I read in a book and have heard this argument by many social scientists that Fatherhood was an invention by humans during the time when we first started living as societies. This was presumably in order to strengthen the grip of males on human society and provide patriarchy a stable foundation.

I do not seem to agree with this. As a male aged 15 I have strong urges to become a father and really love children. If fatherhood is unnatural and not a product of our evolution how is it possible that males have an urge to father children and feel a strong, genuine love for their offspring?

The argument that Fatherhood is rarely found in the animal world as it is primarily the mother who rares and cares for children is valid, but then again human beings are so much different in other respects from animals, too.

Is it then not possible that the love a human father feels for his offspring is just as natural as the love a human mother feels for her offspring?

Here is one research I found: Origins of Fatherhood

(Note: I asked this question in the philosophy section but got no encouraging response; so I am re-posting it here.)

  • "Natural" is a loaded word without a consistent definition. What definition of "natural" are you interested in?
    – rumtscho
    Jun 4 '15 at 16:52
  • By natural I mean not influenced by society or living style. Jun 4 '15 at 16:54
  • I'm not sure I understand your question then. Every aspect of being a father is influenced by society. Every culture I know of has norms related to being a father. Ergo, it is impossible to find anything "natural" about the amount of care given by fathers to children by your definition, as this amount is always influenced by society.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 4 '15 at 17:31
  • 1
    Re-reading the body of your question: "invention by humans during the time when we first started living as societies". If you are asking if human fathers did not care for offspring "before we stared living as societies", this is a question starting from a wrong premise. Primates live in societies, and we were living in societies before we became human. So it is impossible to find a way in which human fathers treated human offspring before humans started living in social structures, as such time does not exist.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 4 '15 at 17:37
  • @ rumtscho You see not everything natural can be influenced by society. Take the example if mothers were to be forbidden by society from loving their children would they stop? There are somethings in nature that cannot be influenced by artificial or man-made coditions. Jun 5 '15 at 10:10

Seeing how male-superiority has been a big part of society for as long as recorded history goes, the fact that fatherhood is not considered "natural" is not a big surprise.

Women were told (still are in some places) that their sole role was to care for the children and keep up with the household chores. The men function is limited (sometimes strictly) to providing for his household. The idea of a men "caring/nurturing" children, was (and again, still is in some places) not "socially correct".

I believe that the love a father can feel for his child is as strong as a mother's love. I think that rather, the social politics of society have had its impact on the way men perceive children and how they'd "approach" them. There are cases (like yourself, and mine for that matter) that do defy the popular standard, and have an unadulterated sense of fatherhood in them.

  • Well, thank you for providing me the right direction. I will indebted to you. Thanks again. Jun 4 '15 at 16:48
  • Thank you for your answer, I really needed someone to answer my question; it provided me personal satisfaction really. Jun 17 '15 at 18:05

Despite appearances to the contrary (fostered by anthropocentric nursery stories), a distinct role for male parents does not exist in nature. Fatherhood was invented by humans during the agricultural revolution about six thousand years ago.

Well, given that it seems natural and plenty of animals do this including Penguins, wolves, North American ruddy duck, Rhea, Catfish, Sand Grouse etc and Marmoset fathers even take care of the babies from birth, it apppears like the foundation of the abstract is totally unsubstantiated and completely manufactured.

Sadly there are many papers of that ilk around where people just have an idea and so look for any shred of evidence, ignoring anything that opposes the work. It may be a revelation to you that not everything that is peer reviewed is actually correct. Some professors have tried to use such techniques even to "prove" that child pornography is a good thing (cite: Prof. Eric Anderson, 2007, who also said that the "The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the Western world")-- so you do need to be very careful what you read.

  • You are right, some people are just psychopaths; they commit something wrong and, then, construct absurd theories, that really just imply their own personal views to satisfy their souls and their conscience. That is just not right. Thank you for providing your views. Jun 17 '15 at 17:59

When my first daughter was born, I was there. When I first saw her, she took my breath away. I literally could not breath for about 40 seconds, and although I was aware of it, I was not worried, the feeling of joy/pride/HOOORAAAAAHHHH! that filled my chest was just simply crowding out my lungs, and I was ok with that. Breathing could take a backseat and wait its turn. Anybody that tells me that was just societal conditioning and not part of how I am made, simply has never experienced what I did and does not know what they are talking about.

When she was a few weeks old, I was sitting next to her in the car. She was in her baby seat, and I saw a mosquito land on her. As I saw it land, I felt such rage at that mosquito - this vile creature that would dare presume to hurt my little girl. I wanted to take that mosquito and rip it limb from limb, slowly. However, I could not even slap at it without slapping my baby, so all I could do was wave it off of her, and the darned thing got away.

Now, normally, I am a mild-mannered, very level headed kind of guy, so feeling such rage really caught me by surprise and made me stop and think about fatherhood, and it taught me a lot, not just about fatherhood, but also about what true love is. I would never have understood my Father's love for me until I had children of my own, and now I see and am amazed that should be the recipient of such love. I can also see that I am made to pass that love on to those around me, especially to my wife and my kids.

People who dismiss fatherhood as if it were not part of our design, by comparing us to animals, really are pathetically misguided.

  • Thank you very much Gilchrist! The personal experience you provided is truly beautiful. I hope I will get to know one day how it feels to be a father, I pray it will just be as rewarding as you say. Thanks again. Jun 17 '15 at 17:50
  • Thank you for the answer. I am sorry I could not keep it open, but I will always remember. Jun 17 '15 at 18:08

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