Feminism has latched onto sexual-harassment laws as a successful way of bringing men to heel, says a University of Massachusetts professor and sometime feminist in
The rise of fathers’ rights groups in Australia is obviously causing great concern among feminist academics, prompting the production of a 50 page critique paper about the groups.
The paper, “Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law”, was written by by Miranda Kaye and Julia Tolmie, feminist lecturers at the Faculty of Law, Sydney University. It was published in the Australian Journal of Family Law in 1998.
Kaye and Tolmie interviewed father’s / men’s rights groups under false pretenses and supported their paper’s feminist conclusions with selective content from some submissions provided to government inquiries.
Kaye and Tolmie displayed their lack of impartiality in their paper’s lead-in paragraph by featuring one of the most objectionable statements every made by Alistair Nicholson, the Chief Justice of the Family Court. Nicholson publicly accused those who disagreed with his views on the practices of the Family Court, mostly men, of being “discontented litigants, sometimes obviously dysfunctional”.
There is a constant and persistent view pursued by people who are often discontented litigants sometimes obviously dysfunctional, that the court is in some sense designed by anti-family groups to destroy the institution of the family in society… An unfortunate concomitant of this approach is that some people and some politicians with limited knowledge of the issues involved, tend to latch on to such dysfunctional persons for apparent political gain. This has the further unfortunate effect of empowering such persons to feel that their behaviour is not only acceptable but is the subject of sympathy and approval by politicians and government. It is all too often the experience of this court that its most persistent critics have behaved in a way which cannot stand up to public scrutiny, particularly in relation to issues of violence against women and children. Such persons, who often espouse the rights of fathers, do very little for their cause
In post-Renaissance France and England, society ridiculed and humiliated husbands thought to be battered and/or dominated by their wives (Steinmetz, 1977-78). In France, for instance, a “battered” husband was trotted around town riding a donkey backwards while holding its tail. In England, “abused” husbands were strapped to a cart and paraded around town, all the while subjected to the people’s derision and contempt. Such “treatments” for these husbands arose out of the patriarchal ethos where a husband was expected to dominate his wife, making her, if the occasion arose, the proper target for necessary marital chastisement; not the other way around (Dobash & Dobash, 1979).
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