Boys will be … defined? Is nature (sex) v. nurture (gender) settled debate?

When I fill out paper forms I cross out “gender” and write “sex” next to it.  The PC police get mad at this, “it’s gender” they tell me and some even cross out “sex” and re-write in “gender”.  I can only wonder how it was over time a persons sex turned into gender in classifying the sexes.  Sex, defined, is the 2 main categories of humans based upon their reproductive functions (Sex organs).  Gender, defined, is the state of being male or female based upon social and cultural differences and not by biology.

The argument of nature versus nurture as impacting human behavior has been going on the my entire social science career of 40 years.    Except in rare circumstances people are born with either male or female reproductive functions and so throughout time we have identified people as either male or female.  For example,  you might be a heterosexual male or gay male but you were still identified by reproductive ability, male.  Your sexuality and sexual preferences were separate from your sex.

Enter Gender Feminist Theory which holds that the sexes are actually “genders” and the state of being male or female is based upon social and cultural differences entirely and not on biology in any amount.  The theory holds that your sex (defined by nature) has no bearing on how you act as a male or female, but that you are socially constructed to act a certain way.  Boys will be boys because they are taught to be boys by society, so the theory goes, ditto for girls.

I guess missed the “it’s settled science” memo and reports in peer reviewed scientific journals explaining that nurture won out totally.  I have seen no paper or report discussing that the issue of nature (reproductive function) over nurture (socially constructed) was settled science or that one had more weight than the other.  From what I had read and reviewed, forced gender identification opposite to your sex actually caused developmental problems.  A good example of biological sex holding over socialization is the case of David Reimer (Bruce at birth).

One of twin boys, Bruce, born in 1966 he had a botched circumcision which seriously damaged his penis.  His parents brought him to a psychologist who advocated for the theory of gender neutrality, socially constructed boys and girls, and convinced his parents he would be better off raised as a female, so Bruce had sex reassignment surgery (testes removed) and was to be socialized as a female, Brenda,  and given estrogen in adolescents for breast development.  But the socialization didn’t work and “Brenda” did not identify as a girl.  From 9 years old on “she” wasn’t acting the part and knew he was a boy.

At 14 years old “Brenda” had surgery (including a double mastectomy, testosterone injections and his penis reconstructed) and he changed his name to “David”.  The failure of the gender socialization was reported in medical circles by noted sexologist Dr. Milton Diamond debunking the blank slate social construct gender theory and to prevent this from occurring in the future.  The story was told in 1997 in the book “As nature made him: the boy who was raised as a girl”.

Even though the theory of a socially constructed “gender” was debunked prior to the turn of the century we still write “gender” on our forms and there are those who still see men and women as “socialized” beings, ignoring their biological sex.  Certainly nurture plays a role in how we develop, and there is great overlap in how male and female humans behave naturally.  But it is easy to see that it is the forced roles placed upon children which are bad, this whether you are forcing a boy into a traditional male role or are trying to force a boy into being a female.

We are beginning to see some people calling out the “gender” feminists for putting forth a socially constructed sex theory which is scientifically unproven and wrong and contrary to biology.  Dr. Barry Kuhle, an evolutionary psychologist speaks to this denial of science in his piece in Psychology Today entitled “Giving feminism a bad name”.  He points to the gender feminists radical response and denial of any science which contradicts their theories and beliefs.

Christina Hoff Sommers has also pointed to “gender” feminists theories undermining science most recently in a Dartmouth Review interview where she not only takes to task those who would distort the truth for their ideology, she points to how those who put the social construct theory into practice with their own toddlers soon learn of its fallacy.  A recent article in Intellectual Takeout, “Neuroscientist: Gender-neutral Parenting is Futile” quotes neuroscientist Debra Soh who cautions against treating children as blank slates with no biologically determined sex characteristics.  The articles author, Annie Holmquist asks the valid question, “Are we actually degrading both male and female by encouraging them to ignore scientific fact and abandon the natural differences between the two sexes?”

