It’s the Collapse of the Family That Results in Father-Absent Homes

This article was originally published at the Washington Examiner.

With Father’s Day upon us, the time has come to address as a nation what Heather Mac Donald noted earlier this year is “the greatest social catastrophe of our time”: fatherlessness. Fatherlessness is the No. 1 cause of nearly all social ills we face. We can’t afford to ignore it any longer.

To be clear, father absence is the more accurate term, since fatherlessness implies that men have become “deadbeat dads” — nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, this faction exists, as do “deadbeat moms.” But the two most significant threats to a father’s presence in the home are divorce and out-of-wedlock births.

It’s the breakdown of marriage, in other words, or the collapse of the family, that results in father-absent homes. Whether you feel its pain directly or not, it affects you.

“Families are the building blocks of civilization,” writes Genevieve Wood at the Daily Signal. “They are personal relationships, but they greatly shape and serve the public good. Family breakdown harms society as a whole.”

Indeed it does. And how, exactly, did the family fall apart? When we stopped valuing men and marriage.

There was a time, believe it or not, when marriage was highly valued. Ergo, the majority of Americans married. They even looked forward to it! It was an honorable mark of adulthood to leave one’s family of origin and build a family of one’s own.

Then came feminism.

“And with it,” notes Dennis Prager in his “Fireside Chat” on marriage and children vs. career, “the notion that ‘a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.'”

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

Reader Interactions


  1. Suzanne
    Blaming feminism and waiting for them to change their ideas means men are powerless. We are not. You are right that when a father is absent, his son may grow up without a strong male role model. But men can still learn on their own what it means to be a strong man who shows leadership and takes responsibility and has a woman in his life who admires him. I went on a journey to learn this and found teachings from many generations of men on being a man. I wrote a book to share what I learned and it’s striking a chord. The book, Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man, has been translated into 24 languages around the world. The messages are: Show leadership, take responsibility, be strong, be manly and make decisions. Men have the ability to change this situation by becoming the change we want to see. By becoming strong men, the world around us –including women around us — will change and respond to men differently. The future will not be bleak.

  2. People think marriage is simple math. 2 parents are twice as good as one, normally. This is materialistic. No, two parents working together are worth FOUR single parents, due to synergy. Child care providers may or may not do a good job. A sane parent, without addictions, does a far better job. They are invested for the long term. You have only to look at other postings, from the fatherlessness project, at this blog. Children without fathers do, on average, far worse than products of 2 parent families. This has been true throughout history. Our culture is in denial about this. Challenge them with the truth, and they get angry, but they don’t move through to depression, bargaining, and acceptance. They simply don’t care. Rich people stay together longer, in marriage, according to the census bureau. The rise in women working has meant flat wage growth. More people are chasing the same jobs. Divorced households need 2 dwellings, not one, which has pushed up house and condo prices, and rents. Many feminists alive today will get to see the disintegration of our society, which is already happening. You want to see the results of fatherless families? Go into the slums of any big city. Look around. This is the feminist paradise. Half of boys, roughly, grow up without fathers. around 80% of schoolteachers are women. WIthout healthy examples of what men are, these boys become toxic. The gangbangers on the streets in Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, and other cities, are almost all fatherless. Or as one book, Freakonomics, asked, “Why do so many drug dealers live with their mothers?” Larry Elder sees a conscious desire and plan by Democrats to destroy black families, as a slow motion destruction of black communities. Democrats created and ran plantations, and the inner city is the new plantation, where massa gives black people barely enough to live on, in virtual slavery, he says. Watch how black people are treated, because they are the first people the social engineers experiment on, because Democrats see black people as expendable. The Tuskegee studies of gonorrhea in black men were run by Democrats. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was very concerned about black family breakups in the 60’s, and those breakups are much higher now. Women who grow up without fathers choose bad boys, because they don’t have training to be selective. A major risk to teenage girls is divorced mom, with a live-in boyfriend, who gets creepy. I was told by a social worker this is a major problem, but society couldn’t care less about children, any more.

  3. Fathers? men? Sorry, ain’t nobody here but us fish bicycles. And we went MGTOW, because finding a decent woman for marriage is about like hunting for unicorns. They must exist, but we haven’t found them.

