Monday, June 14, 2010

Fathers declared unnecessary

The war on fathers continues. The Atlantic has published an article bluntly titled "Are Fathers Necessary?". The author, Pamela Paul, believes that new research shows the answer to be no, that fathers are not as essential as once thought.

She admits that there is data showing the negative effects on children of fatherlessness, with such children being on average:

five times as likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times as likely to drop out of school, and 20 times as likely to wind up in prison

But she thinks this doesn't tell the true story. This only proves in her opinion that two parent families do better than single parent families. The better comparison she believes is between families with a father and mother and families with two lesbian parents.

She then cites recent research showing that lesbian families do better than families with fathers. If true, this would indeed suggest that fathers don't make a necessary contribution as fathers. Their role wouldn't be as essential as once thought:

But the real challenge to our notion of the “essential” father might well be the lesbian mom. On average, lesbian parents spend more time with their children than fathers do. They rate disputes with their children as less frequent than do hetero couples, and describe co-parenting more compatibly and with greater satisfaction. Their kids perceive their parents to be more available and dependable than do the children of heteros. They also discuss more emotional issues with their parents. They have fewer behavioral problems, and show more interest in and try harder at school.

According to Stacey and Biblarz, “Two women who chose to become parents together seemed to provide a double dose of a middle-class ‘feminine’ approach to parenting.” And, they conclude, “based strictly on the published science, one could argue that two women parent better on average than a woman and a man, or at least than a woman and man with a traditional division of family labor.”

So should we just let women do the parenting? Well, let's not jump too fast to this conclusion. I happen to be aware of the kind of research Pamela Paul is relying on here. And it's not research carried out by neutral experts. It is advocacy research.

For instance, there was a lot of publicity given to some recent research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It claimed that the children of lesbian parents did much better than the children of heterosexual parents:

daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts

You could challenge this research in various ways. Lesbians are able to select donor sperm for high IQ in a way that heterosexual women cannot. Lesbian women are more likely to have professional jobs and to live in better neighbourhoods etc.

But there is a larger objection to the research than this. The research was actually funded by a number of LGBT organisations and carried out by two lesbian feminist researchers. One of these researchers, Nanette Gartrell, teaches feminist ethics on campus and has written a book titled, Everyday Mutinies: Funding Lesbian Activism. She has been voted one of the ten most powerful lesbian doctors in the US.

The other researcher is a Dutch lesbian by the name of Henny Bos (pictured left). She has given interviews for the Dutch media which have titles such as "De ideale vader is een moeder" ("The ideal father is a mother") and "Een vader heb je eigenlijk niet nodig" ("You don't actually need a father").

So the researchers and the funding organisations are not neutral. But what of the research itself? What Bos and Gartrell did was to go to places at which the most politically aware of lesbians might congregate (such as lesbian bookstores) and recruit lesbian parents to self-report their family outcomes. Yes, that's right, self-report.

Obviously, there's a decent chance that lesbian parents would put a positive spin on their family outcomes for political reasons. So the value of the research has to be doubted.

This is an important issue to take a stand on. If men don't really believe they have a necessary role in the family, the male commitment not only to family life but by extension to society itself will inevitably weaken. It is the male investment in society that makes the difference and that has to be our core concern.


  1. That "study" - how many cases did they look at? 3? 4?

    No, no agenda here.

  2. Lesbian women are more likely to have professional jobs and to live in better neighbourhoods etc.

    I have a data point (take it for what it's worth) saying otherwise. I know a lesbian who says that deliberate underearning ("downwardly mobile" she called it) was the norm in the lesbian community she knew (in San Francisco, btw). Being on the upwardly mobile fast track was seen as giving in to patriarchal norms, so it was shunned as being "unlesbian". This rule was, naturally, rigidly enforced by the community.

  3. I note that another of the leading researchers pushing the "lesbians raise better children" line is Charlotte J Patterson. She too is not a neutral scientific researcher but a lesbian parent herself. There are claims that she used friends in her research and when a US court ordered her to show the documentation for her research she refused to obey the court order.

    Again, when you follow up the names cited in the footnotes you get activists pursuing advocacy research.

  4. Randian,

    The lesbian couples recruited for the study were mostly upper class:

    "The mothers were predominantly college-educated, middle- and upper-middle-class (82%), professionals or managers (85%) (Gartrell et al., 1996). Median household
    income at T4 was $85,000 (interquartile range = $51,000 – $120,000)."

