Feminism has infiltrated every aspect of modern day life, even in a country like Trinidad & Tobago. Even our attitudes about fathers cannot escape the fury of feminist bigotry. I have seen signs that denigrate fatherhood. One of the powerful vehicles that propagate the negativity of fatherhood is the state funded Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development in the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. Let’s get this clear – this is feminism (organized to appear neutral) and they make no qualms about this. However their message is anti-male and anti-father. We have all seen the stories in the media – about absent fathers, domestic violence, sexual abuse, fathers who sexually abuse their daughters and in my opinion, the worse – Dead Beat Dads. I have seen the large billboards funded by our tax dollars “teaching men” to be more responsible about having children that they do not father. Associating fatherhood with marriage, being a good (and obedient) husband and of course not being a Dead Beat Dad.
Have we ever seen any signs or articles by anyone in official capacity – either a feminist or a government minister, tell us about irresponsible women who have children they have no intention of taking care of? No! The overwhelming narrative is that these are women we must take care of! We must set up social programs, grants and find jobs for them. The men who happen to be the one impregnating these women – well they have to pay up! That’s the extent of the narrative.
Is this a fair perception? How many men actually choose to be fathers? And of these, how many men abandon and neglect their children? Personally I don’t know of any. The only conclusion I can derive from this situation is that when women get pregnant with children they cannot take care the men get blamed and the woman gets assistance. And that is equality for some feminists.
I am going to make a statement that will irk some. Fatherhood is a myth to fool men into staying with women in Trinidad & Tobago. Yes. Even if you stay with your wife and remain with the family until the kids grow to be adults you only have the illusion of being a father. Consider this. If at any point during your marriage you fall out of favor with your wife for whatever reason – she has the state backing to kick your sorry ass to the curb without reason. Although the house, car and everything in the house was bought for with your hard earned cash and you were the best and most responsible father. The state has the machinery set up to ensure you stay out of the home and that you continue to pay alimony and child support, whether or not you can afford it. She is free to bring her boyfriend in the house that may have caused the separation in the first place. If the new man molests your kids, as in the case of Kenyana (the 6 year old that was murdered and placed in a barrel last year) the state machinery, which includes the press, will blame fathers and the mom will get all the sympathy. Applying for custody can be wrought with hurdles for fathers. Even if it is found that you were the parent who spent more time with the kids, the state will ensure that you remain out of that child’s life if that is the objective of the mother. There is a whole system with Mental health, and social workers, Courts and infinite power to ensure she cuts you off as a father. That’s the reality! You can be falsely accused of rape and domestic violence, locked up, unless you can prove that she lied and made the whole thing up. If you are lucky to be able to prove that the allegations are untrue, she will merely be excused and the worst thing is that she might be warned – but nothing punitive. That’s fatherhood in Trinidad & Tobago. Smart married men wise up and will live a life of abuse from their wives choosing to stay away from the home as much as possible or have an outside mistress, especially if you have a good job and assets to loose. But they dare not try to divorce her. Smarter men avoid marriage and commitment all together.
If you doubt this is a reality – you need to talk to men that have applied for custody in Trinidad. There is a Single Fathers Association in Trinidad. I am sure they can corroborate these stories, because we have quite a few of them and we ill start publishing them. They stand NO chance unless the mother has either tried to kill the child several times or, is worth being locked up in St Anns or, is a serious drug dealer or something nefarious like that. That’s what’s stacked up against fathers in Trinidad. Now I am not doubting that there are men who have found wonderful women who respect them and appreciate what they do even as they both contribute to the household responsibilities, but that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about men for whatever reason have decided that they are going to break it off with their wife and there are children involved.
There are offshoot organizations from feminism like, The National Organization for Men Against Sexism, American Mens Studies Association and Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. These are fundamentally male hating feminist organizations, with a male friendly name. They are rife with articles and research downplaying the role of fatherhood, the best fathers can get with feminism is an “also ran” rating. Feminists clamor about stereo-types wanting man to take on household roles – but they will never give up the advantage that women have, by being considered the primary and only parent when the union breaks down. The same data that generates much of their conclusion on the role of fathers, clearly show that when fathers are not around the results are disastrous for children’s outcomes. We never hold women responsible for the children they fail to bring up. Where are young boys learning to be antisocial and violent? The research does not support single women raising them. The increasing exposure of female authority figures in children’s lives – from single mothers, female child care persons, Female preschool and female primary school teachers must have some role to play in these boys that end up in the criminal system. We have research now that show women caregivers single out boys from a very young age. From single mothers to primary school teacher’s, Our boys learn that violence is the answer from a very young age. We treat girls very differently. We are doing a literature research project on the effect of violent women on the outcomes of boys especially in marginalized environments like single mother households. What have Trinidad & Tobago done with their young men, by creating the ecosystem for single motherhood? What do you think?
To the authorities that have the power – if you want fathers to take more responsibility – stop incentivizing single motherhood and start giving fathers a reason to care, like preferential treatment in custody matters (like they ought to) and financial rewards. You will solve a lot of our social problems – GUARANTEED.
Two things inspired me to write this post. An article in The Trinidad Woman Express on Fatherhood – by Irvin Paddier – a pastor and the President of Men of Purpose and father advocate and a few emails this site received recently discouraging us to write about men’s issues in Trinidad & Tobago. I think this is where there is a serious problem. Many of the men in high places today are supporters of the feminist movement. Feminists overwhelmingly support women and their right to do as they please with children. They believe that children are their property to exploit. Feminism has advocated for fathers to be cut out from children’s lives, that the position can easily be substituted by a “father figure”.
“I am not a “Baby Daddy”, I am a husband and a father. I believe fatherhood is a decision; it is not something that just happens.” MAFTT –It might be a good idea but fatherhood is not something many men have a choice about. Women have all the choices here – even to give up the child for adoption. Fathers have to pay up even if it is found out that the child is not biologically his, and the mother deceived him into thinking so. In the US if a child is born when a woman rapes a man (made to penetrate with a minor) that boy will be liable for child support payments to his rapist. Usually the woman rapist don’t face any charges or the charges are statute barred. It might be the same under Trinidad law.
“Part of the problem with many men who are fathers is that we believe we are still bachelors who have children, so it’s something we just “handle” rather than commit to.” MAFTT –You are confusing men who chose to have kids and men who find out later that they are the father without choosing.
There is something that fathers neglect, and that is nurturing. MAFTT – That’s not true – most dads who elect to do so are very nurturing, some will even do more than his wife in rearing the children, these social stereotypes are giving way to practical parenting based on who works and for how much.
“I believe the greatest gift a father could give his children is to love their mother. Yes, wives have responsibilities too. But they are not your concern here, especially if you aren’t even taking care of your own responsibilities. The vows you made to your wife were not conditional upon how your wife lived up to her end of the deal. The reality of this is that your children see this love and appreciate it.” MAFTT – This most sexist anti-father BS I have ever come across from someone claiming to be an expert in fatherhood.
Quotations are from:
Trinidad Express Womans Magazine Sunday 28 September, 2014.