Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Divorce Main Reason for male suicide

From MisForMalevolent:

75% of all suicides being committed by men - over 22,000 men per year.

And suicide rates for divorced men are even higher than that - divorced and separated men are TWICE AS LIKELY to commit suicide as other men, per the study "Marital Status and Suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study" by Augustine J. Kposowa, Ph.D., at the University of California at Riverside. CBS News covered the report in some detail here.

The study showed that being single versus being married made no difference in suicide rates.
- Simply 'being married' does not provide singificant mental health benefits relating to suicide.

Even more tellingly, for women marital status, married, single, separated or divorced, made NO STATISTICAL DIFFERENCE in suicide rates.
- So somehow, divorce affects men in a much more significant way than women. One wonders what that way could be...

Previous to this study, increased rates of suicide for men had been explained away by claiming that significant mental and physical health benefits were to be had from married life, and by 'congitive differences' between men and women - women purportedly spending more time 'processing' their problems and thinking more 'inclusively' than men, Well Dr. Kposowa's research has exposed that canard, (wait, let me speak plainly that misandrous, shovenist tripe for what it is.

Let's take a moment and really reveiw those numbers, which we will extrapolate using the published rough perecentages in the CBS news article:

Total Suicides: 30,000 per year
Men's Suicides: 22,500 per year
Women's Suicides: 7,500 per year
Divorced/Separated Men's Suicides: 14,850 per year.

Hmm. I wonder how many men committed suicide outside of a divorce/separation.
...Well, I know how to subtract, lets see...

Non Divorced/Separated Men's Suicides: 7,650 per year.
Wait... that's approximately equal to the number of suicides for women.

So it seems reasonable to guess, that if it were not for the way men are treated in divorce, those 14,850 men PER YEAR would still be alive.

Dr. Kposowa's study; the first study that cared enough about men to look at the details of why men kill themselves; shows us that if you hear about a man committing sucide the odds are better than 2:1 that he is either a divorcee or going through a divorce.


What is so terrible about divorce that men would kill themselves to escape it?

The answer is simple: Slavery. To quote Adrian Banks' article on suicide and divorce:

So what is the main cause of [divorced male] suicide? […] The answer to this question is not that difficult, but before someone can accept the truth of the main causes of suicide, one must first accept the truth that slavery is just as much an institution today as it has been throughout history. The more oppressive and cruel the enslavement, the more suicides there will be among the enslaved classes of society. Why do you think that, in pre civil war times, slaves were kept in the holes of ships and not allowed on the decks? Simple, it kept the slave trader's precious cargo of labor from jumping into the ocean. As Winston Churchill stated during World War II, "it is better to perish that to live as slaves." […] In a divorce situation today, there need not be any legitimate grounds thanks to no fault divorce. A man can be a hard working fellow who supports his family and loves his children, but if his wife decides to divorce him, there is nothing he can do.

Kposowa cites "financial obligations," in explaining the preponderance of divorcees amongst male suicides noting that "The courts in the United States are in a position now whereby money is given to the woman, or the man is forced to pay alimony, child support. The man is also asked, in some [perhaps most] cases, to vacate the house."

Kposowa also notes: "If a man loses custody of the children and the woman keeps those children, there are situations whereby she may not allow the man to see the children, and that causes some depression." -No kidding.
Suicidal divorced men are merely slaves leaping from the decks
– consider the facts:
  • Most marriages end in divorce – over 60% by my numbers.
  • 66% of these are initiated by the wife and few of them for abuse or any real fault. -No-fault divorces are initiated by women three times as often as by men.
  • The courts award physical custody to the man about 3% of the time – the odds are 40 to 1 against the man winning physical custody.
  • Truly shared custody is so rare that the courts don’t even know how to calculate support for it – their spreadsheets don’t support it. They have to fill out one for the father as primary, and one for the mother, and then average the two. - I believe that loss of access to one’s children and alienation are key factors in male suicide.
  • Women commonly interfere with the visitation rights of the ex husband. 75% of men complain of this behavior, and 40% of women admit it. If one assumes complaints are lower than the actual number of abuses, the numbers must be staggering.
  • Add the loss of the vast majority of the marital assets and the house, and everything that the man has worked for, financial contributions being where men are expected to excel, and what they are supposed to judge themselves by, and you have taken away a lot of the reasons that men have to live.
  • Add alimony and child support, all while not being allowed to co-parent your own children.
  • Add to all this the fact that the state’s machinery grinds very finely – loss of a job, ‘underemployment’, and bankruptcy are good enough reasons to lose almost any debt, but not alimony and child support, no, these continue unabated, plus penalties and legal fees.
  • And if our poor man is unlucky enough to lose his job, or become ‘underemployed’, then the legal system in many of our states, including NJ, will take 60-65% of his income, even unemployment, irregardless of what his spouse is earning. Imagine, a spouse with a $150,000 salary, collecting 65% of the income of a man scratching by on $405 per week unemployment, or a $40,000/year job. NJ would do it in a heartbeat. I bet they already have.
So divorced men have good reason to be casting themselves from the decks.
Having lost their wives, their children, their assets, and finally their ability to earn a living, and being relegated to permanent poverty, divorced men are killing themselves in record numbers - over 15,000 men per year, killed by divorce.

Our job is to support them, and encourage our government to notice, and care.

I wouldn´t say divorce is the only reason for higher suicide (it is a worldwide phenomen even in states where there are no legal divorces) but it is definately one main reason in the western world, as there are no biology differences between mothers and fathers, the female suicide rat would probably grow if children where taken awy from them at the same rate they are from men.

These articles are interesting as well (was linked from the above site)

Research report

Marital status and suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study Augustine J Kposowa


OBJECTIVESThe purpose of the study was to examine the effect of marital status on the risk of suicide, using a large nationally representative sample. A related objective was to investigate the association between marital status and suicide by sex.

METHODSCox proportional hazards regression models were applied to data from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, based on the 1979-1989 follow up. In estimating the effect of marital status, adjustments were made for age, sex, race, education, family income, and region of residence.

