Herbert Purdy comments on the Penelope Leach story

Earlier today we posted a piece about Penelope Leach, a 77-year-old psychologist and ‘parenting expert’, advising against children below five staying with their fathers overnight. Our thanks to Herbert Purdy for posting some characteristically insightful comments on the matter. They take up the remainder of this blog piece:

“Fathers are right to be up in arms about this. However! The key point to be drawn is not that separating fathers from their children is a disgrace, it is. It is an ongoing scandal in our society that is damaging men and their children, there is no doubt about it.

@ Dattehakamura has hit the nail on the head.

Ms Leach’s clear feminist stance, arguing that, ‘attempts to share children is [sic] putting parents [sic] notions of ‘rights’ and notion [sic] of what is ‘fair’ above what is best for the child’, is yet another blow against fathers, but it undermines feminism big style. Like most feminist arguments, it totally fails to see the other side of the coin.

The title of Ms Leach’s earlier book, Your Baby & Child: FROM BIRTH TO AGE FIVE, and the thesis of her most recent book say it all viz. ‘… there is evidence that separating children from their mothers reduces brain development, and can create unhealthy ‘attachment issues’.’ Absolutely. Spot on. So what about mothers who return to work as soon as possible after weaning their baby then? Those who get back to work in their careers at the earliest possible opportunity because they have a ‘right’ to do so?

Feminists need to talk about the elephant in the room here. The absence of an under five-year-old child’s contact with a mother who goes back to her career, exercising her feminist-invented ‘right’ to self-actualisation is not about the odd night staying away with dad. It is about the systematic abandonment of under fives by mothers who, in our feminist-driven State, routinely sub-contract their children’s vital early-years development to others.

Our State overtly approves women to do this by providing maternity leave and widespread child-minding provision. It is saying it is alright for a mother to go back to work as soon as possible after weaning her baby; taking up her ‘right’ to a career and exercising her ‘right’ to ‘equality’ and the same ‘opportunity’ as men. But, weaning is only the early part of the child’s deepest development needs in those vital first five years, and here is a feminist telling them this, albeit for the wrong reasons.

Mothers, imbued with this false rhetoric of feminism are depriving their children of their undisputed need to have the fullest measure of security, significance and self-worth instilled within them in those vital first years: these psychological needs of the very young child are known to be essential and they are equally know to be provided only by its mother.

Attachment is where a child learns that its mother is always there even when she is out of sight. It takes more than the first year of life for a child to learn this, and it if is not learned, the result is anxiety in the child and a learned neediness that knocks on into later life, causing adult relationships to become unbalanced by an over neediness for affection, and the inability to trust.

Failure to attach is almost certainly a significant component of this. Childminders cannot provide attachment, and neither can grandparents. They may be loving and cherishing, but they cannot provide the close, deep psychological attachment that a child needs, and that only its mother can build with it during its most precious first five years.

A mother who is off pursuing a career is not doing the job that only nature gives her to do. Mothers who put their feminist ‘rights’ – their feminist ideology – above the inalienable rights of their children, are short-changing their children and they are short-changing society for their own needs. They are failing to provide a stable future generation. Is there any wonder that there is so much divorce and brokenness in families today?

That is what feminism is doing to children, to men, yes, but to us all too. It is a vile, selfish creed.”

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • Although I’m sure the religious content won’t be to many people’s taste.And I am frequently appalled at the traditionalists blindness to their accidental alliances with feminism. This advert by the Mormon Church is actually a vary rare(and effective) description of the positive role the dad as breadwinner plays in children’s and family life. This is so rarely said these days and often the debate centres on direct childcare as if the material security , food , drink, clothes and so on simply “appear” http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R5FxdCgD-qI
    Frankly I can’t recall anything I’ve seen in years that shows a positive role for a breadwinning father.

  • What have Woman’s Hour Loose Women and Take A Break got in common? There is NO male equivalent!

    • Not quite. There’s a ‘Men’s Hour’ on BBC Radio 5 Live but it’s presented by a feminist poodle, Tim Samuels. I’ve been on ‘Woman’s Hour’ but ‘Men’s Hour’ won’t touch me with a bargepole!

  • vadark

    I’ve only just read that penelope leach (no freaking capital letters for her name!) story and I must say I am outright disgusted by her vile and obvious mistrust, disrespect and hatred towards men. I’m really not sure what else to say except that the green and red arrows on the comments sections say it all. It still amazes me how these stories get published. I’ve come to the conclusion that these types of stories create a stir and attract attention which must be good for internet hits and sales. Because why else would a newspaper publish such complete and utter horse shit!

  • I must point out the work done by so called experts like Penelope Leach has begun to be shown as utter rubbish. It is just as essential for the biological father, as it is for the mother, to provide the love, affection and psychological needs a young child requires. It is only because of 19th/20th traditional views, due to industrialisation of men’s work that took them out of the home for most of the daylight hours, that people think fathers are not needed for young children’s care. These stereotypic views and bogus research above is the stuff used in famiy courts to stop fathers seeing their children and I did not expect to see indirect support for this here.

    Mothers being pushed in jobs for the sake of feminist agenda is wrong but it should not be said a mother is more important to a young child. Biologically the mother was vital until the baby was weaned as its provider of food and comfort. The father was also vital at the time to protect them both an give a equal but different parent’s care and attention. In the modern world all this is more flexible and breastfeeding is now an exception.

    Here is a link to research that has started to show the true worth of fathers, so please no more pedestalising mothers. It is no conincidence that the increase in divorce and unmarried single mothers has seen an increase in worse behaviour and life outcomes for many more children.


    Few interesting stats to note from the online report (figures US 2003)

    “fathers were involved in 36.8 percent of child maltreatment cases and that mothers were involved in 64 percent of child maltreatment cases.”

    “In 18.8 percent of the substantiated cases, fathers were the sole perpetrators of maltreatment.”

    “Mothers were the sole perpetrators in 40.8 percent of the cases”

    So biogical fathers actually have a positive effect on mothers as well as children. Long live fathers