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The single most overwhelming feature of parenthood in Disney nouveau is the almost total absence of the mothers. They are absent in far greater numbers than either renaissance fathers or mothers of the pre-Mermaid era. In fact, with only a single exception (Mulan), every single relevant major character in Disney's recent major releases either loses his or her mother in infancy, or is permanently separated from her during or before childhood, or simply has no onscreen mother at all. [Update 2012: In an interesting later deviation, the propaganda is even worse. In "Tangled", a distortion of the Rapunzel fairy tale, the girl's captor is given a stereotyped wicked single mother persona. She is the only truly evil character. An ostensible girl-power twist makes Rapunzel a stolen princess who at first smacks around the scofflaw ne'er-do-well who does very little to rescue her, instead of the child of married peasants who sold their baby, who later is saved by and marries the prince.]

Dallas Morning News had a long article about the skepticism (and hostility) battered women face in Dallas County's family courts. The article offers unusual, if dismaying, candor by family court judges. Among other frightening rulings, the judges have reacted to a law that prohibits giving an abuser joint custody by giving abusers full custody...

Abuse in the system: Courts fail to protect custody rights of battered spouses; judges call rulings fair
by Kendall Anderson
The Dallas Morning News

Annette Travi and Kelly Abernathy say the beatings they'd suffered had taught them the meaning of pain. But that was before they got to divorce court and lost custody of their children to the men they say abused them. . .

originally published on the web at:
Homicide Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, 21-49 (2009) 
University of Central Florida,

Slain and Slandered A Content Analysis of the Portrayal of Femicide in Crime News
by Rae Taylor

Gestational Surrogacy and other Logical Fallacies and Legal Fictions The present study is a content analysis of crime news to determine how femicide victims are portrayed by a Florida metropolitan newspaper. The analysis consisted of 292 domestic homicide-related articles published by one newspaper from 1995 to 2000. The data were analyzed to determine effects on newsworthiness, context revealed, and patterns of victim blame. A dichotomy concerning victim blame emerged from the analysis, suggesting victims are blamed directly and indirectly for their own femicides. Direct tactics include using negative language to describe the victim, highlighting her choices not to report past incidences, and portraying her actions with other men as contributing to her murder. Indirect tactics include using sympathetic language to describe the perpetrator; emphasizing the perpetrator's mental, physical, emotional, and financial problems; highlighting the victim's mental or physical problems; and describing domestic violence in terms that assign equal blame to both partners. 

A survey of divorced, Philadelphia-area women found that 70% were abused by their spouses.  
  • Nineteen percent cited the violence as their primary reason for leaving the marriage. 
  • Fifty-four percent had suffered several incidents of violence and sustained injury from their ex-husbands. 
  • Even after separation, nearly one-half of the women experienced violence from their estranged husbands.  
  • Not surprisingly, 30% feared further violence during child support negotiations, and, of this subset, 66% did not receive regular child support payments
  • (Kurz, Demie. (1996). "Separation, Divorce, and Woman Abuse."
    Violence Against Women, 2(1): 63-81.)

    Gelles, R.J. (1996)
    The Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives.
    New York: Basic Books. ISBN: 0-465-05395-5

    from a listserve discussion prompted by
    ADOPTION & FOSTERING, VOLUME 22, NUMBER 1, 1998, PAGE 24-30 **Adoption and adjustment in adolescence**:

      liz: Did the authors hypothesize why the children might have had more problems than in intact birth families?...

    RZ: I think the ultimate point is that although adopted children in two parent households did worse than intact 2 parent biological families, they did better than children in blood related single parent families. The research [other research somewhere, apparently] consistantly shows single parent families as not conducive to child welfare.

      liz: I must have missed that point... this research found a significant difference between two-parent birth homes and two-parent adopted homes. However, the socio-economically advantaged, two-parent adoptive homes performed only marginally better than poor, unwed single mother homes in the control group. That indicates that it's not two parents that count but other factors. [Is it sperm?]

      "In particular, children placed in adoptive families had rates of externalising behaviours (including conduct disorders, juvenile offending and substance use behaviours) that were significantly higher than children reared in two-parent birth families but somewhat lower than those of children who entered single-parent families at birth." -- David Fergusson is Associate Professor, Christchurch Health A Development Study, Christchurch School of Medicine, New Zealand

    EB: I think it is clear that the study is implying that children do worse in single parent homes.

      liz: The synopsis posted here doesn't imply that at all.  If you've read the study, perhaps you could share where it differed from the synopsis.

    EB: [snarkily] Interesting... you'd think that the abandonment issues early on would have more of an impact than the effect of having just one parent...

      liz: The synopsis said that these were adoptions from time of birth.  [This group of adoptees were chosen in order to control for those possible other factors.]

    EB: Easy to generalize -- but it does bring home the point of how difficult it is for children to live with only one parent.  Whether that be because of how difficult it is for the parent to cope, or because of the absence of the other parent... who knows...

      liz: Widowed households show child-rearing outcomes similar to intact two-parent homes... I wonder how it much hurts children's feelings and harms their self-esteem to live in a world in which they constantly are told how abnormal their family is. What do you think?

    RZ: Should we also keep adopted children ignorant of their adoption because of the low esteem factor involved in learning that your mother gave you away and your father did nothing to stop her?

      liz: The vast difference between this situation and the constant message about their abnormal families given to children of single parents is that society at large does not know whether any given child has been adopted, that there's an easy counter to the rejection issue in the "we chose you" response, and that the adopted home is in all other ways indistinguishable from the blood-issue home.

