March 14, 2006

Some Of His Favorite Relatives Are Women

Preemptive Karma is a generally excellent liberal blog that, for reasons passing my understanding, has a men's rights agitator in their lineup. Kevin makes this passionate plea for the liberation of oppressed men based on the recent case of a man who wants to skip out on child support because he wanted to get to choose not to be a father after the fact:

... [I]t will be very interesting to see how "Pro-Choice" activists react. Are they truly dedicated to the concept of reproductive choice? Or do they only support "choice" for women while a man is relegated to the legal subhuman status of merely being a workhorse representing a convenient source of funds to pay for the child... should the women choose to have it?

Wow. Later, Kevin persuasively argues that it's usually men who get plied with alcohol so women can steal their seed, citing the biblical example of Lot and his daughters. I feel so badly for this guy in the court case, for all men really. And I'm very swayed by the fact that this blogger has two daughters himself and a mother who thinks he's a good parent. But as I noted in my response in comments, that reminds me of another guy with two daughters whose mother is proud of him.

That other guy, Bush, in spite of being related to at least 3 women, cut the funding for international family planning, dooming millions of women around the world to face a future with fewer choices. He's also been pushing abstinence-only education, which has generated a crop of kids who a) are no less likely to have sex, b) are less likely to know about contraception and c) are more likely to try unprotected anal sex. Amazingly, some women in Congress and state legislatures actually went along with these horribly anti-woman policies, which should be impossible because they're women, right, and women just wouldn't support misogyny. Concerned Women for America must just be a figment of my paranoid, fevered, liberal imagination.

Kevin's appeal in comments based on my stating that women already have less social autonomy and take far greater physical risks related to pregnancy eventually got around to asking me to forget about all that nonsense:

...I submit to you that until or unless you cease viewing yourself as a victim nothing will ever change. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. By setting yourself up as a victim you are sending the message that you are unable to compete on a level legal playing field.

It's women who are parents from the moment of childbirth. Kevin wants there to be a level legal playing field, but the law already puts a greater burden on the mother in the case of unmarried parents. She is automatically responsible for feeding the child, making sure it goes to school, is attended by an adult at all hours of the day when very young and most hours of the day when older, gets critical medical care and is adequately clothed. If she does not want to fulfill these obligations, she needs to find another adult or bureaucracy willing to take that responsibility onto themselves before being excused. The father does not have to take her into court at his own expense and argue that she be held responsible for these things before a judge. But ultimately, the soul of his argument is best answered best by the deconstruction of the myth of the Strong Black Woman:

... Insofar as, so long as we are kept either desiring, or believing ourselves actually to be, Strong Black Women, there is no amount of pure nonsense, abuse, overwork, ingratitude, exploitation, underappreciation, and just plain shit that we will not put up with. You see, SBW, of course, can make ten dollars stretch into meals for a week, clothes for everyone, payment of bills, and school fees, etc.,— this is just a well known and, indeed, required characteristic of SBW. SBW are, by nature, ready, nay, eager to work five jobs at a time so as to feed and clothe their nearest and dearest without expecting, and more properly, absolutely rejecting any help. One has, after all, one’s pride as a Strong Black Woman. SBW are also expected to give command performances as free, endlessly sympathetic and reliable therapists, counselors, substitute mothers, and wise women, who willingly provide free emotional and mental labour to everyone else.

... How do we honour them by making their achievements banal by not contextualizing them in human frailty? If Superman leaps over a tall building at a single bound, well, yawn, stretch and change the channel. If I were ever to leap over a tall building at a single bound, I WOULD EXPECT SOME SERIOUS ATTENTION, ASTONISHMENT, ADORATION and for everyone to realize that having done all this leaping about, I would fairly obviously need a good long rest. Conversely, I most certainly would NOT appreciate having immediately presented to me another building, over which I am also expected to leap without question or hesitation. ...

At some level, race privilege and gender privilege are two sides of the same coin, which just means that black women are doubly punished simply for existing. To ask people who are experiencing injustice and inequality to pretend that it isn't happening, because of some ideal of pride, merely reinforces that inequality by allowing the privileged class to continue ignoring their advantages. Martin Luther King made the following comment about faith, which critique seems applicable to any discussion about political or legal philosophy as respects rights and freedoms:

"Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry-as-dust religion."

A declaration of legal equality and equal rights is meaningless if those rights have no remedy. Because we don't live in a world where men and women have equal rights. We live in this world:

... If you wanted women to welcome unexpected pregnancies, you'd provide social services to make it easier for a mom, wed or not, to raise her kids - health care, affordable housing, child care, good education, a living wage. They are doing none of that. In fact, they are cutting our badly needed social programs left and right to pay for Bush's emperious tax cuts. They don't see a fetus as sacred, or a baby as a blessing; they see it as a punishment for fornication. What a way to come into the world.

... We had a revolution in this country once over taxation without representation. Why do women pay taxes to a government that rarely includes us? Why does 53% of the population have less than 14% representation in Congress, yet allow that body of government to pass laws that only affect our bodies? I don't see any moves to regulate male sexuality, and frankly, I can see plenty of need for it. ...

We live, ultimately, in a patriarchy:

... The wealth of the world is built on the work of women. The power structure wants to keep women in the home, focused on providing unpaid labor in keeping the home and raising the children. Paying someone, especially a woman, to do domestic chores subverts the hierarchy by putting money in the hands of women who might otherwise be forced to provide those services for free - or for a roof over her head, provided of course by the "breadwinner" husband.

... Most of Western Culture still suffers from remnants of patriarchy, but nowhere in the west is it fighting for dear life the way it is here in the States. There's a direct correlation between the sense of entitlement a man feels that tells him he has the right to rape or murder and the sense that he has the right to dominate a wife and a child. It's no accident that the NRA is intimately entwined with the Republican party. It's no accident that the NeoCons hate gun control. It's so much easier to control your family if they know you have a gun and are willing to use it.

... We are the only developed country where the infant mortality rate is going up; where racism is a blatant, unyielding problem; where violence approaches levels more akin to African genocides than Western crime rates; where feminism is becoming more reviled rather than more common and assimilated into public policy; Where the welfare of our citizens takes a back seat to profit; where children go unsheltered and untended by the millions. ...

And in the face of that reality, the best argument that the world's aspiring deadbeat dads can come up with is the Conniving Bitch defense:

... Speaking of lying, entrapping cuntalinas, Amanda observes with her usual clarity that the mythical Conniving Bitch character is central to this, and every other, deadbeat-dad-guy’s argument.* The Conniving Bitch is always trying to trick some poor feckless dude into coughing up his precious bodily fluids because lard knows if she can produce a son and heir she’ll be entitled to half the Quartermain fortune! Or, if she’s not a character in a soap opera, she’ll be set for life with that princely $500 a month in child support she’ll be lucky to ever see. And, because the only way to avoid this grievous inequity is to stop boinking women without condoms, the feckless dudes of America are obviously powerless to stop this juggernaut of bitchly evil. ...

And once you've gotten to the precious bodily fluids part of the discussion, what else is there to say? Certainly, the interest of the every sperm is sacred crowd wanes significantly after that point. Because we all know whose bodily fluids are precious and important, and whose are just revolting.

Posted by natasha at March 14, 2006 02:38 AM | Women | Technorati links |

there's a job in this for you. as a lobbyist for the rights of women everywhere. i could not have worded
it more eloquently. i am sure you are not looking for this pat on the back. but thanks anywho!

Posted by: loca at March 26, 2006 10:56 PM