RESULTSFor the entire sample, higher risks of suicide were found in divorced than in married persons. Divorced and separated persons were over twice as likely to commit suicide as married persons (RR=2.08, 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) 1.58, 2.72). Being single or widowed had no significant effect on suicide risk. When data were stratified by sex, it was observed that the risk of suicide among divorced men was over twice that of married men (RR=2.38, CI 1.77, 3.20). Among women, however, there were no statistically significant differentials in the risk of suicide by marital status categories.

CONCLUSIONSMarital status, especially divorce, has strong net effect on mortality from suicide, but only among men. The study showed that in epidemiological research on suicide, more accurate results would be obtained if samples are stratified on the basis of key demographic or social characteristics. The study further observed that failure to control for relevant socioeconomic variables or combining men and women in the same models could produce misleading results.
- from here

Why Women Are Less Likely Than Men To Commit Suicide

ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 1998) — Many studies have identified a strong link between suicide and diagnosable mental illness, especially depression. So because women suffer from depression at a much higher rate than men, they would seem to be at higher risk for suicide. But women actually commit suicide about one-fourth as often as men.

Writing in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry, George E. Murphy, M.D., an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says that women may be protected because of the way they think about problems and interact with others.
"Women process their experiences with friends. They discuss their feelings, seek feedback and take advice," Murphy says. "They are much more likely to tell a physician how they feel and cooperate in the prescribed treatment. As a result, women get better treatment for their depression."
That treatment may help protect them from suicide, but Murphy says there is more to it. The approach to problem-solving is what lands a woman in a psychiatrist's office in the first place. And that approach may be keeping female suicide rates lower than those of men.

Suicide vs. attempted suicide
There are roughly 30,000 suicides in the United States each year, and three-fourths of those are men. But the number of attempted suicides is at least 10 times that, and even that estimate may be low because many suicide attempts are euphemistically classified as lacerations or accidental poisonings when patients receive treatment in hospital emergency rooms.
Although suicide rates are lower among women, women lead men two to one in suicide attempts. So, Murphy says at least 200,000 women are involved in suicide attempts annually. But he points out that attempted suicide most often is not an attempt to actually end one's life. Its purpose, he says, is to survive with changed circumstances.
"An attempted suicide is not really an attempt at suicide in about 95 percent of cases. It is a different phenomenon. It's most often an effort to bring someone's attention, dramatically, to a problem that the individual feels needs to be solved. Suicide contains a solution in itself," he says.
In attempted suicide, both men and women tend to use methods that allow for second thoughts or rescue. Murphy says that when people intend to survive, they choose a slowly effective, or ineffective, means such as an overdose of sleeping pills. That contrasts to the all-or-nothing means like gunshots or hanging used by actual suicides.
In the past, researchers who looked at the high rate of attempted suicide in women concluded that women were just not as efficient as men at taking their own lives. Murphy calls that "sexist baloney" and points to statistics that show that like men, women who commit suicide most often use guns. However, even as the number of women using the most lethal means increases, the suicide rate in women has slowly declined.
"So it really goes back to the same thing -- that women, when they intend to do it, can be just as effective as men in committing suicide. But they aren't so inclined," Murphy says.

Cognitive differences
Murphy believes women are less inclined to commit suicide because their thinking is more inclusive. While a man might tend to throw aside seemingly peripheral issues to get to the core of a problem, a woman might take more things into account. She may continue to seek input and process problems long after the point where men decide on a course of action.
"She'll consider not just her feelings but also the feelings of others -- her family, the children, even acquaintances, and how those people will be affected by a decision like suicide," Murphy says. "A man is much less likely to take those things into account. He makes his decision, and it's about him, so he doesn't feel the need to share it with anyone else."
But before they ever get to the point of considering suicide, Murphy says, women are much more likely to seek help with their problems. The classic example is asking for directions when driving. Many men refuse to do that, perhaps seeing it as an admission of weakness. They believe they are supposed to be competent in all areas. Because they are not, they are at risk. Women, on the other hand, are much more likely to seek advice and take it.
Even though depressed or alcoholic men are less likely to look for help, it still may be possible to prevent many suicides, Murphy believes. He says alert physicians might be able to pick up on risk factors and refer men into treatment to help them look for ways to solve their problems without ending their lives.
"Half of all people who commit suicide have seen a physician within a month of their fatal act," he says. "Mostly they didn't get diagnosed, and if they did, they didn't get treated very vigorously."
That requires recognition that depressed men may understate their pain or their difficulty with a particular problem. Murphy says such recognition is essential if men are ever to benefit from the treatments that protect women from suicide. Murphy and the late Eli Robins, M.D., conducted the first comprehensive study of suicide 40 years ago, studying every suicide that occurred in St. Louis and St. Louis County during a one-year period. - Source
On the second article, This helps to argument aggainst feminist who say the high male suicide rate isn´t so bad, look females try to kill themselves more often (red text).

Some examples:

Distraught Father's Courthouse Suicide Highlights America's Male Suicide Epidemic
By Glenn Sacks

A distraught father struggling with overdue child support obligations and adverse family court decisions committed suicide on the steps of the downtown San Diego courthouse Monday. Angrily waving court documents, 43 year-old Derrick Miller walked up to court personnel at the entrance, said "You did this to me," and shot himself in the head.

Miller is one of 300,000 Americans who have taken their own lives over the past decade--as many Americans as were killed in combat in World War II. America is in the throes of a largely unrecognized suicide epidemic, as suicide has become the eighth leading cause of death in the United States today, and the third leading cause of death among adolescents. All Americans recognize that our country is rife with violent crime, but few know that 50% more Americans kill themselves than are murdered.
Who is committing suicide?

For the most part, men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, males commit suicide four times as often as females do, and have higher suicide rates in every age group. There are many risk factors for suicide, including substance abuse and mental illness, but the two situations in which men are most likely to kill themselves are after the loss of a job, and after a divorce.

