Dr. Helen

Dr. Helen

Skype Dads

April 23rd, 2015 - 5:35 am

There is an article in the Daily Mail ( Thanks Peter!) that discusses the rise of Dads who now have to resort to seeing their kids on video rather than in person:

The fathers who only see their children on a computer screen: It’s a heartbreaking sign of our times, the divorced dads relying on video calls to keep contact with their children miles away

A landmark legal ruling in 2011 has led to a rapid rise in ‘Skype dads’
Following divorce the dads only see their children via laptops and iPads
With children living half way around the world relationships can suffer

Though heartbreaking, William’s situation is, sadly, not unique. Since a landmark legal ruling in 2011, the phenomenon of ‘Skype dads’ has exploded.

In the case, reported under the headline ‘Let them use Skype’, Britain’s leading family law judge, Sir Nicholas Wall, granted permission for a divorced mother to move to Australia with her two young children, leaving their father in Britain. It seemed the justification was that the father’s relationship with his children wouldn’t be affected, because he could use video calls and instant messaging to keep in touch.

While the invention of FaceTime — the Skype equivalent for Apple devices (both are free) — means more options for long-distance communication, experts raised concerns that the case set a worrying precedent for fathers trying to stop ex-partners fleeing abroad. Communicating over digital devices, they said, was no substitute for face-to-face contact.

Is this just new way for moms to be able to legally take kids away from their dads and move to another area?

This should already be a well know fact to my readers but on an NPR show, they finally heard the truth:

The number of dollars of unpaid child support each year in the U.S. is well into the billions. NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with data expert Mona Chalabi of FiveThirtyEight.com about the numbers.

MARTIN: That is the total amount of unpaid child support in the United States in the year 2011. Mona Chalabi joins us from our studios in New York to unpack this number. Hey, Mona.

MONA CHALABI: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So that’s a huge amount of unpaid child support. What do we know about how many parents are affected, and who are they?

CHALABI: Well, we actually know quite a bit. So the spreadsheet I’m looking at here comes from the Census Bureau in 2011. That’s the most recent year that we have. And they provide a pretty specific definition of custodial parents. Those are parents that are taking care of their kids while the other parent lives someplace else.

CHALABI: Yeah. I was surprised too. So in 2011, we found that 32 percent of custodial fathers didn’t receive any of the child support that had been awarded to them compared to 25 percent of custodial moms. Now the first and most obvious thing to say about all of this is that there are way more custodial moms in America than custodial dads. They actually outnumber them 5 to 1. And on top of that, moms are also more likely than dads to get awarded child support. But still…

Gee, what a surprise!

This is sobering news, but not surprising: “Most authors earn less than minimum wage from their writing, survey finds”:

The research, commissioned by The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, found the top 5 per cent of writers earned close to half of all the income received by professional authors in 2013. The median income for professional writers is just £10,432, less than the minimum wage. Technical and academic writers are among the worst paid.

The report, compiled by Queen Mary, University of London, concluded: “There is a high concentration of earnings in a handful of successful writers whereas most do not earn much at all.”…

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, said: “While it’s always been a profession where the biggest authors earn disproportionately more, what’s concerning to see is that the inequality is getting wider.”

Britain remains a nation of aspiring authors, with a YouGov poll finding in February it was the most desired job in Britain. Of those asked, 60 per cent said they wanted to make a living from writing.

So the most desired job in Britain is writer? How many writers do we really need? Didn’t people used to aspire to being doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, firemen etc.? Are only jobs that seem glamorous (but usually aren’t) in style?

Peter Lloyd at the Daily Mail has an excellent article on men no longer marrying: “Why men won’t get married anymore: Women complain chaps today won’t settle down. Sorry, ladies, but it’s all your fault, argues a wickedly provocative new book.” He mentions Men on Strike and quotes me (though he states I am a lecturer at the University of Tennessee but I am not):

For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.

Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.

‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, a lecturer at the University of Tennessee and author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

‘Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.’

