Monday, June 22, 2015

I didn't do a post on father's day...

because, aside from the donation of genetic material, human "fatherhood" is profoundly associated with social construction...and socially constructed stuff makes me nervous.

I was also vaguely aware of this bit of information taken from the wikipedia entry:

In the 1930s, Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level.[11] She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers.[12] By 1938 she had the help of the Father's Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion.[13] Americans resisted the holiday for its first few decades, viewing it as nothing more than an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother's Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes.[14] However, said merchants remained resilient and even incorporated these attacks into their advertisements.[15] By the mid-1980s, the Father's Council wrote that "(...) [Father's Day] has become a Second Christmas for all the men's gift-oriented industries.

I really don't care for anything having to do with "consuming".

But...I ran across this excellent post over on the Vine Sanctuary blog and wanted to refer everyone to this wonderful and informative writing.

In patriarchal cultures, “father” is king, the owner or at least ruler of women, children, and animals. The whole system crumbles if fatherless families are allowed to flourish. Many of the cultures steamrolled in the process of European imperialism and colonialism structured their communities and families differently than the patriarchal coupling prescribed by Christianity. Oftentimes, these differences in parenting practices were cited as justification for dispossession and genocide.
So, while Father’s Day is a fine time to laud the care-giving of folks like little Mighty Mouse — a rooster at the sanctuary who, for many years, adopted and parented motherless chicks who often grew to be many times his size — I persistently wish that those of us who question everything else might seize this day to challenge what, exactly, we mean by “father” and why we think that social role is so important.

Knowing more is generally a good thing...although the learning can be discomforting. I hope you'll read the whole blog post quoted above...it is thought provoking. In the meantime...if you're a male human...live vegan, oppose all systems of oppression and help all beings...that's good enough "fathering".

5 comments:

D.E.M. said...

Great entry!

I had to explain the birds/bees to my kid way earlier than I ever wanted to (she was 6 or 7) because while she knew she was "cut out of my stomach " (!) she was always asking "what exactly does dad have to do with any of this? Why do I look like him??"

Gah. I was all, "it's pretty minimal heh heh".

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. Glad you enjoyed. I thought the VINE post was excellent. If you're unfamiliar with Judith Butler's notions about various "identities" you might get a hoot out of some of her writing. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_performativity)

It's spooky and exhilarating to consider that we sorta make it all up as we go along and then pretend that the pretense is "reality" and laud or punish folks depending on whether they give good "performance". It was Mr. Shakespeare who said "all the world's a stage"...hmmm.

I wonder if human societies wouldn't simplify and/or improve things if, instead of focusing on the performances, we focused on the results. For instance, was the outcome kindness or cruelty, pleasure or pain? We seem to be not so much the "intelligent" species as the "most easily misled" species.

D.E.M. said...

We are the stupidest thing in the known universe!!!! Ah well.

Christine said...

Father’s day, and mother’s day for that matter, are nothing more than yet another opportunity to pressure people into buying a card and or a gift. In my opinion it is meaningless. Particularly in today's modern societies were a family unit is not always traditional as in gay couples or single mothers and yes single fathers. Despite progress in accepting such differences these silly special days persist and are promoted simply to make money. A couple of decades ago here in the UK a grandmothers’ day was attempted which thankfully was not successful.

I agree about the stereotypical masculine imagine and I am pleased to say that neither my husband or son adhere to this and I rather think such is the case for many men, but sadly many may feel the need to suppress their natural emotions.

Mother’s day is more of a tradition but father’s day is merely a money making racket ,as are most things nowadays, and which rather like Christmas is not easy to ignore.

Presents I believe should be given when we are motivated to do so spontaneously not when there is a specific day such as a birthday or parents day, anniversaries and so on. If this was the case I wonder how many we would receive.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. I'm glad the males in your family are able to step outside of "traditional" roles. And yes, many "days" are driven by consumerist ideology to a greater extent than anyone could wish.