THE LIZ LIBRARY: LIZNOTES - The Fathers' Rights Movement

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Cover of PENTHOUSE December 1977, containing the article INCEST: THE LAST TABOO by Philip NobileWarren Farrell on: Empowerment Feminism

Apparently, Warren Farrell has persisted in shmearing his vomitus around the internet protesting, among other things, the publication of the information put out on these webpages. Dean Hughson (see his entry on what has affectionately come to be known as The Pig Page) recently forwarded the following drivel to the Witchhunt listserve. It appears to be an email directly from Warren Farrell written in May 2000. It is reproduced here in the entirety in the blue text. liznotes comments are interspersed in gray text.

Forwarded Message:
Subj: [witchhunt] Warren Farrell reformatted
Date: 8/15/00 10:08:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Dean Hughson)
To: (witchhunt)

Michelle was nice enough to make this clean and better to read. Thanks. Dean

Subject: Re: A statement you allegedly made
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 13:10:22 -0700
From: Warren Farrell <>
Organization: @Home Network


Thanks for going directly to the source. Since I have been writing in support of what I call empowerment feminism, but in opposition to what I call victim feminism, I have been a target of the efforts of Liz Kates and Trish Wilson to personally attack almost all the father's rights advocates. In my case, they have been successful in making some people fearful of looking at the research I have done in areas such as domestic violence (in Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, by Tarcher/Putnam, 1999).

(Getting in the ubiquitous book plug.)

Since the fear starts with the accusation of my being pro-incest, as it did at your roundtable, I appreciate the opportunity to separate the truth from the fiction. Highlights first: I have never been pro-incest.

Are you anti-incest? Or merely "pro-choice" in the matter?

In the Penthouse article, the word "genitally" should be "generally".

Weren't you claiming just a few months ago that the "genitally" word was supposed to be "gently?" Now it's "generally." What happened? Finally get ahold of Nobile's tape or something and there were three syllables?

(Lots of really smart people must find it unbelievable that he could have said "genitally" in the context of a PENTHOUSE article about parents fucking children...)

Is this a misquote, too, where you supposedly said:

    "the incest is part of the family's open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection..."


I have let Liz Kates know this in writing.

You didn't!  Send me a copy; I'd like to see it.

This does, though, imply that I did do a study about incest. That is correct. I conducted it in the '70s after Random House published The Liberated Man, a pro-feminist book based on my years on the Board of N.O.W. in New York City.

Are you also trying to imply here that this... "study" somehow was the follow-up to your "liberated man" ideas, or that Random House asked you to do this... "study"?

(And: do you have some kind of difficulty correctly stating the name of the local chapter for whom you were a director? Still? We are getting tired of your implying that you sat on "the" national ? "B"oard of NOW, in dangling-misplaced-modifier New-York-City.)

I never published the findings on incest despite having a contract with Bantam books to do so in book form.

When was this? After those other publishers turned it down?

As a result, the topic of incest is not the subject of any of my writing. All four of my books -- as well as my experiential workshops -- are attempts to get both sexes to understand the other.

"Experiential workshops?" What's that? Sounds like where incest practitioners talk about their experiences...

(The bad news is that this is not likely to be achieved in my lifetime. The good news is I guess I'll always be fully employed!) My forthcoming work is to be titled [bleep]. It is very much on what is in the best interests of the child. Incest is not a topic in the book. Now, some more detail...

(Plug for another book...)

I refrained from publishing the incest findings because I feared that what I found would be distorted and misused. (It's a bit ironic that it still is, even though I did not publish it!) I allowed myself the one interview with Penthouse to get a sense of whether the message would be distorted in print, or after print, or both.


Why would you have tested the media waters, so to speak, in a publication such as Penthouse, and not, oh say... Newsweek or the New York Times, or, hell, Psychology Today...?

When I saw that the answer was both, I gave up a multi-year research effort.

Odd... you allegedly gave it all up in... 1977? And yet in 1983 there you were still yammering about incest at this supposed "sexologists'" convention... ?

Obviously this cost me considerably. You may wish to know my motivation for undertaking the incest study.


It evolved from reading in Ms. and other sources in the early '70s that incest was like terminal cancer. This attitude seemed to me to hold out no hope for a cure. I wondered whether therapists, by seeing the most difficult cases, were creating this conclusion in the same way we had about homosexuality being a disease by looking largely at a patient population that was unhappy.

This might almost make sense if at the time you had been a psychologist. Or even therapist of some sort.

But you weren't then, and you aren't now. Your Ph.D. is in political science. (Political scientists generally don't drop their field of scholarship for YEARS to gather up anecdotes about sex perverts, suddenly concerned about helping real psychologists' with their therapeutic approaches because of something they read in Ms. Magazine. Since there's no apparent professional connection here... )

I felt that if a non-patient population had a larger variety of experiences, we might have information to better help people who were traumatized.

Uh huh...

So I put ads in papers soliciting anonymous over-the-phone intensive interviews from people experiencing any form of incest, from cousin-cousin and brother-sister to father-daughter and mother-son, asking them to rank their experience as positive, negative or mixed. I created lie detector tests that I built into the interviews.

Is that where you got this therapy-assisting gem? (Farrell quote from the same Penthouse article):

    "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... 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.

Hey! -- did you write this down for Nobile, or is he just really really fast with the pen and steno pad, getting it all accurately while you talked? Where's the interview tape, Warren?

Some of the ads I placed solicited experiences perceived either as positive or negative; other ads solicited only positive, until I attained enough people who perceived their relationship as positive to have numbers large enough to make comparisons to the negative (since the negative ones were obviously more easily attainable).

(Does the man's research and statistical acumen stun you or what...)

The focus of the book was broadening the base of therapeutic options for interventions that could reverse trauma. The Kinsey Institute ranked it as, by far, the best and most responsible study ever done on the subject.

Would this be the same Kinsey Institute that has been accused of using as "research," data compiled by pedophiles in the course of sexually abusing infants and children?

However, in the process of always being asked about the positive experiences, the deeper purpose of the study often got lost.

    "When the daughter emerged from the bathroom in a towel, he greeted her in the nude and erect..."

Did you actually speak these words to Philip Nobile in the interview, or did you just give him a little carte blanche to have fun with your pornography, I mean, research findings?

I saw this happen in the Penthouse interview, and sometimes I contributed to the process by not being media savvy enough. I felt that if I did not publish the material, I would be able to limit the exposure of the information to in-depth workshops with only professionals.

Really. So what sort of "professionals" were supposed to get your now-secret positive incest research? What kind of workshops?

So that is what I did.

Can we find out a little more about these "in-depth workshops" on positive incest? What professionals now possess this "widened base of therapeutic options?"

As I mentioned above, my most recent work has included an examination of all the domestic violence research and the outlining of approaches that can minimize violence by anyone. I have just returned from training therapists in Ireland, mostly directors of women's shelters, on these approaches.

You've been "training therapists" have you? "Mostly directors of women's shelters." Battered women.  In Ireland.  Special...

The [bleep; sorry no advertising here] book examines research from around the world on the effects on children when brought up only by moms vs only by dads; it looks at what dads and moms tend to contribute that is unique--and why--and what needs to change legally and psychologically to make dads as much a part of the home in the 21st century as women became to the workplace in the 20th century. Obviously sending mothers out of the family without bringing dads into the family leaves children with a parenting vacuum.

"Parenting vacuum." Tempting... I'll resist, and direct the rest of you to
Myths and Facts about Motherhood and Marriage, and
Myths and Facts about Fathers and Family.

Sincerely, Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

    Farrell Pages:
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