The female of the species is more deadly than the male

Amongst other things this week I have been working with yet another father who is being pushed out of his children’s lives through a combination of this country’s slavish adherence to the lone parent model of support and the iron grip of domestic violence allegations.  I have also been watching with interest, the emergence of another wheeze to convince the government to fund a pointless project called ‘equal parenting’ and I have been observing the way some in the father’s movement, at the very mention of the word equal, are fooled into thinking this must be good for dads.

Let’s start with this new wheeze shall we, was launched this week with articles in the Telegraph and the New Statesman.  The site, which is badged as being ‘backed by the world’s leading thinkers and writers on equal parenting’ (whatever that means), appears to be populated with articles written by three people, none of whom seems to me to be familiar as a world leader.  Given the launch is covered by both the left and the right, one can be sure that the purpose of it, coming ahead of the next general election, is to hedge the bets of the founder in terms of who wins power the next time around. Because whoever holds the power holds the purse strings and given that this venture’s founder is a self proclaimed ‘social entrepreneur’ you can be sure that its mission is not merely to give those of us who are not world leaders, the benefit of his wisdom in the field of equal parenting. espouses the practice of equal parenting.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept or, for those who have, this week, mistaken the phrase equal parenting for equal parenting after separation here’s a rinse through the concept.

Imagine a life without having to choose between a meaningful career and enough time with your children.  Envision that while you are at work, your wonderful children are safe, happy, healthy and growing in the care of someone who loves them just as much as you do.  At home, you spend many hours with them each week to connect with and nurture them.  There is plenty of time for yourself and your favorite hobbies as well, and you never have to do more than half of the housework.  The burden of earning the family’s income no longer falls on just one of you.  You are fully competent as a parent rather than an understudy or manager to your spouse, and you have an energized marriage with a fun and happy partner.  Are you laughing at this unrealistic dream?  Or are you thinking ‘please help me get that’?  If it’s the latter, you’ve come to the right place.

We call this equally shared parenting, and it is practiced by a growing number of couples.  It stands in sharp contrast to the traditional marriage with children, in which the man works and the woman stays home, or the ‘supermom’ marriage, in which the man works and the woman tries to balance a career with the lion’s share of the childcare and household tasks.  Equally shared parenting is more than an extension of feminism; it is more than simply what is fair.  Equally sharing the care of your children with your partner is about balancing your life, balancing your family’s collective life and sharing equally in the joys of raising a family*. 

All well and good, so equally shared parenting is about sharing the care and sharing the work and both of you being equal in the marriage or relationship in which you have created your children.  Sounds like a dream? sounds like an ideal that would protect dads from being dispensed with after separation? Think again.  Though it will disappoint those who have salivated at the positive column inches garnered by the launch of and may crush the hopes of those who believed that finally the wave of change was rising, equally shared parenting is not all it is cracked up to be. And its not about equality either, though you won’t find many advocates for it being willing to face that fact.  What it is, is an unashamedly feminist based approach to making sure that women get a good deal in the marriage by turning husbands into wives who not only do their fair share of housework, child care and dishwashing, they also get to put out the bins, walk the dog and go to work as well.  Gone are the differences between men and women, gone is the joy of being able to sneak off to your shed to put up your feet or lounge on a morning drinking coffee and watching kids tv whilst the baby gurgles on the mat beside you. Here is the interchangeable world of parenting, where both mothers and fathers are just the same and are equally invested and involved in every minute detail of the world of the home as well as work.

Utopian dream? Middle class trendy parenting? Nonsensical nightmare that not only eradicates sex difference but the need for one parent altogether?  Its the latter that really worries me.

Equally shared parenting is very definitely a middle class trendy idea which like many, has come over to the UK from the states.  Written about by various people including Marc and Amy Vachon, ESP as it is shortened to, is about parenting rather than mothering or fathering and about eradicating sex differences and arguing that either mother or father can fulfil all of the tasks of child rearing, house keeping and bread winning in an equally shared approach.  As some commentators on the Mumsanddadsnet. have elaborated, they don’t mother or father, they ‘parent’ their children and parenting as such is an interchangeable function which either can deliver without any negative impact on the child.  Even the Fatherhood Institute, the only government funded organisation in the UK  supporting  fathers, believes that this is the way forward for mothers and fathers –

fortunately mothers and fathers are pretty well interchangeable: when one goes missing, there is no evidence that the other cannot fulfill essential parenting tasks. If fathers had to be stereotypically different from mothers to be good parents, then presumably you think that a man who is quite fearful or would not cross the road for a football match can’t be a good dad; and a woman who is not gentle and ‘feminine’ (whatever that means) can’t be a good mum! Rubbish of course.

Wading through this slightly unintelligble comment, it would seem that the Fatherhood Institute considers that mothers can be fathers and fathers can be mothers and so long as everyone is treated the same that’s just dandy.  Am I the only one, or is there something just a little bit chilling  in this concept that mothering and fathering can be dispensed with and we are all just generic parents these days?

Now those of you who read regularly will know that I have issues with the Fatherhood Institute.  This organisation, set up in the wake of the birth of Fathers4Justice, was unashamedly, in the words of one of its founder members ‘the antithesis of the father’s rights movement.’  It has also been, in my view, the nemesis of fathers rights shoring up as it does the feminist control of the field of family policy and failing to challenge, those things which truly affect dads in our country today.  Now I may be a hard task master.  I like my insitutes to do what they say they do, I like them to represent the people that they purport to represent.  Funded as they are, in significant amounts of tax payers money, I think the Fatherhood Institute should speak for the needs of fathers, should represent them in a way that ensures that their best interests are met and that the children, who are the ones who make men into fathers, should also get a look in.  Especially as the Fatherhood Institute’s voice is the only voice that government is currently listening to in any significant way.  To have this organisation, enthusing about equally shared parenting therefore, leaves me concerned and worried about the future for fatherhood, even more so than I am already, given that the years ahead could well involve some form of parliamentary control by the Labour party, itself no friend of fathers.

So what’s wrong with equal parenting?  Well everything really.  From the perspective of neuroscience the attempt to eradicate sex differences is to remove children from exposure to what makes us male or female. From the perspective of the relational world, the difference between us is what creates the cradle of relationships that children flourish in and from the perspective of true equality, it reduces people to bland, often unfulfilled versions of who they really are, preventing children from getting the best of what is different about men and women and replacing it with some kind of homogenous mash up of compromise.

Its no accident that feminism and equally shared parenting go hand in hand.  From where I am looking, this is about encouraging men to behave more like women and women to behave, well like women only more entitled to putting their feet up.  In a recent article in the Guardian, discussion between men and women who had given equally shared parenting a go, showed that rather than offering fulfillment, many couples spent their time arguing over how to divide up chores and responsibilities.  That aside, it seems to me to be somewhat sad that the inherent differences between us, a man’s upper body strength for example, perfect for cradling baby for hours on end or a woman’s ability to breast feed are things to just be dispensed with.  Maybe its my age, but as the years pass me by it seems to me that it is what is different between us that makes the world a creative place and it is, after all, still the way that the magic of conception occurs.

And in equalities work it is the difference between us and the honouring and valuing of that which is truly about bringing a more equal world into being.  In equalities work, where feminism has dominated the space for far too long, more men are speaking about what it means to be a man, how being helped as a man matters and how men are short changed in the world both of work and within the home.  I was reminded of this only recently when working with a father for whom personal wants and needs had never really been explored so completely eclipsed was he by his partner’s needs.  I thought about this man as I considered the Fatherhood Institute’s representation of men as fathers and the way in which their belief seems to be that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and how fathering or being a man for that matter in a distinct and different way to being a woman is not necessary.  I thought about the single parent lobby and their argument that children don’t need two parents because mothers can father just as well as men and I thought about the way in which this equally shared parenting movement is less about the importance of the difference between fathers and mothers and more about making everything and everyone the same and interchangeable.

Is it not but one small step from here to the place where we dispense with fathering all together?  After all, if there is nothing distinctly different about it and men can be just like women, what’s the point of fathering at all, why not simply rename everyone parents and then whether it be one parent or two matters not at all and we will have finally reached the single parent lobby’s utopian dream of a world in which fathering is eradicated and the ‘family’ without a shadow of a doubt comes in all shapes and sizes.

Family used to mean a mum and a dad and children, with extended family members around it.  Nowadays family means anything you want it to mean, from one parent to as many as you like and it is taboo or certainly old fashioned to consider that children need a mother AND a father.  This eradication of the need for a mother AND a father and the homogonising of both into the role of parent, means that the argument of the single parent lobby that children don’t need their fathers becomes increasingly a powerful one.  And the Fatherhood Institute, by embracing the notion of equal shared parenting, are contributing to the very demise of the meaning of the word father as well the belief in the importance of them in children’s lives.  Just as feminism has slowly but surely eroded masculinity, compelling men to become more like women to be acceptable, this movement will erode  fatherhood in my view and mean that the distinct and important things that men bring to children’s lives will be lost.  And you can bet that,  if Parliamentary politics moves to the left in 2015, this will be speeded up.  Remember, for the left, the family containing a mother a father and children, is a hotbed of danger, abuse and damage which feminist academics and policy makers have systematically undermined, attacked and silenced. Equally shared parenting, in which fathering as such is removed in it entirety and replaced by interchangeable parenting units will be very much welcome in that future.

