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Results of Survey of Fathers' Rights Activists

Troy McGinnis


*********************************************************** 

SURVEY OF FATHERS' RIGHTS ACTIVISTS 

(c) 1995 Troy A. McGinnis 

All rights reserved. 

***********************************************************

 

The following is an abstract for a paper I am working on using the data from 

the survey distributed to the signatories of the FATHERS' MANIFESTO and to 

the mailing list of TFA in October. This paper represents my first wave of 

statistical analysis on the survey, and should be available after the 

Southwest Social Science Association meeting in March. In addition to this 

abstract, I am including other information from the survey that might 

interest your constituencies. This report is by no means definitive, and I 

must remind everyone who reads this that the results of this survey reflect 

at best only the attitudes and beliefs held by the population of fathers 

defined by these data. I cannot endorse a statement that generalizes these 

results beyond the population of men who meet the criteria for participation 

in this study. In other words, these results do not apply to *all* men, or 

*all* fathers.

 

To those of you who took the time to complete and return the survey, a 

special thanks. I get the impression that this survey was not easy for 

everyone, and at times evoked strong and perhaps unpleasant emotional 

reactions. I would be lying if I said that this has been a pleasant 

experience; the level of fear, suspicion, anger, and worry evinced by many 

men during the data-gathering process was extremely discouraging, and at 

times, more than a little irritating. Overall, though, the experience has 

been positive, and I believe the data tells an interesting, sometimes sad, 

sometimes very hopeful story about what it means to be not just a father, 

but a man in the 1990s. I would also like to thank those men who did *not* 

respond to the survey proper, but instead chose to write me directly about 

problems and their personal concerns about the study.

 

The Fathers' Rights Movement: Backlash or Birthright?

 

Troy A. McGinnis

 

ABSTRACT

 

The small but growing "fathers' rights" movement in the United States 

appears to be an anomaly. While "fathers' rights" advocates claim the goal 

of the movement is equality in parenting after divorce, numerous studies 

point to a general unwillingness of men to remain involved with or provide 

consistent support to the children of their failed marriages. More often 

than not, advocacy for stronger fatherhood is casually dismissed as a 

nostalgia-driven patriarchal backlash against the advances made by women in 

recent years. This paper examines an alternative explanation for the 

emergence of this particular kind of men's rights activism: that most 

fathers' rights activists are motivated less by nostalgia and patriarchal 

traditionalism than by (1) a heightened sensitivity to gender-based social 

inequality and (2) a commitment to correction of inequities in family 

matters. It is intriguing that both these motivators could be at least 

partly attributable to the enduring success of feminism and the women's 

movement in changing traditional ideas about male gender roles in families. 

Using an original survey distributed in November, 1995, to more than 1000 

men associated with fathers' rights activism, the researcher examines men's 

attitudes toward women and about manhood; marital expectations and 

behaviors; shifts in political views over the course of marriage, child 

rearing and divorce; and definitions of fatherhood in the American family 

system. Very tentatively, the data suggest that while men in the movement 

strongly claim to be anti-feminist, they nevertheless do not appear to 

adhere very strongly to traditional attitudes regarding marriage or divorce, 

nor is it evident that these men highly value traditional gender roles for 

men or women, either at home or work. The possibility exists that the 

fathers' rights movement, though embryonic at this point, signals a 

realignment of men's perceptions of parental rights, responsibilities and 

relative status that more closely parallels women's perceptions, a 

precondition that could herald the entry of some but not all men into the 

realm of identity politics on the basis of their commitment to paternity.

***

THE SURVEY

In layman's terms, my survey was designed to measure commitment to 

traditional or patriarchal roles in men who are active or have a compelling 

interest in their rights and responsibilities as parents. A strong 

commitment to traditionalism would be indicative of the kind of "patriarchal 

backlash" against feminism described by so many critics of fatherhood and 

fathers' rights. However, my findings do not lend strong support to this 

idea. In the absence of this so-called "backlash", what becomes salient in 

the data is a marked level of egalitarian thinking among these men, and a 

tendency to describe their views in individualist terms. They are less 

concerned with having power over women than with having power over the 

events and experiences that shape their own lives. 

