British writer Louis de Bernières — a man whose name is so tantalizingly close to “Béarnaise” that, repeated enough times, it will drive you mad with hunger — availed himself this Father’s Day of a media pulpit from which he could decry the institution that wreaks the most psychic destruction on children (particularly sons): the patriarchy. No, just kidding — it’s divorce and, more specifically, single motherhood!
Bernières, who’s most famous for his novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, started strolling down the primrose path of MRA talking points by explaining that there’s just too much man-hate going on today. Why does everyone hate men? Answer us that, pop culture:
We’ve had enough of this image of fathers, in fact men in general, being perpetrated at all levels, as at best feckless and at worst violently abusive. There has been a relentless attack on the worth of men over the years which has been very damaging to their self-esteem.
Sure, being constantly inundated with gifs of Don Draper (spoiler alert) being caught by his children in mid-coitus might dampen a father’s self esteem, sort of like the way being constantly inundated with female superheroes assuming ass-out, tits-out battle stances might make girls think that their value to society is based solely on their sexual desirability and availability. However, Bernières isn’t interested in drawing any parallels between how certain cultural stereotypes (like doofus sitcom dads who like toolbelts and cheese doodles) negatively influence individual self-esteem. He really just wants to tell everyone about how single mothers are ruining the world:
Every other weekend is not enough to sustain a loving relationship with a child. Children need two people, two different personalities in their lives, two ways of living. Two individuals offer two different sets of life skills to a child.
Furthermore, as a father I can do things with my children that my ex simply cannot, physically. I can horseplay with them in a way she, and other women, can’t – and children need that physical aspect of parenting.
Dude, we get it — you went through a divorce (from theater director Cathy Gill back in 2009), it was semi-shitty, and you think that it turned you into some kind of spokesman for disaffected divorced fathers all over the world. Bernières occasionally made some sense, especially when he said that young boys need positive male role models so they don’t grow up to perpetuate a cycle of shitty fathering, but horseplay isn’t a dude-only parenting endeavor. Besides, single moms are doing just fine, thanks, without all the MRA griping.
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