    I imagine that a median household income of $85,000 in the US in 1996 was well above average.

    Something else of interest from the study. After 10 years, 48% of the lesbian couples had split up, leaving only 37 remaining families to participate in the study.

  5. By 2009, 57% of the lesbian couples had split up, leaving only 31 lesbian couples as the focus of the study. So Louise is on the right track in suggesting that the study is a relatively small sample. Another distortion is that 93% of the lesbian couples were white compared to 67% of the heterosexuals - therefore avoiding some of the greater family instability that exists in some other ethnic groups.

  6. The lesbian couples recruited for the study were mostly upper class:

    That doesn't mean lesbians are more likely to be upper class. It more likely means the study suffers from sampling bias.

  7. This is sick. Absolutely sick. Twisted sick. I'm a female and I am enraged by these 'women.'

    First off, if men aren't important why do these women try so hard to look like men?

    Secondly, the IQ thing is a BIG deal.

    Thirdly, Umm....Has anyone been following Jodie Foster or that weird singer (melissa something) woman's relationship break-ups? Hardly any of these lesbian couples stay together...sooo....

    Also....if they have male children....are these lesbian mothers teaching their male childen..."Well Bobby you really have no worth and no importance. Women don't need you to parent. In fact, if you have kids...don't be in their lives cuz they don't need you. Your worthless."

    I want to hear these lesbian 'mothers' explain this research to their Sons!!!

  8. Anonymous, that's a good point. The lesbian activists are pushing an idea at the expense of their own sons.

  9. Yeah, and remember that great ancient civilization built by lesbians?

    Nope, I can't think of any. I know these women have degraded their minds through a lifetime of lies and distortions, but still you wonder: Are there nights where they lie awake and think, Huh. Why didn't those Amazons built the Parthenon?

  10. This post not only highlights the openly "engineered" results of "studies" but really brings to light the appalling decline in the standards that academic publications once insisted on, being that research be disinterested and independent.
    So the American Academy of Pediatrics wants us to take them seriously does it? It wants us to believe that an article written by Lesbian Mums on the benefits of a Lesbian "family" is good independent research. OK I'll get the local publican to submit a paper to "The Lancet", "40 Schooners a day. How it promotes better health outcomes"

  11. Note also that the ratings of children's behavior were SELF-REPORTED by the lesbian couples.

  12. Hi Mark,

    First time commenter - I'm really glad that you're doing this site. It's an important topic and there is very little of this done anywhere, let alone Australia.

    Do you know where we can get Australian stats for the makeup of criminal backgrounds?


    Tom Gray

  13. The deliberate falsification of data via "cherry picking" is not new, but this is a particularly egregious example. The politicalization of science has been accompanied by a degradation of the scientific method itself, and this "study" is a prime example. One of the effects of affirmative action, i.e. promotion for political reasons, has been the elevation of lower IQ people into positions that require an above average IQ.

    Combine Marxist "end justifies the means" mindset in social research with substandard thinkers and the result is junk science. I quit taking "studies" as truth years ago after encountering this in a different social study (violence and crime). No study can be regarded with any trust until the underlying assumptions are examined and, as Mark Richardson has done, careful examination of the data set(s).

    Unfortunately, the MSM has been cherry picking "studies" for 40 years now...just ask Charles Murray about the treatment of his book "The Bell Curve".

  14. Tom Gray asks about Australian figures re crime. Possibly the Australian Bureau of Statistics ( is the least worst bet. Simply typing the word "crime" into the search box on the bureau's home page -- top right-hand corner -- might lead to something useful.

  15. Thanks Robert,

    I ended up at!OpenDocument

    Which had basic information on prisoner stats. Age, Sex, Indigenous/Non Indigenous, Country of Birth.

    Unfortunately nothing that could be used to support a truly political incorrect analysis like marital status of parents.

    Interestingly, the average age of prisoners was 33.4. I was expecting younger.

    I'd love to see a study that looked at the % of the adult population that comes from non-nuclear families. What % of that end up in prison. Then combine that with the current % of the non-adult that come from a non-nuclear family to determine just how mnay new jails we will have to build... would we have to get started now?


  16. "Note also that the ratings of children's behavior were SELF-REPORTED by the lesbian couples."

    Yes, I saw a radfem on another blog trumpeting this "study" and just a couple of posts earlier she was tearing down a study about parental alienation for being self-reported.

    I guess self-reporting is OK if you like the results.