  4. The funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, is a feminist who has hated on men for say twenty years, and she hits her late thirties. She realizes that women can be really nasty, and that lesbian domestic violence is really, really scary. She realizes that if she wants kids, being with a woman may not work out. Being by herself is really hard. Now she realizes it’s kind of nice to have a supportive male partner. Only she’s moved beyond her window of opportunity, and has hit the wall. Twenty years of visceral hatred is not easily deleted. It exists as ghost programs in her neurology. For a man, being around such a woman is like being around a psychopath, because, well, that’s what she is. She spouts feminist ideology, which is about as exciting to a man as hearing Nazi ideology would be, for a Jewish person. She has no idea what cooperation is, no idea what working together towards a common goal is, all she knows to do is demand more, and more, and give as little as possible. It would be uproariously funny, if it weren’t so pathetic. I know of only one man who doesn’t completely avoid feminists. All but that one guy want to be invisible to them, outside of their awareness, living in stealth to avoid the feminist predators. That one guy took women’s studies courses, in college, and with all those sexually deprived women, well, let’s say he never lacked. And he could always break up in a way that they didn’t get upset with. Smart guy.

  5. “It has been 50 years since feminists first began to make the claim that women don’t need men, and by every statistical measure we are worse off because of it.”

    It’s true. They don’t need men. They can live by themselves, with their cats, and do whatever it is that they do. Probably watch reruns of Marlo Thomas. And Sex and the City. And soaps. But statistically, women over say 30 want more and more to get married, as they grow older. As men grow older, they want less and less to get married. It’s all about the benefits. Men get no benefits from marriage to American women. Women get astounding benefits. Talk to the owner of dating services, about how hard it is to find matches for women above 40. You’ll get an education.

    • Yes. People get smarter as they get older. And as you say: “women over say 30 want more and more to get married, as they grow older. As men grow older, they want less and less to get married.”

      This is directly due to the major benefits that flow to women from marriage, and the major risk, and lack of benefits, that accrue to men from marriage. Men make decisions based on risk and reward. There is little reward in marriage, for men, and massive, pervasive, ongoing risk.

  6. The male initiation ritual in parts of New Guinea was abandoned in 1977. Within 2 years, youth gangs formed. The youths were trying to initiate each other. Which doesn’t work. The male initiation ritual in most cultures is a way to say to boys, “You are now a man. We expect you to act like a mature man.” We don’t have that any more, so we have little boys like Bill Clinton, and George Bush. And little girls like Hillary, who throw tantrums, when they don’t get what they want. Our leaders are basically little boys and girls. Hillary and Trump are two sides of the same coin. We haven’t had a good president since Eisenhower.

    My father was of the WW II generation. I asked him once about fathers, when he was young. He said it really meant something to be a father. People looked up to them. They were respected, greatly. Respect is a currency, a reward. People tend to go for roles where they will get respect. Which is why men will work in crummy office jobs, that don’t pay so well, instead of say as plumbers, who can make very good money. The gross disrespect for fathers also rubs off on women. Mothers are nowhere near as respected as they used to be, either. My grandmother was mortified to see panty ads on TV.
    Respect is the heart of community. What kind of men get respect, nowadays? Watch rap videos. Gangstas. Bad boys. Players. They get the respect, and they get the sex. Married men? They’re all chumps, idiots. Women at the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwa reservation understood this, and were very concerned about their men drinking, and engaging in self-destructive behavior. So they revived traditional recognition ceremonies, for men who served the community, and their families, well.
    What you put your attention on grows. Respect for a behavior means you get more of it.
    The human is not the animal, any more than the bee is an animal. No, the human creature is the community, as the bee creature is the hive. Humans survive through cooperation. Respect is the heart of cooperation. If fathers get no respect, if they aren’t seen as important, if they are simply a blood donor for the divorce courts, young men stay away from it. Every father who gets reamed out and drained of his blood in divorce court becomes a walking warning to young men, about the dangers of committing to women. Single parent families, and no parent families, produce psychopaths. Get a young black man, in the feminist ghetto, talking about how he feels, about not having a dad around. he is not happy about it.

  7. Girls need good father figures as fathers show what kind of men they feel comfortable with – which men are good choices for a future marriage and which ones are bad…and refusable. Without fathers, girls tend to pick “gangstas” and junkies as companions and they end up becoming man-hating single mothers that could even get involved with criminals.

    Boys need fathers who can teach them how to be men of honor. Without such role models, they may become thugs or even emasculated homosexuals – no wonder such types of men have been on the rise (if you may call them grown up men). Besides, fathers do not let their children (both boys and girls) become the dysfunctional, spoiled, entitled little princes and princesses who are unable to be good members of any community at all.

    I wonder if the crime rise in England during the Industrial Revolution (when fathers became absent due to long working hours) was caused by the absence of fathers in their households.

    Then, bad boys become players (PUAs), the good ones become MGTOWs, women become feminists and children are left adrift to be indoctrinated by dishonest politicians in order to shape this brave new world into a shit hole. Meanwhile, peace, prosperity and freedom are reserved for single men (I do not think single women have peace, although they are even more prosperous and free than men).

