You are here

Quote for the Moment -- Reflections for Father's Day

Our respect for family values is a lie. When the powerful fall or are pushed from power, they inevitably say, as they tender their resignation, that they are leaving to spend more time with their families. Nobody believes them, and rightly so. Powerful men do not put themselves out to pasture, snap on Snuglis and spend their days happily on park benches changing diapers. Compare the compensation of nannies with CEOs to see how much we value the nurturing of children. Closer to the truth is that there is a radical incompatibility between the parenting of children and the perpetuation of a system that seems hell-bent on blighting their future.

I entered into fatherhood by attending the birth of my daughters. I discovered a shattering truth: that we are all born from the vaginas of women. We emerge in mucus and shit and blood. We slither out like some marine mammal, parting a seabed of pubic hair and grope with our blind mouths for the breast. I cannot help but feel that if birth were in fact the central metaphor of our civilization, the axle around which the world turns, all men would be unmanned of their false and warlike manliness.

Successfully unmanned, we could become fathers. Perhaps then, fatherhood would resemble motherhood and motherhood could resemble fatherhood. The boundaries of gender, once thought of as immutable, would be happily breached and bent, and so would the boundaries between motherhood and fatherhood. Whether the breasts of men would pour forth milk I cannot say, but of this I am sure: Civilization would turn on a new track and never again would rock-jawed men and clench-mouthed women lead their sons and daughters off to the butchershop of war as if it were heroic for the cow to lead the calf to the slaughter. And the world might turn away from death.

-- from â??Confessions of a Mother-Manâ? by Osha Neumann (AlterNet, June 18, 2005)

Add new comment

Topics: