Leslie Loftis: Mothers speak up for their sons – and enrage hardline feminists

I can still remember when the feminist line was “women don't need any help from men”. Now the new line is #HeForShe, a hashtag encompassing the new calls for men to assist women – at least in theory. Writer Neil Lyndon recently commented on one disconnect between words and action in The Telegraph. After describing his own difficult efforts at being an equal parent, he wrote:

"It’s open to question, in my mind, whether women, as a whole, are persuaded of their civic duty to cede full rights of equality to fathers...Surely it must be obvious that women cannot be fully equal in the wider society and at work if they are also expected to be the parents who take care of children most of the time? Unless men are fully equal as parents, it will always remain impossible for women to be fully equal in the world.”

I understand his confusion. Declared feminists say they want 50/50 equality in the working world, and so their official stance against equal parenting time makes little sense. The question of the wisdom of seeking 50/50 boardroom parity aside, do feminists actually want men to help or not? Their conflicting demands and practices make the answer unclear.

These conflicts, however, are more visible than common. Certain types of feminists have a stranglehold on popular news. They freeze out the resistance on any issue so that their position feels right, inevitable. Typical women are far more consistent than this, and some have even organised into pockets of resistance.

Regarding the mentioned parenting responsibilities, there are groups like Leading Women for Shared Parenting (of which I am a member). As the name suggests, we advocate for balanced parenting. The group formed in response to the growing but ignored body of research confirming the significant advantages to children of father involvement even while the trend of parental alienation continued. In part from our efforts, there are shared parenting laws pending in 18 US states. We have members all over the world, including the UK.

In the US, there is a commission full of women seeking to establish a White House Council for Men and Boys to address the host of ignored male problems, from education to the male suicide rate, which recently made headlines in the UK. (The US  picture is similar.) Other groups address specific issues. For instance, regarding equal rights, we have FACE, Families Advocating for Campus Equality. It was formed after mothers banded together after their sons were expelled from university due to false rape accusations.

There is a certain type of woman commonly found in these groups: mothers of sons. We see the ruling culture harms our sons and silences them when they speak for themselves. Culture shrugs – as if “privileged patriarchs”could have problems, many assume.

Since these boys’ mothers are women, however, we are not so easily silenced. Declared feminists have made it clear, women’s ideas are not to be challenged. Hampered by their own preaching, to defend against mothers of sons, declared feminists must resort to isolation and shame.

Dissenters get disinvited from participating in feminist anthologies. We trade stories about bigger news outlets spiking a male supportive piece at the last minute because they don't want to deal with feminist hashtag campaign PR mess.  Even Anne Marie Slaughter, author of the “Can women have it all?” Atlantic article, who Lyndon mentioned as one of the few dissenters to feminist orthodoxy, got the treatment.

If Betty Friedan long ago named the “problem with no name”, Anne Marie Slaughter publicly asked the question no one was supposed to ask. And she did it from the inside — an elite feminist who once walked the halls at the US State Department. She has not only been ostracised in some of her old circles for what she said about women and work, but also she saw her foreign policy career get "erased" by becoming a Mommy Wars commentator.

Just last month, psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Celi was refused a seat on a panel on domestic violence because she would have discussed male victims of domestic violence. Note, that panel was in Australia. The problem is worldwide.

Declared feminists work hard to suppress dissent. But some of us are highly motivated to make sure the dissent is heard. Our sons have too few who will speak for them.

Leslie Loftis

  • Thank you for speaking up for boys and men! So true that the default is to expect 50-50 at work but not at home. Double standard. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • McClane

    I will believe in balanced parenting when there is a 50/50 split in custody cases between father and mother in judgements in the divorce courts. And in social work cases.

    In the meantime, a well-written piece. But open to multiple objections, the least of which is mine.

  • Thank you for speaking up for men and boys. Please keep up the conversations, we need more balance and perspective on the real issues faced in our legal, political and social systems.

  • Groan

    Me too because the reality is that males do need women to speak up for them in a culture where for them to speak is to be accused of selfishness at least and hating females as a “terrorist” from the radicals. Yet the issue is just so simple as equity,being fair.

  • Jeff Griffith

    It just belies the fact that feminism is not about equality. It simply just is not.

    • I know. I know. They use the equality line because it is popular. They shame us with “you just don’t understand feminism” by claiming it really is just about equality. But that’s all talk. Declared feminism says it is for equality but then it acts for superiority.