    Men, go MGTOW, and go ghost! As we say down here in Brazil (yes, our women are also very toxic), I will pick up my popcorn to watch the collapse of our once great western society…some kind of Titanic 2 (we are in the life-boats already).

  8. The biggest lie that today’s society perpetually propagate is:
    “For single mothers, her kids come first”.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    If they really prioritized their children, none of these single mothers would ever dump the father of her children for such nebulous reasons like:
    “I am not happy with you”.
    “Its not for me”
    “I want to explore myself”
    “I’m not happy”
    “you don’t excite me any more”

    If they really cared, none of them would be busy dating trying to hook up with a man to dump her and her children’s responsibility on a man who was not her children’s biological father. If she tried half as hard, she could get back with the biological father of her children. But she doesn’t want to do that. She wants a new man- grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Till you get there.
    IF you are a parent who truly cares for your children, then you know that you don’t allow another man into your life because that would mean your children would be exposed to a man who is not their biological father, and because that man will take a big chunk of your time and effort that are meant to be for your own children only.
    You dont do any of that when you truly mean “Kids come First!”
    And I cant even imagine how can someone having and caring for kids could even find time to do Any of it. You just dont have time. As a single father I can tell you that i can never even begin to imagine allowing a woman into my life because I simply dont have time to spare to fulfill my own personal needs. My children’s need are the priority, not me.
    That is why I can never even think of allowing another woman into my life BECAUSE — wait for it— MY CHILDREN COME FIRST.

  9. Since this narrative first took hold, America has undergone a sea change with respect to men and marriage. Marriage began to be viewed not as a given but as a possible accompaniment to a woman’s otherwise more important and exciting independent life…

    Ken always was just another accessory for Barbie.

  10. For men: When did you become a man? How did you know? What happened when you realized “I’m a man now!?” Do you think that most men are amazing leaders? Husbands? Dads? Do you believe men are being honest with themselves?

    What if each man out there had a mentor? What if all men were connected to their purpose, their heart and their own inner authority? What if men went through an intense rite of passage somewhere in their late teens or early 20’s that tested every cell in them, where perhaps they faced death and found their life’s calling and became the man they are meant to be? The way many traditional people did?

    What is possible when men get really honest with themselves?

    Many men today are completely cut off from themselves, their heart and their compassion toward others. Many men have never received any true guidance about how to be a man, nor did they receive a formal initiation into what I call “conscious manhood.”
    This problem affects all men, no matter their race, religious point of view, or socio-economic status.

    Sociologist Michael Kimmel suggest that many men between 16-26 are trapped in what he calls “guyland.” It is a holding ground where young men can remain boys and never really grow up and when they need to, they can act like grown men. As a result of men not receiving formal initiation or training in manhood, these men stay stuck in guyland, where most of what they do is work a job with that is not fulfilling, become bystanders to their own life, and safely avoid the discomfort and truth of their own life.

    When you look around, you can find many examples of grown men who act like boys or make incredibly self-centered decisions and abuse their power on a regular basis. Or other men, who are just asleep to the possibilities in their life. It’s like they are waiting for someone with more authority to tell them what to do. Men are very confused and have an endless barrage of confusing messages about what it means to be a man and how to go about being one.

    Later in life, many of these men will experience heart disease, (the number 1 leading cause of death in men for the last many years in the United States), addictions, obesity, depression, divorce, and other chronic mental, emotional, and physical health problems.

    As a result of no initiation and no guidance, men in this culture unconsciously seek out initiatory experiences that come from deep within their psyche. They “act out” by actively engaging in high-risk behaviors to meet this end, or they remain numb to their life. Look at gangs, sports culture, college fraternities, and cults. With no formal initiation process when a man is young, and no mentorship, there is little guidance about where to go and what to do.

    So, what would be possible if men were deeply connected to themselves and their own inner knowing? What if men had conscious male role models outside of movie stars, politicians and rock stars?

    What kind of world might we live in?

    If men actually followed their heart (their own inner wisdom) and were taught how to be more conscious, there would be less violence, greed, corruption and bloodshed among one another. How do men get in touch with their deeper nature and truth?

    But how does a man get more in touch with himself and his own wisdom?

    Three main ways:

    Initiation into manhood
    A Men’s Circle

    Enter Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who did a renowned series of interviews with Bill Moyers on The Power of Myth. Campbell outlines what he calls “The hero’s journey.” George Lucas drew from this model when he made the Star Wars epic. The Lion King and the Matrix series were also modeled from the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey has three basic stages: severance, initiation, and the return. Campbell asserts that in order to successfully move on to the next developmental stage in our life, we have to go through a rite of passage. Campbell also purports that the all hero’s journeys have one thing in common—the ordeal.

