol.

              http://mynewlifeinnorway.com/post/12332249213/norway-as-the-best-country-to-live-in-un-2011
              <<<>>>>

            • NickMostly says:

              I provided links so that should you actually disagree with anything I wrote you would see that I wasn’t making it up out of whole cloth, which is what you appear to be doing. Here are ten points, in no particular order.

              First, that is some straight up racist shit there to compare cultures that don’t use spoons to gorillas. But don’t take my word for it – ask the guy on Yo, Is This Racist?

              Second, I’m not going to repeat myself about infant and child immune systems other than to say you should really click through and educate yourself.

              Third, just because Norway is rich and can afford good health care doesn’t mean all of its practices are inscrutable or beneficial. Because of pervasive poverty most Indians don’t have access to clean drinking water, the single most important factor for health outcomes. You simply can’t say it’s because their spoons are clean. (By the way, their spoons are NOT sanitized unless those crazy Norwegians are outfitting homes with autoclaves instead of dishwashers).

              Fourth, try trillions of bacteria. And we don’t have a clue about which gut bacteria are “good” and which are “bad.” We know some are problematic, but our knowledge is woefully lacking. Google “fecal microbiota transplantation.”

              Fifth, “germs” is a useless term, as is “dirty hands.” And what makes you think that just because someone is eating with their hands that they haven’t washed them anyway?

              Sixth, one of the links I provided covered vaccinations and guess what? Not only do children receive fewer vaccine proteins today than they did in the past, but they can handle thousands more than we currently expose them to.

              Seventh, are you aware of the correlation between having pets in the home and a decrease in asthma and allergies among children? Dogs and cats aren’t the cleanest things in the world, and yet…

              Eighth, you do know that bacteria are what digest the food slurry in your gut, right?

              Ninth, if it’s good enough for Jon Stewart, it’s good enough for me.

              Tenth, how is a vaccine schedule even relevant here? Oh, wait, it isn’t.

            • “Seventh, are you aware of the correlation between having pets in the home and a decrease in asthma and allergies among children? Dogs and cats aren’t the cleanest things in the world, and yet…”

              Cats are cute, but they are very filthy…they carry awful dandruff and long haired cats shed too much…all of this pollutes the air we breathe. I once took in this girl who had this tabby cat, during that time I was exposed to her cat – I developed severe bronchitis and this was the first time I ever experienced lung problems. I had to get antibiotics to cure this problem and the bronchitis recurred on a regular basis after that for SEVERAL years. It’s taken a long time since that first exposure to her cat, for the bronchitis to cease occurring. Thank god, because i remember how bad my chest pains were from the chronic coughing…and lungs felt on fire and parched throat and unable to sleep!

              India is ranked 112th in the world, so they still have very primitive ways of doing things, hand-feeding is one of them – “baby gorilla” was sarcasm…god, lightened up! If hand-feeding is so great, you should take it up with your children if you have any – make sure your hands sanitized and inspect them for cuts and blood and ensure that you’ve been tested and have no viruses. I would just use a spoon to avoid all of this hassle ;)

            • NickMostly says:

              You would do well to investigate thee difference between anecdote (i.e. your story about your reaction to a particular cat) and epidemiological studies (i.e. studies across a population). I am allergic to cats myself, even having grown up with them. But across populations, kids who grow up with animals have better health outcomes on certain measures (specifically incidence of asthma and allergy) than kids who don’t. My particular experience with cats doesn’t invalidate the data, and neither does yours.

              And again you are drawing the wrong conclusions from the ranking data. India is not ranked 112 because they have “primitive ways of doing things,” they are ranked 112 because it is a very large, very poor country without access to clean water and routine medical care.

              You should also learn about bacteria and virology. You keep making claims about “germs” but what you say betrays a complete ignorance of the subject. If you spend some time learning about it you might understand more why your recommendations are not only nonsensical but in some cases counterproductive. Here’s one thing you can search on: why eating dirt is good for you. There are a lot of articles and a few videos that are sure to challenge your assumptions (if you let them).

            • @MichelleG
              The extreme measures taken by child protection agencies across Western world is directly related to feminist war on family. The feminists have created and control the vast social services industries which is running out of control.

          • NickMostly says:

            @Rapses
            I talked with my friend from Germany this morning about that story and she said it’s both better and worse than we might think in the US.

