SHE SAID IT
"Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company! It's beyond me." - Zora Neale Hurston

July 1999
Vol. 1 - #5


Said It: Feminist News, Culture & Politics  

in this issue:

The Perfect Woman

Redefining the Body

Scapegoating the Makah


Current Issue Back Issues Inside Info Contact Us Subscribe Forum Links
Front
Page
Media
Glance
Heard
This
Remember
This
One Way To
Look At It
Activist
Alert
Letters Calendar

Letters

Mothers, Fathers, Children

I can't help but make a few comments about your lead story in the June issue, "Unromanticizing Fatherhood." First, thank you for saying these things. Many of them have been bothering me for an awfully long time, especially the past five years, since I became a mother.

As you point out, historically women in this country have had no legal right to see their children after a divorce. This is still true in Korea, where custody is awarded to the father, and the mother is then expected to stay the hell out of the kids' lives forever. While I don't know if there is any law forbidding such contact, there is certainly no law protecting it. This is why divorce rates are astoundingly low there. Based on my limited and non-scientific, personal experience there, I strongly believe that if the deeply entrenched stigma against divorce were ever lightened, and if women ever did have protection of their rights as mothers, the divorce rate would skyrocket right on up there to 50 percent, like ours. Why? Because all the married women I met complained bitterly, often, and at length about how utterly unhappy they were in their marriages. I mean ALL of them.

Another interesting note: I read in the English language newspaper an article that claimed that children of divorced parents, who were being raised by their fathers, were far more likely to come to school without having had breakfast, and without a lunch packed for them. The article blamed divorce for this, as opposed to bad parenting on the part of the fathers, who are foolishly endowed with the responsibility of raising their children. Ending divorce is not the answer to this problem; awarding custody of children to their mothers clearly is.

I completely agree with your conclusion, that "everyone--children, mothers, and ultimately fathers, too--will lose out." If men had any sense at all, in fact, they would be climbing all over each other trying to prove their ability as fathers and clamoring at the doors of their children for the opportunity to exercise that ability. The truth of children is this: you do have to earn their love, but it is far, far easier to earn theirs than it is to earn it from any adult you will ever meet. And it is far, far easier to keep it. And it is unconditional while you have it. It doesn't last for the life of the child; maybe only for the first six or seven or eight years. But it is the best, purest, most rewarding relationship humans are likely to ever have with another human. If men had any sense at all (and who says that do?), they wouldn't let it pass them by. They would do their homework, serve their time, change their share of diapers. Be there. Always. Every single second of every bloody day. They just haven't yet begun to imagine how worth it it is. And though it'll do no good to say it, they better not blame mom for their inability to pull it off. Not that I'd expect them to have the honesty and decency to blame themselves. But one can hope!

Your insights into the so-called fathers' so-called rights movement are chilling. Do you have any suggestions for fighting it?

Thanks for your hard and invaluable work; Said It is smashing!!

Sue Scharff

Sue, there's not a whole lot of monitoring or counteracting of father's rights groups as of yet. However, word just came down that National NOW, and its chapters, are going to start doing work in this area. I suggest calling Seattle NOW at (206) 632-8547 to work with them to get something started. And keep reading Said It for updates. --AS

 

Nuclear Response

The June issue is better than a cup of high-jolt caffeine! Read it with breakfast, and was glad husband wasn't in the room. I was glowing like a nuclear reactor. You said exactly what needs to be said, but few dare even think it!

Is it possible for me to get about 50 copies to hand out at the WILPF [Women's International League for Peace and Freedom] Congress in St. Louis? The synchronicity of what you have to say re: women's rights fits exactly with what I'll be working on--setting up an ad-hoc women's rights committee for WILPF-US.

One issue that we will be working on that is particularly important to me is CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. I'll keep you posted as to its progress. I guess the one holding up the US ratification of CEDAW is Jesse Helms, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In 1993, the resolution passed the House by a vote of 374-48. But the Senate "failed to act," as one Maine senator, Olympia Snowe, expressed it. I believe that means Helms didn't let it out of committee. We must get it passed to go into the 2000s properly.

Love and praise for wonderful work, and exulting in the power of women!

Lizzy Poole

 

A Relief

Just went to the Said It website. Great piece on Clinton the rapist.

Reading it, I had the same great feeling of relief I felt reading Katha Pollitt's essay on Katie Roiphe a few years back. Thanks for articulating all the things I was thinking.

Lisa Miya-Jervis



Current Issue Back Issues Inside Info Contact Us Subscribe Forum Links
Front
Page
Media
Glance
Heard
This
Remember
This
One Way To
Look At It
Activist
Alert
Letters Calendar

Sign up on our mailing list to receive
monthly announcements of each new issue

Click here to join