For various reasons my actual biological dad has never really been around in my life for a long time. I’ve never had too much of a relationship with him since I got old enough to be on my own (this pretty much happened when I was a teenager) and to be honest I’m not sure that it has really hurt me that badly. I mean, I never remember actively looking for some other man to be “dad” to me, even when I was younger. I never panicked and said “oh my God I need a dad where can I find one? Think they have a sale at the local Walmart?” It hurts that someone you’ve known all your life and someone who’s supposed to be family is no longer around and has hurt you badly but I’m not so sure it is because he himself brings something special to my life just on account of the genetic relationship/ social role played by being dad.
The truth is that fatherhood is a cultural creation. Mostly the drive for “father’s rights” and the importance of “every child having a father” is an attempt for men to stay relevant in a world where women are increasingly independent of them and can have and support themselves and their offspring without men. After all, if women ever figure it out and are allowed to have babies without men and can be self sufficient to where men aren’t needed then what role will men have in society? The quest for father’s rights is about men’s drive for dominance and control and also about male sexual jealousy. Harsh truth? Yes. But as they say, the truth hurts.
It is what it is. Of course in modern society monogamous relationships with fathers playing a central role in providing for offspring and mothers raising them is quite necessary. It all depends on the norms of society. We aren’t running around in beads and feathers anymore; our lives are more structured and therefore our family arrangements must reflect this as well. Men need to have an important role in society in one way or another.
Of course, anytime one lives in a way or comes from a family pattern that differs from the norm it can create confusion and problems. Someone growing up never knowing their dad in a society where everyone else is expected to have a dad will undoubtedly have problems and feel confusion, anger, depression, etc… and suffer as a result. They’re different. They’re an outcast and “not one of us.” And they know it. If one is raised in a primitive society where promiscuity is the norm and few even know their fathers because nobody even cares then there is unlikely to be any problems, confusion or heartbreak because, hey, they’re completely normal just like everyone else. It’s no big deal. They’re “one of us.” I think we will see these same problems in children being raised by two gay parents as well because they are different from everyone else and undoubtedly they will be confused and have the same mental issues as a result of being different.
Society always shapes our perceptions of ourselves. Nobody is immune from this. If you’re an outcast and differ from everyone else, it hurts. Plain and simple. If you are like everyone else and fit in life is more pleasant and you’re happier. No matter how much we say we don’t care about what others think, deep down we do- at least to an extent and someone who just can’t fit in is likely to withdraw completely from the society that has outcast them.
So with all that being said does “dad” himself bring something special? I don’t think, in truth, that he does. I think when I look back and when I think of my life now it is more about a drive to depend upon men, look up to men and follow men. It is a primitive instinct and I think it is hard wired into all women to do so. After all, women have been doing this since the beginning of time and it has always been necessary for survival. Modern men may be withdrawing from this responsibility (to disastrous results) but it doesn’t change the facts one bit. It doesn’t change biology. Women can live without men for the most part- at least until disaster strikes. Even where men don’t provide most of the resources they have always universally and historically provided protection.
Family arrangements are cultural constructions. It’s never really bothered me not having an actual dad around because I always seemed to have at least one man around who wasn’t perverted to me and acted fatherly to me and who took care of me in one way or another. Even if I didn’t have a close relationship with the men they still made a difference in my life. My dad may have been around when I was growing up, but that didn’t make a difference when it came to how much male attention I craved or whether or not I partied, etc… Maybe it would have been different if he would have been different towards me, I cannot say. But either way I don’t think I’ve ever really felt the loss of not having a father-daughter relationship. I distanced myself from him many years ago and have honestly never cried about it and honestly never felt any void beyond just wishing I had a family and somewhere to belong.
Education and a greater understanding of the world has also made me more immune to any insults from others and the ways society tries to outcast those who are different. The truth of what I’ve discovered about life is that the majority of people are stupid and most (not all) blindly believe what they’re told/what they hear so what they think is of little concern to me.
I think the problems really occur when there are no men around for women to look up to. I think that is the hurtful and damaging thing. After all girls and women in countless societies have never had dads, but they still depended on the men around them and still had male family members to depend on and to take care of them. I mean, if a woman looks around and every man young and old is an unreliable, untrustworthy pervert how is she to feel? On the other hand if there are a few men in her life that she can trust and look up to and who take care of her that’s a different story. It’s like the world is set right somehow.
So is it dad himself that makes a difference? Probably not. It is ultimately all about society’s norms and a deep biological drive for women to depend on and follow men and a woman’s need for stability and security.
The father’s main role should be protection and provision of his offspring, as women need the protection of men (even to protect them from other men) but that role can be fulfilled by other family members and eventually a husband.