 

The survey included 228 items, and was estimated to require 40 minutes to 

complete. Response rate for the survey was about 1%, which is very low, but 

not surprising given the complexity of the survey, technical problems 

associated with electronic delivery of the questionnaire, and the amount of 

time required to complete and transmit it. Of the 48 responses received, 46 

were valid. I received one response that somehow used a form of the survey 

that was *not* distributed, so it could not be counted.

 

THE SAMPLE

The overwhelming determinant of character for the survey was the fact that 

it was delivered via the Internet. Despite the fact that the sample probably 

does not reflect the actual population of divorced men with children (which 

is not the intent), it does give me a sample of white, educated middle-class 

men with estranged wives and/or children who according to popular 

ideological assumptions would be most likely to report a strong commitment 

to patriarchal traditionalism.

Average annual income in the sample approaches $40,000.  Seventy percent of 

the men surveyed hold a bachelor's or higher degree. For the most part, 

ethnic composition of the sample reflects current data on ethnicity of 

Internet users, with 82% white, 4.4% Hispanic, 4.4% Native American, 2.2% 

Asian American, and 6.7% other/non-identified. Interestingly enough, Native 

Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic Americans are slightly 

over-represented in the sample, yet African American men are not represented 

at all. Despite black fathers' under-representation in the sample, however, 

42% of respondents think that the "crisis of fatherhood" is most acute for 

African Americans while 30% believe the crisis is most acute in the white 

population (More telling, perhaps, is that 20% of respondents said the 

crisis was most severe in the "Other" category,  which they specified as 

"all" segments of the population).  

 

Respondents ranged in age from 27 to 59 years of age with a mean (and 

median) age of 40 years. About 65% of the men married for the first time 

when they were 25 years old or younger, and about 54% had divorced by the 

time they were 31. Ten percent of these first marriages lasted 20 years or 

more, but fully 75% of all first marriages in this survey lasted 10 years or 

less, and more than half of those marriages (45% of the total number of 

first marriages) had dissolved by the 5-year mark. These findings are 

largely consistent with the body of research on first-marriage dissolution 

rates.

 

Current marital status: 54% of the respondents are unmarried and living 

single, while 28% are currently in second or subsequent marriages. Only 9% 

are cohabiting with a romantic interest, and one respondent is currently 

still in his first marriage.

 

ABOUT THE PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTIONS

The "results" that follow are not final, and are presented here informally. 

There may be calculation errors that have arisen from the data entry 

process. Not all tallies will total 100.0% due to missing data and/or 

invalid responses. Many questions that appeared on the survey are not 

included here. I urge caution when drawing causal inferences from 

percentages without actual statistical analysis of the data. The numbers 

simply indicate the percentage of respondents who gave a particular answer 

to a particular question.

 

A HEIGHTENED SENSITIVITY TO GENDER-BASED SOCIAL INEQUALITY

Are men in this movement sensitive to gender inequality? I attempted to 

answer this question using survey items that measure commitment to 

traditional gender stereotypes, and items that measure commitment or 

acceptance of expanded social roles for women. I have reordered questions in 

four general sections, as follows.

 

Men's Attitudes Toward Women 

 

No job is too dangerous for a woman

15.2% Strongly agree

19.6% Agree

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

34.8% Disagree

17.4% Strongly disagree 

 

Women are as capable as men of competing for office in the political arena.

34.8% Strongly agree 

47.8% Agree 

10.9% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

Women know innately how to be good mothers.

4.3% Strongly agree 

19.6% Agree 

15.2% Neither agree nor disagree

39.1% Disagree

21.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Women are as smart as men

26.1% Strongly agree 

43.5% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Women are not as willing as men to cheat on their partners

6.5% Strongly agree 

10.9% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

43.5% Strongly disagree 

 

I trust my spouse/partner with my money

22.2% Strongly agree 

42.2% Agree 

20.0% Neither agree nor disagree

13.3% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

My daughter will have to work harder than my son to achieve the same success 

at work.