Because our society strongly defines manhood as the ability to work and provide for one's loved ones, unemployed men often see themselves as failures and as burdens to their families. Thus it is not surprising that while there is no difference in the suicide rate of employed and unemployed women, the suicide rate of unemployed men is twice that of employed men.

It is for this reason that economic crises generally lead to male suicide epidemics. During the Midwest farm crisis of the 1980s, for example, the suicide rate of male farmers tripled. A sharp increase in male suicide occurred after the destruction of Flint, Michigan's 70 year-old auto industry, as documented in the disturbing 1989 film "Roger and Me." Some suicide experts fear a rise in suicide related to our current economic downturn.

The other most common suicide victims are divorced and/or estranged fathers like Derrick Miller. In fact, a divorced father is ten times more likely to commit suicide than a divorced mother, and three times more likely to commit suicide than a married father. According to Los Angeles divorce consultant Jayne Major:

"Divorced men are often devastated by the loss of their children. It's a little known fact that in the United States men initiate only a small number of the divorces involving children. Most of the men I deal with never saw their divorces coming, and they are often treated very unfairly by the family courts."

According to Sociology Professor Augustine Kposowa of the University of California at Riverside, "The link between men and their children is often severed because the woman is usually awarded custody. A man may not get to see his children, even with visitation rights. As far as the man is concerned, he has lost his marriage and lost his children and that can lead to depression and suicide."

There have been a rash of father suicides directly related to divorce and mistreatment by the family courts over the past few years. For example, New York City Police Officer Martin Romanchick, a Medal of Honor recipient, hung himself after being denied access to his children and being arrested 15 times on charges brought by his ex-wife, charges the courts deemed frivolous. Massachusetts father Steven Cook, prevented from seeing his daughter by a protection order based upon unfounded allegations, committed suicide after he was jailed for calling his four-year-old daughter on the wrong day of the week. (Feck: Insane I stranger would not be imprisoned for calling her any damn day of the week. But its only her father) Darrin White, a Canadian father who was stripped of the right to see his children and was about to be jailed after failing to pay a child support award tantamount to twice his take home pay, hung himself. His 14 year-old daughter Ashlee later wrote to her nation's Prime Minister, saying, "this country's justice system has robbed me of one of the most precious gifts in my life, my father."

We'll never know exactly why Derrick Miller took his life and if his suicide could have been prevented. What we do know is that male suicide is one of America's most serious public health issues, and it is time to address it.
This column first appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune (1/11/02).
- from here

Man kills himself on courthouse steps

UNION-TRIBUNE January 8, 2002

A 43-year-old Paradise Hills man, reportedly depressed about a court ruling on overdue child support, fatally shot himself early yesterday on the steps of the downtown San Diego courthouse.
The man was identified as Derrick K. Miller Sr., of Alta View Drive, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office said.

Witnesses told police that Miller, carrying court documents, walked up to a security guard at the entrance to the courthouse at 220 W. Broadway and began raving.

"You did this to me," he told the guard about 6:25 a.m., apparently referring to court officials, the Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman said.
Then, Miller pulled out a handgun and fired one shot into his head. The blast killed him instantly, the spokeswoman said.

Miller apparently was depressed about a ruling on child support from a previous relationship, said San Diego Police spokesman Bill Robinson.
- from here 

Last Road Out of Hell
January 15, 2002
by James Hanback, Jr.

We have provided for the survival of man against all enemies except his fellow man.
--Lyman Lloyd Bryson

Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.

On Jan. 7, a 43-year-old man, apparently depressed about a recent overdue child support ruling against him, shot himself to death on the steps of the San Diego Courthouse.
According to reports in the San Diego Union Tribune, Derrick K. Miller walked up to a security guard around 6:25 a.m. and began raving about injustices thrust upon him by the legal system. Court papers in one hand, he produced a handgun with the other and fired one shot into his skull, instantly killing himself.
What the six-paragraph story in the Union Tribune doesn’t say, however, is that Miller’s actions represent a small sampling of a disturbing trend all over the world. Men who are fed up with what they see as injustices perpetrated upon them by court systems that, in cases of child custody, child support, and divorce, generally favor women, are increasingly taking their own lives.
The problem has become so widespread, in fact, that some governments—Australia’s, for instance—have implemented new programs aimed at getting suicidal men help in overcoming the urge to end it all. Likewise, official studies from both Australia and Ireland within the past year have connected an alarming increase in male suicide in their respective countries to the breaking down of family structure, and a perception by men of wrong-doing to them perpetrated by the legal system.
According to the Irish study, five times more men than women in that country die from suicide each year, and more than 40 percent of those are men under 30. The principle cause of death for men between the ages of 15-34 in Ireland, in fact, is suicide. Once upon a time, more men died from traffic accidents.
The Irish report further stated that the "strong protective effect of marriage" was confirmed as prevention for male suicide. Single, separated, divorced, or widowed individuals all had higher suicide rates.
In similar fashion, the Australian study found that younger men in that country were particularly susceptible to suicide upon divorce or separation from their children.
"Recent research into male suicide in this age group revealed that males in the 'separation phase' of a marriage break-up were most at risk of suicide, compared with widowed or divorced males," the report’s authors wrote. "Marriage breakdown is a significant characteristic of male suicide in the 24-39 age bracket. The anxiety and emotional pain of separation and divorce appear to effect [sic] men differently.

"Whilst suicides may simply be recorded as statistics, it is the increasing number of murder/suicides, involving children that have brought the tragic reality of male suicide, and male mental health issues in general into the public arena.

"Where children are concerned, there is evidence to suggest that many men sense they are being discriminated against in family court judgements, and often find themselves in financial straits having to pay legal fees and child support payments. The difficulty in maintaining access to children also heightens the frustration and isolation of separated and/or divorced men."