Which takes me to the first of my observations this week and the tool of choice for eradication of dad which is the domestic violence allegation.

Now I know that there are some nasty people out there both men and women.  I know that anyone who needs to control another person through violence, be it word or deed or intention, has got a big problem and becomes a big problem for the people around them, especially those who love them.  But I also know that violence in the home is not what it has become in terms of the images that feed the industry which has manufactured it and I know that in this country at least, there is a very big problem with the use of allegations of violence to control outcomes in the family courts.  One of the big problems with allegations of violence is that DV is a gendered crime, it is considered to be something that men do to women and it is most often thought about within a feminist analysis of patriarchal power which is held by men by virtue of their birth.  In the UK, we still lag far behind countries such as the States, where a more sophisticated analysis of violence in the home is emerging.  And it is this more sophisticated approach which will, if followed through, bring about the kind of approach to violence which has been advocated by Erin Pizzey for many years, which is that violence is not about patriarchal power and control, it is about generational patterns of behaviours which are learned and which are normalised.  As Haaken (2011) said, ‘it is not ethical to take the position that men are violent simply because they consciously choose to exert power and control over their partners’ a statement which would leave many advocates of the feminist analysis of violence shaking with indignation.

Haaken also goes on to say that not every angry or ugly exchange between people is abusive and that it is the nature and frequency and deliberate use of violence to control which is the truth of domestic violence.  This is something that correlates to the work that I do, where many parents are involved in spats which are started by one or the other and which finish with partners knowing that what they have done is wrong.

But the family courts in this country do not differentiate as yet between those types of violence, which lets women off the hook in terms of admitting or recognising their own inherent tendency to violence and which demonises all men and leads them to their doom.  For an allegation of violence can take weeks or even months to be heard and during that time, whilst the allegations remain unheard in a court of law, the accused loses freedom to relate to his children on his terms. This in itself brings significant and often irreperable damage to the father/child relationship and creates the fragility which erodes the relationship over time.

Domestic Violence in terms of coercive control is a crime and should be heard in a criminal court without delay.  Violence between parents is a behavioural problem and people need help to change those patterns.  Both of these scenarios demand more than what we are doing for parents and their children right now and they are contributing to the loss of the relationship between dads and their kids on a daily basis.

Which leaves me with the title of this blog, the female of the species is more deadly than the male, a phrase which has been on repeat for me this working week.  From the erosion of the difference between mothers and fathers in the equally shared parenting movement, to the continued lack of support for fathering by the Fatherhood Institute with a huge dollop of feminism and the control of post separation fathering through the domestic violence industry chucked in for good measure. I am reminded again and again that family policy in the UK is controlled by a small group of feminist women from the academic, parliamentary and lobby world.

Those women who got hold of the family policy making powerback in the seventies, have become more powerful than the men that preceded them in parliamentary terms. Their say rules your life and mine and your children’s lives too.  Their work has underpinned the control of the family unit for over four decades, they have systematically demonised men as fathers and labelled men and boys dysfunctional, they have controlled your expression of your biological self and they have set rules about what it means to be human in the world.

Some of those women were involved in arguing for the destruction of the family whilst at the same time calling for the lowering of the age of consent to 10 back in their youth, some of them were running single parent charities,  some of them said that it cannot be taken as read that families need fathers.  Four decades later, their descendents are telling government that men and women are interchangeable, that families come in all shapes and sizes and that there is nothing distinctly different or important about fathers.  And some of you, who get excited when the words equal and parenting are joined together, thought that this was about equality.

The female of the species has engaged the male in the construction of his own demise, I cannot think of anything more deadly than that.

Can you?


Haakens J. (2011) (The School of Hard Knocks). The Psychologist, 24(7) 512-015


  1. Of all the national charities and other ‘third sector’ organisations that work with families and children, only one organisation that focuses on fathers receives funding from central government. That organisation is called the Fatherhood Institute.

    The role of the Fatherhood Institute is not to help or support dads. It tells us that it doesn’t work with dads. However, given that it describes itself as a think tank, it’s safe to assume that they ‘think’ about dads.

    So what does the Fatherhood Institute think about dads? Well, currently, it is very much in favour of something called ‘equal parenting’. The basic concept of equal parenting is that dads and mums are exactly the same. Everyone is equal. Anyone can parent in any family formation because everyone is the same. Dads can do it, mums can do it, birds can do it, bees can do it, even educated flees can do it. All nice. All fair. All equal. All the same.

    In the words of the Fatherhood Institute, ‘fortunately mothers and fathers are pretty well interchangeable: when one goes missing, there is no evidence that the other cannot fulfill essential parenting tasks.’ Well, that all seems fine. ‘Mothers and fathers are pretty well interchangeable’. Dads can be mums and mums can be dads. All nice. All fair. All equal. All the same. And we like niceness and fairness and equality and making sure everyone is the same.

    And lots of dads who have been excluded from the children’s lives or are struggling to maintain a relationship with them in the form of a desperate afternoon at a burger bar once a fortnight hear about this ‘equal parenting’ idea and think that it might have some merit. After all, they’re as good as mums. They’re equal to mums. And if only everyone understood that dads can be mums and mums can be dads then they wouldn’t be excluded from their children’s lives for no other reason than they’re a father and not a mother.

    And sometimes, the people with the power to do something about the exclusion of fathers from children’s lives after separation think that, perhaps, something does need changing and they hold an enquiry to work out what to do. And all of the organisations that support mums say ‘there isn’t a problem and, if dads don’t have a relationship with their children, it’s because they can’t be bothered or because they’ve done something terrible and, anyway, we should be focussed on children’s rights, and the truth is that mums can bring up children on their own perfectly well because mums can be mums and mums can be dads and so these dads who are complaining must only interested in their own ‘rights’ and not on the well being of their children.’ And the people with the power to bring about change ask the organisation they fund to think about dads what its opinion is, and that organisation says ‘mothers and fathers are pretty well interchangeable and there is no evidence that the other cannot fulfill essential parenting tasks.’

    And so the people with the power to do something about the exclusion of fathers from children’s lives after separation see that everyone agrees that mums can be mums and mums can also be dads and accept that the dads who complain must, after all, only be interested in their ‘rights’ and not the well being of their children.

    And so nothing changes…

    Let’s look at that again. Of all the national charities and other ‘third sector’ organisations that work with families and children, only one organisation that focuses on fathers receives funding from central government…


    1. Thank you for inspiring this post Nick, your clarity of vision, your refusal to be crushed, bent or broken despite it all is what keeps me going even when all around seems like it is descending into madness and those who are destined to suffer most are buying into the very concepts that will eventually render them extinct. Thank you for keeping on keeping on. x


  2. This may well be one of your most important posts, Karen.

    Many people reading this blog and familiar with your other posts will be saying, “Hang on a moment, I thought that equal parenting or equally shared parenting referred to something else entirely. I thought equally shared parenting was all about sharing parenting after divorce or separation, and the rejection of the all-pervasive sole parenting model. I didn’t think it was about promoting the feminist ideology that men and women are interchangeable.”

    One of the hallmarks of political correctness, or Marxist feminism, or whatever you want to call it, is intolerance and the suppression of freedom of speech. This was evident in Adrienne Burgess’s comment to me that I “had got it wrong” and in Fisher’s hasty shutting down of a discussion thread which was going against him.

    One of the most effective ways of preventing freedom of speech, learnt by the left a long time ago, is to subvert language and change the meaning of words. If the opponents of post-separation shared parenting can co-opt the phrase for their own perverse purposes, and persuade politicians and the public that it means something else entirely (and do this funded by public money), then they rob the (very poorly funded) campaigners of the very language they need to further their cause.

    When the believers in true post-separation shared parenting express their belief in equally shared parenting they will find themselves unwittingly expressing support for the perverted version, the evil twin. What Fisher and Burgess are doing is immensely dangerous and – in my view – immensely evil, for it will steal from us the power to express ourselves, and the power to counter their arguments.


    1. Do you know what Nick, you are an absolute breath of fresh air in a dank and murky world, to know that you are out there and understand what we are talking about and articulating it yourself is a wonderful thing in a very scary world. With you and Ruth and Nick W and Glen and Pete and others, the world does not seem like such a bad place to be!! I agree with every word you have written here and I am glad to know that keepers of the truth like you are still there fighting, we have to keep on fighting, its all we can do for our kids future and their rights to be who they are before as well as after they become parents. K


  3. Of course, Orwell said it much better,

    “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thought-crime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?”


  4. How refreshing to see someone stating that men and women (and hence mothers and fathers) are different without feeling ashamed to say so!!! The accusation that will be thrown your way is that you are trying to pigeonhole people, limiting them in what they can do, girls can only be girls and boys can only be boys. I would like to live in a world where people’s personal choices are respected: thus we accept that boys are MORE LIKELY to do this than girls are and vice versa, but that does not mean that there is any issue with the girl who chooses to behave more like a boy or the boy who chooses to behave more like a girl. That can be clearly seen in this article getting the wrong end of the stick:
    It also reminds me of a study of children’s play (unfortunately I have lost the reference) both boys and girls involved in this study said that their favorite game was playing castles. Thus the initial conclusion was that it is all about socialization: boys and girls play the same! But someone had actually taken the time to ask the children what playing castles meant. The boys were very clear they defended their castles from attackers. The girls said they were the princesses having tea parties.
    To pick up on your example: I remember breastfeeding our new born in the night and she would just not settle back to sleep. My husband took her and rocked her to sleep in no time. I asked him how he had done that and the answer was: “I do not smell of milk!”
    Boys and girls are different, men are women are different and that makes them not interchangeable. It does not make them better or worse, both genders make different, but excellent parents. So please let children have both.


