Join Us
Key Issues
In the news
Letters to editors
Book Reviews

Time for Parenting...

...because raising children is a full-time job

March 2003 Newsletter

Equal, not identical; new members write; "Your Dad's a teacher"; What the papers say; What is work?

Equal not identical

You read it here first: men and women are not the same! It seems ridiculous that it should be un-p.c. to say so, but FTM has long adopted the role of challenging the 'Emperor's new clothes' mentality of a society that has confused 'equality' with an insistence that men and women should be interchangeable.

Whilst the Government tries to organise the tax system so as to 'encourage' mothers to go out to work, it is also attempting to persuade more men into the burgeoning childcare industry which is the inevitable consequence. Fathers are to become the new mothers - and vice versa. Help!

"In my day," goes a wonderful line from the film Enchanted April, "husbands were taken seriously, as the only real obstacle to sin!" What is the role of husbands and fathers today? "...in the empowerment of women," wrote Nancy Ody in a letter to the Times, "a traditional role has been taken away from men - at huge detriment to both sexes. What has come about following the feminist movement is a sort of gender chaos." Don't panic! FTM can help.

Newspapers over the past year or so have been proclaiming the "death of superwoman", as increasing numbers of women jack in their high-powered careers to become FTMs. What is heartening about these stories is that women are realising that they don't have anything to prove, they don't need to try and "have it all" - and they are happy at home! "The children have thrived," wrote Jo Crossley in the Evening Standard. "I love being with them when they need me most. The company can wait,...children can't. They grow up." Maternal instinct is back - biology is acceptable again. Hooray!

But what of men? It may go against the grain to say it, but I think we give them quite a tough time. We expect them to do their bit in looking after the children, but want to make them painfully aware that they do not meet our exacting standards in being able to grill fishfingers, change nappies, answer the telephone and discuss the finer points of Tyrannosaurus Rex's bone structure all at the same time. In our heart of hearts, we still want the home to be our domain.

But at the same time, we are determined to outstrip men in what is traditionally theirs - the workplace - with a kind of "anything they can do, we can do better" attitude. No wonder, as Nancy Ody writes, "...men...are disillusioned as to what their role is in society, in life and relationships... We need to stop downgrading men - the message of the feminist movement, after all, was equality, not superiority."

So, in campaigning for more women to have the choice to be ftms, let's also stick up for the nation's Dads! None of us should feel guilty about adopting traditional roles if it suits us. Equality is not sameness. Let's enjoy biology!