Two studies, two separate nations, and a plethora of social scientists have thus apparently confirmed what individual families have known and news reports have ignored for years: family courts all over Western society are unfair to men, and some men are dying as a result. In the U.S. alone, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control estimate that approximately 80 percent of all suicides every year are by men. Compared to homicide rates recorded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of suicides every year in this country is about 32 percent higher than the number of homicides.
Although both the Irish and Australian studies suggest that mental health professionals should focus more on men and getting men to help themselves out of the depressions which result in suicide, perhaps a greater contributor to men’s well-being would be to reform family courts. Perhaps it’s time to change things so that men going through divorce, child custody battles, and child support hearings are given a fair shake.
Even in these days of Western feminine liberation there are men who pay alimony. Why? Women in Western culture have been welcomed into the workplace. Everyone knows a woman can make her own ends meet if she so chooses. If, in divorce, the female is absolved from all marital obligations to her former husband, why should he still be forced to be her breadwinner?
Likewise, child support is no longer about providing for children. It is a multi-million dollar industry designed to generate revenue for individual state governments, at least in the United States. Visit any fathers advocates forum on the Internet and you’ll find a variety of horror stories about child support rulings which deprive a man of his own livelihood, while his ex-wife maintains custody of the children, denies him visitation, and has married another man who is also providing for her.
Adding insult to injury, there’s even a Yahoo! Group dedicated to informing women about how to achieve this particular lifestyle. It’s called "Ex-husband Is Now My Slave" and currently has more than 900 members. You can find it here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ex-hus..._now_my_slave/.
So if the family court situation is the root cause of so much trouble--and is creating a world where men take their own lives out of desperation and women brag about it on the Internet--why, apparently, is nothing being done to change it?
That answer lies in the media. No matter who you are or where you live, chances are there is a man in your life, or in your extended family, who has been through some of the pain and anguish associated with divorce, child custody, or child support battles. Chances are that the toll of that situation was much greater on him than his former spouse. In America, divorce court is routine, and fictionalized accounts of it are even broadcast on daytime television. Unfortunately for the men involved in genuine cases, though, the media tends to ignore the courts’ consistent discrimination against them as simple facts of life which cannot (or should not) be changed.
Miller--he who shot himself on the San Diego Courthouse steps--is the exception which proves the rule. His case was so dramatic--and public—as a result of his suicide that the Union Tribune could not ignore it. But what happens now that his brief story has been told? Will an intrepid reporter examine the suicide rates of divorced men in San Diego and discover a pattern? Will said reporter examine the family court system from the inside out and determine for himself whether justice is routinely served or men routinely discriminated against?
It’s not probable.
Instead, the Union Tribune reporters will do precisely what I did when I faced a similar story as a police reporter for The Review Appeal in Franklin, Tenn., in the mid-1990s. They’ll simply go on about their business--writing about budgets, schools, police chases, and criminal trials--until the next man kills himself on the courthouse steps in similar dramatic fashion. Then they’ll write six more paragraphs about it and move on again.
That’s what good police reporters do.
Sometimes I think back on that bright production day at The Review Appeal. I remember I was writing a small two-paragraph note for what we called "The Police Blotter" about someone who had exposed himself (and escaped police) at a local mall. The radio scanner had been silent all afternoon and, just two hours before we were to put the paper to bed, I heard two sentences from a preternaturally calm female voice creep across the airwaves on the Franklin Police Department’s frequency:
"He’s on the Square. He’s got a gun to his head."
My office chair was probably still spinning as I ran out the door.
Two streets down was Public Square, the Franklin town center where there were several shops, Franklin City Hall, and the Williamson County Courthouse. No sooner had I turned the corner where I could see the tall statue in the Square gleaming against the afternoon sun than I heard the gunshot, and saw a crowd of police and emergency personnel swarm in upon the man as his formerly seated body crumpled to the concrete.
While my photographer snapped away at the scene, I talked to witnesses and police officers. I asked where the man had come from, who he was, and why he might have committed such an act.
Some faces in the crowd told me they had seen the man walk out of the courthouse, so while my editor continued to interview witnesses, I went to see the Williamson County Court Clerk. There, I learned the man’s identity and that he had spent most of the day in divorce court. After apparently losing his job, his wife, and a battle with depression, he had finally given up hope.
The article I wrote for the paper the next day contained all the details a good police reporter includes: who, what, when, where, and some possible reasons why. I had quotes from the officers who worked the scene as well as a few notes from the court filings. When I finished writing, I walked outside and smoked a Marlboro I bummed from someone in the production department (even though I’m not a smoker). The image of that man with the gun played over and over in my head, and as I exhaled the stale smoke of the cigarette from my lungs, I wondered what smoke and gunpowder from a firearm must taste like at such close range.
Sometimes I think back on that bright production day, and I wonder why I didn’t continue to follow up on that story. I wonder why I felt that examining that man’s case in the cold light of an objective reporter’s eye wasn’t worth pursuing. I wonder what I might have found had I been persistent.
Most of all, though, I wonder if I might not have been able to shed some light and create change in some small way.
And maybe saved someone else’s life.
That’s what a good reporter should have done.

- from here


This site requires a warning as reading the content is likely to
produce high blood pressure and a possible heart attack
you have been warned !!!!!!!

Category: Adult
A serious and supportive discussion forum for divorced or legally separated women to discuss how they have used divorce, child support, alimony and the courts to make their ex-husbands their financial slaves. Also how ex-wives have used the psychology of divorce to turn their ex-husbands into servants and slaves for their own amusement and enrichment. A forum for women to share their success stories in humiliating and bankrupting ex-husbands--and then moving on, with their ex's money, to better relationships with more attractive men. Humiliation. Revenge. Female power. Female financial domination. No doubt about it: For many women, divorce can be the road to the easy life--and wealth and riches. And the beauty of it all is that it's all done at the expense of your ex, who now is your financial slave. This list is about placing your ex in psychological and financial bondage. Discuss the tactics--and laugh about it--here.

Sick...that group seems to be gone by now.


Found via Male Matters blog
Divorced men were over eight times more likely to commit suicide than divorced women (RR=8.36, 95% CI=4.24 to16.38). After taking into account other factors that have been reported to contribute to suicide, divorced men still experienced much increased risks of suicide than divorced women. They were nearly 9.7 times more likely to kill themselves than comparable divorced women (RR=9.68, 95% CI=4.87 to 19.22). Put another way, for every divorced woman that committed suicide, over nine divorced men killed themselves.


