Re: disappearing fathers

Julian O'Dea (jodea@MAILHOST.DPIE.GOV.AU)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 09:25:42 +1000

I (Julian O'Dea) wrote:

>>I was interested in David Horne's comments, which I am still "digesting".
>>One thing which occurs to me is that his analysis fits in well with that in
>>a book (series of essays) I acquired recently entitled "Signs of the Flesh"
>>about human sexuality (I can't remember the name of the author.)
>>Anyway this writer's analysis is that basically women induce men to stay in
>>relationships and help them with the children by behaving in a compliant
>>and amiable way. This is a basis of male power in relationships. In a
>>sense I sympathise with David Horne's views but I think while he is right
>>in theory he is wrong in practice. Men are not saints (nor are women of
>>course) and it is expecting a lot of the average man to cheerfully "pay up"
>>when he is receiving nothing tangible in return. It may be "the law" to
>>pay maintenance but something can be legislatively in place while having
>>minimal real support in the broad community.
>> (Julian O'Dea)

To which, David Horne replied:

>When you say "broad community" aren't you really talking about the male
>community? I don't think that you'd get much agreement from women that men
>aren't obligated morally and otherwise to pay their fair share of child
>support. Being responsible is about being responsible not about getting
>"something tangible" in return. Legislation is not any kind of a total
>answer to the problem, but it is a start. If absent fathers would think more
>about the welfare of their children and less about punishing their "ex"
>[which is what this whole issue is really all about] then maybe they could
>be a little more "cheerful" about paying up.
>David H.

I agree with you about what one *should* ideally do. But the fact is that,
as an article in "The Economist" noted recently, when men no longer have
much contact with their children they tend to lose all interest.

I also think that the male emotional "story" is more complex than you
imply. I have found Wendell Farrell's books interesting on this kind of
issue. (Julian O'Dea)