I would answer her, yes we are.  In my mind gender feminists are the sexists as they would define the behaviors of both male and female by their definition of acceptable behavior based upon unproven theory all the while ignoring science based avenues of study with proven outcomes.  Theirs is not a social science, it is a dogma to be followed with religious fervor.  And treating children as blank slates and forcing them into unnatural gender roles can be damaging to their development.

Boys will be boys, girls will be girls, with a little bit of nurture piled on top of that.  And it is our responsibility to ensure that each one, individually, is allowed many varied experiences and many opportunities so that they can decide what they enjoy and how to be for themselves.  The argument of the weight of nature versus nurture will go on unsettled as individuals don’t fit into any one category.  By definition nurture is to care for and encourage growth and development and I see in neither nature or nurture where it is beneficial to force upon or remove sex based roles upon a person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?

Before we jump into the morality and start to discuss the “right” of a woman to get an abortion let’s accept the fact that it is now the law of the land. Let’s add the other “reproductive rights” of women to the discussion also.  She has the right of abstinence, to use birth control of her choosing prior to sex,  the “morning after” pill the next day, the right to carry a pregnancy to  term, the right to abandon the baby in a “safe” location without question, the right to place it for adoption, and no obligation to inform the father of any of her decisions.

And of men’s reproductive rights?  Abstinence, condoms, and trust in your partner to be telling the truth about her reproductive status.  As the NYS Court of Appeals has ruled, “a man has no right to reproduction post ejaculation”.  This unequal application of rights and responsibilities of many is codified in judicial opinion.   This is evidenced in multiple court decisions which held men FINANCIALLY responsible for children even where the female sabotaged the condom by putting pin holes in it, “stole” his sperm from a discarded condom or other means, and even when it is taken by means of rape such as a recent case shows us, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/statutory-rape-victim-child-support/14953965/.   Men who claim they do not want the child of an unintended pregnancy are held responsible anyway, indeed, are even labelled ‘deadbeats” for not “standing up” and accepting paternity.

Recently a bill in the OK legislature has brought the issue of equal rights in reproductive choices to the forefront as the bill would require the approval of the father before a woman is allowed an abortion.  There was an immediate backlash from the left leaning women’s groups, the shout of “my body, my choice” resonating with posts spread all over social media to awake “women” to fight this “injustice”(http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0214/Oklahoma-lawmakers-debate-bill-requiring-men-s-permission-for-abortion-video?cmpid=FB.).

I felt compelled to post on the CSM Article an opposing view in the form of a question: Do men have no reproductive rights?  We seem to be able to find a father when she wants child support.  So if a man says he doesn’t want to pay for a child of an unwanted pregnancy he is a “deadbeat” but if a women wants to abort that child she is exercising her rights?  A woman who has a child against a mans wishes is again exercising her rights, but a man who would ask that the pregnancy give him the child he wants he is then “forcing” her?  So we’ll just give all reproductive rights to women and disregard that their choices affect the father, the child, and society at large?  And can we say anything about responsibility for these “unwanted” pregnancies when women have so many means of birth control at their disposal?

In addition to the “my body, my choice” and the “women carry the baby” what also followed was a host of “men be responsible” comments, the “HE got HER pregnant” perspective which, ironically, failed to see the irresponsibility of women who find themselves in need of an abortion.   The argument was framed around “her rights” and “his responsibilities” and when pressed both sides of the argument dismissed a man’s reproductive rights as ending at ejaculation, where his responsibility begins for her choice.

Not a single person seems to want to address the issue of how can we say men and women have equal rights when we deny men rights which woman have.  Lost also in the discussion is RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions.  For we see a woman can give away her financial responsibility by giving the child up for adoption or even dropping it off anonymously.  A man suffering an unintended pregnancy is forced to pay for her decision.  Her choice is his being forced to 21 years of income execution, the sacrificing of his body at work without compensation.  A poor woman witt a child gets welfare, a poor man with a child gets a garnished.

Perhaps the worst part of the denial of men’s reproductive rights is the fact that most men don’t walk away from the responsibility of her choice.  Most are like Nick Olivas, our rape victim.  At 14 he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old.  Fast forward 6 years and Olivas learns he has a 6 year old child as he is served with child support papers demanding payments from the time of the child’s birth, even though he was not old enough to consent and was never informed of the existence of the child and allowed to decide to be a part of the child’s life.