[Co]nsequence, in a divorce settlement, custody of children is more likely to be given to the wife. In the end, the father loses not only his marriage, but his children. The result may be anger at the court system especially in situations wherein the husband feels betrayed because it was the wife that initiated the divorce, or because the courts virtually gave away everything that was previously owned by the ex-husband or the now defunct household to the former wife. Events could spiral into resentment (toward the spouse and ‘‘the system’’), bitterness,
anxiety, and depression, reduced self esteem, and a sense of ‘‘life not worth living’’. As depression and poor mental health are known markers of suicide risk, it may well be that one of the fundamental reasons for the observed association between divorce and suicide in men is the impact of post divorce (court sanctioned) ‘‘arrangements’’.

Clearly this is an issue that needs further investigation. [A J Kposowa]

from here

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When men do better it is because of discrimination - when women do, it is superiority

A good article:

World coming to an end: Women disproportionately affected!

Inequalities in income and household chores disappear when you account for a few relevant facts. So why all the feminist clamour?

Grant Brown - August 15, 2008

A female colleague liked to tell the following joke:
Q: Why are women so poor at judging distances?
A: Because all of our lives we have been told that this [holding her index finger and thumb 1½ inches apart] is six inches.

That’s okay; men have a sense of humour. We can laugh at ourselves.

But by the same token, many men wonder why women have such a poor grasp of equality. I think it’s because all of their mollycoddled lives women have been told they have been oppressed. They are so used to being put on a pedestal and complimented and sheltered from harm or disappointment, that they have no idea what life in the real world is like for most men.
I say this only half-jokingly.

Feminism is the theory that men and women are equal in every respect--except for those in which women are superior. The trick is to interpret every social indicator as though it demonstrates arbitrary male privilege or genuine female superiority. Fortunately, a little bit of ignorance is all it takes to accomplish this feat.
For example, when studies show that girls perform less well than boys at advanced math, it is due to systemic discrimination in favour of boys; but when the same studies show that boys’ under-performance in the language arts is four times as great as that of girls in math, well that is due to girls’ innate superiority.

Government bureaucracies whose role it is to promulgate these attitudes have been entrenched for a generation now, so it comes as second nature to most people these days. Two favourite analyses in this vein that the public is treated to every year illustrate this mentality perfectly. One relates to the “gender wage gap;” the other to the division of household labour. I will briefly critique the standard shortcomings of these types of analyses presently; first, I wish to show how they illustrate the theme of my joke.

Studies of the gender wage gap show year after year that full-time employed women earn on average only 70 to 75 cents for every dollar earned by full-time employed men. The conclusion we are inevitably invited to accept is that men discriminate against women in employment and we need stronger laws to improve wages in female-dominated sectors of the economy.

Studies of the division of household labour show year after year that women spend on average an hour or two per week more than men doing household chores. The conclusion we are inevitably invited to accept is that lazy men are not pulling their weight in the home.

Admittedly, when you add up time spent on work both inside and outside the home, the gender differences in time spent on work disappear. Thus there is no significant difference in the amount of discretionary or “leisure” time enjoyed by men and women. But somehow we are left with the impression that self-sacrificing women are getting a raw deal.

Of course, an equally valid interpretation of these studies would conclude that lazy women are sitting at home watching soap operas and eating bon-bons while pushing around a feather duster or rocking a cradle, instead of getting out and pulling their weight in the paid workforce. That’s just silly, of course; but why isn’t the ubiquitous feminist spin seen as equally silly?

Surely any fair-minded person would realize with a moment’s thought that there is no useful artillery in these studies for the battle of the sexes. All they demonstrate is that the traditional division of labour between men and women persists to a degree in our society. Women continue to be more likely to stay at home and look after the children for a period of time; and men continue to be more likely to intensify their efforts in paid employment after marriage and especially after having children. As long as women choose older men who are higher on their career earnings path, this will be the most rational way to divide their labour.

In fact, this is precisely what the studies show, when looked at carefully. It has been said that the gender wage gap is not a measure of discrimination; it is a measure of ignorance. The more you know about the determinants of income, the smaller the gender wage gap becomes, to the point of insignificance.

Controlling only for crude time factors--number of hours worked per week, weeks worked per year, and years worked in a career--will account for all but about five or ten percentage points in the gender wage gap in most occupations. Willingness to travel, and to relocate for a promotion, are also important. So is field of work, educational qualifications, and--importantly--risk of injury or death. About 95 per cent of occupational deaths in Canada occur to men; even if that isn’t an employment opportunity you want to see equalized, at least concede men a risk premium for the kind of work that makes that statistic a reality.

Another way to illustrate that there is nothing insidious about the gender wage gap is to remove from the analysis the effects of marriage and children by comparing the earnings of single men to single women. There you will find no differences, or even differences favouring women--in large part because women are now entering most professional schools at higher rates than men. Even though women now outnumber men in those entering many professions--law, medicine, veterinary, ophthalmology, etc.--it will take a generation for attrition to equalize their numbers and their earning differentials due to age and experience. (Meanwhile, what is being done to reinvigorate boys to pursue these professions in school in numbers equal to girls? Sadly, nothing.)

Studies on the division of household labour are also subject to a number of criticisms. For one thing, they tend to ignore chores that are characteristically done by men, such as family transportation and home repairs. This is especially true of jobs that are required only periodically, such as shingling the roof, putting up a deck or fence, or changing the timing belt for the car. Methodologies that focus on relatively short time-frames--“In the past week, how much time did you spend on each of the following activities?”--will miss a lot of the major household maintenance jobs that men do.

More philosophically: Women get credit for time spent making dinner; but if a man puts in overtime or gets a bonus and uses the earned income to take the family out for dinner and a movie, does he get credit for the time saved on these household chores? If men do half of the housework that they consider to be necessary, and women put in extra time to bring the place up to what they consider to be ideal, should women get credit for the extra time they choose to spend on housework? How do you account for hobbies that also benefit the home: quilting, gardening, car restoration, woodworking, etc.? Classifying something as “personal interest” or “household chore” is often a subjective matter.

