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No Father? No Problem August 7, 2019

Posted by Onely in Uncategorized.

Ok, I admit the title of this post is a little clickbaity. Sorry. But now that I’ve got you here, let me say what I mean in a more nuanced way:

No father? No problem!

Oops! Let me try again:

Shut up!

That wasn’t directed at you, Copious Reader. That was directed at right-wing conservative yo-yos who keep equating school shooters with “fatherless” boys. Now, before I unpack the sexism, singlism, and homophobia in this trope, let me just preempt the haters by saying:

I don’t hate fathers. Some of my best friends are fathers.

But just because a kid doesn’t have a father doesn’t mean they’re gonna climb a bell tower and take aim. There’s reams of research supporting my claim. For just one example, listen to Dr. Susan Harkness:

. . . while children that are growing up in lone mother families are widely perceived to perform poorly, research, undertaken as part of the ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, shows that lone motherhood is rarely the cause of these children’s poor emotional or cognitive outcomes. Indeed, when compared with children living in otherwise similar families, children living in lone mother almost always do as well as those living with biological parents. Source

Or check out this book by social scientist Dr. Bella Depaulo: Single parents and their children – the good news no one ever tells you.

I’m not saying it’s easy being a single parent/mother, but a lot of the difficulty stems not from a lack of a partner parent, but from prejudiced attitudes like “a kid will start collecting ammo and magazines if he doesn’t have regular access to someone with a penis, who will guide him more wisely than someone without a penis.” This attitude, which is unfortunately not limited to right-wing yo-yos, creates a culture of institutionalized discrimination, where children of single parents/mothers do suffer consequences. Hint: the consequences are not, however, “Child becomes a mass murderer.” See this Guardian article also by Dr. DePaulo.

Our Onely demographic doesn’t need to hear me rail against the problematic layers in the “fatherless miscreant” trope. Our Copious Readers know that women can provide moral guidance just as well as men, that male role models can come from many places (not just from the sperm provider), and that families come in all sorts of successful permutations, beyond the nuclear family setup so often seen in those stick figure stickers on the rear windows of minivans.

I just wish the wider world knew this, too.


Image source: Wikipedia Creative Commons


1. Craig - August 15, 2019


2. The Problem of Andrew Yang | Onely.Org - August 16, 2019

[…] about hurtful stereotypes of children raised by single parents, please see the links in this earlier Onely post. For information about pro-singles study results and the faulty science behind pro-marriage […]

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