Saturday, April 28, 2007

In Search of Equality

Pretty Lady cannot, for the life of her, understand why all these forward-thinking women are so upset with a gentleman for simply making his boundaries known:

When my wife found out she was pregnant, which was an accident, her instant reaction was that she wanted an abortion. There we were in the bathroom with the home pregnancy test kit in hand reading positive for pregnancy and she gets all histerical, crying and raving on and on about how her life is now ruined and how she can’t go through with being pregnant, etc.. I told her it’s her choice, but if she kills my baby (has an abortion) that I would divorce her in a heartbeat and I would never speak to her again.
The ladies present all found this reaction to be horrendous, dreadful, and in violation of the woman's basic human rights, if Pretty Lady is reading them correctly.

Pretty Lady has only to ask herself, well, what if this situation were reversed? What if Pretty Lady found herself with child, and the other responsible party insisted that she dispose of it, because he was unwilling to assume the responsibilities of parenthood?

Well, Pretty Lady's response would be precisely along the lines of the gentleman's words above, and she rather suspects that most of these Up In Arms women would feel the same way.

So, what is Pretty Lady to make of this? Sadly, it seems all too clear that there is a Double Standard still flourishing mightily, even among the vanguard of Female Progressivism.


Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

I read his statement. I agree with you, PL, that a man has a right and a duty to state where he is, and to take the necessary action to live up to that. Why is it that the examples of moral debate in certain situations are always the worst possible, the most objectionable that could be found?
This guy is a nut case. His use of language regarding his wife, his I-don't-care-about-anything-as-much-as-me -and-my-progeny stance, his near hysteria concerning his daughter's life and safety. His choice to divorce his wife would be his own, and he would appear to be able to live with that. There is only one flaw to his argument, and this flaw runs through so many of these types of discussions made by men.
1. As a man, my genetic material is mine. End of story.
2. Should that leave my possession, it is NEVER an accident. (he lost me right there)
3. If I cause such an event to happen, it no longer remains mine. I have given it away. I should take responsibility for what occurs because of my actions, but I lose the ability to direct the actions of the now-possessor of it. I willingly gave it away, along with certain perceived "rights".
This is the logic, not the emotion; I realize that the logic reduces the joys and duties of parenting and reproduction to the level of tort law, but anything else forces a type of bondage on a woman.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, with your reduction to tort law, JWYW, you assume that the woman's nether region is simply tattooed with caveat emptor. Any previous claims or representations made by her to be a reasonable human being -- none of those matter. The original article is short on her previous mental state, but there was the suggestion of a break in her behavior the moment the possibility of pregnancy became an eventuality.

There is no notion of finding oneself in an agreement made in bad faith; it is all the man's responsibility for having gambled at all. We must assume that women are capricious entities that will change their mind as children before the law, and, as such, it was entirely the hazard of allowing any emission at all.

Furthermore, we should then recognize that the mother's rights are those of the owner of all sperm deposited, and thereby owner of the body of the child wholly, whereas the man is only to be punished by law for his decision for 18 years, or less, depending on the woman's feelings at any given moment -- because, after all, he owes the sperm debt.

Exchange of bodily materials within the bonds of marriage does not maintain a residual claim against the child as the product of the marriage -- it is a surrender of tissue from man to woman, and the woman owns those tissues outright to do with as she sees fit. Easy! Everything is simple then. I can't believe this bastard would want to assert any right to tell his wife what she could or could not do with his tissues. After all, he was paid for his tissue sample...

Your legal reductionist view ignores the legal structure created by marriage. The marriage owns its own fruits -- and should in all cases, even those found within the tortured penumbra of the constitution.

Anonymous said...

If all the tissue of the child is the legal property of the mother, why can she not legally kill the child at any period after birth? I mean to only take a legal view; free of any emotion. Those are her cells, fertilized with the sperm she acquired. Therefore, she owns it, and, ownership being an absolute right, she may freely dissociate the tissue at any point, correct? Or, does she sign a hidden contract when the doctor disconnects the umbilical cord -- and does the legal contract differ if it is a nurse, doctor, or the sperm giver who does the cutting?

Anonymous said...