I read an interesting article by Grant Stoddard at Men’s Health titled “The New Rules of Sex and Attraction” that discusses how women are becoming the dominant ones when it comes to sex:

I thought I’d been imagining it. Turns out, my guy friends thought they were imagining it, too. Then, over beers, we agreed: The women we knew—who had been obsessing over whether to add J.D.’s to their M.B.A.’s—now seemed more interested in adding sexual novelty to animal gratification. But was it really a trend, or were we just on a hot streak?

So I checked with the sex docs, and they added affirmatives: In the past couple of years, a whole demented sex colloquium of scientific papers has confirmed that women are turning freakier in the bedroom. And on the kitchen floor. And on the park bench, if there aren’t too many people around. Or, what the hell, even if there are. Recent research is shedding new light on the age-old rules of attraction, fornication, and satisfaction.

Okay, good enough so far: women are more into (or more open about) sex, which sounds like a good thing for both sexes until you read this:

There’s no denying it: Men and women are held to different standards when it comes to sexual behavior. For instance, men laud one another for the volume of their sexual conquests, while for women, promiscuity carries with it an enduring social stigma.

But a 2008 study from the University of Saskatchewan brings an intriguing new double standard to light: Women are now “bringing it” in the bedroom while men may be subject to greater limitations. In the study, 104 men and women were given a list of 33 sexual behaviors. Half the study participants were asked to rate how normal it was for men to engage in the behaviors, while the other half rated the same practices for women.

It turns out that women enjoy a greater degree of sexual freedom than men do. For instance, survey takers thought it was okay for a woman to choose either a dominant or a submissive role in sex, but considered it abnormal for men to experiment that way. And so on down the line through a variety of sexual opportunities, including using sex toys, playing with food during sex, and having sex with more than one partner at the same time.

Men are often restricted in their social roles these days, now they are restricted in the bedroom. Maybe they always have been. The difference is that women are told that anything goes sexually these days for them. Men, on the other hand, are told that they better not cheat, that they better satisfy a woman and that anything she wants sexually is okay as long as she desires it and wants it, not him. Often, a sexually satisfied man is held in contempt by feminists, other women and the media.

It is a confusing message for men, leading many to be leery of women or to just opt out of dealing with them altogether. Add in a fear of being charged with sexual harassment or rape at any time without due process and sexual encounters for men are getting to be too dangerous. Turning to porn or video entertainment is often a safer option.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a rather non-PC post entitled “Study Suggests Sexist Hiring Doesn’t Explain Dearth of Women in Science” (thanks to the reader who emailed this):

Sexist hiring practices are commonly blamed for the underrepresentation of women in many fields of academic science, but new research suggests that such an assumption is wrong. In the research, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, male and female faculty members in four fields under study preferred to hire female applicants, by a two-to-one ratio, over male applicants with identical qualifications and life situations (single, married, divorced).

The study, by two researchers in Cornell University’s human-development department, Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci, stemmed from five hiring experiments in which a total of 873 faculty members of both genders at 371 colleges evaluated hypothetical job candidates for assistant-professor posts in biology, economics, engineering, and psychology. Among the faculty evaluators, only male economists did not prefer applicants of one gender.

The Cornell researchers conclude that, contrary to popular views, now is “a propitious time” for women to embark on careers in academic science.

So if the experiment showed men were chosen by a two-to-one ratio over women, that would be sexist. If the opposite occurs, it is a “propitious time” for women in science. Give me a break, sexism is still sexism.

Phyllis Schlafly: “The S.C. killing and the child-support racket”:

Why was Walter Scott running away from a policeman who tried to stop him because of a broken tail light? The media are trying to make a South Carolina policeman’s killing of a black man, Walter Scott, another sensational case of racism, but the media have missed the point of the tragedy.

The problem wasn’t racism, or even dangerous driving or stolen property. It was caused by the obnoxious anti-father rulings of the family courts and Scott’s fear that he would be returned to debtors’ prison. Scott had already been jailed three times for failure to pay child support, and he didn’t want to be sent to prison again.

