From incarcerated fathers, to trans fathers, to the question of who is your father, today’s picks comprise an alternative father’s day reading list. We highlight the men who sought to challenge traditional norms of fatherhood by emancipating children from their parents, and we challenge the testosterone enthusiasts who argue that “real men” can’t be caregivers.
We also have an excerpt from Barnard historian Nara Milanich’s book Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father. At the very moment that DNA testing has promised paternal certainty for the first time in human history, she argues that uncertainty about fatherhood as a cultural force appears as powerful as ever. Above all, this is because “science was never capable of finding the father in the first place. . . . The truly significant question about paternity is not empirical—Who is the father?—but normative: What do we want him to be?” In the age of modern genetics, the answer to the question “Who’s your daddy?” remains as complicated as ever.
“You used terms such as revolutionaries. Comrades. And, most illegally of all: lovers. Unmarried people who fuck each other without the goal of childrening. Well, I was sunk.” A tale of forbidden love in an age when corporations have replaced government.
More than 1.5 million children currently have a parent in prison; for 94 percent of these children, that parent is the father.