Monday, May 25, 2009

Ms Horin, in passing, on fatherhood

In her Sydney Morning Herald column last Saturday, Ms Adele Horin wrote about the experiences of boys growing up after the feminist revolution, and I was surprised to read, in her second-last paragraph, what I’ve highlighted here in bold type:

But encouraging sensitivity and empathy in boys, and the softness every mother knows is at their core, is essential if men and women are to enjoy happy partnerships at work and home. I can't offer a prescription. I know fathers are integral through example and instruction. Anti-bullying and anti-homophobic policies, and playground policing are important. I know schools should extend their guest list of male role models beyond sporting heroes.
(my emphasis)
I was surprised to read this (for reasons which I’ll explain in a moment), and decided to record it for future reference because Ms Horin is sure to contradict herself on this point sooner or later. Because is Ms Horin not a supporter of same-sex parenting? And if so, then how does she expect boys being raised by ‘two mums’ (though really, same-sex parenting not only destroys the parenting role of the excluded sex, but also destroys the maternal or paternal role of the members of the same-sex couple by turning them into androgynous ‘co-parents’, so it’s absurd to speak of ‘two mums’ or ‘two dads’) to receive the kind of “example and instruction” in which she recognises fathers as “integral”? And presumably there will be symmetry for the case of ‘two dads’ raising a girl. And it’s interesting also how the particular attritubutes that Ms Horin focuses on here, namely “sensitivity and empathy”, are ones which, conventionally, one might suppose a mother would be able to foster. But of course, as Ms Horin implicitly recognises, a mother might be able to teach her son sensitivity and empathy, but she can’t very well teach him how to exhibit those characteristics in the manner befitting a man.

Now if confronted with this huge difficulty, Ms Horin might try to wriggle out of by saying something like ‘er, well, I suppose the ‘two mums’ will have to bring in male friends as role models’. But having recognised the necessity of the opposite sex, why would she then deny a child the kind of stable and enduring first-hand exposure to the opposite sex that only married mother-father parents can offer? Can a string of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ with no avowed commitment to the child and no ongoing day-to-day domestic contact with him or her ever replace a father or a mother, respectively? Of course not.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Gregory VII, Pope, Confessor, A.D. 2009

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