The Childfree Talk discusses the inherent sexism in people who tell women that they’ll regret not having children.
Here’s a question. Why isn’t this prediction ever made at people who are men?
Maybe because when men assert something, people believe that they’ve thought the matter through, and made their minds up, and that to challenge their convictions would be hideously rude and pointless. He doesn’t want kids, and who else gets a say in that? Nobody.
Meanwhile, women’s brains – and their choices – belong to everybody but them.
Why do some people delight in the idea that a childfree woman will be ‘proven wrong’ someday? Why do they not only enjoy that idea, but also see it as a personal triumph – something to do with them?
And now, from the BBC, here is a case in point.
Many were supportive, both men and women saying they felt the same way. As for the negative ones, some said things she had heard before – that she would change her mind, that she was selfish and that the National Health Service shouldn’t pay for her to be sterilised as the money would be better spent on sick children. Then came the abuse.
“People sought me out to say they were glad I haven’t reproduced, that they’re pleased there won’t be any more people like me in the world. They cast aspersions on my mum and said I need psychological help,” Brockwell says.
The Toast is a wonderful satirical feminist web site, if you don’t know about it. It’s absolutely creative and wonderful. I especially liked this horrifying reworking of the Curious George story.
George tumbled and fell.
“WHERE IS GEORGE?”
The sailors looked and looked. (Men help other men recover what is theirs. If you belong to a man, other men will help him find you, if you go missing. You will always be found. Does that make you feel safe?)
At last they saw him
struggling in the water,
George no longer minded being Caught. Which meant he was as caught as caught could be.
“Man overboard!” the sailors cried
as they threw him a life belt.
George caught it and held on. George had to catch it to hold on. George had to hold on to be caught. George was caught and held on. George held and was held, caught and was caught. George was safe on board.
The opposite of Good is drowning.
After that, George was more careful
to be a good monkey, until at last
the long trip was over. Being a good monkey meant:
not moving, not leaving, not going away. Being good meant listening, and staying where he was put. Being good meant quiet. Being good felt tired.
In Organizing Upgrade, Dean Spade and Craig Willse have written an entry about marriage, trying to remind everyone that marriage is a tool of control and that we shouldn’t associate being against marriage with homophobia. That’s an uphill battle if I’ve ever seen one, although I agree completely with their analysis.
Marriage is a tool of gendered social control.
Feminists have long understood marriage as a tool of social control and labor exploitation. This is why feminists have worked to dismantle the mystique around romance, marriage, child rearing and care–exposing these as cultural fantasies that coerce women into unpaid labor and cultivate sexual violence. They have also worked to change laws to make it easier to get out of marriages, and to de-link marital status from essential things people need (like immigration and health care) because those links trap women and children in violent family relationships.
Marriage is about protecting private property and ensuring maldistribution.
Marriage has always been about who is whose property (women, slaves, children) and who gets what property. Inheritance, employee benefits, insurance claims, taxation, wrongful death claims–all of the benefits associated with marriage are benefits that keep wealth in the hands of the wealthy. Those with no property are less likely to marry, and have less to protect using marriage law. Movements for economic justice are about dismantling property systems that keep people poor—not tinkering with them so that people with wealth can use them more effectively to protect their wealth.
Today’s same-sex marriage advocates argue in courts and in the media that marriage is the bedrock of our society, that children need and deserve married parents, and that marriage is the most important relationship people can have. These arguments are the exact opposite of what feminist, anti-racist and anti-colonial movements have been saying for hundreds of years as they sought to dismantle state marriage because of its role in maldistributing life chances and controlling marginalized populations.
From The Hard Times: Local Creep Enthusiastically Sex-Positive
“If two girls want to make out right in front of me then they should have the right to,” said Finkle while erasing his browser history. “This sex-negative western culture that shames and controls our bodies is archaic and fucked up to no end. If two women decide to express their sexual desires by oiling each other up in slow motion and totally going at it on top of a muscle car right there in front of me then who am I — or any other man — to say they’re wrong?”
A BONRS rally scheduled for next month is slated to have upwards of a dozen attendees comprised exclusively of young men.
“While we haven’t sold any tickets to any women yet, we’re confident our sex toy raffle and co-ed Jell-o wrestling pit will bring the ladies out in droves,” said Finkle. “Chicks love that stuff.”
Jonah Mix points out that masculinity is violent by its very nature, and that it’s the people who talk about “masculinity in crisis” or “warped masculinity” who are deeply confused.
To respond to a woman’s rejection by shooting nine strangers and then yourself is to express the dictates of masculinity in their most concentrated form: Demand what you want. Use violence to take it. Destroy what you can’t have. This is the ideology of manhood. There is nothing warped, confused, or flawed about it. Nor is it a “toxic” form of something otherwise benign.
The truly toxic confusion over the meaning of masculinity is found in reformers, men who hope to replace ten thousand years of domination psychology with a “healthy masculinity” comprised of gentleness, compassion, leadership, and provision. But there is no way to mold a sex-specific psychology from basic human decency. These traits have been shown throughout history by all people, male and female both; random violence and explosive rage, on the other hand, have generally been the purview of men. There has never been a need for a word to describe the psychology of a healthy, functional adult male besides “good person.” There has, however, been a very pressing need to create a word for the qualities men need to retain their power over women.
Many of the traits that define the liberal notion of “healthy masculinity” cannot be laundered of their patriarchal roots. There is nothing healthy about the notion that men are uniquely providers, defenders, protectors, or leaders. Historically, the association of men with protection has accompanied the association of women with property, just as the male role of leader has existed on a foundational female role of follower. Even these supposedly enlightened interpretations of masculinity rely on and perpetuate a system of gendered division wherein men maintain tacit control over women. The truly progressive view, that no behaviors are more or less valuable depending on one’s genitals, has no place in the neo-romanticism of modern manhood reform.
This is a cheeky one. Matt Bruenig wrote an article quoting Libertarian writers in order to prove every step in his argument that capitalism is coercive and creates poverty.
From The Onion: Study Finds Every Style Of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults
SANTA ROSA, CA—A study released by the California Parenting Institute Tuesday shows that every style of parenting inevitably causes children to grow into profoundly unhappy adults. “Our research suggests that while overprotective parenting ultimately produces adults unprepared to contend with life’s difficulties, highly permissive parenting leads to feelings of bitterness and isolation throughout adulthood,” lead researcher Daniel Porter said. “And, interestingly, we found that anything between those two extremes is equally damaging, always resulting in an adult who suffers from some debilitating combination of unpreparedness and isolation. Despite great variance in parenting styles across populations, the end product is always the same: a profoundly flawed and joyless human being.” The study did find, however, that adults often achieve temporary happiness when they have children of their own to perpetuate the cycle of human misery.