Aug 10 2008

As long as we’re talking about dudes and kids

This study, according to eFluxMedia, says “men really adore children.” This bizarre conclusion is apparently derived from data suggesting that more men than women adopt children. The study found that about twice as many men, in fact, adopt kids. From which information the article’s author concludes that the notion of responsibility-shirking men is a “myth,” and anyone who says otherwise is “wrong.”

I get that dude couples who are desperate to replicate the basic unit of patriarchy, the nuclear family, have little choice but to adopt. But how many of them are there, really, compared to the number of dudes who marry a woman’n’kids package and end up adopting the kids? And how many single straight dudes yearn for the pitter-patter of little adopted feet?

So what about it? Does “adopt” = “adore”? Or, as I am required by the Spinster Aunt Code to cynically suspect, are there benefits to dudely adopters that transcend the simple joys of parental bliss?


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  1. Bridget

    Ah yes, it’s so wonderful when men can find it in their hearts and busy days to adore children.

    Whereas, women are *expected* to adore children. Well, actually required …

  2. The speaker to machines

    You know, it’s strange… I actually *have* noticed this, but I also suspect it’s a fairly recent change. It may well be self-selecting for a particular type, but the few men I’ve made friends with over the years all actively want kids as one of their great goals in life. Two of them regardless of whether they ever marry and have the nuclear family.

    And, all in all, other than my own, whom I see on a limited basis, I can’t stand kids, so it’s not like I’m searching around for men to be friends with so we can discuss our mutual love for the small screamy things.

  3. kristi

    They admit as much in the last graf. Men are marrying divorced women with children, and adopting the children. Someone apparently decided it would make a better story if they made it sound as if men were running out and adopting children on their own.

  4. K.A.

    kristi beat me to it. Exactly. Ugh.

    And there are also single men who seek lax foreign restrictions on single men adopting young girls from other countries. I’m sure you can figure out why that is.

    Men have this vested interest in misrepresenting what total scumbag fuck ups they are in the media. It’s perpetual spin-doctoring. Then again, there are simply lots of totally incompetent people who churn out worthless studies for a living, too, so who knows.

  5. Lara

    “Men really adore children”???

    I think one only has to refer back to the personal stories and experiences related by many a woman at the “Oh hell, I got vlogging software” comment section. ‘Nuff said.

  6. another voice

    who cares who or what dudez adore really

  7. atheist woman

    Another voice, if only it were that simple. Unfortunately, a status of dudely adoration usually determines what the life outcome of someone or something may be. For instance, take dudez themselves, they love themselves and they set up cults (read religions) in their own honor*. Hell they even set up cults in honor of their genitalia**. Women and children however, dudez only like for three purposes, to display their awesomeness***, to use as slaves, and for fuckholes.

    *using dudez for this is making me laugh.
    **that might be a technique of overcompensation
    ***look other dudez at all my property!

  8. panic

    Of course dudes adore children. Straight men are taken care of by women most of their lives. They’re more than half-children themselves, so when they get around kids, they feel more comfortable than they do with other adults. They can just let go, and have fun, and have tickle-fights, and piggy-back rides*. And them hand them back over to “mom” when there’s poop to be cleaned, tears to be dried, laundry to be done. What’s not to adore about FUN FUN FUN?

    I’d be curious how the dynamic works in gay couples.

    *I’m talking about all this stuff in a non-predator sort of way.

  9. atheist woman

    Panic, you say “*I’m talking about all this stuff in a non-predator sort of way.”

    This is awful, but I found myself kind of wondering if there actually are men who adopt children just rape them.

  10. panic

    atheist woman:
    K.A. alluded to it in hir comment. Otherwise I wouldn’t have even considered it, but zie’s right about that, I have no doubt.

  11. Pinko Punko

    What a stupid article. Seems like woman HAVE more kids than dudes. I wonder what that means.

  12. Shira

    atheist woman, it’s so prevalent, they’ve devoted entire plotlines of Law and Order: Mutilated Woman Unit to the idea of the rape-trafficked child who escapes to titillate authorities and audiences everywhere.