    The ordeal is something challenging we must face and on the other side is the reward that we must bring back to our community. For thousands of years, tribal and indigenous cultures initiate young boys into manhood through formal rites and rituals. The entire intiation process leads a man toward deeper and deeper self-knowledge, the key to fulfillment and realizing one’s potential in life.

    Let’s look at the popular film The Matrix. In the Matrix, the main character Neo (Keanu Reeves) was just a computer geek who worked for a lame firm and hated his job. Without “the call” toward something else, he would have been like many men—shut down, unhappy, bitter about life and stuck on the hamster wheel at a job he hates, growing increasingly bitter and resentful toward others and life in general.

    Ironically men love the movie the Matrix. Men also love other guy flicks with the hero’s journey theme such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Braveheart. Granted, these films tend to romanticize the hero’s journey to a adolescent degree where the hero saves the day. In a true hero’s journey, there’s not always a happy Hollywood ending.

    And if we look to indigenous and traditional cultures, a formal initiation into manhood (the hero’s journey) is the one common thread in all of them. Within this, a boy must, and does, come face to face with himself, his mortality and his life’s calling.

    In being initiated, the boy will receive some kind of training or transmission from the elders of the community about how to be a man in their village or tribe. Not only is the elders’ role pivotal, the separation from the mother is poignant and a necessary moment in a boy’s life. It’s not just left to fathers, teachers or coaches in the community, where in this culture these men often fall short.

    The boy leaves the safety of the protective womb, his mother and village, and must be tested by the wilderness and the men in the community. As long as humans have existed, boys have been cast into a ritual in order to become a man. It was not uncommon for some boys to die and never come back. Without these trials and rituals, men are less likely to access the unique gifts inside them.

    Do men in our culture have this opportunity? How does this all fit into our modern situation? Is it really necessary to face death and go through such ordeals? If it is true that initiation is a necessary step along a man’s journey, what happens if he does not receive an initiation?

    It’s no wonder why so many men push themselves with extreme sports, workaholism, and high risk behavior. This was true for me, before I went through a long arduous initiation process. I was constantly seeking, searching, and questioning everything. By occupying their life with “filler” (stuff that doesn’t matter at the end of the day) me can safely avoid knowing who they are.

    What could be possible if we start initiating men consciously through more formal rites and rituals? What kind of man would lead the way in corporations? How would men treat each other and women differently?


    Read about mentorship here

    Men’s Circles

    Read more about men’s groups here and listen to the New Man Podcast for a fun conversation with Tripp Lanier and me about what a men’s group is and how it might serve you. Click here to listen.

    My mission then, is to serve it up to men everywhere, particularly men in their 20’s and 30’s as they are most ready and willing for mentorship and a rite of passage.

    It’s time to train each other to be conscious leaders, compassionate neighbors, and work through the lack of knowing oneself.

    It’s time to put men through some conscious ordeal and invite the best out of men, instead of instilling the worst. Behind the ego of the confused or narcissistic “guyland man” lies a scared little boy, waiting for mentorship and guidance.

    What is it that you need to be the kind of man the world needs? When you look around, do you see grown men who basically act like boys? How committed are you to giving your greatest gift before you die?

  11. Ain’t nobody here but us fish bicycles. And a lot of women, over 30, discover that fish bicycles can be kind of handy. But they aren’t as easy to find.

  12. It is so much fun to go to high school reunions, for a guy. You see all those women who wouldn’t give you the time of day, in the day, and now they are all looking for a guy. And they aren’t worth it. Because the really nice ones do have a good guy. It was so much fun to go, and have them hitting on me. I am married, and don’t play around, but gosh it felt so good. There are actually videos on youtube of women talking sadly of freezing their eggs, as they put off finding the good spouse, until after their sell-by date. They didn’t understand that. Nobody told them. So, thanks for telling them, Suzanne. Wisdom acquired late is still wisdom.

  13. The people that are most hurt are children. Somewhere on this blog, is a listing of the extreme damage done to children of single parents. As you look at this, Suzanne, there is another side to this. I spoke with the Director of the state’s department of children and families. She noted that the most significant risk to girls under 18 is a divorced mother, living with a boyfriend, with her daughters around. Sure, it’s punished by law, but that is closing the barn door after the horse ran away. So, mom’s boyfriend is taken away, to be broken on the rack, so now mom doesn’t have a boyfriend any more. Few men want to be a boyfriend to a divorced woman with children. And she is stressed out even more. Feminism has hurt more children than any other social movement in the last 100 years.

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