Equality is an elusive concept, but men and women will get along a lot better when women cease to be encouraged to tout every tendentious social indicator as a sign of their oppression. The “poor me syndrome” wears thin after a while. To cite the title of Cathy Young’s very helpful book on the gender wars, “Ceasefire!”
- from here

Very well put and really nothing more to add.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nurturing: No difference between mom and dad

Say this out loud:
"It is as cruel to take away a child from his mother than to take away a child from his father."
"There is no special mothers feeling for a kid."
"Mothers are not better at nurturing children"

Here is the proof:

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem ----June 3 ...... It was not easy writing the above headline. But when Psychology Today, one of the most respected lay journals on clinical psychology releases research illustrating that fathers are empowered biologically no differently than women when it comes to nurturing children, all keywords are needed.

The Psychological Today story: The Making of a Modern Dad, by Douglas Carlton Abrams illustrates in vivid, scientific detail how fathers are no different in their biological programming than mothers when raising children. That divorced dads who "feel" a need to be with their children, is not only an emotional reaction but a biological one as well.

This evidence hits hard at social workers, family court judges and elected legislators who abide by archaic research and outdated laws which state that it is in the best interest of the child to be with the divorced mother - not the divorced father.

"Here is the first hard evidence that men are biologically prepared for fatherhood," says Psychology Today. "In fact, this is the first evidence that to nurture is part of man's nature."

This medical evidence would explain why father's rights groups such as Fathers 4 Justice in England, the US, Italy and in Israel would risk getting arrested in their high profile protests to see their children with equal access.
The research, which clearly illustrates how a father biologically responds to the birth of his children, also explains why thousands of men become clinically depressed when separated from their children to the point of actually committing suicide.

Perhaps the 1979 Dustin Hoffman movie Kramer Vs. Kramer was society's first major wake up call that dads were no different in wanting to care and protect their children. Years passed since the making of that landmark film where hundreds of thousands of caring, loving and responsible dads were separated from their children by narcissistic mothers, social workers and family court judges.

These city appointed social workers and family court judges who believed that it was best for the children to be with their mothers were totally unaware of the devastating effects of their actions. Rather than encouraging the dads to be dads, they alienated an entire generation of fathers who simply gave up in trying to fight the system. Perverted governmental systems which supported the few moms (most mothers encourage unlimited or equal contact) who used their small children as potent emotional weapons against their former husbands as the national and local governments practiced gender bias discrimination.

"Here is the first hard evidence that men are biologically prepared for fatherhood," says Psychology Today. "In fact, this is the first evidence that to nurture is part of man's nature."

The results of a survey based on pooled data from 80,000 adults suggest that parental divorce has an adverse effect on children's lives compared with those raised in intact two-parent families, adults who experienced a parental divorce had lower psychological well-being, more behavioral problems, less education, lower job status, a lower standard of living, lower marital satisfaction, a heightened risk of divorce, a heightened risk of being a single parent, and poorer physical health.

The view that children adapt readily to divorce and show no lingering negative consequences is clearly inconsistent with the cumulative research in this area.

Some studies show that children who experience the death of a parent exhibit problems similar to those of children who 'lose' a parent through divorce. These findings support the view that the absence of a parent for any reason is problematic for children.

Each year, over 1 million American children suffer the divorce of their parents; moreover, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parents divorce before they turn 18. Mounting evidence in social science journals demonstrates that the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects that divorce is having on these children will last well into adulthood and affect future generations. Among these broad and damaging effects are the following.

Children whose parents have divorced are increasingly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health, behavioral, and emotional problems, are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
Children of divorced parents perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They also are more likely to repeat a grade and to have higher drop-out rates and lower rates of college graduation.

Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.

Religious worship, which has been linked to better health, longer marriages, and better family life, drops after the parents divorce.

The divorce of parents, even if it is amicable, tears apart the fundamental unit of American society. Today, according to the US Federal Reserve Board's 1995 Survey of Consumer Finance, only 42 percent of children aged 14 to 18 live in a "first marriage" family--an intact two-parent married family. It should be no surprise to find that divorce is having such profound effects on society.

Restoring the importance of marriage to society and the welfare of children will require politicians and civic leaders to make this one of their most important tasks. It also will require a modest commitment of resources to pro-marriage programs.

A 2004 UK study confirmed that children who have contact with their fathers following a family break-up suffer fewer behavioral problems than those who don't have such contact.

The researchers found that children who have a close relationship with their natural father after their parents divorce "are likely to be less disorderly, anxious or aggressive," according to a summary published in the Manchester News. They also found that children who had infrequent or no contact with their non-resident fathers "were more likely to externalise and internalise problems".

Last year, The New York Times addressed father's and children's rights in it's Sunday Magazine cover story: The Rise of the Fathers' Custody Movement. The news story focused on the struggle of divorced dads in both the UK and the US to gain shared parenting, equal access and or joint custody with their children.

Divorced fathers and their children in Israel presently suffer from gender bias discrimination by the Israel Knesset, family courts, the police and local child welfare departments. Blatant discrimination and the forced separation of father from child stems from an outdated law passed by the Israel Knesset in 1962.

The Family Custodian Act of 1962 clearly states that all children under the age of six will automatically have custody under their mother, unless the mother is violent, drug abuser or negligent.

Joint custody in Israel is rare. Most couples who divorce in Israel find it difficult to decide on anything together. Without the cooperation of both parents in Israel, their is no joint custody or shared parenting. Israel family courts will only accept joint custody arrangements when both sides agree. The father is cast away by the mother, the justice and child welfare systems in Israel as a second class citizen. The dad turns into a "cash machine" paying child support every month while being denied equal access to their children. As a result, children become alienated from their fathers suffering from Parental Child Alienation Syndrome, crying from the immediate and long term adverse behavioral effects of divorce and separation for years to come.