    Men adore children the way pro-lifers adore babies.

  13. atheist woman

    Ha, sorry panic. Shira, so far I have managed to avoid Law and Order SVU, if that is in fact what you are referring to. And now I have to get the heck out of this thread as I am taking up too much space!

  14. Rose Connors

    First, funny that adopting is the only way for a dude to get a kid (excepting obvious biological fatherhood- another sticky mess). Women get knocked up by accident or on purpose all the time, and can use sperm banks to have a baby without even knowing a single dude in person. For an unartistic example, consider how someone with an orange tree in the yard might rarely buy oranges.

    Second, does having a child, by adoption or any other means, mean you actually adore children? I think not. Otherwise we would not have child abuse, kiddie porn, and other atrocities routinely perpetrated by biological and adoptive parents.

  15. Chai Latte

    Wait, you mean men AREN’T terrified of children after all? They don’t think we womenz just use these tiny terrors to trap them? (Because it’s tooootally worth having someone that you had to ‘trap’.)


  16. wiggles

    Women get pregnant by spore formation, it seems. The number of men who adopt children is dwarfed by than the number of men who abandon or refuse to acknowledge the children they actually help to create.

  17. thebewilderness

    Excuse me for being totally obvious here, but women do have a slight advantage with regard to the means of production, eh?
    Wouldn’t that have the teensiest bit more influence on the adopt question than the adorable quotient?

  18. SolNiger@gmail.com

    thebewilderness is right. Women can MAKE babies.

    Also, men with their on average higher financial status might find it easier to adopt, thus skewing the data of that study.

    Did they account for that?

    Bad research is everywhere. Some of the articles on BBC News’ Science section make me simultaneously laugh and cry. And they have the audacity to call it ‘science’.


    The S is for stupid.

  19. invisible

    Or, as I am required by the Spinster Aunt Code to cynically suspect, are there benefits to dudely adopters that transcend the simple joys of parental bliss?

    Twisty, I would say that you took the words right out of my mouth, except for the fact that you said it much better than I was thinking it. My words would have been different but you said it better.

    I think the Spinster Aunt Code of cynicism may also have something to say about “natural” dads, in the “nuclear” family, as well, if you get my drift.

  20. Spiders

    I would pay about as much attention to a err “study” like that as I would to ads for “scientifically-proven” skin goop.
    So the responsibility-shirking thing is just a myth now is it? What total bullshit.

    If in fact men do actually adopt more kids, and really studies like that have absolutely no scientific credibility at all anyway, then I would be inclined to think that as has already been pointed out, it’s to do with the whole divorce/re-marrying thing.
    I think women with kids do tend to re-marry more than divorced women without kids, for obvious reasons. Financial hardship mostly. And we know how men love to get kudos for doing things that we’re expected to do. I’ve heard newly-married “dads” brag that they love those kids as if they were their own. They get to wear the “good guy” badge if they adopt them.
    But if all these step daddies are adopting kids then that means the kid’s biological dads don’t care or don’t want to know about them, so there are in fact still a lot of guys who shirk their responsibilities!

  21. mir

    Feh, the headline is total crap. Women don’t need to adopt, we’re stuck with our own 167% of the time anyway.

  22. Y

    Who is to say all these “Dads who adopt” are looking after the kids anyway? Women still do 80% of childcare, so…. what is the point exactly?

  23. slythwolf

    So doesn’t it cost money to adopt? And/or don’t you have to be able to prove that you’re at a certain level of financial stability? Since we, you know, live in a patriarchy where women have a ton less money than men, and it’s not all that expensive to go to a sperm bank, doesn’t it follow that women, having the option to use cheaper methods of child procurement, will take that option if they rilly rilly want to have a baby? And in fact that there may well be tons of women who want to adopt but can’t because they’re too poor, whereas men don’t have the same problem?