      • Anthony

        Exactly!!!

  • Boys & Men must organize themselves. Any class of persons not organized in democracy shall be treated as slaves. Earlier the boys understand it, better for them.

    • Alan Fournier

      It’s coming. But first we have to stand up to the men in positions of power and authority who are cowed and indulge their chivalry at the expense of other men below them in order to appeal to gender feminists.

    • AKM

      Not necessarily. Society needs men more than men need society. If they continue to drive us out, they’re screwing themselves more than they’re hurting us. IMO it will be difficult to persuade men to campaign for their own benefit and inherently against the rights of their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in the way that feminists do from the other side of the sexual divide.

      If you want to organize, I’d suggest doing so on classic liberal grounds rather than mens’ rights; concentrate on the rights of the individual, whatever sex, race, religion, etc. It’s the one thing we all have in common, after all.

  • Choralducky

    I realize this article was written for the U.K., but it hits the nail on the head here, too. As an American, I can tell you that we aren’t a nation with a drug problem, an obesity problem, an alcohol problem, or a gang problem. We are a nation that doesn’t know how to handle our problems.

    I truly believe that the majority of our social issues are tied to widespread instability in the family unit. Divorce and estrangement from parents leaves kids adrift and sometimes helpless, as I’ve seen countless times in my students.

    Kids need their parents to model the skills needed to survive as an adult in this society. Both of them. Unless one is truly abusive. As a country it is critical that we fix the mountain of inequalities fathers face in the court system.

  • GoldenBoy

    Men and women are never going to be 50-50 at work, because men don’t care much about their mate’s wallet, social standing, power, job, flat, car, ring, dinner check, and so on. Society (mainly women) derive a man’s value from these things, so they are incentivised to climb the ladders or die alone.

    There are lots of other factors too, like how men are more likely to take risks, or accept dangerous jobs, or work in the weather, and so on.

    That being said, I’m yet to see a feminist fight for equal custody cases, or equal number of deaths on the job, or equal work hours, or equal years worked before retiring and things like that. They want all the benefits, but none of the hardships or costs that come with them.

    • Mez

      “Men and women are never going to be 50-50 at work, because men don’t care much about their mate’s wallet, social standing, power, job, flat, car, ring, dinner check”

      they do care – but the issue doesn’t become apparent until after divorce proceedings

      “I’m yet to see a feminist fight for equal custody cases, or equal number of deaths on the job, or equal work hours, or equal years worked before retiring and things like that.”

      However policy decisions are arriving however which do just that so maybe there isnt the imbalance you suggest… equal number of deaths on the job is connected to occupation, and occupation is a choice, nobody is forcing men to take on dangerous, work they choose to do it. Everybody can up and move somewhere else to do something different.

  • Philip Bass

    Excellent article – it is shameful though that males are completely disregarded from all feminist discussions simply because they are male and have a different viewpoint.
    The more educated people amongst us would call that bigotry, and certainly a double standard.

    So now feminism is imploding as women are disagreeing with it – why was this not a point when men disagreed with it?
    Constitutionally we are equal no matter where we are: home or work etc. so to suggest otherwise would be illegal, and sexist, right?

  • Mandy88778877

    Thank you so much for speaking up for men and boys with such an excellent article.

    We hope we can hear much more from you soon. It is people like you that give society hope.

  • politicalcynic

    Thank you!

  • Foamy Darkale

    I have to say as a liberal I very sadly find more and more lack of empathy on this subject (specifically) among other liberals then I do any where else. I’m amazed when it comes to this as the overall philosophy of so many tends to be concern for helping everyone, while some concede that it happens DV, inequality in the courts, false narratives, ignorance of history on top of not wanting shared parenting that more folks in general are not wanting to own up to the facts that progressives are very much like the tea party that they rail against so vehemently. Thank you for the article and I would encourage you to look into the Honey Badger Radio show on youtube as well as the Factual feminist. Both are non-party groups or persons that see that these issues go beyond mere politics.

    • Joshua Crawford

      Liberals tend to be exactly like the religious conservatives they claim to be above. It’s also why I ultimately abandoned them. I could no longer identify with them despite agreeing with them on most things. Liberals have become too socially conservative, it’s just not the same kind that the majority of Republicans believe.

  • scanspeak

    Thank you for speaking out.

