Children Need... THIS?
THE FATHER'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT: IN THEIR OWN WORDS
WARREN FARRELL, interviewed in Penthouse, December 1977, "Incest: The Last Taboo" by Philip Nobile
"the incest is part of the family's open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection..."
(Quoted material from article is in blue; the article's quotes of Farrell are in blue bold, and liznotes in black.)
Incest would be just another media trend, faddishly seduced and abandoned after repeated use, were it not for two forthcoming studies that promise to turn the prohibition on its head. Both introduce and uphold the notion of positive incest, an especially dissonant oxymoron that will madden therapists and confuse the masses more than the Kinsey reports did twenty-five years ago...
Kinsey collaborator Dr. Paul Gebhard, currently director of the Institute for Sex Research in Bloomington, Indiana... is releasing Kinsey's startling incest material for incorporation in Warren Farrell's work-in-progress, The Last Taboo: the Three Faces of Incest...
NBC'S "Weekend" visit to the Santa Clara County Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Center in San Jose will not help Farrell and Ramey convince anybody that incest is less than a scourge. Host Lloyd Dobyns was so depressed by the content that he told the audience in his introduction that he wasn't sure he'd watch himself if it weren't his own program. What followed was a montage of contrite fathers and exploited daughters pouring out unrelievedly sad stories of incest and grief. To interrupt the monotony of the documentary, producer Clare Crawford-Mason frequently cut to Hank Giaretto, director of the treatment center, for background and wisdom on the taboo. Giaretto was positively against incest and linked it to prostitution, drug abuse, and sexual dysfunction in daughter victims. In his experience the normally repressed impluse overpowered law-abiding, middle-class fathers when they were down and out professionally and alienated from their wives. These men looked toward their blossoming daughters first for consolation and then for sex...
Warren Farrell admires Giaretto's rehabilitative mission among legitimate victims, for his own investigation of positive incest allows for considerable negativity, particularly in the father-daughter category. But he faults "Weekend" for its skewed perspective. "It was like interviewing Cuban refugees about Cuba. 'Weekend' recorded sexually abused children speaking about their sexual abuse, which is valuable, but the inference is that all incest is abuse. [liznote] And that's not true."
...Although he vowed not to speak out prior to publication (probably in 1979), he consented to a one-time debriefing at a Chinese restaurant near his Riverside Drive apartment overlooking the Hudson River in Manhatten. At thirty-four, he is separated from his wife, who is an IBM executive, and childless...
[according to Farrell] Mother-son incest represents 10 percent of the incidence and is 70 percent positive, 20 percent mixed, and 10 percent negative for the son. For the mother it is mostly positive. Farrell points out that boys don't seem to suffer, not even from the negative experience. "Girls are much more influenced by the dictates of society and are more willing to take on sexual guilt."
The father-daughter scene, ineluctably complicated by feelings of dominance and control, is not nearly so sanguine. Despite some advertisements, calling explicitly for positive female experiences [now there's objective research for you], Farrell discovered that 85 percent of the daughters admitted to having negative attitudes toward their incest. [Could we phrase this a little more mildly?] Only 15 percent felt positive about the experience. On the other hand, statistics from the vantage of the fathers involved were almost the reverse -- 60 percent positive 10 percent mixed, and 20 percent negative. "Either men see these relationships differently," comments Farrell, "or I am getting selective reporting from women." [i.e. men tell the truth, women lie.]
In a typical traumatic case, an authoritarian father, unhappily married in a sexually repressed household [i.e it's the mother's fault] and probably unemployed, drunkenly imposes himself on his young daughter. [i.e it's not a traumatic case if dad is sober and gentle.] Genital petting may have started as early as age eight with first intercourse occurring around twelve [i.e. it's "genital petting", not "molestation"]. Since the father otherwise extends very little attention to his daughter, his sexual advances may be one of the few pleasant experiences she has with him. [i.e. give him joint custody, he needs more time] If she is unaware of society's taboo and if the mother does not intervene [it's the mother's fault], she has no reason to suspect the enormity of the aberration. But when she grows up and learns of the taboo, she feels cheapened. [i.e. it's everyone's but the father's fault.] If she comes from the lower class, she may turn to prostitution or drugs... The trauma is spread through all classes, Farrell observes, but incest is more likely to be negative in the lower class... [i.e. rules don't apply to important men.]
"When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200," says Farrell, "the incest is part of the family's open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve -- and in one or two cases to join in." [just a wholesome family, not a couple of perverts.]
[Re one of Farrell's reported "case studies"] ... the writer happened to be at his beach house alone with his attractive fifteen-year-old daughter.... His wife's appendix operation had curtailed his sex for the previous five months... the women on the beach and a few beers had led him into special temptation. When the daughter emerged from the bathroom in a towel, he greeted her in the nude and erect. Although he had never consciously desired incest before [that seducing vixen], he told his daughter he missed sex. Without further prompting, she fellated him...Two weeks later the daughter walked around the house naked until the father approached her. That day he deflowered her to their mutual satisfaction. But the father was careful not to push things. He did not want to hurt his daughter, who seemed to have an active sex life with boys her own age. [He "deflowered" her but she had an active sex life.] Several weeks later, the daughter took the initiative again... [note how innocent the man is throughout this entire little scenario.]
Farrell realizes the risks that attend publication of this book. "In a society where men are powerful and exploitive and insensitive to women's feelings, which is reinforced by female adaptiveness and a daughter's lack of power, data like these can be used as an excuse for the continuation and magnification of that exploitation. When I consider that, I almost don't want to write the book." [liznote: cf Myth of Male Power: Farrell does not believe that this is the way society is, but rather, that it's women exploiting men.]
Since neither victim nor benefactor needs Farrell's confirmation, why does he gamble with bringing on a sexual deluge? "First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn't. My book should at least begin the exploration."
"Second, I'm finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. My book should help therapists put incest in perspective." [He's a psychologist? No. Farrell''s Ph.D. is in political science]
Farrell also hopes to change public attitudes so that participants in incest will no longer be automatically perceived as victims. "The average incest participant can't evaluate his or her experience for what it was. As soon as society gets into the picture, they have to tell themselves it was bad. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy."
If pushed to the wall, would Farrell urge incest on families? "Incest is like a magnifying glass," he summarizes. "In some circumstances it magnifies the beauty of the relationship..."
Also see: Warren Farrell on "family sex."
Also see: Excerpt of review of Myth of Male Power
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
MAIN PAGE | COLLECTIONS
HISTORY LIBRARY | RESEARCH ROOMS
| THE READING ROOM
FATHERLESS CHILDREN STORIES | THERAPEUTIC JURISPRUDENCE | WOMAN SUFFRAGE TIMELINE | THE LIZ LIBRARY ENTRANCE
as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are copyright 1996-2009
the liz library. All rights
This site is hosted and maintained by argate.net. Send queries to: sarah-at-thelizlibrary.org.