This week, we are discussing two articles from a series of opinion pieces that recently appeared in the New York Times. The series focuses on “Fathers’ Rights and Women’s Equality.” The fact that such a topic would be so thoroughly covered in the NYT demonstrates how much attention the issue of fathers’ rights is now receiving.
It should be noted, however, that the father’s rights movement is not just one group with one set of goals. Rather, it is a diverse set of groups seeking a wide range of goals. This was an important point made by Mark Greene, who is a senior editor at the Good Men Project and who authored one of the articles in the NYT series.
Like the parties involved in any type of movement, some fathers’ rights groups are moderate while others have more extreme views. Lumping together all such groups under the cause of fathers’ rights would be akin to assuming that all feminists have the same beliefs, goals and values.
Sadly, the more extremist groups are likely doing a disservice to the perceived legitimacy of the fathers’ rights movement. By contrast, moderate fathers’ rights groups do not promote goals that are anti-women or that minimize serious issues like domestic violence.
At its core, the fathers’ rights movement seeks one simple goal, according to Greene. That goal is: “To ensure that when a marriage fails, men are legally empowered to remain fully engaged parents.” In other words, we are not seeking special rights for fathers, just equal rights.
To amend Greene’s description slightly, many fathers’ rights advocates are seeking equal rights for unwed fathers as well. Therefore, it may be more accurate to say “when a relationship fails” rather than “when a marriage fails.”
Being a parent is not an easy job, but it is one of life’s most rewarding roles. For the sake of children and the parents who deeply love them, we should try to keep both moms and dads involved whenever possible.
Source: The New York Times, “Fathers’ Rights Needn’t Hurt Women’s Rights,” Mark Greene, June 13, 2014