2.2% Strongly agree 

23.9% Agree 

26.1% Neither agree nor disagree

32.6% Disagree

15.2% Strongly disagree 

 

If I had my way, women would not be allowed to vote

13.0% Strongly agree 

4.3% Agree 

2.2% Neither agree nor disagree

23.9% Disagree

56.5% Strongly disagree 

 

I have more problems at work when my boss is a woman than when my boss is a man.

13.0% Strongly agree 

17.4% Agree 

41.3% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

8.7% Strongly disagree 

 

If the ERA were on the ballot at the next election, I would vote for it.

28.3% Strongly agree 

26.1% Agree 

19.6% Neither agree nor disagree

8.7% Disagree

17.4% Strongly disagree 

 

The contributions of women are at least as important as the contributions of 

men to human social history and culture.

30.4% Strongly agree 

37.0% Agree 

10.9% Neither agree nor disagree

17.4% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Most employers penalize women for having children.

6.7% Strongly agree 

22.2% Agree 

24.4% Neither agree nor disagree

31.1% Disagree

15.6% Strongly disagree 

 

There is no such thing as a "glass ceiling" for women in the workplace.

15.2% Strongly agree 

17.4% Agree 

37.0% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

I sympathize with the problems single mothers have in society today.

11.4% Strongly agree 

40.9% Agree 

13.6% Neither agree nor disagree

18.2% Disagree

15.9% Strongly disagree 

 

Men's Attitudes About Manhood

 

Patriarchy is real.

17.4% Strongly agree 

21.7% Agree 

39.1% Neither agree nor disagree

13.0% Disagree

8.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Real men don't do housework.

6.5% Strongly agree 

0.0% Agree 

10.9% Neither agree nor disagree

30.4% Disagree

52.2% Strongly disagree 

 

I feel like people expect more of me because of my gender.

48.9% Strongly agree 

35.6% Agree 

13.3% Neither agree nor disagree

2.2% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Men know innately how to be good fathers.

11.1% Strongly agree 

15.6% Agree 

20.0% Neither agree nor disagree

46.7% Disagree

6.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Men are naturally more aggressive than women.

8.7% Strongly agree 

45.7% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

13.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Masculinity means different things to different people. There is no unversal 

definition of manhood.

28.3% Strongly agree 

52.2% Agree 

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

13.0% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

I would like to have been a man in the 1950s.

13.0% Strongly agree 

8.7% Agree 

52.2% Neither agree nor disagree

13.0% Disagree

13.0% Strongly disagree 

 

It is naive to think that grown men can be raped or sexually assaulted.

10.9% Strongly agree 

4.3% Agree 

8.7% Neither agree nor disagree

39.1% Disagree

37.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Heterosexual men and homosexual men are more alike then they are different.

6.5% Strongly agree 

10.9% Agree 

37.0% Neither agree nor disagree

32.6% Disagree

13.0% Strongly disagree 

 

A person's sex is important to his or her personal identity.

32.6% Strongly agree 

50.0% Agree 

6.5% Neither agree nor disagree

6.5% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Unless a man is in touch with his feminine side, he cannot grow emotionally.

6.5% Strongly agree 

15.2% Agree 

23.9% Neither agree nor disagree

32.6% Disagree

21.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Being a man is better than being a woman.

2.2% Strongly agree 

10.9% Agree 

63.0% Neither agree nor disagree

8.9% Disagree

13.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Men want the same things out of life as women.

0.0% Strongly agree 

34.8% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

17.4% Strongly disagree 

 

Traditional masculine sterotypes that depict men as insensitive, tough and 

domineering are harmful.

60.9% Strongly agree 

26.1% Agree 

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

6.5% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

Tenderness, nurturance, the desire for connection, and cooperation skills 

are not very masculine.

2.2% Strongly agree 

6.5% Agree 

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

43.5% Disagree

43.5% Strongly disagree 

 

When a person is hurting emotionally, it often helps to cry.