I relent -- you are right, it is a property rights concern. If the mother does not choose to induce labor, but the renegade flesh forces its way out, then we cannot say it is an affirmative action, upon which your argument hinges. Rather, it is theft of property. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the state to determine the course taken by each individual through the birth canal or otherwise, whether this was through the affirmative action of the mother or was the result of rebellious escape, and, for those deemed to have escaped, surely they are not individuals on their own, but rather errant property.

Should the Senate consider a fugitive fetus reclamation act, identifying which of these escaped from the womb without a positive choice by the mother, and thereby remaining property?

For, truly, legally speaking, the argument of JWYW hinges on this damning point:

"2. Should that leave my possession, it is NEVER an accident. (he lost me right there)"

Perhaps we might ask the state to enact the power of eminent domain to emancipate all such escapees, or maybe we may have to acknowledge that attempting to base an argument on property rights in this consideration by arguing that tissue samples are or become the property of the mother is an overly narrow "legal" approach is a fool's errand in this case.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I'm amazed at all I've missed, what with our both keeping our vows, loving each other, and loving and raising the four kids who came along. All the sturm und drang, all the angst, all the vituperation all these folks are living.

I feel so EMPTY right now...

Pretty Lady said...

Pretty Lady must confess that she did not understand what any of you legal people are talking about, and she read it through twice. It seems as though her decision to avoid law school and all graduates thereof like the plague was a sound one.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

Anon- it's called "simile". Would it have helped to have said "this logic is like tort law"?
Nothing in what I wrote had anything to do with the law or the state. It had everything to do with ethics.

Perinteger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perinteger said...

Pretty Lady,

I was curious enough about your conclusion to finally delurk.

Why do you view the two circumstances you described as a double standard?

I ask because they seem like two variations on the same problem, to me. When I read the original blog post, the problem I saw with this fellow's behavior (aside from his fairly creepy inability to see his daughter as an individual with an identity separate from his own) isn't that he insisted his wife not abort their child - the problem is that he insisted that she do anything.

In both situations you described, an individual is faced with a decision that has the potential to affect her mental, spiritual, and physical well-being at a basic level. In both cases, her partner displays an authoritarian streak and tries to pressure or even blackmail her into one decision or the other.

This seems like an oddly self-centered way to behave towards someone with whom you're close enough to have risked an accidental conception.

To personalize things a bit, I would hope that I would trust my partner's judgment sufficiently that I'd believe she'd given my views due weight in coming to whatever decision she made. Given that, I'd think the only caring way to behave would be to support her in that decision.

I'd love to hear you expound a little further on where you see a double standard, so I can understand your point a little better (and hopefully gain a fuller perspective on my own blind spots)

Pretty Lady said...

Perinteger: Certainly! Thank you for asking!

For the moment, let us leave aside all considerations of the character of the original narrator. I believe, as JWYW pointed out, that this is an extreme case which colors the essential facts of the situation.

My point is merely this: that marriage is a partnership. Any time one person makes a unilateral decision which violates the essential parameters of that partnership--and I consider that aborting a pregnancy that is a direct result of this partnership to be a flagrant violation of such--this decision is potentially a deal-breaker. The other person is thus well within their rights to declare, "this relationship is no longer for me."

In both cases, the person threatening to leave is the one who is pointing out that the other person has violated the partnership by delivering a unilateral ultimatum about an abortion. The double standard comes when I point out that when the man threatens to leave, it is termed 'authoritarian, unsupportive, cruel abandonment etc.,' but when the woman threatens to leave, under the same circumstances (partner insisting upon abortion), she is cheered on by the chorus--as well she should be.

You see, in all of our very valid concerns about inappropriate control tactics, domination, inequality etc., it seems to me that we forget that a marriage is an entity as well, which requires a certain basic level of consideration. A person cannot expect to get married and continue making decisions as an individual, without taking the other person's perspective into account. I agree that far too often, women's perspectives have been completely railroaded by patriarchal constructs, and that this problem is still in the process of being addressed.

