Los Angeles, CA–Kathleen Parker’s Save the Males criticizes the way “men, maleness, and fatherhood have been under siege in American culture for decades.”
In the following excerpt from her chapter “Our Fathers, Our Selves,” Parker discusses the damage that divorce (and being separated from their fathers) does to girls. Parker writes:
Another rarely mentioned reason that children need two parents is that they need protection from the other parent–not just physical, but emotional as well. Often a child raised by a single parent becomes too much the focus of that parent, too much the emotional partner. Adults who need their children to fill some void in their own lives are unintentionally placing an enormous burden on their children.
Boys who become little men to their mothers, and girls who become little women to their fathers, are being deprived of their rightful claim to more innocent concerns. I”m not talking about incest as we think of it, but there”s such a thing as emotional incest. Boys drafted to become emotional caretakers to their mothers–often forced to measure up to an unfair standard–eventually may find ways of proving themselves imperfect.
Girls, meanwhile, are at risk of being too controlled by their adoring fathers and may have problems exercising independence or finding males who measure up as mates. One thing fathers do exceedingly well is teach their girls how to live among men. This is a skill both useful and enjoyable. It also seems to be in short supply these days.
You don”t suppose there”s a corollary between father deprived daughters and an inability to relate well to males of the species? Or, just possibly, that teenage girls” early sexual activity is related to a misplaced search for male attention and affection?
In fact, research tells us that girls who grow up without fathers tend to become promiscuous at early ages. Females want and will seek male affection. In the absence of a father in the house, a girl will seek male, fatherly affection outside the home. This is not genome tracking here. Two-thirds of births to unmarried teen girls are fathered by adults, usually men in their twenties. In looking for love from older men, girls would appear to be seeking father figures in their mates, confusing sexual attention with love.
Research also shows that girls without a biological father in the home tend to reach puberty earlier than girls with fathers. In a 1999 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that girls who have fathers actively involved in their lives–and who were also supportive of the girls” mothers–tended to enter puberty later.
Nature is not stupid. Researchers theorize that a father”s physical presence keeps his female offspring sexually immature so that she is safe from other males who would exploit her, and possibly to reduce the risk of incest.
Girls also may unconsciously delay puberty based on their fathers” behavior. Without the father, she becomes more readily available to other men. The same study suggests that exposure to the pheromones of unrelated males in the household–either Mom”s boyfriend or new husband–may cause girls to enter puberty prematurely. Where there is puberty, needless to say, there is the greater likelihood of sexual activity.
Parker, a syndicated columnist who is published in over 300 newspapers every week, is concerned about the decline of fatherhood, and has favorably covered many of our action campaigns.
These include: Campaign Protesting Fox’s Reality Show Bad Dads; Campaign Protesting Florida DCF’s Mistreatment of Loving Father in ‘Elian Gonzalez II’ Case; Campaign Against PBS’s Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence; and Campaign Against ‘Boys are Stupid’ Products.