26.1% Strongly agree 

52.2% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

8.7% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

I am a typical man.

8.7% Strongly agree 

37.0% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

23.9% Disagree

8.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Sons in this society generally have had a better chance of becoming 

successful adults than daughters.

4.4% Strongly agree 

15.6% Agree 

28.9% Neither agree nor disagree

40.0% Disagree

11.1% Strongly disagree 

 

Women control men's sexuality.

30.4% Strongly agree 

37.0% Agree 

28.3% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Men, Marriage and Family

 

A husband has more say over family decisions than a wife does.

0.0% Strongly agree 

19.6% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

37.0% Disagree

21.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Marriage is an equal partnership between two individuals

50.0% Strongly agree 

32.6% Agree 

6.5% Neither agree nor disagree

6.5% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Men care more about their wives than they do about their children.

0.0% Strongly agree 

8.7% Agree 

37.0% Neither agree nor disagree

39.1% Disagree

15.2% Strongly disagree 

 

A man's job is to earn money outside the home, and a woman's job is to 

manage the home and raise the children.

8.7% Strongly agree 

17.4% Agree 

23.9% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

23.9% Strongly disagree 

 

I have always wanted to have children.

39.5% Strongly agree 

30.2% Agree 

2.3% Neither agree nor disagree

27.9% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Did you cohabit with your first spouse for more than 6 months before marriage?

44.4% Yes 

55.6% No 

 

If you are/were currently single, how likely would you be to cohabit with a 

prospective spouse or romantic partner before marriage?

55.6% Very likely

31.1% Likely

6.7% Not very likely

6.7% Very Unlikely

 

I always believed that I would only marry one time.

50.0% Strongly agree 

38.6% Agree 

9.1% Neither agree nor disagree

2.3% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

A marriage need not end in divorce because of a single extramarital affair.

22.2% Strongly agree 

51.1% Agree 

13.3% Neither agree nor disagree

11.1% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

  

A wife has the right to work outside the home even if her husband's income 

is sufficient to maintain the household.

29.5% Strongly agree 

47.7% Agree 

13.6% Neither agree nor disagree

6.8% Disagree

2.3% Strongly disagree 

 

I married too young.

17.8% Strongly agree 

24.4% Agree 

8.9% Neither agree nor disagree

35.6% Disagree

13.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Values

 

The love between a man and a woman is the single most important component of 

marriage.

41.3% Strongly agree 

23.9% Agree 

2.2% Neither agree nor disagree

28.3% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Divorce is too easy to get now.

63.6% Strongly agree 

20.5% Agree 

4.5% Neither agree nor disagree

11.4% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Getting a divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me.

13.3% Strongly agree 

24.4% Agree 

22.2% Neither agree nor disagree

24.4% Disagree

15.6% Strongly disagree 

 

I was taught to believe that when a man and woman married, the man was 

ultimately responsible for the family.

47.8% Strongly agree 

41.3% Agree 

8.7% Neither agree nor disagree

0.0% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

Men should spend more time with their children than they do.

47.8% Strongly agree 

34.8% Agree 

10.9% Neither agree nor disagree

2.2% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

Married fathers are better fathers.

6.5% Strongly agree 

17.4% Agree 

30.4% Neither agree nor disagree

21.7% Disagree

23.9% Strongly disagree 

 

Single men should be allowed to adopt children.

39.1% Strongly agree 

37.0% Agree 

8.7% Neither agree nor disagree

15.2% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Homosexual male couples in committed relationships should be allowed to 

adopt children

6.5% Strongly agree 

13.0% Agree 

19.6% Neither agree nor disagree

10.9% Disagree

50.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Feminism is the same thing as women's rights.

0.0% Strongly agree 

10.9% Agree 

6.5% Neither agree nor disagree

21.7% Disagree

60.9% Strongly disagree 

 

The goal of feminism is equality for men and women.

4.3% Strongly agree 

2.2% Agree 

2.2% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

65.2% Strongly disagree 

 

I used to be supportive of feminism, but I no longer am.