But it also seems to me that some people swing too far in the other direction, in behaving as though a man has none of the rights and all of the responsibilities within a relationship. It is no wonder that men are increasingly commitment-shy, when they find themselves vulnerable to that sort of a stacked deck.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe you people, talking legalistic BS. That is a child, and if it was my child I sure has heck wouldn't sit around and let the mother kill hers and my child in a very barbaric way. Being torn to shreds and tossed aside like garbage is an abomination. If any person tried to do that to my child, they would have one pissed off swede to deal with. Revenge is mine saith the Lord. However I wouldn't murder said woman or person who murdered my child in such a horrible way. They would however get their ass kicked an a very personal way.

Where is the decency? Where is the love for fellow human beings?

I saw that post and many people posting their opinions about it. I am deeply disturbed at people these days. I also saddened that people cannot look upon a child as a blessing. My children were a blessing to me and my ex-wife. (before you say, with that attitude -no wonder she divorced him, she shared the same thoughts on abortion, don't be a jerk)
I cannot describe how I truely feel or think about abortion and peoples BS attitudes towards it. Shut up with the "what if the womans life is in danger" or "Incase of rape" , that is pure horse hockey.

If I knew my child was going to be aborted, I would do my best to stop it. if I had to destroy every abortion clinic she was trying to go to, I would do my best to destroy everyone of them.

Learn this idiots, You are important, I am important. My child is important. Your child is important. So important that soldiers risk their lives to keep this country safe. So important that police chase law breakers. So important that Doctors perform miracles to save their lives.

God allowed us to have children because they are a blessing and a burden that is good for you and them.

And if you are going to reduce the life of a child to a legal arguement, then whatever you say is stupidity and has no meaning and I won't listen. In otherwords, piss off!

I apologize PL, and I hope you won't ban me. I tried to have my say only to have my comments delted and me banned. but if you feel you should ban me, I undertand and I take my banishment with pride. I hope you will understand my opinion and thoughts and feelings on that subject. But I won't ask for forgivness.

Thanks, and you have been kind to me.

Anonymous said...

btw PL, That new picture for your avatar, you are the spitting image of my little sister. Funny huh?

Anonymous said...

WHat is always surprising to me ( and I usually fall into this trap, or at least almost fall into this trap...depending on how lucky I am) is that anyone in their right mind would make any kind of instant decision about this. Don't people sometimes need the space to freak out, chill, go through the whole hysteria ....get a lot of sleep ...AND THEN LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING ON before making any life changing decisions.
Sometimes it seems like "life at McDonald's" food, fast decisions, 15 second attention span, black or white.....thank god for gloomy days when grey has a chance to seep in and slow us down.

Pretty Lady said...

Starbuck, honey, you have given me no reason at all to ban you; you have been perfectly polite, perfectly clear, and perfectly consistent and reasonable, not to say passionate, in the way you have expressed yourself. Those are Pretty Lady's standards. This talk of banning is simply silly.

The legalistic language, I am fairly certain, was a joke, however.

Danny, you are right as always. I think we consistently make the mistake of thinking that there is a predetermined 'right answer' to every situation, and that we must simply apply the rules and make an instant decision. It ought to be obvious that human emotions are like the tides, and that we must work with them as such, not either ignore them or be ruled by them.

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

Any talk of "legal" rights and responsibilities are non sequiturs as far as what my comment was- yet, it does show how obsessed (or maybe just Anon) we are with the legal system, and not enough with the ehical thought behind any system of an ordered society.
Please don't anyone think that I would recommend that anyone would live by simple ethical logic (and this was extremely simple). Life is not lived by simple if-then statements. If it were, computer programmers would be our priest-kings. Wait, a minute.... well, I'll revisit that thought someday. I alluded to the emotions involved, without going into them. Please do not think that I advocate- or for that matter dis-advocate, abortion and/or divorce.
Is a marriage a partnership in all things? Ideally, yes. Being people, we often make agreements we have not carefully thought through, nor should we- else love and many types of joy wouldn't exist. Where it gets sticky is the assumptions brought in that are not brought out until a baby, or other life-changing event, happens. If the knee-jerk reaction is for the male to say "I decide what you should do", that man is on shaky moral and ethical grounds regardless of the legal climate.
If the woman has a knee-jerk reaction of "I decide what I should do", she is correct. Ultimately, she does. Whether she does it within a framework of partnership and sharing or not, she is the prime actor.
If "we decide to have the baby", or "we decide to have an abortion" or "we decide to get a vasectomy"- the person who actually goes to the obstetrician, the clinic or the urologist has decided to make it "we" instead of "I". They should also should be darn sure it is "we".
PL- we are all familiar with the age-old paradigm of men making the decision over their chattel- where women had responsibilities but no rights. If we men attempt to move the pointer to the far side inside our heads and then try to work toward the middle, I believe we will get there much more quickly.
That being said, I am very aware of the emotions involved, of any individual's deep-seated feelings, needs and fears. I am not, repeat not, judging or denying them, and certainly not ridiculing them.
Dan- "take-a-breath-and-think-for-a-minute" is always good advice, which I wholeheartedly support.