    1. Kat, that example of kids and castles is so clear its wonderful. I fail to see how anyone, anyone at all, can not see the inherently different ways that our boys and girls behave, think, act and grow. I am astonished at the idea that with the great strides in neuroscience, we don’t understand by now that its a whole lot of nature with the nurture thrown in to modify shape and change the basic material. Great example, if you find the reference please do let us have it I would love to use it in our training. K


  5. Another great article Karen and it reinforces how I see myself as a father and a parent.

    I am a parent, because I have a child. Whilst I would like to think that I could do everything as a dad there are some things which are physically not possible (such as breastfeeding) and others which, as a person, I feel I am not best suited for (due to my personality). Don’t get me wrong I can do them but mum can do them better than me. This is why parents work best as a team, each has their strengths and weaknesses and together

    I am also a father. I do the things that dads do (carry my daughter on my shoulders, fix her bike, teach her to do practical things, do DIY in the house and the like). So she see’s me as a big strong tough person who will protect her and sort things out if they need to be sorted out. I am her dad, she loves me for the way I am and she loves her mum for the way she is. She knows we are different and she knows that she might stand a better chance of getting something from one of us rather than the other. I am seen as the ‘soft touch’ (what did isn’t to their daughter?) and mum a little more pragmatic.

    Together we parent, but as part of that we are mum and dad and we are different. Our children seeing that there are differences between mum and dad is very important.


    1. I am all for team mothering and fathering Jeffers, its that magical balance of difference that brings children the exposure to all the possibilities they need to thrive. Great to hear what you are doing, great to know your girl has access to all those wonderful things in her life. K


  6. Superb article, and wonderful comments. I have prepared a short report from the WOW conference which I have been waiting for a chance to finalize.

    I wonder if this article could constitute both a test, and a bridge?

    I may be wrong – but I have a very strong feeling that Jude Kelly (Organiser of the WOW and BAM events – would want to agree with these sentiments.

    What if she did…how would that seem to you?

    Might you genuinely have an ally and friend?


    1. Woodman, with my absolute blessing please show Jude Kelly my article and come back and tell us what she said. If she is interested and keen to know more about what we are saying then hallelujah and yes of course she would be an ally and a friend, but I am not holding my breath. K


  7. It’s taking me a long time to understand what you are driving at. If the fatherhood institute are so keen to make Mum and Dad interchangeable why are they so keen to promote Dad’s? Surely it would make more sense for them to promote men as Warriors or Sportsmen or fine physical working specimens. In this way they could argue that Dad is not capable of a nurturing role and that only Mum can do it.

    But they don’t do this do they. They remind us of how Dad undergoes hormonal changes at birth, just like Mum. They back up their arguments for father involvment from conception onwards with good references. They support Dad’s involvment at an early age even when other Institutions want to keep him at arms length.

    At this same crucial time when Dad ought to be bonding with his child the Jersey Clinic are recommending two hours per week.

    I am a Dad and I am campaigning for whole days and whole nights to be shared. The moment you start prefering one parent to the other, (whether based on gender, skin colour, political persuasion or any other criteria) then you break the fragile bond/attachment that needs to be formed in order to maintain a healthy relationship between father/mother and child.

    Encouraging separation (i.e. limiting one parent to two hours per week) is just creating more hard work for Karen. We should be celebrating the collaborative nature of parents living apart, not encouraging this endless onslaught toward single superparent on grant aid.

    Kind regards


    1. I am not sure what your reference is to the Jersey Clinic, it makes no sense to me, there is no Jersey Clinic. Please be specific if you think there is something connected to this site which talks about two hours at a time.

      The point I am making is that the Fatherhood Institute is not celebrating fatherhood in all its spectrum of expression, it is focused upon the idea that fathers should be as much like mothers as possible in order to be acceptable – hence the focus on caring, on nurturing, on hormonal changes and more. Men are not women and whilst they can undertake much of what women do and have done, why are we not celebrating their manhood, their masculinity, their difference to women? Why does the Fatherhood Institute’s preference what maketh a man take preference over what many men know themselves to be – ie not a woman.

      Dad doesn’t just mean being like a mother you know, for many many men, being a dad means doing practical things, doing things that they are good at or better than women at, what about those dads, where are they represented?

      And it is not just dads being as much like women that makes them indispensable to children and this is where I think some of you are really getting yourselves knotted up. The fact is that because we do not value fathering in this country and no-one stands up for it, not even the Fatherhood Institute, then the wonderful things that men are that are different to women are being lost and some of you are actively ridding yourselves of them in order to get approved of. The only reason you have to do this is because no-one stands up for all the range of masculinity available to men, only the feminist version of what makes a good man and so you are coerced into believing that because the Fatherhood Institute back up their evidence with research about what good dads do for their kids (ie – dads who behave like mums) they must be doing something good for you. They are not and will not be doing something good for post separation fathering until they stand up and say it like it is – this country does not value fathers and fatherhood, the legislation around family separation favours mothers and mothering and there are a raft of changes which must be driven through before we get anywhere near the kind of equality based post separation parenting that a lot of you dream about. And I am not just talking about presumption either. Get wise chaps, get really really wise to what is happening to you before its too late. You have to look underneath this and understand the things that drive these people and it is NOT post separation equality, it’s not even pre separation equality really, its a feminist device to get men doing their fair share of housework – read and read and read again about it. The Fatherhood Institute are the antithesis of what is needed to bring about change that will support you properly, know your enemy, this is one of your biggest.

      Because currently, no matter how well you have morphed yourself into an acceptable male, done all the equal parenting tasks you like and to the hilt, if you separate you are doomed to the same fate as all the dads who didn’t and no amount of equal parenting nonsense emanating from the Fatherhood Institute is going to protect you from that.

      Point out this two hours business to me and I will deal with it, if its on any site that is connected to our work I will sort it out but there is no such thing as a Jersey Clinic so your point about trying to say that we are advising people to have two hours a week to make work is nonsense.

      And try to think about what it is that is happening to the notion of fatherhood, why shouldn’t dads be warriors if that is what they want to be, why shouldn’t they be confident, burly, big and strong and why shouldn’t they go down the pub for a pint if that’s what they feel like doing and it works for their missus. Not everyone drinks latte and wears cut off shorts and behaves as if masculinity is something to be ashamed of.

      And kids need the widest exposure possible to those difference not a watering down to some pale imitiation of each other in which men have to accept that they must lose a good deal of what they really are in order to be acceptable in the world and women get to dictate the pace and tell the rest of us how to live our lives. Don’t fall for it. Be unashamedly a man and fight for your rights to be valued, honoured and appreciated for who you are.



  8. STUNNING article Karen. Reminds me of Matt O Connor’s reason for calling his group Fathers4Justice, rather than, say, Parents4Justice; some suggested this nomenclature might be less provocative; Matt said he was sick and tired of being vilified, and being forced to feel apologetic because he was a MAN. A bloke, yes a bloke: sometimes we’re a bit thoughtless, a bit messy, inconsiderate, sometimes nasty, withdrawn, awkward. But against all that, we’re men, we fight, we protect, we strive, we endeavour, we struggle physically, emotionally.

    Reminds me too of a CAFCASS report that I think is quite apt here; every time I expressed outrage at the ‘system’ or my ‘ex’, every time I became animated, confrontational, or male I suppose, it was used to suggest that I was potentially ‘dangerous’, potentially ‘violent’ ‘demanding’ and ‘domineering’. My ex, however, being a woman, was characterised as ‘vulnerable’ ‘sensitive’ and ‘delicate’. None of these adjectives were ever applied to me. My masculinity was a bit too strong I suppose? But looking back now, I can see clearly that I was being criticised for being a man, and for not being a woman.

    And your mention of feminists: you don’t say her name, but I’ll say her name because I can’t imagine she was not at the forefront of your thoughts here:(please forgive my presumption, I can’t resist it) Harriet Harman, loathsome and as dangerous a person as any in this country.

