Last year we conducted a protest campaign against Fox over its anti-father reality show Bad Dads, and Fox decided to drop the show. Lifetime TV decided to pick it up, and renamed the show Deadbeat Dads. We launched a protest campaign against the Show, and Lifetime has received over 5,000 calls, letters, and faxes from our supporters.
Our protest garnered press attention, including strong support from the editorial board of the Washington Times. We also drew support from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), which advocates for low income families. To learn more about our campaign, click here.
In ‘Deadbeat Dads’ an insult to reality (Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/26/09), editorial board member Fatimah Ali condemns Lifetime TV’s Deadbeat Dads, explaining “Just when I thought TV couldn’t sink any lower with some of its toxic programming, yet another new reality show is poised to hit the lineup – Deadbeat Dads on Lifetime…The creators are using the program to exploit what is really a much larger social problem – America’s broken families.”
On the subject of America’s broken families, she writes:
While researching the effects absentee fathers have on their offspring, I came across a publication called “The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man, the Annual Public Costs of Father Absence.” Written by professors Stephen Nock and Christopher Einolf, of the University of Virginia and St. Paul University, respectively, their research shows that fatherless households cost U.S. taxpayers $98.9 billion a year. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the many problems that female-headed households face.
Their findings also show that children of single parents are more likely to do poorly in school and drop out of college and are at greater risk of being incarcerated or on drugs than children who have both parents in the home.
Just a year ago, President Obama caught flak for telling black fathers to take more responsibility for their children during a speech at a Chicago church. With Father’s Day just around the corner, I anticipate that his message this year will have a much wider reach than just for African-Americans.
The issue of absentee fathers isn’t just a black problem, it’s now an American one. And it touches nearly every community and crosses all racial and socio-economic barriers. I also think many women must share some of the blame for deciding that we can go it alone. Ladies, we’ve screwed up royally and our children are suffering because of it.
Feminists will probably jump all over me, but here’s the real deal.
Many of us joined the women’s movement decades ago without looking ahead to see what repercussions our actions would have on both our families and the economy. Now, most of us have to work, which leaves our husbands and children angry because no one is at home tending the hearth.
Our choice to be independent of men financially and of the family structure creates a wide range of problems in our children. And many men feel displaced and angry now because women are competing with them at work.
Far too many women are willing to go it alone and risk poverty and instability for shallow reasons of “self-empowerment” rather than trying to work out their marital challenges. Families need both parents in the household – not just economically but also spiritually and morally.
While I certainly believe that women should have and take advantage of all career opportunities open to men, I believe that Ali has a point. Most divorces and separations are initiated by women. While sometimes the women have good reasons, other times they result more from some women’s excessively critical, nit-picking nature, which is spurred on by society’s asinine, “You Go Girl” encouragement of single motherhood.