Saturday, November 26, 2005

Boys Without Dads
Illustration: Daniel Ferguson

I've been hearing the fuss about Maverick Moms by Peggy Drexler.
Lesbian and single moms who are raising boys with no male in the house.

What Drexler aims to prove in her book is quite provocative.

I've no doubt that children raised by gay couples are no less fucked up than children raised by heterosexuals.
For the simple reason that gay people have issues just like straight people do.

Children raised without a father (yin/yang if you like) in my experience have multiple issues. Maybe that's because of society's portrayal of the nuclear family.
Maybe it's to do with the religious right.
Maybe it has to do with potatoes in Poland...

Whatever the reasons, I think that the idea of "Maverick Moms" is an interesting one, since all moms are forced by their circumstances to be mavericks in one way or another.
My mom was a maverick too, only not in the way that Drexler describes.
What immigrant woman in the early 1970's leaves a man who treated her like shit, goes back to school, and raises a child with no support or welfare, or child tax benefit?
I think that single moms have always been mavericks, be they lesbian or not.

For Drexler to say:
"Yes, lesbians and single mothers can raise boys without a man in the house, and by doing so, these women are breeding a new kind of adult man sensible to family values and open to differences" to suggest that it's almost better to do it without a man.
That men raised with men in the house, are not "sensible to family values and open to differences". Because what she says is that this "new kind of man" is better.
Not like the old one raised by both a mother and father in the house.
Which is pretty explosive, because it doesn't matter how hard you try to exclude the "father figure" (and child custody laws, and the legal system has), it's still fundamentally necessary for a boy to identify with his father.

Ask any boy raised without one.
Hell, ask any girl.

What are your thoughts?