“I’m not much of a joiner”

… Are friend Anna’s words, but I steal them from her every once in a while.

Nevertheless, I’ve joined these guys:


Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Maybe you should too.

The theme will be interesting for me to explore – as I consider myself a somewhat religious person (perhaps not in any traditional sense, but still), and us religious people are not generally known for being into choice.

23 thoughts on ““I’m not much of a joiner”

  1. Should men have the same right of choice as women? Should men continue to be forced into fatherhood and required to hand over the largest portion of their earnings to raise a child they neither wanted nor planned for?
    Why do women who support abortion as choice, in rejecting motherhood, not also support the right of men to make a choice in rejecting fatherhood?

  2. Penis envy?? Oh please. I don’t believe it. Regardless, that doesn’t quite justify the injustice, does it?

  3. Your definition of motherhood is weird; most women who have abortions do not view themselves as “mothers” to their fetuses. They have the potential to become mothers – and choose not to go through with it. Moreover, the fetus is self-contained; aside from prenatal care, it’s not costing anyone anything – and most fetuses who are on their way to being aborted to do need receive any sort of care.

    A baby on the other hand is a human being and the state demands that it be supported.

    Men, meanwhile, have the opportunity to reject fatherhood if they refrain from sleeping with a woman.

    Should men have the opportunity to reject the responsibility for a baby, if they claim they didn’t want it in the first place?

    This is where biology comes into play:

    Women get pregnant/give birth/breastfeed and can and will suffer financially as the result. Women also do not earn nearly as much as men – even if they choose to forgo getting pregnant/giving birth/breastfeeding. Have a kid and you lose, at the very best, a year (I’m talking about average folks here, not celebrities with armies of nannies) – a year you could have spent going to school/gaining work experience/kissing up to your bosses/simply earning more money. Now sure, women who choose motherhood bear a huge amount of responsibility – but neither can the state make motherhood completely impossible. Otherwise, there will be no more populace to buy McDonalds’ and pay taxes. The state gives women SOME incentive to have babies.

    It’s very hard for a woman to rape a man and impregnate herself with his child. Even if a woman “tricks” a man into fatherhood (stops taking birth control, for example) – the state usually assumes that if the man CHOSE to sleep with the woman, he is responsible for the kid that results from all that hanky panky. A woman has an extra OPPORTUNITY to make a choice – because she is the one who faces the challenge of bearing the child.

    Interestingly enough, it is very easy for a man to rape a woman, even his spouse, and to force her to have his children – especially in an underdeveloped region/community where women “belong” to men and have little financial agency.

    Also, you have society that dictates its own rules:

    It expects women to give up their lives for their children. Men are expected to contribute money and, in many cases, not much else. It’s actually a pretty weird set-up and I am not sure that it’s entirely “natural” – but it does position women as primary caregivers with their own set of needs, and as such, the economy “expects” men to contribute, whether or not they wanted the kid in the first place. The idea is; it takes two to tango, but the woman bears the larger burden, and as such, she is entitled to financial help.

    But a man has every right to demand alimony from a woman – especially if she earned more and there was no pre-nup. ESPECIALLY if he is a single father and/or shares custody.

    If the financial burden of motherhood was easier – as easy as, say, in the Soviet Union (with better fucking healthcare, obviously) – you might have a case for men to shunt off at least some of their responsibility. Of course, how one PROVES that one never wanted a child is beyond me – especially if you’re telling her “baby, I love you” one day, and then saying, “you blood-sucking whore, I never wanted this” later.

    The playing field will never be level, however – because the biological reality of motherhood is different from the biological reality of fatherhood.

    The extension of your argument could very well read like this: Why shouldn’t men have the right to choose if their significan other wants to terminate a pregnancy that the man, meanwhile, wants to keep?!

    Same reason. Biology. Society.

    Oh, and women are human beings too.

  4. yeah, that’s nuts.

    I think that we should get Stalin’s sperm and impregnate lots of women with it. I mean, that’s what he would have wanted, non?