Now, at 24 Olivas is trying to be a part of his child’s life stating, “I can’t leave her out there.  She deserves a Dad”.  Here he’s finding out that the state isn’t concerned with a fathers emotional support and raising his children for they consider the financial support as separate from access.  And as he is sure to find out, there are a multitude of means to collect, even incarceration into a debtor prison if he can’t pay.  But there are no avenues to help him with, much less guarantee, his time and emotional support for his child.

And what of a child’s rights?  Is there no right to both parents?  In going after Olivas for financial support the state says they are “doing it for the child”.  Really?  So why didn’t the state demand to know the father up front?  Isn’t a child the product of both parents and doesn’t a child have a right to know both sides of their family tree and both heritages?  Can someone from the state explain how it was in the child’s interest to be denied her father, his love and support, for 6 years, and then to collect retro dollars on her behalf?  I’m waiting for that response?  Why is a fathers dollars more important than his love and nurture?

In arguing for his legislation, Rep. Justin Humphrey stated he believes excluding the man out of these decisions is adding to the break down of society.  Once again a man’s rights and a child’s rights are lost in the discussion and the requirement for the mother to notify the doctor of the child’s father was more to make him responsible than to protect his rights.  His bill did do one thing, it exempted rape from the notification requirement, something we do not do for boys who are raped.

The bill was described as being opposed by “reproductive rights advocates” on unconstitutional grounds.  The regional director of planned parenthood stated that “Oklahoma should trust women to make the choices that are best for them”.  I suspect the choices are made easier when others bear the responsibility for your choices but have no choice themselves.   The article should clarify that the advocates are for a woman’s reproductive choices without regard for the father, child, or society.

But as I read the U.S. Constitution I see it guarantees God given rights to every individual equally.  And so I close with the question, What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?

 

Men in the middle

The bulk of us in the middle of the bell curve of male perspectives and issues regarding family are being shouted down by the din from the echo chambers on the right and left.  A polarized media spin which ignores the voices and opinions of men.  Regardless of liberal or conservative it is a cacophony of moral busybodies advocating for the “rights” of women while holding men responsible to pay for the choices made by others.  And unfortunately our perceptions and policies on men, father, boys, and families, are derived from the loud extreme ends and not from the needs, wants, and desires of men and boys in middle America as expressed by them.

Years back (2004) we at the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. (FaFNY.org) complained to the Albany (NY) Times Union about sexual bias in reporting with them having more woman’s perspectives than men’s.  Of course they denied it.  So we did a content analysis over a 30 day period where we cut over 60 articles about women’s issues with none of them negative and 5 articles about men, 3 negative.  We met with the editorial board, they again denied being biased and we then plunked the paper articles on the table in front of them in 2 piles.  The long pregnant pause set over the room.  This, we said, shows great sexual bias in reporting against men, a regurgitation of the NY Times bias against men.

“We don’t see it that way” said the mostly male editorial board, flat-out denial of the evidence before them.  Perhaps our response to their continued head in the sand denial of bias was a little extreme when we gave them the “Pretty Pig Award” for 2004 as “You can put as much lipstick on a pig as you want but at the end of the day it’s still a … pig”.  We even offered to provide little votive boxes with pink ribbons to the male editors so they could carry their testicles around with them and put them safely away while at work.  It doesn’t hurt to burn a bridge that they won’t let you cross anyway.

One would have hoped over the next 10 plus years that social media and competing news outlets would have made things better, but it hasn’t.  At best it is the same, perhaps even worse with truth second to belief.  This past year I found the same NY Times regurgitation of anti male bias in the Schenectady (NY) Gazette online edition.  I complained to the editorial board that they had more NY Times content than local news, mostly anti-male.  I posted this opinion on their web-based comments section for each anti male article but when I didn’t even receive a form response to any of my inquiries I cancelled my subscription.

