It’s International Men’s Day so I figured I would finally get around to writing about something that’s been on my mind for the last couple years. But before we jump to the heart of the matter, just what is International Men’s Day anyway? Well if you google it the top three news results are a page mocking the day and the men who cried it into existence with their man tears, an article titled We need International Men’s Day about as much as white history month, or able body action day and a story of how the day was cancelled by University of York in response to protests against the “misogynistic event”.
I could wax pedantic all night on the current state of being a man but instead let’s just deal with the topic of the post, something near and dear to my heart. If you are unfamiliar with the BC Guardianship laws I suggest you read this page.
In my personal experience, these laws are biased against men. This is particularly true and obvious in situations where the couple does not live together anytime after the child is born. You could be living together for 20 years prior to that, but if she gets pregnant and then leaves you or throws you out you will then never “live” in the same residence as your child which means you will not be a Guardian which means you will not have “Parental Responsibilities” which is a very Orwellian way of saying ‘a say or hand in your child’s upbringing’. Not to be confused with support payments of course, which (obviously?) doesn’t fall under the umbrella of Parental Responsibilities. Don’t get it twisted. Parental Responsibilities means Parental Rights. If you hear anything else then you don’t understand how Orwellian terms work.
Imagine this scenario, one which I can assure you is true not only for myself but many men here in the good old western hashtag patriarchy:
Boy meets girl. They date heavily, maybe even live together. Girl gets pregnant, decides to leave, decides to move back home (different city, closer to her parents) to have the child. Man follows and gets apartment in new city because he wants to be involved in his child’s life. Over time woman shows a tendency to be controlling and restrictive of man’s relationship with child. When the man tries to increase his parental role, asking for things like keeping the child for an overnight visit, the woman will never permit it, saying the child is too young or some other such loose reasoning.
The man has acted in good faith and tried hard to avoid the courts, but eventually, in this scenario it will become clear that he has no choice. In his petition he discovers that he has no parental rights because he’s never lived with the child. Now he has to petition for those rights which takes even more time and as all this time goes by he has no say in the raising of his child and “status quo” is being established. Judges really love “status quo” in family law cases. Changing the status quo generally requires what is called “a significant change of circumstances” so even if you manage to win guardianship at some point, it may be too late.
What if the mother wanted to circumcise a male child, but the father did not? What if the mother was an anti-vaxxer?
The Guardianship laws are inherently gender biased against men because it stands very much to reason that in probably 99% of situations where a child is born and the parents are not currently living together the child will wind up living with the mother. That makes sense. Women lactate and that gives them a pretty good argument in their favor.
I’m not sitting here advocating for children to be ripped out of their mothers arms at birth and handed off to men that just don’t want to pay support. I’m asking why there is this bizarre and draconian and vague laws barring the mans parental rights in these situations. Surely parental rights should be viewed as assumed? Surely removing such rights should depend on things like threats of violence or abuse or criminal neglect? Why this arbitrary requirements of needing to have lived with the child?
When you are not a Guardian, you do not get what is called “Parenting Time” with your child. Instead you are given what is called simply “Contact”. Fathers like myself that are put in this category end up feeling devalued by society. It becomes an uphill battle where you are trying to do the right thing by your kid, which is not an easy task under any circumstances, but on top of that it’s almost like you are resented for this. Resented by your ex and resented by laws which require you to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop just to have something approaching a normal relationship with your child.
The financial costs can be such a factor that it takes over your life completely in this regard as well. Between support and other costs or legal fees you can’t afford to have any kind of life. Good luck meeting a new woman who is understanding about your broke ass financial situation stemming from the fact that you are an absentee father (not really I mean you do have ‘contact’). Ya that’s not starting off with a couple strikes or anything. So what’s a gaunt motherfucker like me suppose to do?
Yes ladies believe it or not I am currently single and looking.
Some men persevere through all this. Some legendary few even wind up getting custody of their kids eventually. Others give up and walk away. Sometimes they go crazy and murder their exes, sometimes they abduct the children, and all too often they end up killing themselves.
Ah yes the Male Suicide Epidemic. The male issue du jour. The most common way for someone my age to die. Suicide. I’ve thought about it. Pretty seriously sometimes, I’ll admit it.
If you asked one of those neo-progressive types, you know,the type that would petition their university to cancel International Men’s Day because it’s misogynistic, why their is such a problem with Male Suicide these days they would probably give you some answer along the lines of “toxic masculinity has trained men to feel weak for sharing their feelings which prevents them from reaching out for help.” This is a weird feminist logic that has a certain element of truth but is also misguided, let me explain why…
First off men just don’t like talking about this shit, full stop. We’re not sitting around bemoaning the fact that we will be viewed as sissies if we admit feelings of depression. Our thought patterns aren’t really that complex. If men are worried about anything it would be the stigma of mental illness, which has little to nothing to do with masculinity.
The main problem with this argument, however, is that we’ve been living in this neo-progressive dystopia of ours for a while now. In other words, us men all know we’re “allowed” to reach out, or talk about our feelings, or whatever. We still inherently don’t like doing that shit, and we never will, but thanks for letting us know it’s ok. This knowledge hasn’t prevented many suicides tho, has it? In fact male suicide is on the rise, hence our ability to bandy about terms like epidemic.
Guys I’m going to throw something out there. I know this is going to sound like nonsense, but hear me out. Could it be…is it possible…that this feminist mentally of taking down the patriarchy and toxic masculinity has resulted in a social climate which actually drives more men to suicide?
Nah that’s cray. It’s probably just the economy. You know and the institutionalized biases against males like the one I’ve outlined above.
Ok end rant. In conclusion:
- Change BC Guardianship laws so that Guardianship and Parental Responsibilities are considered basic human rights for parents which are inherent in both parents at birth of child and can only be taken away by something like death or a court order or parenting agreement.
- Stop the man hating, neo-progs. Being a dude is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, trust me.