  5. I appreciate you responding this time, but I’m at a loss to understand why you assumed that the choice scenario was one that involved rape. And frankly, I think bringing rape into the discussion of men’s rights to choose is just lame as hell.
    The scenario: A man and woman have sex, just to have sex, with or without the “I love you, baby” from either side (here’s a surprise, women do the same thing oftentimes). One or both is not choosing to have a baby, he or she is choosing to have sex, just sex, just like 95% of the time that people have sex.
    The woman inconveniently gets pregnant. No problem. She has complete freedom of choice in the matter. Abortion, even up to birth, is her constitutional right, because our society (via the Supreme Court) says that the freedom to choose parenthood and its responsibilities is so fundamental that even a child (fetus, whatever you like) emerging from the womb is subject to termination, regardless of how the biological father may feel, even regardless of situations where both have agreed to have children ahead of time.
    Those are pretty drastic statements by society about how important we view the rights of people to control their own lives regardless of how others may be devastated by that choice.
    Somehow, the same society that recognizes that right to choose for women on principle can throw that principle away for men as soon as a woman exercises her right?? That is outrageous and doesn’t pass the laugh test if women are serious about the inherent justness of the principles that allow Choice.
    And alimony… what?? The fact that both men and women can receive alimony rationalizes only women having a right to choose?? Are you kidding? That’s the other side of the coin for men?
    The “unique burden” that you try to use to justify denying men the same rights as women is just insulting to everyone. And as a feminist, you should recognize it as one of the leading arguments against Choice. “Women have a unique gift and therefore a unique responsibility. Nature blesses women with the gift of life bearing, not life destroying.” Recognize it?
    Regardless, that burden is entirely her choice, is it not? And if you can convince Society that it and not she bears the burden of her free choice, then you can pass laws requiring Society to share the burden equally around to all Americans and not impose such severe loss of freedom on one.

    “A baby on the other hand is a human being and the state demands that it be supported.”
    In the best possible light, this is a valid argument for an entitlement program for child rearers , or (shudder) for the right of the state to take over child rearing responsibilities from men or women who make financially irresponsible Choices. Only in a Matriarchal fantasy is this a valid reason to override a principled right to Choose.

    “Men, meanwhile, have the opportunity to reject fatherhood if they refrain from sleeping with a woman.”

    Heh, yeah, and woman have the opportunity to not sleep with men if they want to reject motherhood, right?

    “Should men have the opportunity to reject the responsibility for a baby, if they claim they didn’t want it in the first place?”

    How about even if he wanted it (although I’m willing to compromise on that), just like a woman who changes her mind after deliberately getting pregnant. Her choice, not his, of course!

    It is amazing how willing you are to impose burdens on males that you would abjectly reject if Biology and Society were seen to impose them on women. It leaves the impression that Choice as it exists is not about rights and freedom, but instead about exercising economic and emotional control over others, that is, men.

  6. Please continue to be amazed.

    The choice to terminate or keep a pregnancy is a biological necessity for women.

    Take it up with Mother Nature.

    If you think that all feminists believe that men and women are the same, you’ve got the wrong sort of feminist on your hands.

  7. Oh, and way to not read like, half of what I said. Awww.

    ***Women have a unique gift and therefore a unique responsibility. Nature blesses women with the gift of life bearing, not life destroying.” Recognize it?***

    There’s nothing unique about women. Children gestate inside them, and then come out – it’s a function of gender, not a “unique gift.” Now, a man who could push out a watermelon through an orange-sized hole, that would be UNIQUE!

    ***And if you can convince Society that it and not she bears the burden of her free choice, then you can pass laws requiring Society to share the burden equally around to all Americans and not impose such severe loss of freedom on one.***

    But that would be un-American! Americans are all about individualism, you see – economically and so on. A place like the Soviet Union would have actually agreed with you, at least in part. The burden of child-bearing and rearing was acutely felt by all citizens. Especially early on, when the idea of a creche played a role (read Kollontai’s “Lives of Worker Bees”).

  8. ***How about even if he wanted it (although I’m willing to compromise on that), just like a woman who changes her mind after deliberately getting pregnant.***

    Legally speaking; at what point can a man change his mind? In the first two trimesters, like a woman? Or a couple of years after the birth? Remember – a fetus doesn’t have to cost the state anything, a baby, on the other hand does (there’s your explanation for your lack of choice, in case you’re missing it).

    Incidentally, my aunt’s husband left her with three kids after 10 years of marriage – and complains bitterly about having to hand over his 70 ghrivnas (about 15 bucks) every month. He evades taxes on the rest of the money he earns, and tells the government that he is living on his disability checks alone. She could drag him through the courts – but she can’t afford a lawyer, and has mouths to feed besides that (perhaps my aunt’s husband and you should get together for some beer and sympathy?).

    You see, he suddenly realized that he “never wanted children in the first place! It was all her idea!” He couldn’t abort them, of course, so he settled for leaving them. And he feels that it’s really fucking unfair – the fact that the state DEMANDS that he financially contribute.

    If the same state had any sort of decent support network in place, my aunt would have long ago told her ex-husband to take his 15 bucks and shove them up his ass.

    So if you really, really want to have more choice – complain about the lack of affordable childcare, don’t whine about abortion.

    Furthermore, you assume that freedom of CHOICE is extended toward all women. That’s not true. Many women who want to carry their pregnancies to term do not have the actual choice to do so – because of economic circumstances, because their significant other “changed his mind,” because their family disapproves, etc. The same goes for women who want to abort – and cannot do so. Think about Andrea Yates – a woman who really, really shouldn’t have had all those children due to severe post-natal depression.

    A creche might have done Andrea Yates some good. We might be on to something.