  • Alan Fournier

    I tend not to be conservative on many issues, but here you’re dead on. Thank You.

  • Mary

    “He And She For We” Stands For More Equality!

  • Judge

    What a crock. Dr Cele’s MRA site 1inthree requested a seat. She wasn’t refused; it wasn’t appropriate to give a seat to a hate organisation when it was a show about violence against women.

  • Emelio Lizardo

    “In the US, there is a commission full of women seeking to establish a White House Council for Men and Boys to address the host of ignored male problems,”

    If the White House appointed a commission of men to establish a Council for Women what would Feminists (gender Marxists) say to that?

  • Anthony

    You are so right- bravo! Herewith the article by Lyndon showing the proponderance of suicides in men v women..75% more: A vast number of which are caused by fathers being prevented from having a relationship with their sons and daughters post separation. You may bear our children- but don’t think for one moment that our pain is any less than yours when we are prevented from being fathers to those children. For many men- life is just not worth living without them.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/11377311/If-as-many-women-killed-themselves-as-men-wed-never-hear-the-end-of-it.

  • Korsakov

    Years ago, Dianne Rehm of NPR hosted a women-only panel discussing domestic violence. I felt like throwing my radio out of the window. NPR never responded to any of my emails and suggestions. As far as I know, they never aired any feature about “Shared Parenting” or the boy’s crisis in the US. Even though many of us know that the family court system is broken, NPR has never touched this subject matter. I wished I knew who really is holding the strings for NPR and its agenda..

  • Bryan Scandrett

    I don’t check the dictionary for the definition of feminism, I go to Salon, Jezebel, Zoe Quinn, Valenti, Marcotte, and Anita Sarkers Raving Mad.

    • Mez

      They are writers airing their own personal opinions, they dont speak for everybody

  • Diotima

    Excellent article!

    It is very important for women to speak out on this issue, and to refute the story that feminists are the only legitimate and authoritative representatives of women and their interests. Because this narrative is so widely accepted, it is very difficult for men to criticise feminism without being accused of being woman-haters.

    If women were ever collectively mentally tricked and enslaved by men in the past, it seems doubtful to me it was ever as comprehensively, rigorously and perniciously as that achieved by feminists. This has got to be primarily a female-on-female fight because men taking on women will always be vulnerable to accusations of bullying, as feminists very well know.

  • Nockian

    Rights are always in the negative. You have the right for someone NOT to do something to you. Anything else is a PRIVILEGE which means it will have a cost to the group from which it is extracted.

    What we have is a gender group utilising the state to get privileges for itself at a cost to the opposite gender group. This is the same scenario played out with lobbyists from all vested interests trying to gain something for themselves at the expense of everyone else.

    Now, how can it be stopped ?

    As long as the political means can be used for gaining privileges then it will be utilised for that purpose. It means lots of energy is exerted in the direction of political manoeuvring and therefore less is devoted to productive effort. It is, in effect, a series of miniature wars in which all sides eventually lose, even in victory. There are no free dinners. There is always a cost-social power is exchanged political power.

    It is not surprising that groups of women are now objecting to being dragged into this battle for political privileges. Just as in any war there are great numbers of those who see how the loss will manifest and impact their own livelihoods and relations. They do have husbands, sons, make friends and Fathers so there is a self interest at work.

    This seems on balance a negative rights aspect, but then I read ‘what should be done about ‘male suicides, male education’ and the attempt at rebalancing the privileges begins to rear its ugly head.

    The problem is quite obvious. We must give up this obsession with seeking privileges no matter how noble or seemingly altruistic the cause. The result is always the same, a pattern of enduring, wasteful conflict which benefits a few by hurting the many.

    If the temptation to use the political means is too hard for us to resist, then we must get rid of the political means entirely. It’s that simple.