Over the past few days Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/07/better-sex-better-health-more-money-what-men-really-get-out-marriage.html#)          Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207135943.htm#.WJ9qHLLgizs.facebook),                                                                                  and National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444746/marriage-benefits-men-financial-health-sex-divorce-caveat?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=wolfinger) have had pieces advising men to get married for their own good.  This on the heels of a podcast by Prager University which resulted in an outpouring of negative “what planet are you on” responses by men.  All the articles are based on one recent study by a pro marriage sociologist that marriage is good for men resulting in “more sex, better health, and more money”.   Don’t be a selfish oaf going your own way they advise as there is obviously something wrong with men.  We see the echo regurgitation in multiple outlets of the “marriage” party line, even in the face of push back from men who point out the 50% divorce rate, the vast majority filed by women, which results in the destruction of many men.

This on top of a January NY Post hit piece on men, “How to make deadbeat dads do more to help out” (http://nypost.com/2016/12/21/how-to-make-deadbeat-dads-do-more-to-help-out/).   Even though the myth of the deadbeat dad was busted back in 1995 finding that the majority of men were beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised, they hold to the “deadbeat” label.  Recent studies have shown that the bulk of unpaid child support is due to poverty on the part of men.   Ironically the focus of the article is NOT how to get poor men out of poverty for their health and well-being, it is to try to get them to pay into federal coffers to reimburse for welfare and entitlement payments given to women.  In this day and age of “gender” equality one does wonder why we don’t hold mothers accountable for financially providing for their children and have developed a social safety net for women and children only.

In 1975 we had a divorce rate in single digits as was the rate of homes with children absent a father.  The echo chambers of right and left have pushed policies which caused a divorce rate of 50% and 40% of children living in homes absent a father.  Contrary to the din which would lay the blame on men and fathers as “abusive deadbeats who forego marriage” the result is from the negative consequences for men.  Over two-thirds of divorces are unilaterally filed by women against men, men lose custody of their children over 85% of the time, and they are then forced to pay for the children they aren’t allowed to raise.  There are no family violence programs for male victims of family violence nor are there any financial social safety nets for men.

I have been a men, boy, father, and family activist now for over 20 years with organizations like FaFNY (http://www.fafny.org/), the National Coalition For Men (http://ncfm.org/), NY Men’s Action Network (http://www.nymensactionnetwork.org/), and Friends for the Protection of Men (https://www.facebook.com/groups/protectionformen/).  Maybe it’s time you stopped telling us how to be men, fathers and families.  Maybe it’s time you stopped turning a blind eye to our problems. And maybe it’s time you stopped turning a deaf ear to our issues.  You could learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open.  That is my “Dad” advice, direct to you from my father.

Remove the Stench from the Bench!

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The New York Men’s Action Network (NY MAN) and the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. has for many years asked the parents the question, “are you happy with the system as it currently exists?”  If the answer was no we would encourage people to get involved in the political process and to make sure they registered in a party, vote in the primary and again in the general election. (find general advice on party affiliation, the NYS political process, and grass roots lobbying here http://nymensactionnetwork.org/advocacy-get-active.shtml)

The question would come up on who to vote for if both candidates were equally bad and we would advise to vote out the incumbent.  Or another option would be to write in a name, any name, as a protest vote.  This was especially important when you had only one candidate running and they were bad for men, fathers and families.

In the worst of the worst of political cronyism is when the two major parties would get together and cross endorse one candidate with a Democrat in one district and a Republican in the other, thus each party ensuring their hold on a position.  And in many districts the voter advantage for one party is so high that the other party doesn’t run a candidate and so the primary is the real election.  But here, party loyalty takes hold and most candidates won’t buck their own parties leadership.

Other than for Town Justice in New York State the “rules” limit the judicial positions to a member of the Bar Association.  So we not only have a one party monopoly, it is further limited to just attorneys who are forced to work not only in the party system but also in the court system, both of which would frown on a “maverick” stepping up to buck the system and tell the truth.