34.8% Strongly agree 

32.6% Agree 

19.6% Neither agree nor disagree

10.9% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

Were you present at the birth of at least one of your children?

85.7% Yes

14.3% No

 

Were you present at the birth of all your children?

73.1% Yes

26.9% No

 

A COMMITMENT TO CORRECTION OF INEQUITIES IN FAMILY MATTERS

How do men involved with fathers' rights perceive their roles and the role 

of fathers generally in the family? What makes a man a father? These 

questions raised difficult issues for respondents. The problem seen in these 

distributions is a lack of clarity in the definition of fatherhood and of 

marriage as it relates to fatherhood. On the surface, these data appear to 

support the conclusions drawn by many pro-father students of the family, 

including David Blankenhorn, who suggests that the retreat from fatherhood 

has stripped men of well-defined roles and replaced those supposedly 

outdated roles, including "husband" and "father," with nothing that is 

workable for either men or society. I also attempted to measure perceptions 

of marginalization of men and manhood. My results suggest that despite their 

generally egalitarian views on gender, parenting,  and marriage negotiation, 

these men feel pushed out of families to the rough-hewn edges of society.

 

At the risk of inviting sharp criticism, I might very tentatively suggest 

that if these data are indicative of  the perceptions of divorced fathers 

who are committed to children, then what social change over the past thirty 

years or so has produced amounts to this: Men whose most powerful claim to 

parental identity lies in their biological ties to children whose lives they 

feel powerless to share or shape. It appears that the men in this survey 

feel excluded and powerless. I am inclined to characterize these men as 

"empty vessels," living "lives of quiet desperation."  Ironic, is it not?

 

Again, I urge caution in reviewing these data in this form. Think carefully 

about the survey questions and response rates in relation to other 

questions, at how different measures interact with other measures. Look at 

patterns, ambiguities, and confusion. Look at consistencies. The goal here 

is to discover the questions to which this information might provide 

answers; don't look for answers first.

 

Defining Fatherhood

 

How important is marriage relative to fatherhood?

37.0% Very important

50.0% Important

13.0% Not very important

0.0% Not important at all

 

Never-married fathers should have the same rights with respect to their 

children as divorced fathers.

58.7% Strongly agree 

32.6% Agree 

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Men choose to be fathers the moment they have sex with a woman.

0.0% Strongly agree 

4.3% Agree 

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

45.7% Disagree

45.7% Strongly disagree 

 

The man who is married to the child(ren)'s mother is the father.

4.3% Strongly agree 

10.9% Agree 

15.2% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

50.0% Strongly disagree 

 

A biological father whose offspring is conceived before, but born after the 

mother marries another man should pay child support to the married couple 

caring for his child.

4.4% Strongly agree 

26.7% Agree 

40.0% Neither agree nor disagree

8.9% Disagree

20.0% Strongly disagree 

 

A biological father whose offspring is conceived before, but born after the 

mother marries another man has a right to claim paternity and all the 

privileges associated with it.

60.9% Strongly agree 

23.9% Agree 

8.7% Neither agree nor disagree

2.2% Disagree

4.3% Strongly disagree 

 

The man who lives with the child(ren) is the father.

2.2% Strongly agree 

4.3% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

23.9% Disagree

47.8% Strongly disagree 

 

Biological fathers who live apart from their children should have less 

responsibility for them if the children are living with their mother and a 

stepfather.

2.2% Strongly agree 

2.2% Agree 

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

30.4% Disagree

43.5% Strongly disagree 

 

Fatherhood is defined by the biological connection between a man and his 

offspring

21.7% Strongly agree 

21.7% Agree 

6.5% Neither agree nor disagree

28.3% Disagree

21.7% Strongly disagree 

 

Fatherhood is defined by the level of social support a man provides to his 

offspring.

34.8% Strongly agree 

30.4% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

15.2% Disagree

6.5% Strongly disagree 

 

Fatherhood is not dependent on a biological relationship, nor should it be.