    Darryl Westell aka:


    1. Harriet Harman, Anna Coote, Patricia Hewitt, Sue Slipman, NCOPF (now Gingerbread), all implicated in the NCCL call for the lowering of the age of consent to 10 and in some cases to 4. Harman, Coote and Hewitt wrote The Family Way, in which they discuss their belief that it cannot be taken as read that families need fathers. Joan Hunt, Mavis Mclean, Liz Trinder, Brigid Featherstone, all feminists heavily involved in shaping family policy, all committed to the notion of men and fathers as problems. All massively funded by tax payers and charitable money to keep recycling the same stuff about families not needing fathers and collaboration between men and women being dangerous to women. Women’s Aid and Refuge, funded in eye wateringly large amounts of tax payers money to keep the illusion that all men are dangerous intact so that the industry can grow. Resistant to the idea of differentiation of domestic violence and updholding only the feminist concept of violence in the home being about patriarchal power and control. The Freedom Programme, devised to educate and liberate women from patriarchal power and control, funded by Local Authorities and delivered to women in their own homes as well as in groups. Social work as a feminist industry, delivering judgement to your families on a daily basis from the perspective of patriarchal power and control. The Fatherhood Institute, updholding feminist control of family policy by failing to challenge the valuing of men as fathers and children’s need for fathers. Charities such as Relate, Barnardos, One plus One, Resolution, campaigning against the changes to the Children Act and winning, Families need Fathers, joining with Gingerbread, Relate and the Fatherhood Institute in 2010 in the Kids in the Middle Campaign handing back power to the single parent lobby and undermining change towards collaborative parenting, and to this day failing to understand the politics of the field they are working in….Duncan Fisher and his turning men into women and co-opting the very language that is used to argue for change….. anyone who believes that family policy and the appalling treatment of men and children in this country after separation is not underpinned and controlled by feminism is a fool and frankly, deserves all that is coming to them. Open your eyes people, this is about the very fabric of our society and our rights to live our lives free from indoctrination, control and acts of revenge perpetrated upon us by damaged women who live in a social construction which is only relevant to their lives not yours or mine. There is no such thing as patriarchy, its a social construct, its a way of describing a world which doesn’t exist anymore in this country, its arrested development, its the half hysterical ramblings of young women who once thought that the age of consent should be lowered 10 because in some cases, where men had sex with girls over 10 and under 16, the girls had lead them on (Hewitt). These women, along with the likes of Jimmy Savile, made the world a very dangerous place for kids in the seventies and we are only just seeing the results of their involvement. And they are still controlling family policy now and you are still falling for it every time you dismiss the reality of feminism and its corrosive impact on your life and on the life of your kids.


      1. ​This may be an ideal point at which to contribute the ‘Feedback from WOW’ report just completed?

        Dear Karen,

        I attended WOW on Saturday – when the feedback workshop from the ‘Being A Man’ event was held. I was also able to attend a couple of other seminars.

        The experience confirmed for me very strongly the presence of an extremely significant undeclared fault line within the umbrella term of contemporary ‘feminism’ – which I feel very much needs to be exposed.

        For example, there was on the one hand (also highlighted this week on Woman’s hour) an “under 10’s” feminism corner…where the girls were simply expressing the idea that they wanted to be considered on equal terms with the boys in all respects.

        Nothing wrong with that – we may all say…and certainly the large audience was naturally in full agreement.

        However, on the other hand, I had just come straight from a personal conversation with a senior feminist panelist – in which I had quizzed her about this. “What does feminism offer men?” – I had asked. “Isn’t it about equality?”

        “NO” – was her emphatic response! “It certainly ISN’T about equality. Feminism is about destroying the patriarchal system of the oppression of women”.

        However in response to rather concerned look…she muttered as an afterthought…”Well, it could be about balance…”.

        I explained my experience of the total imbalance of power within the family scenario…of women all too frequently having ALL the power…far TOO MUCH power – and of being highly oppressive with it.

        (I do appreciate that as in the example recently given by Torn 2 Peaces – occasionally men still seem to have the power to oppress women through alienation, too).

        This was something the feminist speaker simply did not wish to comprehend, contradicting as this did – her stance of women existing overwhelmingly as the victims of oppresive male power.

        “If you want feminism to be about equality”…she hissed – “you had better start your own movement”!

        To my “Why can’t we start to have balance now?” – there was of course, no answer to be had.

        So, in the new society this feminist activist envisages…there is clearly not to be equality – plainly, this is a concept she definitely wishes to avoid. And one really has to wonder what “balance” could possibly mean – in this context? When the interests of women come to have increasingly greater weight…then the concerns of individual men are obviously of relatively little or no consequence.

        …In the workshop reflecting back on the BAM event…however – Jude Kelly (the inspiration behind both events) was taking a very different line altogether – focusing on the plight of men as a group suffering disproportionally high levels of disadvantage and deprivation…and as much, the hope for women being able to have fully engaged loving relationships with men in general!

        Obviously, nevertheless, she sees the need for men to be non-patriarchal and non-misogynistic – as central to to achieving these more egalitarian relationships. However, several panel members were wanting to be reassuring to her that a significant proportion of men already qualify in this respect.

        The female audience here at the BAM workshop – was also clearly also with Jude on these lines. It would have been good if there had been more time given for audience participation, but encouragingly Jude is apparently keen to develop further forums on the basis of the response received so far.

        So surely here we have direct evidence of the ‘schizophrenic’ fault line within what is described in overall terms as “feminism”?

        The feminist activist speaker described is clearly advocating an unequal society where the former patriarchal order – has been replaced by what is obviously now envisaged to need to be a MATRIARCHAL one – where women rule over and dominate women – rather than the egalitarian vision clearly being presented by the founder of the conference.

        Attending the WOW event has confirmed that confronting “patriarchy” – whatever that may still constitute (and a lot of men still can behave very badly towards women…for whatever reasons) this obviously comes in two highly contradictory forms – feminism and matriarchy…as I have been trying to put forward for a while now.

        I believe that it is high time that this stark distinction is exposed and becomes a choice for all women (and men) interested in egalitarianism (and these will generally be sympathetic to much of what has been considered feminism) to make.

        Which, then, is to be considered the true feminism? The one whose goal is openly to strive for equality – or the fake merchandise carrying ‘the feminist label’…but which is actually entirely antagonistic to those goals?

        It is time for the smoke and mirrors to be blown away…and for the two to confront each other head on.

        Shoudn’t the matriarchs openly identify themselves as such…and let everyone decide if they wish to have a society dominated by women? Even some male ‘feminists’ certainly seem to imply that they want this – so surely it’s critical to have an open debate about it!

        ​I appreciate that you wish to think and work outside the feminist paradigm altogether​, and that’s fine – but can you see that this vast internal contradiction within ‘feminism’ also has a lot of relevance to that? The ‘feminism’ that we all loathe – may not actually feminism at all, we may decide. and there may be many true feminists who ​are simply not properly aware of the issues.

        One sees this particular dilemma very well demonstrated in an organization​ ​like the police. ​​

        ​There are some wpc’s who clearly highly appreciate and are appreciated by the men and where both love to work alongside each other on equal terms. ​

        ​However there are also some wpc’s who appear to loathe men and will seek every opportunity to attack even the most gentle of them. The there are a group in the middle who have something of a foot in both camps​ – maybe more one side than the other, or who change perspectives according to situation, but who are clearly ​undecided about this whole situation.

        This might well serve as a metaphor for the situation of women as a whole, I feel​ – in regard to the women’s movement, and what it stands for. ​

        ​I really don’t think it can do any harm for us to engage in an open debate about these issues.

        Jude Kelly seems to have become increasingly concerned for us to do so, and I think we can look forward to some opportunities in this vein at some point this year. ​

        ​There may be other leading women who will want to be involved, but I haven’t seen any particular sign of them so far.

        Jude seems to be a focal point – around which progress may be able to be made.​


      2. Very interesting reading Woodman and I am admiring of your dedication and spirit in this field. Whilst I have no interest myself in exploring the fault line, I found it interesting to read about your experience with the feminism I am most familiar with and the feminism which dominates social policy versus a different approach. I am not sure that one is true feminism and the other a false paradigm, it seems to me that one is the feminism they think they are part of and the other is the feminism we know and do not love, either way you have shown that feminism is not about equality but about dominance and control and that is my experience of it at policy level.

        What can you do about it? Well, you can gather people around you who understand the fault line and highlight it and you can expose the domineering feminism for what it is I guess, perhaps a blog to focus on that might be timely for you now.

        For me, having stepped outside of the concept of feminism completely and found a whole new and wonderful world in which equality and fairness, justice and kindness and most of the all the power of human compassion is alive and well and functioning in the world, I intend not to go back there again. Jude Kelly could be a champion of holistic support and valuing of difference between men and women, you must pursue that and tell us what happens. Thank you for sharing your experience, it sounds as if you had an interesting time. K


      3. Your article was powerful enough Karen, and this reply has just reduced me to tears, as I reflect on how politics and feminism shaped my impressionable growing years 0-35 (now 52) how I tried ” to have it all” and failed miserably, choosing instead in 1996 to leave career aside and concentrate on my family.
        I branded myself a failure but learnt a very valuable lesson, that I didn’t give a damn any more what the feminists were saying, some women can not do everything they burn out or end up depressed as I did, there is no shame in admitting it either!
        Without the father of my children, being a most excellent man and father to my girls, I doubt I would enjoy the relationships with them that I do, today!
        We both taught them that we were equal as parents but very different as we were male and female and we celebrated those differences as we all should.
        The title of your blog is most fitting as I have tried to teach my girls that they do possess power, the power to choose what is right for them, but not at the expense of another, that would just make them a predatory narcissistic female!


      4. I am the same age as you GS and as I grow older and look back I see what we have done to ourselves as much as anything else in our feminist younger days. I am starting to listen again now to this conversation and I am so pleased to read your comment as you clearly think as I do. i am listening to woodman too and after a conversation with a younger woman yesterday around feminism (her approach to feminism as well as my past and current stance) I am starting to think there is some talking and thinking to be done in this area – not in reclaiming feminism or going back to it but in understanding and shaping a narrative about its history and its impact and our own self growth beyond this concept. I will write more about this soon and we can discuss. Am starting to think we might need several ‘rooms’ on this blog now to have those different conversations, feminism, alienation, children, men, women, grandparents etc, let me know what you think. K


  9. Travelling through posh suburban Solihull on the bus this afternoon, I passed a Women’s Aid charity shop with its strapline, “Because women and children have the right to live free from violence, abuse and fear.”

