Here’s the introduction to this series. I followed up with a post on marriage, monogamy and violence. Both posts together got combined and cross-posted at the Gonzo Times. Thanks to Punk Johnny Cash for the platform.
We continue today with a classic “men’s rights” position–one that, in it’s essence, I agree with. However, it’s so obviously disingenuous, always accompanied by massive misdirection, and seething with anger towards women that it’s a really interesting study of the misogynist mindset. We’ll lead off with a quote from Jay Batman.
The fact that I ejaculate during sexual intercourse does not mean that I consent to all possible outcomes including pregnancy and fatherhood. I have consented to the immediate sexual act, and in order for me to be considered a father, I must consent to fatherhood, which is a separate transaction altogether. I retain autonomy and sovereignty throughout all phases of my existence, and reject the idea that consent can be implicit. A woman may choose to engage in motherhood, but that in no way obligates me to the converse of fatherhood. It does not matter how many times I engaged in sexual intercourse, if my stated intention was merely sex, I cannot be said to have consent to reproduction.
Reproductive freedom for a male is summed up by the ability to deny consequence for consensual action, just as it is for a woman. If we are to be equal, a male’s ability to abort his decision by refusing to accept obligations for the consequence of sex in the form of parenthood must be honored . . . There are two distinct choices, but a woman’s feminist outlook seeks to render one choice out of two for any man in order to coerce and force him into a role she wants for herself. His capital must be pilfered to support and sustain her choice.
In Jay Batman’s world, and the world of most wildly uninformed people, abortion is a cakewalk. Simply kiss your sympathetic sexual partner on the cheek, drive up to the window of the friendly and inviting drive-thru clinic, terminate the pregnancy for $19.95 and be about your way.
The reality is much different and is covered so well elsewhere that I’ll just touch on the highlights here. In most places that offer reproductive services, and 87% of counties in the United States don’t, the rulers (overwhelmingly male) have legislated a whole host of hurdles for women to overcome: various combinations of multiple day waiting periods, multiple visits during which women must be instructed on fetal development, see sonograms, listen to fetal heartbeats, and undergo counselling. That’s two or three days off work, probably away from home (for many, more than 50 miles) at locations that are under regular threat of bombing and seeing providers that are not infrequently assassinated.
The various procedures, which could easily be carried out by a trained technician, must be performed by one of the 2000 or so medical doctors (mostly over the age of 50) that are still practicing. All these legal hurdles drive the price up tremendously.
To be fair, access to reproductive options are much better in some respects than in years past. In many places, it’s possible to get a morning after pill, which is reasonably convenient and affordable. But for the self actualized women who are able to overcome social and religious pressure, economic and psychological circumstances and take this kind of pro-active control, the morning after pill is rarely a necessity. For these women, partnering with responsible condom wearing men is the first line of defense against pregnancy.
That’s right, the least expensive, most available, and highly effective means that every man has at his disposal to avoid the snares and pitfalls that Jay Batman feels the all powerful and fiendishly deceptive gynarchy is laying out–the latex condom. It’s the kryptonite against the tricksters and gold diggers that populate his imagination and it’s at hand in every gas station, convenience store, pharmacy and grocery in the country.
Jay accepts that every woman should have absolute control over her body, and he expects them to exercise this control to avoid the burdens of parenthood. Every man has the same degree–actually a much greater degree given the relative costs and convenience of the remedies–of control in avoiding unwanted children. He still seems somehow more sympathetic and concerned for the man who has unprotected sex.
Now we come to the point of agreement, and this is a challenging idea that I first heard not long ago on the Flaming Freedom podcast (this episode touches on it). The idea is essentially that a man should have the right to abandon a child and essentially waive all future claims of custody, visitation, etc. in exchange for avoiding financial obligation.
I think Jay would be surprised at how unpopular the idea would be among fathers. Currently, they largely able to avoid financial obligation by threatening abandonment, maintaining a low legal profile, or simply not paying and hoping that the mother won’t go through the onerous, expensive, and time consuming process of attempting to bring the unwieldy court system to bear on the father.
Currently many less-than-honorable men get to have it all: freedom from financial obligation as well as contact with his children. In the world Jay imagines with an either/or choice, this would be virtually impossible.
That said, I think I am in agreement. In a world in which female reproductive options were as readily available and as inexpensive as they would be without puritanical male legal interference, where arbitration supported the enforcement of contracts freely entered without regard to gender, and most importantly–and this would be the biggest change, I think–where a woman faced no threat of violence for exercising her autonomy; in this world, I think that it should be possible for a man to opt out of fatherhood immediately following intercourse.
Such a world would be a radical, reality altering improvement for women.