  24. Starfoxy

    My ex brother in law registered to be a foster parent while he and my sister were in the middle of their divorce. Somehow he was cleared to be a foster parent while having no stable income, and after having failed to make court ordered child support payments to my sister (nevermind the insurance fraud).
    A 17 year old boy was placed with him for a few months. I have no doubt that this poor kid was used as unpaid, unaccounted for, uninsured labor in the scumbag’s ‘handiman’ business. I’m also pretty sure that this was the plan all along, just ‘adopt’ some free labor rather than legitimately hire someone.
    But but but, scumbag just has a big heart and wanted someone to love (you know, other than the three kids he’s already got).

  25. Camille

    Ah yes, men adoring their adopted children..
    When I think of a good spokesperson for men who really adore their children, I can think of no one else but WOODY ALLEN! I mean, he really ADORES his adopted child! He adored her enough to watch her grow up, see her go into elementary school, watch her graduate high school, and then marry her!
    I think it is really bull that men “adore” children so much more than women just because they may adopt more frequently than women do. Men can’t adore children by giving birth to them naturally by themselves, so they adore them by adopting them. Believe me though, if men had to adore children by having to give any sort of live birth to them, they would not adore children at all! MEN WOULD NEVER BE WILLING TO GIVE BIRTH TO BABIES!
    I think no one can actually believe that men adore children any more than women.

  26. Dykonoclast

    A friend was telling me about how his co-worker was always going on and on and on about how he was going to adopt a little girl some day and raise her and then, when she turned 18 [surely not a day sooner], he would do her. A lot.

    Another friend told me about a woman he knew who was in the care of her uncle after her father died. And then her uncle started some sort of sexual thing and convinced her that it was consensual.

  27. Mz Kat

    I’m sorry not to provide the link (I’m still looking for it), but I saw a counter study on this that elaborated that the majority of the men in the initial study were also GAY. I don’t know about you, but to me, that says a lot.

    I’ll write back once I find the article again.

  28. Donna

    I see that I’m on the same page with so many of you blamers. I have intensely personal reasons to be, shall we say, less than impressed with the fatherly instincts of at least some of the adopting men. My sister and I were adopted in the late 60s. Our father insisted on girls. He molested us, repeatedly. While I’ve no doubt that many men are adopting out of a truly genuine desire to love and nurture a child (this is likely the case with gay couples), if I ran an adoption agency and a single dude wanted to adopt a kid, or I was presented with a couple where the man showed an intense interest in a particular gender, I’d be inclined to show them the door.

    Also, the incidence of men targetting women with children so they have captives to prey upon is startling high. Even if they don’t have that goal in mind, too many men take up with be-childed women because of the opportunity to exert economic and emotional control over them. And as a former co-worker of mine put it, “Single moms are so grateful they’ll let you do ANYTHING to them! They’re almost as good as fat chicks!” Yes, he really said that. IBTP.

  29. Boreoboreo

    Men will be interested in children, and really care for them… I guess when you see pigs flying through Toledo.

  30. polly styrene

    I feel sick, but I concur with m’learned friends. It is fairly well known that child abuse is more likely to occur with a step or adoptive parent.

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23488210-details/It's heresy to say it, but having a step-parent can wreck a child’s life/article.do

  31. keshmeshi

    When I think of a good spokesperson for men who really adore their children, I can think of no one else but WOODY ALLEN

    While there’s no doubt that Allen’s behavior was disgusting, I’d still like to note that Soon-yi was not his adopted child. Mia Farrow adopted her with Andre Previn. They, Allen and Farrow, did not share a household and how much of a parent Allen was to Soon-yi while she was growing up is debatable.

    My half-sisters’ stepfather was one of those child-loving adoptive men. He loved children so much he raped both my sisters.

  32. delurker

    Men really adore children.

    It’s just the fetuses and the women they are conflicted about.
    I have no inclination to chase up the NZ University paper.

  33. Camille

    Ah, thank you defenders of Woody Allen. He is SOO worth your time and research.

  34. Virago

    Hmm…it doesn’t surprise me that most adoptions by men are a wife and kids package. Someone up thread said it before. These men aren’t doing the majority of the childcare anyway. However, when these marriages break up, I wonder how many of these men try to get out of paying child support for these kids because said kids are not their biological children? Jeez, men don’t want to pay for their own biological children, why would they want to pay for kids they adopt? Yeah, men really adore children. (sarcasm)

  35. Esme

    Couldn’t another possible explanation be that women who want kids but don’t want a partner find some sperm (I hear they have these whole banks full of the stuff) and have their own kid, rather than adopting?