            In Germany they are serious about schooling. It is illegal to homeschool your children. Private schools need to be sanctioned by the state and they are very closely monitored to ensure they are providing the same educational standards as the public schools. She said it’s even illegal to take your kids out of school early for vacation. A week before school is out they have police stationed at the airports who will levy a 1000€ fine on German parents trying to leave with kids. Even though she lives in the US, because her kids have German citizenship she has to annually send proof that they are enrolled in an accredited school here.

            She said the reason these parents had their kid taken away is because they refused to lie to the police. The law is the law, and if you don’t want to follow it you should leave Germany. These parents refused to enroll their son in public school, and told the courts they wouldn’t if he were returned, so they wouldn’t give the child back. She agrees that the law is crazy, but said this story has nothing to do with how kids are raised and everything to do with how draconian the Germans are about schooling.

            • NickMostly says:

              Which is to say, this story has ZERO to do with feminism and everything to do with how the Germans feel about school. If the parents had simply been beating their child it would have been harder for them to remove the kid; because he wasn’t enrolled in school it’s a default judgement.

            • @NickMostly

              You are not getting my point. Most of the child protection services in Western world are created and backed by feminist ideologues. It is the monster created by Dr. Feminism which is getting out of control. These agencies are creating abuse hysteria which is adversely affecting father-children relationship. It is not the case of child protection services only in Norway or Germany, but in all Western Europe and Anglo sphere. Your friend probably did not tell you about the all encompassing powers and arbitrariness of German “Jugendamt.” When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

            • NickMostly says:

              Oh, I get your point. I just don’t agree with it and I don’t believe the article you quote supports your thesis.

              And yes, we spoke at length about the German system. She’s no fan of it either, but the picture she presented was much more nuanced than the one you’re trying to compose. In my experience I have learned to distrust those who paint portraits using only black and white when it’s clear there is an entire palette of color available to them.

    • Michelle –

      Stop with the excuses and the changing of subjects already.

      Write to CNN condemning their endorsement of this blatant father-hating and sexism.

      Then publish your letter to CNN here.

      Until then I will view you as part of the problem and not part of the solution.

      You are responsible for the evil you could prevent.

      • NickMostly says:

        Wow, so much vituperative language. That lack of charity towards others and basic human decency is why internet commenting gets such a bad rap.

        • NM,
          What’s vituperative? You don’t think the CNN and Parenting.com piece reflected bigotry against fathers?

          As for the last line, I will confess to lifting that from the billboard in front of the Unitarian Univeralist church in our New England town. Do you see UUs as “vituperative?”

          As for Michelle, she really does love to change the subject whenever a woman hates on a man doing something perfectly ordinary. See some of her comments to Scott Mclelland’s piece.

          Ciao

          • NickMostly says:

            1) See my comment way up above on this piece. I think it explains clearly enough what I think about the article in question.

            2) In this case she was agreeing that mothers abuse children, and suggesting a reason for why the numbers are skewed as they are (that more women serve in the role of caregiver therefore more opportunities for abuse). While she may have changed the subject in the past, this seemed completely in line with what was being discussed. It’s possible to disagree with her without making unreasonable demands that appear intended more to provoke than anything.

            3) There used to be a church sign on Rt. 10/202 in Southwick, MA that regularly employed a pun or other play on words. Unfortunately they have a new pastor who doesn’t seem to be as creative.

  12. I can understand the mother in the article having the perceptions she holds but if we are going to truly improve this country, especially in the area of child rearing, we must recognize the importance of both parents.

    This article just reinforces the double standard that exists in society, we say more men need to step up, more men need to be fathers, but only with limitations. Is this scenario any different than the father with his children and he’s asked “are you baby sitting?” or “are you playing Mr. Mom today?” both of these questions illustrate the need for more fatherhood advocacy.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    All very well, but if it were me I wouldn’t get within parsecs of a sleepover that lacked at least two adult women–so they could chaperone each other–of any kids whatsoever.
    It’s been better than twenty years, but I get chills thinking of who might have decided to ruin me because I didn’t give her kid enough playing time when I coached AYSO.
    Is there an emoticon for index fingers crossed perpendicularly as a cross or crucifix to ward off even the thought?

  14. The Bad Man says:

    This attitude is quite prevalent, I don’t think many parents would allow their girls to sleep over without a woman present. I would never dare ask unless I knew the parents and the children very well.

    It’s even noticeable in public as grown men with young girls get the stink eye or at best condescending remarks like “good boy helping out your wife”. Many men wouldn’t automatically realize this since when the mother is present then it’s not an issue.

    I’m not entirely comfortable talking about activities with a huge group of girls because I don’t think many other people are comfortable with a man talking about it.