15.2% Strongly agree 

28.3% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

13.0% Disagree

30.4% Strongly disagree 

 

Should divorced and absent stepparents be required to pay child support for 

all children in the home, or only those children born to the marriage (those 

genetically related)?

9.1% All the children in the home, regardless of genetic relatedness

63.6% Only those children born to the marriage and genetically related to 

the father 

25.0% Don't know

 

My job takes up too much of my time.

19.6% Strongly agree 

45.7% Agree 

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree 

 

A husband has the right to stay home to care for children if his wife's 

income is high enough to maintain the household.

43.5% Strongly agree 

34.8% Agree 

15.2% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree 

 

Politics of Manhood

 

I see fatherhood more as ...

39.0% Duty

52.2% Right

 

My representative in congress is concerned about fathers' rights.

0.0% Strongly agree

4.3% Agree

13.0% Neither agree nor disagree

30.4% Disagree

52.2% Strongly disagree

 

Laws are equally applied to men and women.

0.0% Strongly agree

0.0% Agree

0.0% Neither agree nor disagree

17.4% Disagree

82.6% Strongly disagree

 

Single dads receive the same social support as single moms.

0.0% Strongly agree

2.2% Agree

0.0% Neither agree nor disagree

8.7% Disagree

89.1% Strongly disagree

 

There are different rules of conduct for men than for women in the workplace.

47.8% Strongly agree

39.1% Agree

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

8.7% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree

 

Funding resources for higher education are as available to men as to women.

6.5% Strongly agree

13.0% Agree

23.9% Neither agree nor disagree

30.4% Disagree

26.1% Strongly disagree

 

Joint custody is the only way to make divorce fair where children are involved.

52.2% Strongly agree

21.7% Agree

6.5% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree

 

Men are denied custody of their children in most divorce cases solely on the 

basis of their sex.

78.3% Strongly agree

19.6% Agree

0.0% Neither agree nor disagree

2.2% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree

 

I enjoy freedoms and privileges that people of the opposite sex do not.

4.3% Strongly agree

19.6% Agree

23.9% Neither agree nor disagree

26.1% Disagree

26.1% Strongly disagree

 

To ensure that social equality is maintained, it is necessary to provide 

special legal protections for women against male aggression.

6.5% Strongly agree

4.3% Agree

10.9% Neither agree nor disagree

32.6% Disagree

45.7% Strongly disagree

 

Men are discriminated against solely on the basis of their sex.

69.6% Strongly agree

23.9% Agree

2.2% Neither agree nor disagree

2.2% Disagree

2.2% Strongly disagree

 

If you are a man, do you think you would have more control over your life if 

you were a woman in today's society?

46.7% Yes

24.4% No

28.9% Unsure

 

Married women should never be required to notify their husbands that they 

intend to terminate a pregnancy.

0.0% Strongly agree

6.5% Agree

2.2% Neither agree nor disagree

17.4% Disagree

73.9% Strongly disagree

 

Never-married fathers should have the same rights with respect to their 

children as divorced fathers.

58.7% Strongly agree

32.6% Agree

4.3% Neither agree nor disagree

4.3% Disagree

0.0% Strongly disagree

 

When I have sex, I always assume that I am responsible for birth control.

13.3% Strongly agree

28.9% Agree

26.7% Neither agree nor disagree

26.7% Disagree

4.4% Strongly disagree

 

The right to an abortion is a basic human right.

13.0% Strongly agree

15.2% Agree

21.7% Neither agree nor disagree

13.0% Disagree

37.0% Strongly disagree

 

Would you support a law that established a legal relationship--but not 

adoption--between your children and a steparent, or between you and your 

stepchildren?

6.5% Strongly agree

15.2% Agree

32.6% Neither agree nor disagree

19.6% Disagree

26.1% Strongly disagree

 

How often have you physically hurt a spouse or partner in anger?

75.0% Never

15.2% Once

8.7% More than once

 

How often has an angry spouse or significant other hurt you physically?

