#EndFathersDay: Where the Twitter Trend Gets Fathers Wrong

With the arrival of Father’s Day this Sunday, Twitter has unleashed a new hashtag that has primarily to do with the disgust of male patriarchy and the lack of consideration for single mothers and/or same-sex couples on this day. The hashtag? “#EndFathersDay.” According to one tweet, “#EndFathersDay because it’s a slap in the face to single mothers everywhere.” Although there is some discussion regarding these phenomena to be a hoax emerging from sites like 4chan and Reddit, journalists and freelance writers from various organizations are nonetheless hopping aboard this trend and sticking to it.

For example, Haig Chahinian and his article over at the Los Angeles Times is sympathetic with this line of thinking, although his argument is not particularly feminist in nature. He himself being a married homosexual male, Chahinian observes that “…[r]ecent census data indicates only 19% of homes are composed of traditional moms, dads and kids. More than 11 million residences with kids are headed by a single person or a same-sex couple” (Chahinian, 2014). What conclusion does Chahinian draw? “These families too have to be fumbling through one of the parents’ holidays.” Chahinian’s solution: “the all-inclusive Parents’ Day.”

There is something problematic with this proposal. In President Obama’s 2008 speech at the Apostolic Church of God on the subject of Fatherhood, he recognizes the significant roles fathers play in the lives of children: “We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it” (Obama, 2008).

Unquestionably, public opinion changes and even the law “evolves,” but children do not (Anderson, 2014). The mother-father model, or the Intact Biological Family (IBF), when contrasted with single-parents, cohabiting couples or even homosexual couples, the result seen is not so much a difference in “unique” or “odd” qualities, but rather in deep, significant ways (Regnerus, 2012a). According to a study conducted by Mark Regnerus with findings from the New Family Structures Study (NFFS), a controversial conclusion was drawn and brought into question a lot of previous assumptions regarding the “no essential differences” position between homosexual and heterosexual couples.

The basic conclusion drawn was that from 15,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 39, and on 25 out of 40 evaluated outcomes, “the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families, displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents. Even after including controls for age, race, gender, and things like being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live, such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law… among other things” (Regnerus, 2012b). Numerous studies abound regarding the position that children do better with both mother and father present (Anderson, 2013; Tucker, 2014; Wilcox, 2004).

The point is quite simple: Celebrate Father’s Day, not Parent’s Day. Contrary to the piling-up criticism of “male patriarchy” and lack of consideration for single mothers, there is a reason to celebrate and commemorate the contributions fathers make to the emotional and domestic life of the family than just their “only contribution to contraception: Semen.”

According to several studies, men have actually contributed to three important domains of family life: parenting, household labor, and “emotion work” in marriage. Though they have been considered to not reach parity with their wives in these areas, they are nonetheless taking up a “significantly larger share of family responsibilities than men did in previous generations” (Wilcox 2004, 5). Like Christmas, this Father’s Day let’s “remember the reason for the season.”

 

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Works Cited

Anderson, Ryan. “Celebrate Father’s Day, Not Parents Day.” (Jun. 12, 2014). The Daily Signal. http://dailysignal.com/2014/06/12/lets-ensure-future-kids-dads/

Anderson, Ryan. “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It” (Mar. 11, 2013). http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/marriage-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-the-consequences-of-redefining-it#_ftn18

Author Unknown, “Trolling Hard: We’re Calling BS on the Trending #EndFathersDay hashtag.” (Jun. 13, 2014) Twitchy Staff. http://twitchy.com/2014/06/13/trolling-hard-were-calling-bs-on-the-trending-endfathersday-hashtag/

Chahinian, Haig. “A Good Reason to #EndFathersDay: It’s a Gendered Holiday.” (Jun. 13, 2014) LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-fathers-day-gay-rights-parents-day-story.html

(A) Regnerus, Mark. “Queers as Folk.” (Jun. 11, 2012). The Slate. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/gay_parents_are_they_really_no_different_.html

(B) Regnerus, Mark. “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?” 41 Social Science Research (2012). See PDF, http://www.markregnerus.com/uploads/4/0/6/5/4065759/regnerus_july_2012_ssr.pdf

Obama, Barack. “Obama’s Speech on Fatherhood.” (Jun. 15, 2008). Real Clear Politics. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/obamas_speech_on_fatherhood.html

Tucker, William. Marriage and Civilization. 2014. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. See Chapter Four, “Soft Patriarchs, New Fathers: Religion, Ideology, and Fatherhood” (pp. 97-131).

Wilcox, Bradford W. Soft Patriarchs, New Men. 2004. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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