  15. The question doesn’t give the ages of the girls coming for the sleepover. But I don’t think this matters much.

    It does seem unfair to father, to deny him from supervising the girls sleepover…and looks sexist in choosing a women over a man. But the way I look at this, is that this sleepover is equivalent to a ‘girls’ night out; and when women have one of those, men do not tag along! (The same is true for a men’s night out, right?) Some conversations include talking about the opposite sex, boyfriends etc…whereby females would feel most comfortable discussing amongst girlfriends and feel better not within in earshot of a male. I’m sure if this was a boys’ sleepover, they would appreciate a man over a woman supervising, wouldn’t you think?

    • NickMostly says:

      No, that seems like post hoc rationalization of prejudice. I say no from personal experience, ymmv.

      Here’s what I’ve observed. For prepubescent kids, they don’t seem to care who is supervising as long as there are enough pillows and blankets and popcorn. In my little corner of the world (which is a bastion of liberal tolerance), prepubescent sleepovers aren’t necessarily gendered anyway. They do require a nurturing parent, but plenty of fathers are more than happy to play that role if allowed to.

      Around puberty kids become more aware of gender during sleepovers, but still may have coed sleepovers if it’s a group of close friends. Kids this age are often seeking independence so your role as supervisor is less nurturing and more house servant. As long as the chips and soda flow freely no one will get hurt.

      I’ve never supervised a sleepover for teenagers, but I did live as one of three houseparents in a girls’ dorm at a private school (the other two being a married couple who were the dorm head and a single female who was the other houseparent). More than anything the girls seemed to want someone who would listen to their problems without judgement or reproach, and it didn’t matter if you were a man or a woman. I’ve had to mediate disputes between warring factions, console girls about errant boyfriends, and provide advice about navigating all manner of relationships. I’m still friends with a couple of the girls in my dorm.

      So no, in my experience, kids don’t really care about the sex of the person doing the supervising, they care about the quality of the supervision and whether it’s meeting their needs.

    • daryll doda says:

      That is a bizarre justification and completelt ridiculous. Does that mean that mom shouldn’t be home when the boys have a sleepover?Try that one on for size and see what kind of responses you get. Honestly….

      • MichelleG says:

        I’ve never had a girls’ sleepover, so I’m trying to put myself in that position and who I would prefer to supervise the sleepover. Nobody bothered throwing that question out to those girls, eh??? Well if I were a teenager again, and if you were to ask me to choose – I would tell you that I would prefer a woman, just so it can be a total girls’ sleepover, no men or boys allowed! And if i had questions about sex or boys, I would feel more comfortable talking to a woman and perhaps have that female supervisor even be involved in the sleepover – tell stories from her life. It’s a time for girls to bond with other females.

        • Girls night out is fine, if you say it like that. But if you just flat out say you don’t like them being just with the father then that is a problem. Could be the stereotypical boys going camping with the guys as well.

          Do you feel comfortable with an adult male around female children though? and if not, is that on par with adult women around male children? Personally I think both male and female are far far far far far far more likely to protect those kids like a hawk, vs hurting them.

          When I am at home, I keep an ear out because we have children playing around in the front of their yard within earshot, if I hear a scream my heart stops and I go check out what is wrong because I don’t want anyone being hurt. And I’m usually in the shed or something so if needs be I’ll grab a cricket bat, cane knife, anything ready to scare off would-be attackers cuz I really really hate people messing with kids.

          What’s sad is that I feel weird about it, a while ago a kid fell off her bike n started crying and I had hesitations about going to see if she was ok, I have a first aid certificate, my mother was home though and she is a teacher so I told her so if the kid needed help she could be there first just to make sure there wasn’t some misunderstanding. Luckily the kid was fine and was laughing moments later, I guess kids are built tougher than they appear. That is the culture men face, this hysteria over child safety where men have in the past NOT gone to help because of that fear.

          Case in point, this article: ht tp://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,190586,00.html
          I’m nervous just having a CAMERA near kids, or being near them alone, just for being a male, even though I’m 6’6, look quite intimidating and I’d tear anyones head off that tried to hurt the child. All that because some people of my gender abuse kids, yet the other gender is more likely to abuse kids if the stats I’ve seen are correct yet they’re trusted far more. Neither should face prejudice like that.

        • NickMostly says:

          Well, I did ask a number of women in my life (n=3) who have had experiences with sleepovers when they were younger. They all had occasion to sleep over at friends’ houses where only a father was present, and the only preferential distinction for mothers that arose is where the fathers were more “stern,” and this only mattered when they were younger. Confirming what I wrote earlier, when these women were older (over 12) they were not interested in the person supervising – they wanted to see as little of the adults, men and women, as possible. “Load up the movie, put out the snacks, and then go away please” was the common sentiment.