The Israel Fathers Rights Association, Horut Shava, Fathers 4 Justice Israel and the Israel Fathers Advocacy Council with the aid of several leading and respected child psychologists are now preparing material and expert testimony for the Knesset to change a law from 1962 which has destroyed the basic civil rights of both divorced fathers and children.

A final note from this writer before we review the findings of Psychology Today's latest research.

I am at my computer writing this Internet news story about divorced fathers and their children. Your children and mine. I could be surfing Jdate or another online dating service. But I gather that my
testosterone level is kind of low or simply that my biological love for my kids and seeing all parents with their children outweighs any other earthly concern.

The following is from Psychology Today:

When his wife gave birth, Hudnut arranged his practice so he could be home to take care of his son, Seamus, two days a week; he sees patients on the other three workdays. "It was a very natural transition," he reports. "I'm grateful to have the opportunity my father never had."

Part of a new generation of men who are redefining fatherhood and masculinity, Hudnut, who is 33, is unwilling to accept the role of absentee provider that his father's generation assumed. With mothers often being the breadwinners of the family, many young fathers are deciding that a man's place can also be in the home—part-time or even full-time.

According to census figures, one in four dads takes care of his preschooler during the time the mother is working. The number of children who are raised by a primary-care father is now more than 2million and counting. By all measures, fathers, even those who work full-time, are more involved in their children's lives than ever before.

According to the Families and Work Institute in New York City, fathers now provide three-fourths of the child care mothers do, up from one-half 30 years ago.

Is father nurture natural?

Many men and women wonder if all of this father care is really natural. According to popular perceptions, men are supposedly driven by their hormones (primarily testosterone) to compete for status, to seek out sex and even to be violent—conditions hardly conducive to raising kids. A recent article in Reader's Digest, "Why Men Act As They Do," is subtitled "It's the Testosterone, Stupid." Calling the hormone "a metaphor for masculinity," the article concludes, "...testosterone correlates with risk: physical, criminal, and personal." Don't men's testosterone-induced chest-beating and risk-taking limit their ability to cradle and comfort their children?

Two Canadian studies suggest that there is much more to masculinity than testosterone. While testosterone is certainly important in driving men to conceive a child, it takes an array of other hormones to turn men into fathers. And among the best fathers, it turns out, testosterone levels actually drop significantly after the birth of a child. If manhood includes fatherhood, which it does for a majority of men, then testosterone is hardly the ultimate measure of masculinity.

In fact, the second of the two studies, which was recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggests that fathers have higher levels of estrogen the well-known female sex hormone - than other men. The research shows that men go through significant hormonal changes alongside their pregnant partners changes most likely initiated by their partner's pregnancy and ones that even cause some men to experience pregnancylike symptoms such as nausea and weight gain. It seems increasingly clear that just as nature prepares women to be committed moms, it prepares men to be devoted dads.

"I have always suspected that fatherhood has biological effects in some, perhaps all, men," says biologist Sue Carter, distinguished professor at the University of Maryland. "Now here is the first hard evidence that men are biologically prepared for fatherhood."

The studies have the potential to profoundly change our understanding of families, of fatherhood and of masculinity itself. Being a devoted parent is not only important but also natural for men. Indeed, there is evidence that men are biologically involved in their children's lives from the beginning.

Do men's hormones change in preparation for fatherhood?

Is biology destiny for dads?

It's well known that hormonal changes caused by pregnancy encourage a mother to love and nurture her child. But it has long been assumed that a father's attachment to his child is the result of a more uncertain process, a purely optional emotional bonding that develops over time, often years. Male animals in some species undergo hormonal changes that prime them for parenting. But do human dads? The two studies, conducted at Memorial University and Queens University in Canada, suggest that human dads do.

In the original study, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, psychologist Anne Storey and her colleagues took blood samples from 34 couples at different times during pregnancy and shortly after birth. The researchers chose to monitor three specific hormones because of their links to nurturing behavior in human mothers and in animal fathers.

The first hormone, prolactin, gets its name from the role it plays in promoting lactation in women, but it also instigates parental behavior in a number of birds and mammals. Male doves who are given prolactin start brooding and feeding their young, Storey found that in human fathers, prolactin levels rise by approximately 20 percent during the three weeks before their partners give birth.

The second hormone, cortisol, is well known as a stress hormone, but it is also a good indicator of a mother's attachment to her baby. New mothers who have high cortisol levels can detect their own infant by odor more easily than mothers with lower cortisol levels. The mothers also respond more sympathetically to their baby's cries and describe their relationship with their baby in more positive terms. Storey and her colleagues found that for expectant fathers, cortisol was twice as high in the three weeks before birth than earlier in the pregnancy.

Biologist Katherine Wynne-Edwards, who conducted the research with Storey, explains that while cortisol is seen as the "fight or flight" hormone, it might more accurately be described as the "heads-up-eyes-forward-something-really-important-is-happening" hormone. It may help prepare parents for approaching birth. Cortisol levels normally increase in women as pregnancy advances; indeed, a cumulative rise in stress-hormone levels sets off labor and delivery.

The third hormone, testosterone, is abundant in male animals during mating but decreases during nurturing. If bird fathers are given testosterone, they spend more time defending their territory and mating than taking care of existing offspring. Research has shown that human males experience a surge in testosterone when they win sporting events and other competitions.

In Storey's study, testosterone levels plunged 33 percent in fathers during the first three weeks after birth. Levels then returned to normal by the time the babies were four to seven weeks old. However brief the dip in testosterone, it may have effects that endure for the life of the child. According to University of California at Riverside psychologist Ross Parke, it may "let the nurturing side of men come to center stage." The dip may set in motion the more-cooperative, less-competitive enterprise of parenting. By encouraging fathers to interact with their kids, this brief hormonal change might actually induce the bonding process.

Estrogen and the daddy brain

Wynne-Edwards and graduate student Sandra Berg designed another study to test Storey and Wynne-Edwards' earlier findings, They measured the hormone levels of the fathers over a longer period of time and incorporated into the study a control group of men who had never had children. The control group was matched by age, season and time of day tested—all of which can affect hormone levels. Finally, by using saliva samples instead of blood draws, they were able to test the fathers and the men in the control group much more frequently.