Anonymous said...

" If we men attempt to move the pointer to the far side inside our heads and then try to work toward the middle, I believe we will get there much more quickly."

I'm sorry, JWYW, but that statement is just silly. Discriminating against men now because their great-grandfathers discriminated 100 years ago doesn't create justice, it simply creates a new generation of people who are discriminated against.

As for the topic of discussion, if the man truly believes that his wife is committing a great evil by aborting the baby, why would anyone expect him to remain in the marriage? It would be like saying to your spouse, "I know you want to dismember our child, but it is your decision and I still love and support you". Ridiculous.

Would anyone be happier if he didn't deliver his ultimatum and simply waited until she had the abortion and then divorced her?

"Sadly, it seems all too clear that there is a Double Standard still flourishing mightily, even among the vanguard of Female Progressivism."

I must say that I would amend that statement to read "ESPECIALLY among the vanguard of Female Progressivism."


Anonymous said...

PL, are you my little sister?

k said...

Perhaps in light of the serious issue of abortion this seems almost trivial -

but isn't it a fine example of how it's best to communicate one's positions before the marriage takes place?

If the after-the-fact pregnancy question was such a surprise encounter for this married couple, the relationship was doomed from the beginning.

Desert Cat said...

starbuck, now do I have to arm-wrestle you for whose sister she is? ;)

Anonymous said...

She is the spitting image of my real sister. I had to look twice.

But yes, I would be game for arm wrestling! You look like you would be a worthy opponent!

k said...

Oh yes he WOULD!!! You betcha! That's my blogdaddy you're talkin' about there. My Pops.


(smug swagger preen)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if some of these feminists are actually people sometimes. They often come across as MIT-designed artificial intelligences because of their ability to craft superbly hypocritical content. No normal human can deplore something in others, see it in themselves, and then celebrate it when they're doing it the way they're doing it!

k said...


Actually, miket, that sounds a lot like your average politician to me.

Perinteger said...

Thanks, PL

You've gotten me thinking about how my base assumption was flawed - I read the post you linked to and assumed a situation wherein the members of the marriage simply hadn't discussed the circumstances under which each would refuse, consider, tolerate, advocate, or insist upon an abortion.

To me, if one member feels as strongly as this fellow does about the topic and they haven't discussed the matter with their partner before marrying, they've already partially failed in their responsibilities to themselves, their partner, and the relationship they share. As such, the freedoms and privileges that living up to those responsibilities would normally bring aren't fully realized and fall back to the person who has the responsibility of actually acting on any decision that would normally be made collaboratively.

Realizing I'd assumed that these two hadn't discussed whether or not a pregnancy could warrant an abortion, highlighted some prejudicial thinking on my part - the baseless conclusion that the woman in the posting didn't suddenly start talking about stepping well outside boundaries that she'd previously agreed on. It didn't occur to me to consider that the man may actually have done as much due diligence as one reasonably can, and assured himself that he and his then-future-wife were on the same page only to later find otherwise.

Such a prejudice is, I suspect, the basis for many a double standard.

Putting a pin in that thought, for a moment, I realized that the problem with the comments on the feministe post was that many (maybe even most) completely missed 2 things: 1) the point of the post and 2) the fact that the comment the post was based on didn't include enough information to make a fair judgment of the man's actions (ignoring, for the sake of this discussion, whether or not publicly judging either the man or the woman is even warranted).

I'm grateful you took the time to enucleate further.