          I don’t mean to universalize their experiences (nor the experiences of the many boys and girls I’ve supervised in the past) but I think the only people who actually care are adults whose irrational fears have been fed on a steady diet of inaccurate and misleading reports about men and sexual assault of minors.

    • Sure, and what about a whites night out where they can’t have a black babysitter too? You’re clutching at straws.
      “and looks sexist in choosing a women over a man” – Umm, because it is?
      How many kids want the parents around at all? I doubt they care what gender the parent is unless of course people have trained them to be more suspicious of males than females….

  16. Excellent post. I posted something about this today, including a question: When do we cross the line of “this is about me, not you” thinking being used to justify our actions to “this is about me” thinking as an opportunity to look inwards to address our own biases. Click the link for more:

    http://www.nycdadsgroup.com/2012/01/can-we-justify-bias-against-fathers.html

  17. 45 Years of Feminist Domestic Violence Industry Evil Lies…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWHppnJ8D2k

    We all have to Admit that here in the US and the Western World today we truly live in Misandric Society — Biased Against Men.

    Every Day Men are Falsely Accused as a way for the Woman to Gain Advantage in a Divorce, or as a part of an Immigration Fraud Scheme ( Google: VAWA False Accusations ), or for pure Vengeance…

    I started researching the issue and I found out that there is a ( Google this: ) VAWA Immigration Loop-hole …

    The next surprise I got was that I learned that VAWA is completely Unconstitutional in that it is Gender Biased.

    The next surprise I got was that the reason for this are the Marxist Feminists in OVW (a part of the DOJ) and the Domestic Violence Industry, which receives $1 Billion a year as VAWA grants from the Federal Government.

    The next surprise I got was that I learned that Family Courts and Police practices are also gender biased and that because of the Marxist Feminist in OVW/DOJ due process is not followed, and that the (falsely) accused man is assumed guilty even when there is no evidence against him.

    Then I was told that Men’s lives are being and have been destroyed because of the False Accusations Epidemic of Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence and Rape we have in the US (and the rest of the Western World).

    This Song is me, Summarizing the Consequences of 45 years of “Feminist” Domestic Violence Industry Evil Indoctrination that is now Indoctrinated into Politics, the Government, Courts, Police and General Public, Encouraging an Epidemic of False Accusations of Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence and Rape, that:

    - Women are Good, All Men are Violent and Rapists!
    - Women are helpless Victims, Men are Perpetrators!
    - Women need Help and Protection, Men must be Restrained, Prosecuted and Jailed!

    Enjoy !

    I Wanted a Job, But there is No Job for Me
    I Wanted Education, But there is No Grant for Me
    I was by a Woman Abused, But there is No Help for Me
    I was Falsely Accused, But there is No Relief for Me

    There is No Job for Me Because I am a Man
    There is No Grant for Me Because I am a Man
    There is No Help for Me Because I am a Man
    … Because I am a Man

    Forty Five Years of Domestic Violence Industry and Feminism Lies
    That Women are Good and Men are Bad
    That All Men are Violent, That All Men are Rapists
    Resulting in an Epidemic of False Accusations

    An Epidemic of False Accusations by Women Against Men
    Of Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence and Rape
    Is Sweeping Across the Country from East to West
    Destroying Everything Standing in its Way

    These Lies are Destroying Men
    These Lies are Destroying Fathers
    These Lies are Destroying Families
    These Lies are Destroying Our Society

    • AL VAWAhorrors, what does all this have to do with the article?

      • Hmmm… I thought it was obvious… but not to you I suppose.

        This type of Misandric thinking is obviously the result of …

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAQZlT4TuwA

        …45 years of “Feminist” Domestic Violence Industry Evil Indoctrination that is now Indoctrinated into Politics, the Government, Courts, Police and General Public, Encouraging an Epidemic of False Accusations of Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence and Rape, that:
        - Women are Good, All Men are Violent and Rapists!
        - Women are helpless Victims, Men are Perpetrators!
        - Women need Help and Protection, Men must be Restrained, Prosecuted and Jailed!

        • Al V,

          Ok, you get the gold prize on this thread for red herrings. Michelle G, you will have to make do with silver in this case.

          • Hmmm… I take it you chose to remain blind to the reality that.