In addition to confirming the earlier findings for testosterone reduction and cortisol change, the researchers also found that the fathers had elevated levels of estrogen. The increase started 30 days
before birth and continued during all 12 weeks of testing after birth.

Although estrogen is best known as a female sex hormone, it exists in small quantities in men, too. Animal studies show that estrogen can induce nurturing behavior in males.

Acting in the brain as well as in other parts of the body, estrogen in men, and testosterone in women, makes humans extremely versatile behaviorally. "We spend an awful lot of time looking for differences
between the sexes and trumpeting them when we find them," observes Wynne-Edwards, "but our brains are remarkably similar, built from the same DNA."

In fact, going into the study, Wynne-Edwards predicted that the "daddy brain" would use the same nerve circuits, triggered by many of the same hormones, as the "mommy brain." "If Mother Nature wanted to turn on parental behavior in a male," she reasoned, "the easiest thing would be to turn on pathways already there for maternal behavior."

The studies also found that a father's hormonal changes closely paralleled those of his pregnant partner.

The intimacy effect

The researchers believe that intimate contact and communication between partners may induce the hormonal changes that encourage a father to nurture his children. Storey explains, "My best guess is that women's hormone levels are timed to the birth—and men's hormone levels are tied to their partners."

Exactly how this occurs is unknown. There may be actual physiological signals exchanged between partners in close contact, such as the transmission of pheromones. Similar to odors, pheromones are volatile chemical substances that animals constantly give off through their skin or sweat but that are undetectable. Pheromones can stimulate specific reactions—especially mating—in other animals. Think of a female dog in heat attracting all those barking mate dogs in the neighborhood.

Classic studies show that menstruation is communicated, and synchronized, through pheromones among dorm mates in college. If women in dorms respond to one another's pheromones, then a man and a woman who share intimate space could certainly communicate chemical messages. These pheromones could biologically cue a man that his partner is pregnant and kick off the hormonal changes that prompt him to be a dad in deed as well as in seed. Pregnancy certainly could, in fact, be signaled.

The level of intimacy within a couple seems to be a factor in how a mother's body chemically signals approaching birth to a father. All of the men tested were living with their pregnant partners. Emotional closeness may also generate hormonal changes, although this possibility was not examined in detail. Still, couples reported feeling closer to their partner if they were taking about the baby and sharing details about the pregnancy.

Whether this is the cause or the result of hormonal changes remains unknown for now. But the intimacy effect and the subsequent hormonal shifts may also be the reason many men experience pregnancylike symptoms.

Honey, we're pregnant

When he is not taking care of Seamus, Hudnut treats both men and women in his practice. He recalls several patients who came to him complaining of such typical pregnancy symptoms as weight gain and nausea — all of whom were men. He remembers one second-time father who knew that his wife was pregnant even before she told him. He started having morning sickness, just as he had during her first pregnancy.

Pregnancy symptoms in men are actually more common than most people believe. Two studies found that approximately 90 percent of men experience at least one pregnancy-related symptom, sometimes severe enough to prompt an expectant father to seek medical help.

According to a study reported in Annals of External Medicine, more than 20 percent of men with pregnant wives sought care for symptoms related to pregnancy "that could not otherwise be objectively explained." Unfortunately, like pregnancy symptoms in women, there is little that can be done to make the symptoms go away—except wait.

Pregnancy symptoms in men, however well documented, are generally dismissed as being all in the father-to-be's head. Now it seems they may also be in his hormones. Storey and her colleagues found that the men who experienced more pregnancy symptoms actually had higher levels of prolactin. They also had a greater reduction in testosterone after exposure to sounds of crying and other "infant cues" that simulated the experience of being with an actual baby.

For men who feel nauseated or gain weight, no one yet knows for sure whether the changes in hormones are to blame. Surging hormones, however, have long been blamed for women's morning sickness and other pregnancy side effects. The fact that men also experience hormone changes suggests it is more than empathy that causes many of them to feel their partner's pain.

Changed by a child

While it now seems a father may accompany his wife on her hormonal roller coaster during pregnancy, interacting with the baby may keep his hormones spinning even after the birth.

It's no secret that hormone levels can change in response to behavior.

Sex, sports and work success can all send testosterone production spiraling upward. Might not nurturing a child -- or conversely, the sight, sound and smell of a newborn -- also change fathers' levels of testosterone?

In the original study, the researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later.

What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.

Even though scientists have long observed changes in animal and human behavior as a result of shifting hormone levels, they do not yet understand exactly how hormones accomplish such change. The hormone-behavior link remains one of the great mysteries of the brain.

Perhaps hormones stimulate more neuron connections in the part of the brain responsible for nurturing. Or perhaps hormones encourage neurons in nurturing pathways to fire more quickly.

Wynne-Edwards thinks hormones might turn a two-lane pathway in the father's brain into a four-lane superhighway. A neural road expansion might make fathers better able to recognize the smell or sound of their baby. It might even act on smell receptors in the nose to mitigate the smell of a baby's dirty diaper. Countless are the ways in which hormones could influence a father's brain to be more responsive to his baby.

Home on the range

Although testosterone may be the "primary" male sex hormone, research makes it clear that other hormones are also significant, especially during the transition into fatherhood Wynne-Edwards believes the research is "a validation of the experiences that men know they have had. It also goes a long way to bumping testosterone off its pedestal as the only hormone that is important to men."

Parke believes that the research suggests something even more radical: "Men are much more androgynous than we think. We have the capability to be aggressive and nurturing. The traditional view of men as predominantly aggressive really sells men short and denies their capability to experience the range of human emotions.

The research suggests that a man's hormones may play an important role in helping him experience this full range of emotions especially in becoming a loving and devoted dad. In fact, it offers the first evidence that to nurture is part of man's nature.

Now we have to get this in a lot of judges heads.