    Umm, what about me, what right do I have? To be a whipping boy for feminists? What if I have suffered emotional abuse from my wife? What if she is continuing to emotionally abuse our daughter, not least through vilifying her father and paternal family and excluding them from her life (with the full support of the court, which appears to follow the same party line as Women’s Aid: abuse is something men do to women and children). Doesn’t that matter? (Remember, “Not all abuse is physical,” the Women’s Aid website tells us.)

    I feel like going back and vandalising that shopfront – remember those Angry Wimmin who used to deface sexist and misogynist adverts? – but I’d probably finish up in court again, on criminal charges this time, which is more than I can cope with at present, and besides, it would be yet more ‘evidence’ that I’m unfit to be a father, sorry, parent-thingy….

    This is the sort of messy painful reality that excludes from the outset. The very first post makes this clear: “We are not going to discuss separated parenting here… separated parenting conversations tend to be quite strongly worded.” Quite. It’s called politics. We humans are political animals, as Aristotle said, and it’s impossible to have serious discussion of our common life without straying into politics. Which is probably why, so far at least, has such a non-serious, fluffy, utopian feel to it.

    Look at the latest post, about the parenting guru Sharon Meers and her four tips for working parents trying to share tasks and get their work-life balance right. The first one is “Get rid of guilt.” (Hmm, what if my guilty conscience is telling me that I’m doing something wrong to someone else and need to change, and make amends too maybe? It could just save our marriage.) All four are essentially about lifestyle-tweaking, not about the circumstances-not-of-our-own-making that determine our family life.

    How about a discussion of the crushing economic pressures that many families face? Notice how politicians, who used to talk about ‘family values’, now talk about ‘hard-working families’, as if the family is primarily an economic unit for earning and spending and speculating on the housing market, not a place where the next generation of human beings is nurtured. I work in a large food warehouse and see many couples in which the partners/spouses work two different shifts and in some cases pass their child over at shift-change time, either in the staff canteen or in the car park. Both parents are working flat out to pay the mortgage, the bills, and in some cases to send remittances to support family members back home in Poland or Latvia or wherever. If this is ‘equally shared parenting’ then it is something driven by need, not by lifestyle choice. But maybe my warehouse colleagues are too poor to be reading, which looks as if it is aimed at parents who are money-rich but time-poor, in other words whatever yuppies are called nowadays.

    Maybe I’m being too hard on it. It’s only just started, and it can take a while for a website or blog to get into its stride, develop a distinctive voice and attract a wide readership. But the contrast with Malestrom, which you pointed us towards recently, Karen, is striking – another new blog, still finding its feet and its readers, but with a real urgent edge to it because it is not afraid of tackling difficult questions.


    1. I agree DHU, one of the things that was said on the site this week was that middle class parents use more feeling words and we argued strongly about this objecting to the notion that working class mothers and fathers are somehow less emotionally articulate. I think mumsanddadsnet is a talking shop for the middle class worried well myself, I think it bears no relation to the real world we work and live in and one of my real objections about the Fatherhood Institute being on that site supporting it is that FI are government funded and should be working across a much broader spectrum of fatherhood, representing all men as fathers needs not just a tiny group of well off privileged folks. Personally I would like to see Glen Poole from Equality4men combine his efforts with men like Nick Langford and Nick Woodall to set up a campaign for dignity and equality in fatherhood, I think they have the skills, the insight and the courage to stand up and represent fatherhood across all of its expressions, perhaps I will suggest it to them. Know this though, there are people who understand issues of class, socio economic pressures and the need to preserve the beauty and strength of masculinity in the world, not because its better than femininity but because the world as we know it cannot exist without it. K


  10. “The female of the species has engaged the male in the construction of his own demise, I cannot think of anything more deadly than that. Can you?” Yes I can! The puppet masters who hide behind the curtain, who funded and supported the feminist movement, who let the genie out of the bottle, and who empowered women to the point where the natural gender balance has tipped completely over to one side. The rich elite who manipulate everyone of us by remote control. The ones who the fathers movement will not even mention, even in a whisper. The social engineers who decided decades ago, exactly where we would be today and where we will be tomorrow. Anyone who hopes to be a real parent in the future, needs to stop these people today, because at some point they WILL pass laws that say only experts can raise children. The deniers who insist this could never happen help to ensure that it will.


    1. Without encouraging a long expo of this particular theory Barry, my question is why and can you say why in less than three sentences? K


      1. Karen, I wish I could explain in less than three sentences. Following separation from my children in 2004 I took a different path to most fathers. I spent 9 years fitting many pieces of the jigsaw together and now have a picture that extends way beyond the day to day problems that mothers and fathers are burdened with. Call it a holistic approach if you like, which includes politics, banking, education, technology, history, and a knowledge of what the ruling classes have planned for us. The plan is not unstoppable, but it would require a mass awakening to confront these people. However, the probability of that every occurring while Joe six pack slums it in front of the TV is extremely unlikely. Sorry I took more than three sentences so I will sum up. The overarching agenda of the rich elite is rapid depopulation down to less than 2 billion. Virtually every government policy facilitates this agenda including the attack on our families and the emotional detachment that many children are now suffering from.


    2. Hi Barry,

      This perhaps IS a topic for a separate room, whereas I personally feel we need to keep most if the debate iintegrated.

      It does beg a lot of questions. Specifically who are these people, and what kind of society would they propose?

      Would it be a balanced male/female society?

      I suppose the idea has been for the women to do this work of suppressing the men by stealth, and then later on the women would be suppressed themselves, as necessary.

      All in the name of saving the entire planet?

      I don’t think that it is beyond the bounds of possibility, but a bit concerned that it might give credence to the feminist idea of a patriarchal order ultimately still in control.

      Since we would still be in stage 1 of this process, the first thing to do is to start a conversation with the women (who you suggest are being used and conned anyway) – so that they can decide what kind of future they and we would like to have.

      To be honest, I think you will find them much more likely to engage in this debate than most men…who as a whole, you have rightly identified, don’t seem to be properly engaged in forward thinking.


      1. Your suggestion to take this to a separate room is one that frequently comes up whenever I attempt to explain what is happening to families. I appreciate your comment, but I persevere because I also know that a knowledge of this subject is absolutely fundamental if we wish to reverse the process of family disintegration.

        Some call it a fringe topic but that is because they cannot imagine the extent or the influence of these puppet masters and are unable to connect the dots. Who are these people? Ted Turner, Bill Gates, David Rockefeller, George Soros, David de Rothschild, in fact all who belong to the Billionaire Boys Club. They have stated their intention quite clearly, so we are not dealing with a conspiracy theory. Having been influenced by socialist intellectuals such as George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell, George Orwell and others of the same ilk, the idea of a technocratic one world government appeals to them strongly and they have the means to bring it about.

        They also want world population down to 2 billion or less, but not for the ostensible reasons given regarding climate change. Oh no, this is about technology that will become available in the next 10, 20 and 50 years. The simple way to think about this is the farmer/cattle relationship. The elite have looked at future needs and decided it is time to cull the herd. Virtually every problem that families are suffering from today, including the criminalisation of behaviours once regarded as acceptable, are all connected to the depopulation agenda. They are simply making life difficult for families.

        They are also employing soft kill techniques by spiking the food, water and vaccines. The proof is out there and is indisputable. Taking all this into context, you can see why I become frustrated watching mothers and fathers struggle with post divorce issues such as parental alienation. This would never have happened if the elite had not continually flushed money into the feminist movement for the last 40 years or more. These people are expert social engineers and are simply moving the pieces on the grand chessboard to bring about an outcome they desire. The only reason they manage to get away with these crimes against humanity is simply because too few people understand the techniques. I make it my business to inform people because it is the right thing to do, and also because radical feminists interfered with my family.


      2. Personally – I would like Karen to keep this topic centre-stage, if she will – because I absolutely do agree it is full of relevance to our fundamental debate.

        I think it is important to join up the dots, as you say…but also we have to be careful that our personal anger at what has happened to us does not distort our wider perceptions as well.

        Feminism started as a grass-roots movement which could be said overall – to promote quality of family life – over quantity of family life, but wasn’t funded by the super-rich of the time! I can’t see that there will be many of us that will want to go back to 18th/19th century perceptions of male/female relations.

        It certainly WASN’T equity feminism which attacked your family. It was a late 70’s development of radical feminism…gender ‘feminism’…which no longer had ‘equality’ as its aim – but rather, female dominance – which was responsible for that.

        When male authority is come to be seen as the primary human problem, the family as the foundation of this comes under the fiercest attack. As it stands, your description of a male elite who controls things supports the gender feminists contention – and their aim will be to seize the power of the “billionaire boys club” as well – but in the meantime they will certainly take any money that may be offered, for sure.

        There may appear to superficially be a confluence of interests – a pact of rivals…but the two are really at war, even if this is not understood by the males in the elite. (I have noticed this at local Council level – the elite men there think that they are untouchable as long as they pander to the women).

        The elite certainly have not flushed any money into Equity Feminism! It is vital to be specific about our terms.

        Again, we can see this on a local level as Council newspapers (Labour boroughs in particular, unfortunately) portray domestic violence as an entirely one-way ‘male on female’ issue.

        The question is…what do we do about it?

        We cannot talk to the rich elite, at least for now – but we can talk to each other.