Debtors’ prisons were common in England in the colonial period. You can read about them in the writings of Charles Dickens, who wrote from firsthand knowledge; his own father spent time in a debtors’ prison.

We kicked out British rule by the American Revolution and abolished some of its trappings, such as royalty and its titles, primogeniture and bowing to our top national official. We thought we abolished debtors’ prisons even before we abolished slavery, but they continue to exist today to punish men who are too poor to pay what is falsely labeled “child support.”

A study highlighted in the Daily Mail asked 2000 parents what they wanted for their kid’s future: a fifth of parents think it is more important for their child to end up rich rather than happy and healthy:

One in five parents believes it is more important for their child to be successful and wealthy than happy and healthy when they reach adulthood, research has revealed.

A study of 2,000 parents of children aged between four and 18 found 20 per cent of parents think money and success are imperative to their child’s future.

Researchers found a further fifth of parents have a difference of opinion on their child’s future – with mothers wanting top exam results while fathers just wants them to be happy.

I have a couple of thoughts about these results. It’s odd that people hate the rich so much and at the same time, this is what people, particular mothers seem to want for their kids. And if mothers want their sons to be successful and get top exam results, then they should become men’s rights advocates. Female teachers often give boys bad marks based on behavior and not test scores. This means fewer of them will even need top exam results because fewer guys are going to college. So, if moms care about sons, then they have some work to do to make sure their futures look as bright as their daughters. Or does their concern about “kids” really mean concern about girls?

Peter Lloyd, author of Stand By Your Manhood: A Game-Changer for Modern Men has a nice article on Christina Hoff Sommers in the Daily Telegraph:

Sadly, nothing has changed in recent years. In the early 1990s, I – along with several other feminist scholars (Wendy Kaminer, Daphne Patai, Camille Paglia, Mary Lefkowitz, Katie Roiphe, to name only a few) – went to battle against hard-line, sex-panicked conspiracy feminists like Andrea Dworkin. My side won the arguments, but their side quietly assumed all of the assistant professorships. So colleges are now full of gender scholars who instruct students on the ravages of the capitalist, heterero-patriachal system and its ‘rape culture’. Everywhere we hear about ‘micro-aggressions’, ‘trigger-warnings’, and the toxicity of masculinity. It’s as if George Orwell’s Junior Anti-sex League has occupied feminism.”

So Where is the Outrage?

April 11th, 2015 - 8:20 am

Huffington Post: “One-Eighth Of South Carolina Inmates Were Jailed Over Child Support Payments. Walter Scott Was One Of Them”:

Like so many other noncustodial parents in South Carolina, Scott frequently found himself in jail or under the threat of incarceration. That’s because the state metes out especially harsh punishments to those who fall behind on paying child support.

A recent MSNBC investigation highlighted that in South Carolina, noncustodial parents can be held in contempt of civil court if their child support payments are just five days late, which means a judge can send them to jail.

Libba Patterson, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and a former director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, has been a vocal supporter of an ongoing effort to reform the way South Carolina punishes those who owe child support payments — an effort that has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 2009, Patterson conducted a survey of 33 county jails in South Carolina, which found that one out of every eight inmates — or 13.2 percent of the inmate population — was behind bars for contempt of civil court after falling behind on child support payments. In Charleston County, where Walter owed his back payments on child support, Patterson’s survey found that over 15 percent of inmates had been imprisoned for not paying child support. In a handful of the other counties studied, the figure was as high as 20 percent.

Terry Brennan points out that most of those jailed are men. Men’s bodies belong to the state in so many ways; one of them is the involuntary servitude they must serve if they owe a debt for child support. The Walter Scott story is one of police brutality in the news, but the real story here is that men are swept up by the state for owing debts and then turn desperate enough to run from the police because of their situation. When men are so easily turned over to the state for various “offenses” bad things often happen. Maybe the state should rethink its blind willingness to make men criminals over matters that should not include jail time.