    As for the vlogging post: I was yet another kid whose father fought bitterly for custody and neglected me well beyond the point of criminality. The judge deciding the custody? Didn’t actually give a rat’s ass, in spite of many letters written to him by me, my mother, and my mother’s lawyer.

  36. Dana

    I read several years ago about this fundamentalist “Christian” guy (in Texas? not sure) who ranted and raved about a local gay couple who were fostering a little girl. Raised nine shades of hell til the state took her from her foster dads. Adopted her himself. Then proceeded to molest her.

    The wife found out about it, shit a brick, and (IIRC) turned him in.

    That influenced me to wonder how many of these dirtbags ranting about gay men molesting little boys are actually molesting boys *or* girls themselves.

    My mom’s boyfriend/new husband (not sure) wanted to adopt me when I was very small. My dad found out about it and that was one of his reasons for suing for custody. I guess you could say my situation was different, though–my dad is no saint, but he never molested me or anything, and it was my mom who was the nut (based on my observations of her behavior now that I’m an adult) and who wasn’t taking care of me. I do wonder what Mom’s boyfriend or husband or whatever he was’s motivations were in wanting to adopt me though.

  37. Moose

    Of course, the adoption-as-proof-of-men’s-love statistic is completely bogus for one simple reason: any child being adopted by one man has almost certainly been rejected by at least one other – it’s biological father.

  38. bizzielizzie

    I have an upstairs neighbour who adores his six year old daughter and buys her everything she asks for. She’s the apple of his eye unless he’s been drinking buckfast, in which case he can’t even see her in front of his face and terrifies her and her mammy. The police take him for chill time then he’s home in the morning.

    Long story short, the girl chapped the door the other day and said “There’s this man in my house who says he’s my uncle but he’s not my uncle and he keeps trying to cuddle me and I don’t want to be cuddled so I just ran to your door.” I say “WHAT?” The wee one says “Daddy’s fishing friend.”
    “Is he allowed in your bedroom?”
    “What I tell my girl to do if a grown up lays hands on her and she’s not happy with it is scream “FUCK OFF, YOU’RE NOT MY DADDY/ MUMMY!” as loud as she can, and keep screaming it.”
    “I’m not allowed to shout or swear.”
    “Okay. Is mummy in?”
    “Go and tell mummy exactly what you’ve told me and say you don’t want to shout and swear ’cause you’re a good girl, but can he please be kept out of your bedroom.”
    “Good lass.”
    I follow her upstairs thirty seconds behind to eyeball the scene and this little man is coming out of her room with a big grin on his face. He says to my six year old daughter in a strange flirtatious way “Is this yer mammy, or is it yer sister,” pretty poor patter even among grown-ups, but chilling in the context. I get the kid again and say “Tell mummy.” When I come back moments later and Little Man is gone, I breathe out.

    So… Adoring Daddy accosts me on the staircase three days later. “Whit you been telling the wean, telling her to shout and that? She just told me the now.” In the ensuing meeting of minds he tells me he will send Little Man to my door so I can say to face what I think of him, then turns his flabby hide to leave and says “Mind your own business you nosy cow,” after turning his back on me. I had my three month old son with me, so I said nothing, thought for a bit, then notified the police of the whole unsettling series of events, finding an opportunity to warn the lady of the household. If I’m to expect guests I’d like to know whom it is I’m expecting. I hope the all female team they’ve just sent up to chap his door give his ass a thorough feeling.

    To brandish a cliche, “I just adore children, but I couldn’t eat a whole one.”

  39. Jezebella

    Hey, how do you get to be the lady kids come a-knocking for when things go yucky on them? At the moment I’m the crazy witchy cat lady in the neighborhood (no kids, no man, she must be mean!) through no fault of my own. I’d rather they think they can run to me for help in a pinch.

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