        Men and women need to sit down together, and begin to talk about the inequity in relationships that has been developing over the last 40 years…the fact that so many men are now suffering forms of extreme brutality from women – but that this is not doing the women and the children any good at all.

        If you can think of any platform for doing this – other than a resurgent equity feminism – i.e. gender relationships based on equality…then please put it forward.

        Otherwise, let’s agree to meet at whatever events may be initiated this year on this basis, by those women in particular, who will be equally concerned about this. I cannot see any other way forward.


      3. I am fascinated Woodman by your ability to keep on believing that equity feminism as you call it is any different to feminism full stop. In the name of feminism, equity or otherwise, we have an abomination of doscriminatory legislation and impacts upon men and boys and yet you still want to separate one type of feminism from the other. I am trying to listen to what it is you believe in but, having been in the feminist movement for many years I cannot fathom it. I am still waiting to hear Jude Kelly’s response to my article, I wonder if that would be an eye opener for me or for you? K


      4. I hope you can bear with the repetition – but the two are in fact COMPLETELY different animals…chalk and cheese, as the saying goes!

        In fact, equity feminism is the only true feminism at all…as it is the only one which believes in equality. It should entirely meet with your approval, I would have thought – because it is not about sameness…it can fully emphasize difference…but as the name encapsulates – it is about gender EQUITY.

        Equity feminism as such, has existed on the back-burner – for the last 30 years. The majority of what has PASSED for feminism in this period (although it has been TERMED feminism) has in actuality been about female dominance.

        There should clearly be an ENTIRELY separate name for this phenomenon – as I have suggested.

        How can this POSSIBLY, EVER, be reconcilable – with the aims of equity feminism??

        It is time for this ridiculous situation…the elephant in the room which no-one in feminism has wanted to talk about – though on a subliminal level I’m sure that pretty much everyone IS actually aware of it – to be exposed for the fraud that it is.

        Let those women who wish to dominate men – now separate from those who wish to have equity with men.

        Yes, it will tear the movement in half (understandably something Jude will be reluctant to be the one to do) but at least we will have some honesty and integrity at last. There simply is no point in her continuing to ignore and support the charade any longer.

        When you hear Jude speak – you can tell full well that she has no desire to dominate men.

        As you know – when you hear others speak…you can tell full well that they wish nothing else.

        The two simply cannot continue to co-exist with any credibility within the same movement. It is time for a major change.

        I will, of course, be sharing exactly the same perspective with Jude, and have started to do so.

        I have asked to have a meeting in person, and am waiting for a response. It is kind of a cliff-hanger moment. If things start to look promising – then I can ask her to look at your article for a confirmation of her perspective.

        Just as an aside, I don’t know anything at all about Jude Kelly personally, but she is obviously someone with great ability and vision – and at the ‘top of her game’. It is a noticeable characteristic of the women who are advocates of mens’ perspectives, that they themselves tend to be pretty forceful, dynamic, impressive (there’s a word I’m looking for that I can’t quite recall!) and to some extent, even somewhat intimidating people – who can actually find it quite difficult to find male partners to match them…and might even be seen as quite dominating themselves – even as they will be arguing for a more inclusive world in general.

        This can sometimes, therefore – constitute a hurdle in developing constructive working relationships with men. I sincerely hope that won’t prove to be the case here.


      5. I am just waiting to hear what Jude says about all this, sounds like you have her lined up for being the leader of the schism that will blow femninism apart…again I am just intrigued at your confidence, how can you say that equity feminism (whatever that means) is true feminism without talking to feminists, surely they are the people who get to say what true feminism is? I await Jude’s response sith interest. K


      6. Haha…yes…it certainly looks like she’s the one to do it – if anyone could, here in the UK.

        I honestly simply have the confidence of the child viewing the Emperor’s new clothes – because it is simply so inherently obvious – that female dominance is completely incompatible with feminism…and so has NO right to call itself that.

        Let it call itself something ELSE…anything else – BUT feminism!

        The division is simply between those women who essentially love and appreciate men – and those who (in their actions, even more than their rhetoric) essentially don’t.

        It’s incredibly simple, really.

        (I would suggest that women in this category are generally quite damaged, as well – but that would be another matter, wouldn’t it?).

        I don’t know why it’s taken this long for someone to point the whole matter out…but there we go.

        It is absolutely crystal clear where Jude stands on this, from everything she has said so far.

        She loves her male partner, she loves her son…and she clearly genuinely loves the company of all kinds of men.

        Is she going to be ashamed of that?

        What have I got – not to be confident about?

        You are absolutely right when you say this is something for feminists to decide…but (a) there is nothing to stop anyone from observing this and pointing it out from the outside, and (b) as I raised at the feminist workshop that I mentioned last year…it is the job of male and female feminists equally to decide what feminism is and should be about.

        That went down absolutely fine with some of the women (absolutely no kidding!) – while it was angrily dismissed by others.

        The faultline again – it is so obvious…!!


  11. On the Jersey Centre for Separated Families website there is a section – parenting apart – making parenting time arrangements – various age related categories suggest how long the other parent, (presumably someone our care system now labels “contact parent”) should spend per week with their child.
    Babies up to 12 months old
    Very small infants are in the first stages of development and in the process of building a secure attachment. At this age, they have no concept of the world outside of their immediate environment. They need to see familiar faces regularly, to have their needs met promptly and have firmly boundaried routines.

    Infants of this age will benefit from spending the majority of their time with one parent but regular and frequent time with the other. Perhaps one to three hours at least twice a week. Care needs to be taken not to interfere with feeding and sleeping patterns and information about the baby’s needs and development must be shared with as much detail as possible.

    For a father who has been involved with his child from the time he cut the umbilical cord I find it very difficult to accept these time-limiting terms of arrangement as anything other than draconian and potentially disastrous for the child’s relationship with the contact parent.
    The contact parent also needs to be there to do the basics of feeding and changing nappies, dealing with sickness, soothing, stimulating. At two months contact parent may want to carry his child up a mountain attached to his chest in a sling where child will feel the warm re-assuring glow of Dad’s body as he works the ascent of the mountain. Then the panic he may feel when he realises he is at least temporary lost – the foolhardiness of his risk taking.
    Then at night, soft sleeping, to be roused by baby’s cries to be in demand to feed and to comfort. The patient rocking of the bendy chair that helps baby rest easy. Those first steps, the tight grip of babies sticky fingers around yours. The mending of those toys and contraptions that are an endless source of amusement. The play park venture, warm clothing snugly tucked in the push-chair. The nose streams that accompany colds and the chafed skin.
    So, “contact parent”, gets his/her two three hour stints per week.
    1. Daddy no.2 does all the other stuff that you thought you would be doing and with your child. (The ultimate humiliation). All the father stuff is being done by a surrogate Dad of Mum’s choosing. Now tell me who baby will think their real Daddy is?
    2. Of course, the person we choose to call “primary parent” may not be agreeable to the two three hour stints baby has with real Daddy, quite naturally there is a new Daddy (surrogate Daddy) who is fulfilling all the needs of “contact Daddy” and some of hers too.

    As a Dad who spent all his nights with his children at this age I think it is vitally important that separated Dads do the full Monty. Quite apart from baby losing out on their attachment to Dad he will lose interest in his child. The bond that should be developing between Dad and child will be taking a psychological battering. (I.e. He will be depressed, frustrated, angry and jealous of “replacement Dad” and he will feel cheated of his parenthood), perhaps reduced to posting endless blogs of his/her parenting demise.

    We can approve of two three hour stints for “contact parent” as much as we like, based on mother nurture versus father provider but reality tells us unless contact parent has substantially more time, days and nights, then we will be increasing the amount of child/parent re-unification work needed at a later date.
    If Dad is identifiable by his tendency to do manly things and this is his worth then post-separation the outlook is bleak. He will be dependent upon those little snippets of time grudgingly handed over by a domineering parent who rather hoped she could continue family life with a better one. Can anyone convince me that this is not a battle of time share albeit that the conflict resolution necessary for good parenting has been abandoned in the winner takes all scenario. That being the case should we not be resolving parenting issues around a template of “normal” family life?

    Kind regards


    1. Thank you for showing me where the two x one to three hour stints per week is described for under 12 month olds on the Jersey Centre for Separated Families site someone, I agree with your criticisms and have asked that we change our advice on this as it is not useful to have time limits described in this way. You are correct to point out that limiting time in this way will erode the father/child bond and in an ideal world the child would be cared for in a seamless move between mother and father on a daily and nightly basis so that each could become internalised as key figures which protects and builds the bond. You are correct in pointing it out and I will make sure that the advice given is changed to –

      Babies under 12 months need to experience their mother and father working together and to have their routines and boundaries carefully managed. Feeding should be undertaken by both parents wherever possible with expression of milk being used if breastfeeding so that both mother and father can be engaged in feeding. In the very early days it will be important however that baby is not moved too far away from either parent so it is imperative that arrangements are made for regular seamless exchanges of care which are about short period of input from each rather that long chunks of time away from either. If this can be arranged it allows bonds to be built that support independent care of your children as she grows beyond 12 months.

