When the great Founding Fathers of America built the framework for what is today’s Democracy, they may have been a bit “misguided” when it came to issues like slavery, voting, and Women’s rights. Initially the rights that were outlined in our constitution applied to white land owners. This meant that the working class, Women, and slaves were all (possibly) seen by the Founding Fathers as entitled to a little less than what the constitution guaranteed the rich, and educated. I would imagine that given the day and age the United States Constitution was written, and the lingering ideals of social elitism from the “Old World”, it was to be expected.
Soon enough, the Women of America began to wonder why they could not own property, vote, earn a wage, or seek higher education. Though there were cases of such “outlandish” things, they were few and far between. In divorce proceedings, the Father was typically given custody of their children because he could provide a home, and income, while the Mother was unable to earn a wage or own a home. This and many other injustices were outlandish and needed to be changed. Some right minded well intentioned Women in early America began speaking through their husbands and other men against these injustices, and because it was "coming from a man" a few people started to listen.
One of these progressive Women, Dorthea Dix fought for the rights of the mentally ill, who had previously been treated like animals. She helped to found facilities where the mentally ill could be given treatment, and care appropriate to the science of the early 1800’s. Trail blazers such as Mary Lyon and Emma Willard founded one of the first institutions of higher education for young Women. Maria Mitchell was the first Female, American Astronomer; who in 1847 looked to outer space and found a comet. The very first Woman in the world to receive a Medical Degree, Elizabeth Blackwell, after being shunned by many medical facilities in New York; founded a facility completely run by women to provide health care.
These Women and many others planted the seeds that would grow in to Women’s Rights movements, Women’s Suffrage movements, and movements that would grow in to today’s Feminist movement. Strong Women like the Grimke Sisters, Angelina and Sarah spoke out against slavery and were called “non-feminine” for speaking out on issues that were in that time “for the men to deal with.” Said Sarah Grimke, “Whatsoever it is morally right for a man to do, is morally right for a Woman to do.”
In 1840 Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady were forbidden to attend an international meeting against slavery because they were Women. Amazed that they, who were fighting to free black slaves, were themselves because of their sex, afforded the same freedoms as slaves; they began work for the first Women’s Rights Convention. Eight years later, in Seneca Falls, New York; 300 delegates (40 of which were Men) attended the convention where the “Declaration of Sentiments”, (based on the Declaration of Independence) was written and ratified, it stated “all Women and Men are created equal”, and “the history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of Man toward Women.” The Declaration finally demanded, that Women must “have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.” This convention was the beginning of an organized Feminist movement in the United States. Due to the Civil War, the momentum of the movement was slow, but once again took hold after the dust of war had settled in America.
Flash forward to America in the 20th Century, even after the reshaping of America during World War II, where women occupied what were traditionally “men’s jobs”, they were still paid less, and expected to keep a home, while Men went to work, and brought home the money. In many cases when a Husband and Wife purchased a home, it would be in the Man’s name only. The same was true for automobiles, bank accounts, and other investments. Still a relatively unbalanced society, bras were burnt, and Woman “roared”; society listened and throughout the past four decades, America has witnessed Women serving in public office, becoming commanding Generals in the United States Military, and finally seen as serious candidates for the President of the United States of America.
While all of this has come to America, and we have seen great strides toward equality, I have to ask myself, “is this what was intended?” I am not talking about Women as President, or Women in positions of power. I am not talking about the “glass ceiling” finally beginning to break, or that Women are free to hold whatever position they wish in the work world. I am talking about are the “special” rights that Women have been afforded.
While America has taken the outward position of “Women as equals”, we have maintained the ideal of “Women as victims”. We see it every day in Family Courtrooms throughout America. Man and Woman stand before the judge, and an unfounded, unsubstantiated claim of Domestic Violence is made by the Woman against the Man; without a second though judges across America sign their names to protection orders based on unsubstantiated claims of violence or potential violence. I have personally sat in courtrooms where a Woman has stated (about an Iraq War Veteran), “He just got back from Iraq, and he has told me he killed people there, I am afraid for my own safety now.” and with that, a protection order was given.
Much of the time when this takes place; it is during divorce proceedings, where there are Children involved. So now “Dad” is forbidden to see his children or can only see them if and when “Mom” says it is O.K. Then, the visitation is either supervised by a third party, like Child Protective Service (CPS), or a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). There are evaluations made of the parent child relationship, and the living conditions of the Father’s home. All the while, “Mom” has primary custody of the Child(ren), and the courts tend to grant full custody of the children to Mom, while the Children are limited to seeing their Father 2 weekends a month, and every other Family Holiday.
I am certain that when the Women that founded Feminism would be rolling over in their graves, or standing and waving shameful finger at those who have allowed their well intentioned agenda to be taken this far. What they wanted and stood for was EQUAL rights for ALL citizens of America. What it seems to have become is a movement that will stop at nothing short of seeing Men in the place where Women were in the early days of America.
I am sure this will bring attacks, and backlash; I will be called everything from a sexist, to another “angry dad”, to whatever else can be conjured up in the minds of those who will call me wrong. I will say this: I am not against EQUAL rights for ALL Americans, be they Man, Woman, or Homosexual. I am not against a strong parental relationship between Children and BOTH of their parents. I am not against strong Domestic Violence (DV) laws that protect Women, Children, and Men, so long as the claims of DV can be substantiated, and are subject to the same scrutiny as other criminal accusations.
What I AM against is “SPECIAL” rights for ANY group of people based on sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. I am against the perpetuation of the “Women as victims” mentality of the Family Courts of America. Finally I am against inequality. Everyone Man Woman and Child is entitled to the same rights as every other American, and it is time that the Family Courts of America begin enforcing equality.
It is time to bring things back on track, and focus on equality. It is time to work together to ensure that both Women and Men are afforded the same rights and considerations. It is time for Men and Women to come to the table and find a common goal. When it comes to Family, the common goal should be easy to identify. The common goal should be to raise our Children to be bright, and successful young Men and Women who will maintain a society we can ALL be proud to live in equally, and happily. I am sure that was the intention of the founders of the Women’s movement.