does the gender of parents matter?
This is a hot topic. I am not writing an article, so I’m not citing references. I am also writing from my own place, as a queer, 20-something, educated, white, non-Christian. I was raised by a Christian grandmother in a relatively liberal Christian church, and practiced Wicca, Hinduism, and Buddhism with other relatives at the same time. My parents both struggled financially, and we often lived very humbly, and yet I would consider myself privileged as I had everything I needed, as compared to children who grow up in third-world conditions. That is to say, I had safe drinking water, enough food at all times, access to a good education, clothing that if not new, was very nice and in abundance, transportation that enabled me to travel easily from one place to another, and a grandmother willing and able to pay for and transport me to and from extracurricular activities. I was also privileged enough to go to college, although I had to pay through scholarships and loans and work full-time to support myself while studying. I was then able to get a job in a career I enjoyed with health benefits and a decent, middle-class wage. I am able-bodied, able-minded, and despite many childhood challenges arising from abuse, I had the resources at my disposal to overcome most of their negative effects. I had the mental capabilities and hardiness as well as access to therapy, self-help books/tv, and other ways to empower myself such as through travel and education.
I start this post with that self-bio because I know that it affects my belief and value system. Environmental influences, heredity, and good or bad fortune dictated almost all of the way I think, my opinions, and my positions on divisive moral issues.Even my career as a nurse has influenced how I see my nation’s policies and how quickly I judge those of a different background from me.
The point I’m finally getting to, is that I have a hard time believing that fatherless children are at a disadvantage. It’s hard for me to accept because I don’t see my father as having played a parenting role in my life. I see my mother and grandmother as my primary parents, and feel that they did a more than adequate job. I don’t feel that I was disadvantaged by having two female parental figures. Nor do I believe that a child is disadvantaged by having two male parental figures. I believe that a two person household, or parenting team even if they reside separately, can effectively parent regardless of the nature of their relationship with each other or their gender.
Now, when it comes to raising boys, I admit to feeling confused and conflicted. I tend to think that having one strong male influence is important for a male child, and the same for a female child having one strong female influence. As a girl, however, I don’t think that I lacked in any way for not having a strong male influence in my life. My father’s role was minimal, and there was no uncle or or brother or male teacher of any kind to fill that gap. And I don’t have a hole inside of myself, or feel that I’m missing anything, or would somehow be more complete or psychologically well if I had had that.Certainly if I had had that, it would have been nice, and that male could have contributed greatly to my life, but not because of his gender, just because of his person and our relationship.
That being said, I do feel like I would have been lacking if everyone in my life had been male, with no primary female-to-female relationship. But I can’t say for sure, since I’ll never really know. Still, it’s enough of a belief that I fear raising a son, and thus have a strong preference for daughters. I fear that a little boy of mine would grow up without a strong male figure (I have no brothers, husband, close male friends, etc) and would end up on some Oprah-esque show describing the huge emptiness inside of him and the ways it impacts him negatively. I don’t want to take that risk.
I don’t agree that fatherless daughters are necessarily promiscuous or lacking in self confidence. I certainly wasn’t. Perhaps other factors are involved, such as over-worked and less available mothers as a result of being the only earner for the household. That’s just my hypothesis. This is just coming from a very narrow self-perspective. I don’t think that fatherless (or male replacementless) boys are necessarily going to be more violent (that too may just be a result of the burdens on the remaining single parent), but I tend to think they will feel a lack in some way.
I was watching Oprah’s show on fatherless boys and that’s what brought this whole post on. It’s a controversial subject, one that many many people will disagree with me on. I respect the roles that fathers can and do play. Like I said, I think a two parent household made up of two men can raise a girl without any issues resulting from the gender of her parents. But I am not convinced that she wouldn’t need a close female figure somewhere along the way to complete her sense of well-
Ok flame me if you want.