      However, I completely disagree with your analysis that if dad is defined by manly things he will lose out on the potential to offer this early care. If we valued fatherhood in all of its expression and if we truly understood the need for the things that only men can bring to childrens lives we would not have to turn men into women to try and keep them in childrens lives after separation. The only reason you have to become as much like mum as possible to stay involved in your child’s life after separation if your child is under 12 months is because of the hysteria surrounding removal of a baby from its mother and the notion that babies get nothing from fathers other than what they can do that is similar to mothers, its tosh and studies show its tosh. What babies get from their fathers before 12 months is distinctly different to what they get from their mothers, a recent study showed that babies who were carried by their fathers every day were calmer and more likely to do well in nursery, this is considered to be because of the inherent masculine strength, the different rate if heart beat, different smell and more. That is what should be being highlighted not the concept of men being as much like mothers as possible. That is what would protect fathers from being routinely evicted from their kids lives after separation. Kids need mums AND dads and the difference between them. And no-one is defining men and women as carers and providers apart from the feminist supported field of social policy which resists all effortst to move away from the lone parent model and the child benefit gateway of mother as primary carer with all its might. I am not talking about men as providers and women as carers, those are social constructions that suit the womens rights agenda and keep control over children in the hands of women, I am talking about inherent biological differences and the way in which the two weave together to give the child the crucible of difference that gives them the beauty of choice about who they are and what they do in the world.


    2. Dear Anonymous

      Your original post reads ‘at this same crucial time when Dad ought to be bonding with his child the Jersey Clinic (sic) are recommending two hours per week.’

      In reality, the Jersey Centre for Separated Families, as you have acknowledged, actually say, ‘[babies up to 12 months old] need to see familiar faces regularly… spending the majority of their time with one parent but regular and frequent time with the other. Perhaps one to three hours at least twice a week.’

      The important words here are ‘regularly’, ‘regular and frequent’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘at least’ I would argue that this advice is very different to the ‘two hours per week’ you originally misquoted.

      It is critical to recognise that each family separation and each post separation landscape is unique. This being the case, writing generic and definitive advice is fairly problematic. The attempt with this article is to get a balance between ensuring that babies are provided with the predictability they need and are protected from disruption whilst protecting their relationship with both parents. Ultimately, the responsibility for achieving that rests with the infant’s parents. However, I accept that a father in your position may read the advice and feel that his experience is neither understood nor supported and we will, therefore, look to see whether the advice might be reworded and updated.

      I hope that this is helpful.

      Best wishes


    3. You are right to ;point this out. Here’s an article in the Guardian which has something useful to say about the importance of bonding.


  12. Thank you Karen for courageously speaking out, articulating your ideas so clearly, saying things honestly and the way they really are. In these times I am afraid that we have become excessively sensitive to the notion that we may cause offense even when we are responding to views, propositions and behaviour which are downright offensive to most reasonable and fair minded people.

    I have consistently argued against the now conventional wisdom that expects all good parents to behave like archetypal mums. Thankfully, I’m nothing like the mothers of my kids. Whilst I am told that I have a commanding physical presence and the physical capacity to cause a great deal of damage I am proud to be a gentle, quietly confident and decent man. By contrast the mothers of my children are aggressive, belligerent and violent. Unlike these women I am also law abiding, honest, quietly spoken, always respectful and courteous. I would die for my kids but I am confident that their solipsistic mothers would save themselves first. I had fantastic parents and role models. Unfortunately, the mothers of my kids were not so lucky. I am not bitter or vindictive and would never use my children as emotional pawns. Both mothers are and have not hesitated. Both mothers exposed me to depths of human behaviour that I never previously knew existed. I could go on. Suffice to say that there are considerable differences and because of my conscientiousness and involvement both kids have flourished and benefited enormously.

    As a father, I make an invaluable contribution to my children’s welfare, happiness and development. In fact I provide, supplement and intentionally compensate for deficiencies in many aspects of the conventional maternal role. I provide things that their mothers would never have the capacity to even if they were inclined to learn or sober enough to do so. Through my efforts alone, and in spite of maternal resistance, I have attempted to recognise my children’s talents, nurture them and encourage them to prosper. I had to jump through countless hoops before a biased system would even listen to very justified concerns regarding my children’s upbringing. The actual evidence was eventually overwhelming and I was only able to get contact reinstated because of the meticulous work I did to collect and present this. I was determined and tenacious in my effort to ensure that the evidence was not denigrated to the same level of hearsay which I was rebutting. I make no apologies for displaying behaviour that the sorority would describe as “testosterone fuelled”. I would have failed miserably as a parent and father if I had not done so regardless of gender or biochemistry. I have every right to be proud of what I have achieved. Consequently, having done everything humanly possible to do my job I will never, ever, have any difficulty in looking my kids in the eye.

    The suggestion that either of the mothers could fill my shoes is a fantastic and delusional proposition. It is gross distortion and a lie; derisory and a perpetuation of the abusive process that was engaged in the alienation of my kids that took years of fighting through the family courts to reverse. Had I not fought, to the detriment of my own health and to the extent that I suffered a heart attack, my kids would have been consigned to the scrap heap. To have my devoted contribution as a father to my children pigeonholed, denigrated and demeaned by the fathers institute – the government funded body that is supposed to champion my children’s’ and my own interests – on the basis of impossible assertions, specious arguments, wildly sweeping claims, and an agenda that has nothing to do with real equality is frankly, ignorant and grossly insulting.

    Since the proceedings I have made lots of contacts and to my amazement I am now aware that my story is by no means rare or unique.

    I share exInjuria’s views and abhor the use of “political correctness” and a widely held, irrational phobia of causing offense, to censor free speech, discussion and reasoned debate. Nowadays it is too easy for someone to claim to be “offended” simply to silence another point of view, get ones own way and avoid having to justify an irrational stance or belief. As a device it’s over use has become tiresome and predictable amongst those that rely upon irrational beliefs, raw emotions and prejudice in preference to hard evidence.

    I visited the parenthood institute web site and was invited to watch their promotional video. I took up the invitation. Did the toddlers in the film make it? I found the experience deeply embarrassing, cringe worthy in fact, shallow, sickly and nauseating. The repetitive “super Mario” style soundtrack was unnecessary and extremely irritating. If that is an indication of the joyless vision of fatherhood on offer then I cannot think of any men who would subscribe to it. Who are the vacuous “stepfordian” Dads that this bilge is aimed at?

    As a newcomer I watched the mumsanddadsnet exchanges from the touchlines. I was taken aback when Nic’s (sic) meticulously researched and evidenced opinions were arrogantly swept aside as Adrienne attempted to perform a manoeuvre that has unfortunately become a standard gambit in dealings on family matters. I’m speaking of the deliberate reduction in significance of evidence in order to create a specious argument and counter evidence with hearsay. Adrienne’s responses, on behalf of the institute, were heavily spun, patronising and blusteringly obfuscate. I laughed with incredulity when she huffily retorted, “I just don’t have
time to produce a complete referenced paper on each of these items in response
to your (not backed up) assertions.” This was most odd when Nick had already pointed Adrienne in the direction of his meticulously referenced blog and you had already thanked Nick for his “carefully curated” evidence. I think it is reasonable to expect the joint chief executive of a government funded, national organisation and think tank to be able to trot out references, that justify the mantra for her organisation, from memory. I would also have expected the joint chief executive of the fatherhood institute to have the wit to do a little homework before entering the fray with known authorities in the field but I was disappointed by her apparent lack of preparation, respect, care and courtesy. My disappointment was compounded by her knee jerk responses which were littered with typos and inaccuracies. Apparently the letter “k” is sticky on her keyboard. It would appear that the shift key, space bar and spell checker are equally problematic.

    When someone takes the trouble to write, share experience and carefully check communications of their knowledge I think that at the very least one is entitled to a response that has been given an equal amount of care and attention. That is just good manners. What an appalling advertisement Adrienne provided for a publically funded organisation. Thank god they do not really represent something that i believe in.


    1. i could not have put it better myself padrestevie, I too was astonished and saddened actually that an insitute which receives millions could not put an ounce of effort into discussing, respectfully, the issues at hand. I am incredibly grateful for Nick Langford’s curation of the reality of what is being done and so glad that people do undertand what is happening, if there are, at lesst a few of us truth keepers, we can resist this tide, whether its borne of sloppiness, arrogance or downright privilige. K


      1. Thank you Karen.

        There is another highly significant point that I had not previously noticed.
        Earlier today I showed the Fatherhood institute video to a friend. The opening sequence bears the header, “A Great Dad For Every Child”.
        The opening sequence comprises four vignettes. The first and fourth vignettes both showed a white European Dad and a child. The second vignette showed an Asian Dad and his partner. Conspicuously, the third vignette showed just two Afro-Caribbean children: no Dad. This is despite the header stating (with upper case first letters for added emphasis) “A Great Dad For Every Child”.
        I suddenly realised that this image could easily be construed as reinforcing and offensively promoting a popular, racially prejudicial stereotype i.e Afro Caribbean kids with an absent father.
        I hope this was just an oversight. If so it is a truly appalling example of institutional sloppiness.


      2. Padrestevie, I see no offensive promotion of the notion that West Indian fathers don’t hang around their kids. You’re reading too much into a supposed subliminal message. West Indian families are known to be strongly matriarchal and black commentators themselves, David Lammy included, have previously spoken of past problems around missing fathers.