34.1% Never

4.5% Once

61.4% More than once

 

How many times have the police been called to your home because of domestic 

violence?

66.7% Never

22.2% Once

11.1% More than once

 

Has anyone ever called you a "deadbeat dad"?

48.8% Yes

39.0% No

12.2% Unsure

 

6.50 Are you ever afraid of being falsely accused of molesting your children?

21.9% All the time

31.7% Sometimes

17.1% Once in a while

29.3% Never

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

From a feminist point of view, one might say, the men in my sample have the 

most to lose as a result of social change, therefore their responses should 

be conservative and reflect a strong tendency toward maintaining (or 

returning to) traditional gender roles, an imbalance of power favoring men 

over women in families, and a general attitude of male superiority in the 

functional aspects of social organization, including government and 

employment. I ask you, is that what these results say?

 

I conducted this survey to learn more about men who are serious about 

fathers' rights. The question that initiated my research was rather simple: 

why are these men, who are committed to their children, who want to share 

parenting, who want to be a part of their children's lives even after what 

for many is a personally and emotionally devastating event (divorce), 

treated so negatively by social science, and feminist social science in 

particular? On the face, it appeared to me that fathers' rights activists 

were trying to be the kind of men feminist activists have wanted to see all 

along...that they were the ideal men our progressive society was waiting 

for, yet they are still ostracized and marginalized by policy-makers, social 

activists, and academia. Fathers' rights activism is simply not studied. No 

one takes fathers seriously. I thought that that was a mistake, and for me 

this study is the first of many I hope to conduct that does not operate on 

the assumption that the male social experience is inconsequential or immune 

to pitfalls and benefits of social change. 

 

Fathers' rights activists, from what I see in my data, represent a different 

breed of men. They are certainly not the kind of men they have been painted 

to be. They appear to be politically progressive, sensitive to inequality 

and social inequity, have a sense of fairness, and a desire to be recognized 

as individuals with real and equal rights. Particularly, and surprisingly, 

these men seem to root their claim to equality in sexual identity and 

reproduction, to their unique role in producing and socializing children. A 

cursory review of the data shows a tendency among respondents to be more 

"conservative" only on issues of reproductive rights, or in response to 

situational questions that would threaten their legal and social 

relationships to their biological children.  Interestingly enough, though, 

these men appear to be much more liberal and egalitarian in their marriages. 

One series of questions not included here delved into the nature of the 

marriage negotiation. Tentatively, I see a number of men who describe their 

first marital arrangements in very egalitarian terms (including a 

particularly strong indicator of egalitarianism--separate checking 

accounts), yet characterize their marriages as "traditional." This, despite 

the fact that a bare majority of the men surveyed said they shared their 

fathers' values relative to family, marriage, and women. I have not yet 

analyzed this trend, but such response incongruities suggest that these men 

see *equal* partnerships and *equal* marriages as the *norm,* and not the 

exception, which calls into question the entire notion of generational 

transmission of  so-called "patriarchal" values.  

 

It is my hope that in sharing this information, I'm giving everybody 

something to think about. I don't like the idea that my data will be used to 

simply say, "Yup, that's what we think." More to the point, I would like to 

encourage people to think about what the body of data actually says about 

the lives of men, men with children, men with families and men without. I 

hope people talk about these data, discuss the findings, try among 

themselves to explain the trends and ideas expressed in them. All of this 

research is useless if it doesn't get people to start thinking about the 

issues at hand, and if it fails to encourage more and better research in 

this area. 

 

As I stated earlier, this is an *informal* and non-final report. I will 

provide more complete results as soon as I have corrected the minor errors 

in the data file. Once again, thanks to everyone who participated in this 

project.

 

Troy A. McGinnis

PO Box 684771

Austin, TX 78768

VM: 512.416.0505

FAX: 512.416.1731

EMAIL: t-mcginnis@mail.utexas.edu

 



  

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jewn McCain

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killed 64 million Christians in Russia

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millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
millions dead in Iraq

42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

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the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

framed Christians for anti-semitism, got caught
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mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

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