Fatherless children are more
likely to be poor, perform poorly in school, engage in premarital sex,
become teen parents, abuse drugs, and commit crimes than children from
intact families. Black children are significantly less likely than other
children to be raised in intact families. In 2004, a mere 35 percent of
black children were living with two parents, compared to 83 percent of
Asian children, 77 percent of white children, and 65 percent of Hispanic
Despite decades worth of research on the damage wrought
by illegitimacy, a research psychologist named Peggy Drexler attempts
to argue that lesbian couples and “single by choice” mothers do a better
job of raising boys than married couples in Raising Boys without Men: How Maverick Moms are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men.
a mother of two and married for 36 years, interviewed a small and
limited number of lesbian couples, heterosexual women who volunteered to
deprive their sons of fathers, divorced mothers, and their sons. Her
“maverick moms” reject “social judgments” and stress “communication,
community, and love” in their roles as mothers.
In one form or
another throughout the book, Drexler sets up the strawman, “Mother love
doesn’t hurt our boys.” I have never heard reasonable people make such a
claim. Unlike Drexler, most people believe that “mother love” and
“father love” need to balance each other, which is why intact families
are best for children. Drexler often exaggerates and uses the most
extreme examples throughout the book to support her biases. Raising Boys Without Men
will give aid and comfort to single mothers, but a house full of them,
no matter how well off, won’t ever change the fact that boys want and
need fathers. Considering the utter devastation fatherlessness has
caused in black communities, it would be easy to go off on Drexler, but
she makes clear that she focused on mostly white, affluent lesbians and
data that Gartrell and Bos analyzed came from the U.S. National
Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), begun in 1986. The authors
included 154 women in 84 families who underwent artificial insemination
to start a family; the parents agreed to answer questions about their
children's social skills, academic performance and behavior at five
follow-up times over the 17-year study period. Children in the families
were interviewed by researchers at age 10 and were then asked at age 17
to complete an online questionnaire, which included queries about the
teens' activities, social lives, feelings of anxiety or depression, and
Why didn’t she interview black single mothers and
fatherless boys in inner cities, mothers whose fatherless sons are in
and out of the criminal justice system, and boys who are fathers
themselves by the time they’re teenagers? Drexler writes:
mine, most research in this area has concerned a primarily White and
privileged population. Lesbian identity among socioeconomically
subordinate groups is generally less visible or less affirmed than it is
among more prosperous, White, educated, urban populations. Ethnographic
evidence suggests that closeted lesbian and gay people of color often
value racial solidarity over sexual adhesiveness. Racial/ethnic
allegiances may deter disproportionate numbers of people of color from
In other words, interviewing poor or economically
disadvantaged, black heterosexual or closeted lesbian mothers would not
have yielded the results that Drexler, an advocate for white, affluent,
lesbian-headed households, was seeking.
Incidentally, the feminist
movement traditionally has been a white and affluent phenomenon,
although its effects have reverberated through all levels of society.
The late Betty Friedan was a suburban homemaker who likened her home
life to a concentration camp. For whatever reason, she was unhappy being
married and trying to raise decent human beings. It sounded like a
personal problem to me, but her book, The Feminine Mystique, marked the unofficial beginning of the feminist movement and sparked a revolution.
women had legitimate claims, especially when it came to equal wages for
equal work, feminism went much further by waging war against the last
standing pillar of society: the traditional family.
argued that women should be free to work outside the home and to be
sexually promiscuous (and irresponsible). Chasteness until marriage was
Victorian and repressive, and marriage was stifling and demeaning. A new
crop of young women became sexually available to men without the
shackles of commitment. The archaic idea of marrying the woman you
impregnate was thrown out with the rest of the garbage.
affluent, intact families were able to bounce back from sexual
irresponsibility (oh, the irony!) in ways that women from lower-classes,
especially those who grew up without fathers, were not. In 1964, a year
after Friedan’s book hit the streets and a year before Senator Daniel
Patrick Moynihan issued a report that warned of the increase of
female-headed households in low-income urban areas and associated social
pathologies, close to 25 percent of black babies were born to unmarried
women. In 2006, the rate is 70 percent.
The irony of ironies is
that despite the “independent woman” meme pushed by feminists, too many
of their inner city and low-income “sisters” are not independent nor are
they dependent on husbands-oppressors, either. They are dependent on
the government. The state is the provider. The children grow up
mired in a cycle of poverty that is passed from one generation of
fatherless children to the next.
A recurring theme in Raising Boys Without Men, despite Drexler’s best efforts to downplay it, is the boys’ desire for fathers. They wanted men — masculine
men — in their lives. The clear message of the book is that the boys’
hunger for fathers was trumped by the desires of their progressive
The feminist movement spawned generations of
selfish women, absentee fathers, and shattered families. Some women may
want to be free of husbands, but children certainly don’t want to be
free of fathers. And no study will ever prove otherwise.
Our daughter switches back and forth between Mommy and MamaMama or Mommy. To bypass the mayhem, Nora sometimes just calls us by name. "Don't call me Erika!" I plead. "I like being called Mommy. You're the only one on this planet who can call me Mommy." But I'm not the only person on this planet she can call Mommy. Says, A lesbian mother wants to be the only mommy on Mother's Day.