      3. Thank you Paul for taking the trouble to respond.
        Your 1st sentence relates to your feelings and I obviously cannot dispute what you feel but a conscientious Afro-Caribbean father would have good reason to feel aggrieved by the careless repetition of a popular stereotype. A little empathy, particularly when posting on a site dealing with parental alienation, would not go amiss.
        The 2nd sentence tells me that, “You’re reading too much into a supposed subliminal message”.
        The online Oxford English dictionary defines supposed and subliminal thus:
        “Supposed – Generally assumed or believed to be the case, but not necessarily so.”
        “Subliminal – (Of a stimulus or mental process) Below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.”
        Your (ad hominem) strident dismissal is therefore wishful thinking and misleading, as the actual imagery I described was clearly neither supposed nor subliminal. The scene was in fact as I accurately described it in my record of direct observation i.e. Of the four vignettes comprising the introductory sequence the only section not containing a “Dad” was the vignette of the two little girls. I omitted to mention that “Dad” appears to have been available and makes an appearance later in the film. This provides further grounds to ask the question, why was he omitted from the opening sequence? It would be entirely reasonable to inquire whether there were, in fact, “subliminal” influences acting on the filmmakers?
        The 3rd sentence is a statement with assumed authority and in any event this is a non-sequiter.
        I hope this helps to both maintain and fuel a debate based upon verifiable observations, rigorous research and accurate reporting as opposed to sweeping statements, gut feelings and specious argument.
        Given his recorded and widely publicised promotion of parental values I would speculate that David Lammy is careful to uphold standards of conscientious fatherhood. Perhaps you should ask him how he would feel about being wrongly and inappropriately stereotyped?


  13. Ok there are a number of things that father does that mother doesn’t and vice versa, both being important to the child. Society does not accept the father image of himself as an important parent in his own right. The mother image of both mother and father as parents is the one we use today. Father can only be a parent if he does it the way mother expects of him.
    So mother’s modus operandi might be, if this father won’t do parenting the way I want I should replace him with another that can do the job as I expect him to perform it. (That would make sense because when I went to Court the Registrar asked my partner if she had any reasons why I shouldn’t have parental responsibility of my children, but he never asked me the same question about her……….in fact I don’t think mother has to apply for parental responsibility, she’s saddled with that one whether she likes it or not). Even the children told me they could come and see me whenever they wanted, (the caveat being so long as it was ok with Mum).
    Then we need to have a father’s list of parenting things that he does and make sure the courts acknowledge it. Dad parenting according to Dads. (Also laws on establishing who father is, at birth or before)
    Like many fathers I feel that the quantity of time is important. I can only speak for myself when I say it may not have been possible for me to maintain my position as a father had I not made life-changing practical adaptations in order to maintain time and presence with my children. Personally finance and mental health have been major issues. I went out of business some six months ago but not before I had moved house close to my children and their school and asserted my position in the community as a normally functioning father. I think there is a perception from some parents that I should take any job to support the family. Whilst I would like to do so I want one that coincides with the time that my kids go to school (teaching assistant would be ideal or something in admin. perhaps). People tell me I am paranoid about losing my children. I do feel under threat, but this I feel able to cope with and as the months go by and sustained contact is maintained (my record is three nights in succession with the eldest) then the closeness and strength of attachment with my children grows. It even withstands the occasional setback. I have learnt that it’s important to support your ex in a sensitive way even if they don’t appear to appreciate it. And of course she feels the same way as I do (as if I pose some kind of threat to her time with the children).

    Dad’s view of himself. Time required.

    Sporty Dad…………………………………………Changing ends at half-time
    Arty Dad…………………………………………….Drawing the line, shaping history
    Playful Dad…………………………………………Hop skip and a jump
    Funny Dad………………………………………….
    Serious Dad
    Cool Dad
    Not so cool Dad
    Friendly Dad
    Adventure Dad
    Dependable Dad
    Listening Dad
    Story Dad……………………………………….tell us more


    1. Wonderful contribution…from what I saw at the ‘Being a Man’ event (where the significance of fathering WAS absolutely given a highlight spot) I honestly could see this point about the inequity of Dads not being accepted on their own terms, but rather, only in respect to what Mums feel is acceptable – easily being conceded by feminists such as the organiser of BAM, Jude Kelly.

      There are feminists like Jude who absolutely love fathering…and others who fear it above all else, it would seem.

      To me this is one of the biggest identifiers to distinguish between the two groups.

      I suspect that those who fear fathering will also be those women who most treat children…not as persons in their own right – but rather as extensions of themselves which they therefore own.

      There are so many problems caused by this view of children as property – but one of the worst is that it then becomes very difficult for the child to be loved by that parent…or equally to love them.

      Meanwhile they will likely be able to form far better bonds with the parent who can treat them as a unique person.

      This will then consequently be likely to arouse extreme jealousy in the parent who has the opposite perspective – and provide strong motivation for alienation attempts.

      There needs to be some big public discourse about parenting so that these issues can come to general awareness.

      I wouldn’t have thought that this would be that hard to do, really…especially with media-savy figures like Jude Kelly and Camila Batmanghelidjh around.


  14. Very intelligent article Karen. It’s obvious you’ve been thinking about these things for a long time, and are able to provide an honest assessment, which is really embarrassing for journalists who wade in.

    For me, the interchangeability of moms and dads also suggests the interchangeability of children, the dissolution of the family and its replacement by a market system based on state-sanctioned trafficking , whereby financial means come to determine parentability. Do you think we are moving toward replacing biological families with these things called means-tested family units?


  15. Iron Dad’s , referred to the ex as “golden V” and wow I cannot relate to the description of feminist , in my view it is support, emotional and otherwise, so that neither is drained and each are bonding with child and family. The Betty Crocker and Father Knows Best days are over, but until we as adults and as parents begin to lead by example , better educated at being in relationships and communicating , ie being heard and listening ,more compassionate and socially aware, a PA is a steroidal bully, winner take all that carries on the Hatfield & Mc Coy war…
    Time out, homes are microcosms, for the world. Heal the home, and that required more focus on wholeness teachings, empowerment at early ages .
    Native American’s “Woman is here to lead mam to spirit and man’s work is to make the world safe in order that she may do so” Women do raise our children over 75% in poverty.
    Perhaps it was his inclusion in a secret society , or his alpha Mom, but my abuse was internalized and was declare bipolar, which better describes our marriage. His, we are “his” and too sick to “preform” , taking no interest, only feeling his sense of loss of travel, mate, all the jobs of stay at home Mom of 3 sons, and he drove that home. Trauma of my a sort I know and freely admit in my own childhood, visited our sons at ages 11, 8 and 6, and of course they perceived Dad the stronger one. Yes he pays lawyers, hands out money , found his love and left to be happy and yes the sons have kids of their own and have no doubts of the detached manner of Dad, vs the passionate ,sensitive Mom who made a full recovery from a misdiagnosis, alone, and in doing so, only struck fear/anger in dad and partner who have much to fear karma wise, or Christ wise in abusing traumatized, youth and adding to their shame by having an open affair in our neighborhood. Yet he still blames me. 10 years, I have worked towards healing and I am close, and that may include closing the book on hope.. the silence is deadly. and life affirming … in that silence I found god , forgiveness and compassion ,all the things necessary to a “normal” existence .

    Loved the Road Maps Post!

    I am fighting for the laws to change here in Virginia and consider PAS a human rights violation
    NO child should be made to choose one parent over another , in order to be accepted.


  16. Ms. Woodall, you seem to accept a creepy redefinition of equal parenting, even while knowing that a sensible grassroots definition is already in use. It’s wrong to accept the definition you describe as coming from and the UK’s Fatherhood Institute. They may be trying to appropriate the term “equal parenting” for propaganda purposes, but what they describe is unisex parenting, not equal parenting. It’s too effete and irrelevant to hold an audience.

    Historically, equal parenting is a response to sole custody. It is also a response to the term “shared parenting”. (Shared parenting is what we have now: If I give you one bite of my sandwich, I am sharing it with you.) It indicates the point that denying a fit parent’s rights in family court is a human rights violation, usually compounded by gender bias. It clearly identifies an approach to parenting post divorce that has shown better outcomes for children.

    Activists favoring it since 1998 or so have consistently said that fathers make a unique, indispensable contribution to parenting that the courts have no just, reasonable power to devalue in comparison to the parenting of mothers. We have never said that fathers and mothers are identical as parents. We have insisted that fathers and mothers must be equal before the law. Feminists have fought politically against equal parenting as our grassroots movement defines it (or as the angry men’s attempt to retain patriarchal control or evade child support).

    I don’t think, the Fatherhood Institute, or any other artificial, or politically correct, or government subsidized group (with tax-based funding, charitable designation, or whatever) will get to rewrite the definition of equal parenting. The Fatherhood Institute seems to have failed, so far. Equal parenting advocates have defined the term by fighting for it, and will keep ownership by continuing to fight.

    I do think that equal parenting advocates are sometimes shamed into speaking less than plainly. An equality movement must bear the extra weight of considering other points of view and sympathizing, but a careful analysis of equal parenting shows that it is the best social policy for everyone who is not driven by animus. In the end, I don’t think that we will help adversaries to obscure our message that parental rights are human rights and the child’s best assets.

    Perhaps you could redefine equal parenting by throwing enough money at political advertizing or media manipulation, after the fashion of political action committees (PACS). I don’t think groups with antipathies to fathers have that kind of money any more.

    The definition of equal parenting has come from the mouths of sole custody’s victims. There are more of us than there are pundits.


    1. interesting description of Mumanddadsnet and Fatherhood Institute as creepy…hadn’t really thought about it that way but you are right, it is creepy Eric.


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