    RZ: Perhaps we should all live in ignorance about the negative effects of single parenthood, especially since, barring a spouses death, most single parent situations are a result of adult choices made for the kids who have no such choice.

      liz: The only negative effect that can be said to directly and always trace from a child's having one parent versus two is the effect of society's constant negative and demeaning messages, not only about the circumstances but also impliedly about the child's parents.  No other "effect" of single parent homes has been proved to be related per se to the fact that a child lived in a home with one parent rather than two.  That there is only one parent bespeaks of a multitude of other factors that are creating negative outcomes and which are more likely to be found in single parent homes. [For more on this issue, see 017.htm]

    EB: liz, you and I go far back arguing about whether children need a father in their life -- I would guess that your position here is that children do just fine with just a mom -- is that what you are trying to argue here?

      liz: EB, You're the one who is genderizing this. Not me.

      Children need ONE parent. Two is gravy. Not a "need." However, BOTH kinds of families, one-parent or two-parent (of whatever sex or sexes) can provide a whole and wholesome and nurturing environment for raising children.

      Because the two-parent man-woman intact home is the ideal in our society, and is a structure more easily supported by it, that arrangement may be socially and financially easier for the primary caregiver.  But that holds true ONLY if there's a supportive marital partner in the residence. Nothing and no research indicates that children benefit from two parents when those parents do not live together in a functional marriage.

      Moreover, when a two-parent home breaks up from divorce, it is likely that this particular two-parent home is NOT better in that particular case.  

      When the relationship between the parents is gone, the very thing that makes an intact two-parent household the social ideal it is (love, cooperation, support from father to mother, husband/wife role models, etc.) also is GONE. Gone forever.  Period.  Ended.  Kaput.

      In such cases, the next best alternative, and the only appropriate choice, is a stable, intact one-parent home.  Nothing is to be gained by personalizing this; it's not about your husband or father...  another family's version of "Dad" may be a drunk who comes home at 10 p.m. and starts throwing chairs... your personal version (and clouded vision) might be better, but that one isn't.

      It's also better to live in a home with a high income.  Shall we start a campaign bashing working class families and their child-rearing outcomes?  or how about setting up demographic studies by... ethnic group? religion? and start comparing.  Let's compare how Southern Baptist homes do versus Jewish homes on graduate school attendance.  Maybe we can make a case to trash one religion or the other.  LET'S BE SURE TO TELL THE KIDS, TOO. (Don't want to keep ANYTHING from them that was their parent's choice.)

      The constant denigrating of one-parent households DOES harm children. The constant blather and blame laid against one-parent homes only makes it harder for these households to function well, and it accomplishes nothing toward preserving marriages that are in fact gone.  Even the "parental choice" argument is invalid: some single women likely would have preferred to have remained or become married, but that simply was not a viable option.

      In a bad marital situation, mothers may make the choice to establish a single parent home because it is better than the only alternative they have at hand -- a dysfunctional two-parent home.

      Single parent household bashing is nasty. EB, all those kids you say you talk to from "fatherless" homes, who supposedly feel bad... especially where there's not an actual person who is being missed, are you sure it's not the questions and attitudes of people like you who are creating those bad feelings?

    [Note: EB died not too long after this discussion, leaving her children in a one-parent home.]

    SAN FRANCISCO (Bay City News)
    August 14, 1998
    A child development specialist at the University of California at San Francisco says young children who witness domestic violence show an increase in IQ scores when treated together with their mother.

    Alicia Lieberman presented preliminary findings of the ongoing study at a meeting of the American Psychological Association today in San Francisco...

    Among the findings: Sixty percent of the children showed IQ increases over pre-treatment IQ tests.  Half of the mothers no longer showed signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome. And the emotional quality of the child-mother relationship improved.

    The UCSF Child Trauma Research Project study involved 45 mother-child pairs. All of the women had suffered severe domestic violence and all of the children, who were between the ages of 3 and 5, had witnessed the attacks.

    Other promising findings, according to Lieberman, were that only two of the 45 children showed acute stress at the end of the treatment. And only one mother returned to the perpetrator during treatment, compared to a common return rate of 50 percent when the mother and child are treated separately...

    Sunday, May 30, 1999
    by Miriam Stawowy
    "Swiss Guard called traitor for exposing bank scandal"

    Q: When you firsrt saw those documents that detailed Jewish holdings in the banks, did you think about what telling would mean?

    A: I knew it would have an impact.  But on the other hand, it made more sense to preserve every evidence. I turned it over to help the Jewish people.  At the time, the World Jewish Congress was pressuring Switzerland to disclose how much money they had from Jews in Swiss bank accounts...

    Q: What was the initial response?

    A: People were angry that I helped the Jews...

    Q: Why did you speak up and not walk away from those documents about to be destroyed??

    A: First of all, I'm a Christian.  I believe the Bible is true and that Jesus is the Messiah, the boss.  If you take him in your heart, he'll give you a new life.

    Fatherless Children History SeriesBut I also grew up different than the other kids around me.  My parents divorced when I was 10.  I felt discriminated by being in a family without a father. Maybe this turned me into who I am...

    I like the openness of American society. People let you breathe here.  In Switzerland people attack you.  They don't like people who are different...


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