            For the past ca. 45 years the Misandric Feminist Domestic Violence Industry have been using the Dogma:

            - Women are Good, All Men are Violent and Rapists!
            - Women are helpless Victims, Men are Perpetrators!
            - Women need Help and Protection, Men must be Restrained, Prosecuted and Jailed!

            …As a Fund Raising Technique and to to brain-wash the public with the Sick, Venomous Feminist Doctrines which are:
            - spreading male-hate (Misandry)…
            - creating and encouraging ongoing conflict between the sexes…
            - encouraging an epidemic of False Accusations by Women against Men…

            …and Inspire Misandric Legislations and School/Court/Police Practices.

            Have a look:

            http://bellsouthpwp2.net/a/r/arietti/thomas_ball.html

            http://thedomesticviolenceindustrylies.blogspot.com/

  18. wellokaythen says:

    Why don’t men spend more time with their children? The article gives one reason why men may feel discouraged from doing so.

    This fear of predatory men is something perpetuated by both men and women, both men and women use this to their advantage, and at the same time it hurts both men and women. I’m not saying it helps or hurts them both equally, but this is a systemic problem, not just a product of women hating men.

    Fathers as well as mothers may be suspicious of men in charge of play dates. Generally, when a father worries about his daughter’s safety, he’s more likely to worry about threats from males than threats from females. Men are perpetuating the scary male stranger stereotype, not just women.

    It’s a double-edged stereotype, though. If you’re a man who wants to work with children, the bad news is you won’t be allowed to. If you’re a man who doesn’t want to work with children, the good news is you won’t have to. It can prevent men from childcare work, or it can exempt them from it, depending on your point of view. I resent the assumption that I can’t be trusted because I’m male; on the other hand, I’m happy that I’ve never been asked to babysit. No one has ever assumed that because of my gender, I must like babies and children, which is what happens to a lot of women. I’m not sad about missing out on that part.

    Another way to look at it is that this fear guarantees that women will continue to be the ones responsible for childcare. This benefits women but limits them, too. If you can’t trust a man to be with children, then you are requiring a woman to be with them. There are women who could be doing any number of other things, but they can’t, because men can’t be trusted to take care of the children.

    If I were more paranoid, I might think that this predatory male stereotype is actually a ploy to scare people back into traditional gender roles or to limit women’s work outside the home. But that would be silly. Just because something has an effect doesn’t mean that’s the intended effect….

  19. debaser71 says:

    I think CNN is just regurgitating what was on Parenting.com

    Parenting.com is basically a mommy magazine with a healthy amount of dad bashing. If anyone thinks what was printed on CNN is bad please understand that this is par for the course. Most so called “parenting” magazine and sections of a website are mommy glorification spaces (and at the expense of fathers).

    I am a stay at home father (by choice not by circumstance). I’ve been followed and confronted by police and mall security. I’ve been asked if I was doing anything “naughty” by strangers when I was playing on my front lawn with my daughters. I’ve been glared at and laughed at by women at the supermarket. Oh….the joys of dealing with other people baseless opinions.

    So thanks for this blog post but please, this is only the tip of the ice-berg.

  20. Good Lord, *I* went to sleepovers with just somebody’s stepdad present. I didn’t know I was supposed to be upset over that…. and I’m 54 years old. (rolls eyes)

    Good work in challenging CNN on this.

  21. Jonathan Jones says:

    Let us be honest here. Nothing will change because good people will do noithing. Here we are discussing what isn’t right, for some people they say fathers are needed but yet what is being done about it? Fathers have a bad rap because of biases that society has allowed. Laws, statues, rights are broken all in the sake of sexual discrimination where the father’s Equal Protection Rights are squashed. I have tried to fight a fight to get people to say that fathers are needed but yet I have no base, I have no one willing to fight, just people who say what has been said here. Do we write our Congressman, State Reps, news media, when will we protest for Mens Rights, for the right to be a father unconditionally?

    I lost my Shared Parenting due to service in the military, after being in since 2005 I loose when I take the mother to court for contempt of Ohio law, kidnapping etc and I loose custody due to service. Do you really think CNN will apologize? We are men that aren’t protected or valued. How bad are things, the family court system here didn’t even care about the Ohio House Bill 121 which is supposed to protect service members.

    So when some of you are tired of bitching behind closed doors where nothing will be solved and ready to make a statement, start a movement send me a email [email protected].

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  1. [...] attitudes that need to be challenged.  Writer, Mark Trueblood, stands up for men in an article, Why CNN Owes Father’s An Apology.  The CNN article suggested that if a man was supervising a sleepover with his teenaged daughter [...]

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