  • The world changes when mothers stand up for their sons, which is distinctly different than fathers standing up for their sons, since nobody cares to listen. Male politicians have
    for decades rolled over for any feminist charade. Obama was elected by the
    people, has two daughters, and turns a blind eye to most issues male, as does
    wife Michelle and pseudo president, Senior Adviser Valarie Jarrett. The
    administration has rebuffed, make that “ignored,” responsible appeals
    for the establishment of a White House Council on Boys and Men while lavishing
    money and power on the White House Council of (Whatever Women Want) Council of
    Women and Girls. Even the small amount of money for prostate cancer screening
    has been deleted from the nation’s medical regime. Under Obama Care men and
    women pay the same even though women and girls consume over 80% of all medical
    related costs. Worse, powerful men line up to support such blatant discrimination against half our population, their half. Like the NBA, being coerced into launching
    a new anti-male nonsense campaign preaching that men should spend more time
    doing the dishes and taking care of the kids. Do you really think NBA players’wives
    are somehow disadvantaged? Really? The NBA’s ass backwards acquiescence
    to not common sense, but one woman’s demands, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg. Wasn’t she the women who implemented the Facebook censors? Men simply cannot stand up for themselves when confronted with the demands of women, when they do it’s called domestic violence or women hating. Asinine…

  • About He for She and men need to stand up for women. A tweet about the ridiculousness of it all: (hope it embeds, hard to tell from the preview)

    Chelsea Clinton: Men have to lead the way to gender equality http://t.co/boFz64pCa1 In 2007 it was an Onion article http://t.co/Z5z8oTlw7O— Leslie Loftis (@AHLondonTX) March 6, 2015

  • We’ve had family law reforms on the table for years, all over the US, which address some of these issues. Beyond the resistance on the issues, there is also some bar resistance, family law bars with members who are fine to see the adversarial system continue. It all makes for quite a head wind.
    I second your point about the real issue: it isn’t about equalizing time, precisely, but about respecting and preserving the relationships between children and their parents. In a way, more equal time is a means to the more important end. We need thresholds and guidelines, but we don’t need a specific ratio.

  • skylar

    They dont want 50/50 equality in the “workplace” they want 50/50 equality in the “boardroom”. Basically, they want equal (read: greater) representation without equal risk.

  • Mez

    They do not say they want 50/50 equality in the working world, whether or not anybody takes on work which is dangerous and dirty is their personal choice. Equal opprtunity however is exactly that. If a woman wanted to go for a dangerous job and is physically as much capable of it as a man – that is equality , if a man wanted to go for a job as a nurse and is as well qualified to do it – that is also equality. This focus on why most men do the dangerous work is exactly what feministst complain about because it shows an embedded sexist perspective The point is opportunity – not what people then choose to do

  • Mez

    For a child to have the best emotional upbringing, regardless of how good individual parents might be – at parenting, both need to be involved- according to the latest research: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14417/

  • Mez

    The ability to communicate well shouldnt be anything to do with power, control being one of the reasons why all this is a problem to begin with.

  • Mez

    the lastest research says – if children come first, they need both parents around http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14417/

  • pilit

    if they had no sons of course they would not give a sht about it. Talk about justice and equality! Men do not even have the right to talk, they must have no opinion and nothing to complain either.
    Talk about second rate human beings!

  • Kim Detorez
  • Mez

    “Declared feminists say they want 50/50 equality in the working world, and so their official stance against equal parenting time makes little sense. ”

    Their official stance is against an ‘assumption’ in favour of equal parenting which accoring to the article they oppose generally because of domestic violence , and there are a number of different types of organisations backing that. Equal parenting doesn’t need an assumption, it needs a…. preference if possible. If the childrens rights were included in proceedings, then the rights of the child to have access to both parents would have to be weighed against the risk of violence to either.

  • Mez

    Crown Prosecution Service report (2011–2012) false rape charge
    A report by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) examined rape allegations in England and Wales over a 17-month period between January 2011 and May 2012. It showed that in 35 cases authorities prosecuted a person for making a false allegation, while they brought 5,651 prosecutions for rape. Keir Starmer, the head of the CPS, said that the “mere fact that someone did not pursue a complaint or retracted it, is not of itself evidence that it was false” and that it is a “misplaced belief” that false accusations of rape are commonplace. He added that the report also showed that a significant number of false allegations of rape (and domestic violence) “involved young, often vulnerable people. About half of the cases involved people aged 21 years old and under, and some involved people with mental health difficulties. In some cases, the person alleged to have made the false report had undoubtedly been the victim of some kind of offence, even if not the one that he or she had reported.” Wiki

  • Mez

    The child should have a legal position with rights which acknowledge childrens own needs, and include access to both sex parents when there isn’t an issue of violence, either against the child or the parent who would be involved in supporting the interaction. In the absence of the father then maybe other family members could act on his behalf over a period of time – grandparent, whatever