“Does the child support program make money? No…”

Does the child support program "make money" for either the federal government or the states? The answer to this question, simply put, is no. Like most other social programs, the child support system provides to families a service that upholds a strong value-system of parents providing for their children, but does so at a direct... Continue Reading →

Critical Tasks in Transforming Gender Inequality

"Many men have something to lose from further advances in gender equality. But it is also true that in certain important ways, men potentially have much to gain from deeper and more robust forms of gender equality in American life. In a world of real gender equality, men would have a richer array of life... Continue Reading →

The New Micro-Politics of Child Contact

The fathers' movements ... have obscured the structural basis of the gendered division of labour that supports and sustains women’s greater role in child care, and have turned mothers’ objections into an apparently self-interested, child-harming defence of the status quo. ... In framing the issues as ones of justice, they have also turned to law... Continue Reading →

The Meaning of Fatherhood

"...In Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas's analysis of 165 in-depth interviews with single mothers in the same Philadelphia and Camden communities from which we drew many of our fathers, the women had little motivation to stave off early childbearing, as young women in this environs see children as their chief source of meaning and identity,... Continue Reading →

The Elusive Traditional Family

“Whenever people propose that we go back to the traditional family, I always suggest that they pick a ballpark date for the family they have in mind. Once pinned down, they are invariably unwilling to accept the package deal that comes with their chosen model. Some people, for example, admire the discipline of colonial families,... Continue Reading →

Bringing Gender into the Equation of Domestic Violence

“What is missing, oddly, from these claims of gender symmetry is an analysis of gender. By this, I mean more than simply a tallying up of which biological sex is more likely to be perpetrator or victim. I mean an analysis that explicitly underscores the ways in which gender identities and gender ideologies are embodied... Continue Reading →

The Way We Wish We Were: Defining the Family Crisis

“Like most visions of a “golden age,” the “traditional family” my students describe evaporates on closer examination. It is an ahistorical amalgam of structures, values, and behaviors that never co-existed in the same time and place. The notion that traditional families fostered intense intimacy between husbands and wives while creating mothers who were totally available... Continue Reading →

Is the traditional family the foundation of democracy?

"'Is the traditional family the foundation of democracy?' It depends what kind of traditional family you’re talking about. Throughout most of European and American history, the family was organized around a patriarch with power over slaves, servants, poorer neighbors and his sons and daughters. Those families were the foundation of inequality. Our founding fathers didn’t idealize “family values.”... Continue Reading →

Neither justice nor protection

‘‘‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ is probably one of the most frequently asked questions for those who witness a woman suffering domestic violence. Implicit in this question is frustration and mystification that women are failing to ‘look after themselves’, and often their children, by remaining caught in a web of violence and abuse. This individualizing discourse places the responsibility on the... Continue Reading →

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