Obama's Fatherhood Initiative: New Fathers or Neopatriarchy?
22 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
President Obama has made a point of marking Father’s Day with discussions of policies related to fathers and families. These programs are an update and continuation of programs initiated in the Clinton Administration and greatly expanded in the Bush Administration through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program that was the result of welfare “reform” in the 1990s. Feminists and poverty advocates were deeply critical of the “Responsible Fatherhood” program of the Bush Administration, seeing it as ineffective, gendered, poorly targeted, and paternalistic. Criticism of the Obama proposals has been much more muted, and some feminist groups and poverty advocates have endorsed them. This paper analyzes both the symbolic and substantive aspects of this initiative as it has been continued and developed by the Obama Administration.
Keywords: Obama Administration, fatherhood initiative, racialization, symbolic politics, symbolic racism
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