But this is family court, a court of equity and one dealing with people.  How is it that attorneys are more qualified to pass judgement on individuals?  Actually one would think that those in the medical or social science fields would be equally if not more so qualified.  And why would we rule out an everyday citizen?  We use a “jury of our peers” to ensure fairness in our criminal courts so why do we exclude these protections in our most important court, the one deciding the fate of our family and of ourselves?

So what’s a person to do?

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Yes, one Doug Smith is running to remove the stench from the bench and we here at NY MAN are encouraging everyone who finds themselves with a one person “race” for Judge, or a two bad person race to write in Doug’s name.  Especially those in Saratoga County in NYS.

No more standing idly by and not voting because you don’t have a good choice or any choice at all.  If you are tired of the stench that the parties keep sending to the bench, let them know you want an open, honest election of qualified persons.

The New York Men’s Action Network has found NO race with an impartial qualified judge not beholden to the system.  As such we endorse DOUG SMITH to REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH and ask that you write in his name for judicial positions this coming election day.  By writing in your vote for DOUG SMITH you are letting the NYS Court system that you are NOT happy with their biased and inefficient system which ;lunders family assets all the while tearing them apart.

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If you wish to talk to Doug or to comment on the “REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH” You can reach him, FaFNY, and NY MAN online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/.

And remember VOTE for DOUG SMITH to REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH!

TEN MYTH’S OF THE CURRENT “CHILD SUPPORT” SYSTEM

The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc.,  “Working to Keep Fathers and Families Together”, brings you;

 

TEN MYTHS OF THE CURRENT “CHILD SUPPORT” SYSTEM

1. Child support is for the children. [False]

Currently there is NO system of accountability by the custodial parent. Many parents can, and do, spend the money for the child on personal luxury items that have no bearing on child welfare. If we really wanted the children to have the financial support shouldn’t the custodial parent have to show how the money is spent?

2. Those “deadbeat dads” who have abandoned their children should pay for them. [True, but…]

There are very few parents who abandon their children. Actually most non-custodial parents were forced into being “non custodial” against their will as over 80% of divorces are against the wishes of the other parent. Over two thirds of divorces are filed by women and yet 90% of the time women “win” custody of the children even when they wanted out of the family. In New York State there is no SHARED PARENTING statute. No matter who files, one parent or the other will be forced into being a visitor and “non custodial”. The “winner” receives full control of the finances with no accountability. The overall vast majority of non-custodial parents did not abandon their children; they were forced away from them.

3. No matter who caused the divorce the child shouldn’t have to suffer financially. [True, but…]

Over 90% of parents who have shared parenting pay their financial child support on time and in full compared to under 70% for those with just visitation. Children of divorce fare better emotionally when they have TWO involved parents in their life. If policies promoted shared parenting for children they would receive both FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT FROM BOTH PARENTS. A win-win situation for all involved. If we want to ensure the child’s financial well being we need to promote both parents access to the children.

4. All that may be true for divorcing couples but, we need to get those “deadbeat dads” who are fathering these children out of wedlock and dumping them on welfare! [True, but…]

Studies have shown that over 80% of out of wedlock fathers are present in the maternity wards at the time of their children’s birth. Most acknowledge their paternity and are ready and willing to be financially and EMOTIONALLY involved in the upbringing of their child. And why aren’t these mothers equally financially responsible?

5. Fathers should accept their paternity and financial responsibilities! [True, but…]

Most fathers do accept their financial and EMOTIONAL responsibilities for their children but the system is gender biased labeling fathers as financial providers and discounting their emotional value to their children. The saying goes “mommy’s baby, daddies maybe”. Even in those cases where DNA evidence has found the man NOT to be the father HE IS HELD FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ONCE HE ACCEPTS PATERNITY OR IS MARRIED AT THE TIME OF BIRTH. DNA testing facilities report that 50% of paternity tests come back negative. FALSE PATERNITY IS ESTIMATED AS HIGH AS 18% IN BOTH MARRIED AND OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS! Don’t children have a right to know who their real father is? Fathers should accept responsibility for their children and mothers should be held responsible for telling the truth when it comes to paternity! Responsible fatherhood belongs to the biological father.