  9. You know… I’ve just delivered this entire monologue (I’m tired and sick on a Friday night, and this is the best I can do to entertain myself), but I’ve also realized that you assume that I believe that it’s a good thing that men are forced to pay child-support. I mean, that’s what you assumed when you showed up here, right?

    I don’t think it’s a good thing at all.

    I would hate having to accept money from someone who was forced by the state to give it, especially if I had shared a bed with that someone.

  10. Natalia, you are avoiding the simple issue of freedom, choice and fairness by recalling incidents that have nothing to do with the scenario. Your uncle is a cad. Actual deadbeat dads, (not the “named” variety that California forces to pay, even if DNA proves non-paternity) are scumbags. I can counter with a slew of scenarios of child support paying for an abusive woman’s crack etc. if you wish. I’m sure you don’t.
    For the record, I believe that a man who agrees to father a child should be “stuck” with his decision once the child is born. I’ll (personally) even support a principle that feminists would find abhorrent if applied to women, that a man who agrees to be a parent should be stuck if the other person simply wishes to continue the pregnancy. Grant you, that is discriminatory against men, but I’ll live with it for myself.
    My scenario, the most common scenario, is well stated and is just two single people having sex. It a simple, clear vehicle for discussing the human rights that women demand for themselves and refuse for men.

    ” So if you really, really want to have more choice – complain about the lack of affordable childcare, don’t whine about abortion. ”

    And, as I said, women can do the same, can’t they? Instead of forcing men to shoulder a burden that they would never force on a woman, they can ask Society for the entitlements. Men are not demanding anything that women have not demanded for themselves: The simple dignity of choice in if, when and with who they decide to be a parent. It could not be simpler or the current system more starkly unjust. A system that places a pregnant woman on a pedestal, where everyone else’s rights are nulled, has a nice old fashioned air about it, but we know how reprehensible those old fashioned ideas about motherhood and pregnancies are, don’t we?

    Choice for women is not incompatible with Choice for men, and women who demand otherwise are deliberately abandoning the very principles upon which their most cherished right depends.

    Thanks for responding. Sorry you’re not feeling well. I have a nice headache myself. If you could, I would appreciate a response to my questions and remarks about white privilege on the other thread when you’re feeling better. Thanks again for allowing me to comment.

  11. ***A system that places a pregnant woman on a pedestal, where everyone else’s rights are nulled, has a nice old fashioned air about it, but we know how reprehensible those old fashioned ideas about motherhood and pregnancies are, don’t we?***

    I don’t think that any normal woman would want to be on a pedestal. And like I said, if the economy was rigged differently – men wouldn’t have to worry about being forced into these situations. But a baby’s going to cost somebody, and if the state can get out of paying for most of it – it will.

    As for abusive women and crack – I hear these stories all the time too. I heard the story of a woman who fought against sharing custody of her daughter, then proceeded to rape the daughter with a hairbrush until she was dead.

    It’s an ugly world we live in, and women aren’t intrinsically “better.”

  12. PS. I read your responses carefully. Your specific response to my “unique” remarks was overwrought, almost spitting. That is unfortunate. You spent a good deal of space listing the biological “difference” between a mother and father and the special burden a woman bears. That is where my “unique” comes from and certainly doesn’t require such faux outrage.

  13. The above was posted before I could read your last response.

    “But a baby’s going to cost somebody, and if the state can get out of paying for most of it – it will.”

    Thank you. That, alone without any other attempts to rationalize NoChoice for men, is the most honest response from a pro-Choicer I have ever read. (Someone should pay, so let’s screw the man for her choice. A little poetic justice. [My words, not yours] )
    But obviously it does not negate human rights. And it is not as if pro-Choicers have not carried the banner for No-Choice. If women alone want to bear children in a financially irresponsible manner, then they can turn to the state and spread the burden among all. A failure to achieve that is infortunate but should not require an individual to surrender his rights to raise his own choice of family as generously as possible, either now or in the future.

    For context, I believe or support what used to be called the Social Safety Net. It used to be called liberalism. Today’s liberal would probably call it greed.

  14. My understanding of socialism is rather simplistic: a form of government between communism and capitalism, but in American terms, left of liberalism. Another way to say it, socialism is as much communism as possible, but with just enough capitalism to keep it from imploding, like what has happened to communism. And that’s just the ecominic meaning. As a Safety Net capitalist, I believe that rewarding individual effort elevates all, and I think America has proven that many times over.

  15. Mikem: You said something true! I’m always up for first times. You’re right: your understanding of socialism is rather simplistic.

    Well done 🙂

  16. It is rich beyond measure to be “judged” by an admitted hatemonger like you, Rann. Really.

  17. Rann: “Bubbly was great when it was announced that Reagan could no longer recognize his wife, for example.”

    mikem: “…hatemonger like you, Rann.”

    Rann: “Ah, more name calling. How nice.”

    Humanity: (sniff-sniff) Poor, good hearted Rann, victim of the right wing smear machine.

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