Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Addendum on suitability as parents

Revisiting some of my writings here, I also re-read http://www.theabsolute.net/misogyny/eisenman.htmle. While mostly dealing with unscientific and illogical feminist denial of differences between men and women, the article also notes that part of the men’s movement have had similar less than reasoned reactions to the claim that women would have a greater natural inclination to take care of children.

Let us take a more reasoned look at this, with an eye on e.g. the court room and custody issues after a divorce:

  1. The main criticism that can be raised against court decisions in this area, is that they often act in a blanket manner or award custody to the woman by default, without looking more closely on who is the more suitable individual parent.

    However, individual variation is very considerable. We should not casually dismiss female candidates for a math professorship—but let the individual candidate’s suitability decide. We should not automatically assume that a given man is taller than a given woman—but actually make a comparison. In the same way, we should see which individual parent is the better suited—not which has the “right” sex.

    Using objective standards will give men more math professorships and show most men to be taller than most women; however, neither case will see a pure men’s club. Objective standards could conceivably favour women in the third case (cf. below); however, it will not see a pure women’s club.

  2. The article mentions inclination rather than ability. (As have, IIRC, most other sources; although some may incorrectly assume that ability automatically follows inclination.)

    The inclination to take care of children, however, is not the most important issue—but the ability. Notably, it is far from rare that men equal or outdo women in traditionally or stereotypically female areas when they give it a try: Consider cooking, fashion, or books about or for small children. (There may be an element of dominance at extremes involved; however, even for the “couple on the street”, it is far from uncommon that the man is the better cook.)

    Correspondingly, that women are more inclined is not an argument, in and by itself, and proof would be necessary that they are actually better.

  3. Suitability is likely to vary depending on the age and sex of the child(ren) in question—and if a female toddler is better of with the mother, the same does not automatically follow for a boy of thirteen. Further, other factors than the intrinsic ability of the parent may play in, e.g. the need for a male role-model.

  4. If women actually are better suited than men on average, this is a statement about the overall population. This general statement need not be true for divorcing couples, however. Notably, married couples have a tendency to consist of a slightly older husband and a slightly younger wife, and often show a considerable difference (favouring the man) in terms of financial success, intelligence, and/or education. (Notably, women tend to want successful and intelligent men, while men seek young and good looking women—and those who do match the criteria of the opposite sex have worse chances of being “marriage material”.)

    Correspondingly, the husband could still be the better choice on average—even if women were better suited in the population as a whole.


Which sex resp. spouse is better suited on average, is not an issue I am competent to answer—and I seriously doubt that a sufficient quantity of sound research exist on the issue. However, the first item alone suffices as reason to stop undue favouring of women in this area, while the other should be a strong indication to proceed with great caution.

I further note that I was myself raised mostly by women (my mother and grandmother) and that this, in my specific case, had severe negative effects on my development—a complaint quite common among men with a similar background. Indeed, there has been research showing correlations (with a likely element of causation) between e.g. growing up without a father and criminal behaviour as an adult.