6. OK, some fathers may have gotten a raw deal but there are a lot of them who just refuse to pay child support to children who need it! [False…]

The number one reason given, by both custodial and non-custodial parents alike for non payment is inability to pay.  6% of those in default in a recent government study that was released to show “the arrears problem” were found to be dead. In fact women are found to be in default of child support payments at twice the rate of men. The vast majority of default on child support is due to inability to pay not a refusal to pay!

7. The important thing is children are financially cared for to keep them out of poverty. [True, but…]

The number one indicator of child poverty is coming from a single mother household. Over 54% of children in poverty come from single mother families as compared to 11.5% of children in married households. If we want to combat child poverty we need to develop policies that discourage single parenthood.

8. If non-custodial fathers or mothers can’t afford to pay they can just get their support reduced. [False…]

Support is based on a percentage of income at a fixed point in time based on ability to earn. Once the amount is set non-custodial parents are rarely, if ever, afforded a reduction. The “Bradley Amendment” states that child support arrears can NOT be reduced no matter what the reason for the arrears! Courts have even gone so far as to “impute” income, that is add on other income or assets for inclusion in child support payments. An example of this is a non-custodial parent who moves into a relative’s residence temporarily without paying rent. The fair market value of the “rent” not paid can be added to the non-custodial parent’s income in computing child support. Non custodial parents who suffer unexpected interruptions in their income are often penalized for being “in arrears”. An example of this is Bobby Sherrill, a Lockheed Employee and divorced father who was captured in the Gulf War in Kuwait and spent 5 months as an Iraqi hostage and prisoner of war. The night after his release he was arrested for being $1425.00 in arrears in child support. Non custodial parents are penalized including loss of driving privileges, suspension of automobile registrations, loss of hunting and fishing licenses, suspension of professional licenses even if needed to produce income, posting on public “wanted” posters, turned in as “bad” credit risks and arrested and incarcerated for six months at a time even if they can prove that payments were not made due to inability to pay! These same penalties are applied even when there are no arrears and the report is in error. Child support owed continues to build while the non-custodial parent suffers the above penalties, including while incarcerated.

9. These non-custodial parents are just trying to get their child support payments reduced. [False…]

The number one complaint by non-custodial parents is that they were forced to be non- custodial against their will. Of those who have accepted the non-custodial status the number one complaint is that there is no access (visitation) enforcement. Even when it is spelled out in a court order, there are no penalties for the custodial parent who denies the non custodial parent. Complaints of being labeled a paycheck and a visitor fall way behind access enforcement and lack of time with their children. Prior to separation both parents cared for their children financially without a child support unit.

10. Overall, child support payments are based on the needs of the children. [False…]
Child support payments are based on an arbitrary “ability to earn” income of the non-custodial parent. It has no actual basis in the costs to raise a child or even in the actual expenses paid towards the child. New York does not even have a proportional offset for non custodial parents who spend more time, or spend money directly, on the care of their children. Non custodial parents are assessed 17% of their gross income (35% of net) for one child and 25% of gross income (48% of net) for two children. This assessment is the same for a non-custodial parent who spends no time whatsoever with their children and the non-custodial parent who spends 49% of the time with their children with increased direct expenses for the children. The NY Court of Appeals has even gone so far as to rule that when two parents spend equal time (50%) with the children that the “custodial” parent can be determined for the purposes of child support by who makes more money, even when the financial needs of the children are being met in both households. The guidelines are strict application regardless of circumstance.

Conclusion:

The child support system is based on the premise that after divorce/separation one parent or the other will be the sole custodian of the children and the other parent will be the financial provider. This fails to address the real world where both parents are actively involved in the child’s emotional upbringing and share in the financial responsibilities to the family. Current policies reduce the value of one parent or the other to children and in fact contribute to child poverty by promoting single parent households. Not only are these single parent households financially distressing to children but they are also emotionally damaging to children in ways that are to numerous to mention in this short hand out.

In fact the system is actually causing problems and is destroying families and is fixing no problems.

Go To www.FaFNY.org, or find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/ for more information on this and other topics relative to “Non Custodial Parents”, children and families or to network and get help and advice from other parental rights activists.