Panel on Fatherhood and Men

I really enjoyed participating in the 4th annual Conference on Fatherhood and Men, hosted by BOND and its founder, the remarkable Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson. I was on a panel, moderated by JLP, with two really exceptional guys: Dr. David J. Glass, who is both a Family Law Attorney and a psychologist and David Byrd, a Marriage and Family Therapist and football coach. I can honestly say that these two other panelists were so informed and insightful that I was more interested in listening than talking, though I tried to do my part.

But the thing that struck me most was the sense of antagonism many of the men present felt toward women — I don’t just mean anger, though there was that, but a sense of hurt too, a feeling that men were not being treated fairly either by the opposite sex or by a feminist society in general. I’ve noticed this before online when I’ve written about women. I’ll make some joke or write something satirical about women, and guys will start leaving furious comments, not only taking my kidding remarks at face value, but really unloading with a feeling of rage and a sense that they are unfairly mistreated by the supposedly fairer sex.

This subject has been coming to the fore recently. The wonderful Insta-Wife, Dr. Helen Smith has just published Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood and the American Dream — and Why it Matters.  And of course the likewise wonderful Christina Hoff Sommers has been talking about this for years.

It is odd — and I said something like this on the panel — having had such a lovely marriage all these decades, and having rejected feminism in favor of individualism from the start, I’ve remained quite fond of women in general. But I hear men telling me it can be very bad out there in a world that has become crushingly antithetical to who and what they are. While Jesse Lee Peterson and I may not agree on every issue, I think it’s vital to have courageous (or more precisely, fearless) voices like his standing up for the kind of old fashioned values too many women (and men) have tried to throw aside.

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