The second wave of the women’s movement, which demanded that women relinquish their exclusive responsibility for domestic and family work, also led to a social reinterpretation of the role of the father: away from the traditional father, who was perceived as authoritarian, commanding, punishing and preparing for work and war, towards an emotionally competent father who took time for the family.
The fatherhood movement picks up on this image of the father, which is perceived as new.
Important fields of action revolve around the dislocations that have occurred in the transformations and dissolutions of gender roles.
Thus, the traditional role of the father is still manifest in law, business, science and society.
This leads to a structural disadvantage of the New Fathers.
As a social movement, the fathers’ movement aims at overcoming this disadvantage with the goal of putting father and mother on an equal footing and shaping and living a new father image. In this context, it is emphasized that the extension of working hours and the increase in precarious employment make it more difficult for both men and women to fulfill their responsibilities towards the children.
Self-help organisations and associations have been formed in many places, such as the Fathers’ Awakening for Children and the Berlin Fathers’ Centre, which strengthen and support fathers in their role.
Within the fathers’ movement, the fathers’ rights movement can also be named. Its thematic focus lies in the area of legal discrimination against fathers, especially in family law, e.g. with regard to custody and access rights.
Situation in Germany
According to a 2006 estimate, about 8,000 men are involved in the fatherhood movement. Their media presence is high.
- New man
- Paternity leave
- Jocelyn Elise Crowley: Conflictedmembership: women in fathers’ rights groups. In: Sociological Inquiry. 79, no. 3, 2009, pp. 328-350. doi:10.1111/j.1475-682X.2009.00293.x.
- Anna Gavanas in: Michael Kimmel, Amy Aronson (eds.), Men & Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, Calif. 2004, ISBN 1-57607-774-8, Fathers’ Rights, p. 289 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).
- Molly Dragiewicz Equality with a vengeance: men’s rights groups, battered women, and antifeminist backlash. Northeastern University Press, Boston 2011, pp. 13, 84-85, ISBN 978-1-55553-738-8.
- Michael A. Messner: TheLimits of the “Male Sex Role”: An Analysis of the Men’s Liberation and Men’s Rights Movement’s Discourse. In Gender & Society. 12, no. 3, 1998, pp. 255-276. doi:10.1177/0891243298012003002.
- Michael A. Messner: “Changing Men” and Feminist Politics in the United States. In Theory & Society. 22, no. 5, 1993, pp. 723-737. doi:10.1007/BF00993545.
- Becoming a Father, Being a Father, Remaining a Father. Documentation of a symposium of the Forum Männer in Theorie und Praxis der Geschlechterverhältnisse in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation on 24/25 May 2002 in Berlin. Schriften zur Geschlechterdemokratie No. 5(online; PDF; 567 kB)
- Heike Friauf Exemplary fathers. In: junge welt of 20 February 2008 ( Feminism supplement)
- Tina Groll Even for “men, work and children are difficult to reconcile” In: Die Zeit online, 25 March 2010.
- Mechthild Bereswill, Kirsten Scheiwe, Anja Wolde: Fatherhood in transition: multidisciplinary analyses and perspectives from a gender theoretical perspective. 2006, page 78