Taking nothing away from any single parents, but I am left feeling a little cold at the persistent reminders in the media to remember to thank single mothers performing both roles on Father’s Day today. What’s wrong with that? Surely acknowledging their difficulties is noble?
To a certain extent, yes. However, we already have a Mothering Sunday (in March-April) for that (in the UK, the USA has Mothers Day in May I believe) and we don’t feel the need to thank single fathers on either of those days. If we did, I’m sure certain feminist websites would pounce on it to remind us that it is about mothers.
I will be the first to admit that my own father has been an absolute shit but not all fathers are arseholes. Not all are deadbeats. Not all are cheats and we need to face up to the fact that not all mothers are great mothers simply because they are women. Mothers can be neglectful. Mothers can be arseholes. Mothers can be deadbeat too. Before anyone says it is more common for men to walk out than for women, that is not the point. Firstly, you are imposing collective responsibility on all men for the actions of those who choose to neglect their parental duties, and secondly you are attempting to justify women who do the same as though two wrongs make a right – which, aside from anything else, is as childish as “they started it!”
It once again proves what I was saying in my previous post, that men are automatically considered to have privilege in abundance that any attempt to acknowledge anything that men do is met with reminders of how hard women have it, or an attempt to seize at least some of the limelight. It reinforces the stereotype that men don’t really do much and perhaps therefore deserve less acknowledgement than mothers.
When one of my siblings has a birthday, I do not feel the need to acknowledge on the same day that my other siblings also have birthdays and to thank them on that day for being supportive siblings. I also don’t feel the need to remind people of Easter at Christmas time or to acknowledge single people on Valentine’s Day and so on.
Ultimately, it tells dads that they could only ever achieve the status of “adequate” and every time we point to the struggles of mothers on Father’s Day, we are telling fathers that they are never going to be as awesome as mum no matter how hard they try. It should come as no surprise then that men are rejecting marriage and parenthood in favour of a life of travelling, video games and playing the field.
If we’re going to remember the struggles of single mothers on Father’s Day, then we should also perhaps celebrate and give a nod to single fathers on Mothering Sunday who are also doing two jobs as an acknowledgement that it isn’t just women who end up holding the baby when a partner bails and neglects their duties.