Re: A place for men in feminism.

I'm reluctant to call myself a feminist, even though I feel very sympathetic towards the movement and agree with it on most things.

I think this is largely because if when talking about stuff you disagree in the slightest with anything a female feminist it's very easy to find yourself being jumped on and labeled as an evil supporter of Patriarchy. This is particularly easy if when talking about a problem that women face you even suggest that we worry about finding a solution that doesn't create unneeded unfairness to men.

That's not like the slavery campaign. Free abolitionists obviously couldn't be accused about being culpable for slavery, it's difficult for a man to be situated similarly with regard to Patriarchy.


Bill, I understand your feelings although I have not encountered the same response. Perhaps it's because I post pro-feminist, pro-choice at The Galloping Beaver and many of the feminist bloggers are aware of it. I'm also quite happy to deconstruct the likes of Dr. Mike Adams when he starts flinging his crap. However, I read a blog for a long time before I comment. I don't like to create problems, although I am willing to present a view, as respectfully as possible and with complete consideration for the position of the post. So far, I've only been called a "defender of the patriarchy" once and, after pointing back at some of my held views, I received an unnecessary but very sincere apology.

Happy - Thanks for the promo! I have really been meaning to do a post on women in the US Navy and how they deal with pregnancy. I had a great email exchange with some very interested and officially connected people and, while they were a little reluctant to provide actual details, they did tell me where to get pertinent facts.
Alas, I found I had to get involved in the election here and that took a lot of time and qwerty-effort. Things have slowed a little bit although I still have to deal with presenting college lectures and supervising the refit of a ship, so please hang in there. I'll give you a heads-up just before I post it.

Those were great links, by the way. I'm going to link through you to them from TGB. And I found your "Churl Power..." post both timely and very entertaining.



Thanks for the heads-up the the Alas, A Blog posting. What a mess that was. I couldn't help but comment.


bell hooks is the nom de plume of Gloria Watkins. It's her great-grandmother's name. The lower case letters are meant to evoke both an "everywoman" quality ("me and the women who came before me") and anonymity ("the women who came before me whose names and ideas are lost"). They're also meant to emphasize the importance of the work over the personality.

She's fantastic. Highly recommended.

The Happy Feminist

She definitely sounds fantastic from Hadhifa Sofia's description of her lecture. I am not sure why the lower-case thing used to bother me -- I never liked that about e.e. cummings either, but I got over it when I became familiar with his poetry. I am already feeling better about hooks!


bell hooks is absolutely one of my favourite feminists. I can't wait to read those posts.



I've decided that while I dislike the concept of abortion, I'm far more concerned about the disparity in law between men's and women's rights than I am about allowing abortion or not. I discussed it in the post above. The comments are quite illuminating. I think I like Anonymous/Dan's solution.

The Happy Feminist

Oooh, no way! I think it's fair to say (and I am sorry this wasn't the case in your situation) that most women consult with their partners before making a decision to abort. I strongly believe, however, that because biology places the burden on the woman of creating the baby from the fertilized egg (and it is a burden) than it should of necessity be the choice of the woman alone. Obviously, I believe that an ethical woman would involve her partner in the decision unless there is good reason not to but no way would I support the state forcing her to notify or involve him.

There have been some terrific feminist blog posts on this that I'll try to dig up (may not have time tonight though). Can anyone else get their hands on Hugo's post and the post Lauren at Feministe wrote on this?


Happy Feminist, I'm concerned about equality before *the law*. Right now you get what you want--superiority before the law. Justice tilts the scales in favor of the women.

Like Anonymous/Dan said, if the woman wants to have a child and the man doesn't, he should be able to dissociate himself physically, emotionally, and financially from the child. For the woman that's not a *penalty*, that's a *choice* that she accepts. Both have had a choice in this situation.

If the man wants the child and the woman doesn't, Anonymous Dan posits that the woman can abort the child but must pay financial restitution to the man for *his* loss. Again, not a penalty, but a choice.

Neither wants the child? Vacuum it out.

The second a feminist (or anyone else for that matter) wants to hide behind "the best interest of the child" I wonder why the child has to actually be born before they make that argument. And why that argument only works to a woman's advantage.

You want equality? I offer it to you here.

The Happy Feminist

It sounds to me like you're proposing special rights for men. As citizens of this country , men and women have the right to control our own reproductive systems. That is, you have the right to decide whether to have sex and whether to use a condom, just as a woman has the right to decide whether to have sex or use the contraceptive methods available to her. Because you are a man, you are not burdened by pregnancy.

Women are burdened by pregnancy. It is through the hard, risky and draining work performed by the woman's body that a baby is created from the fertilized egg. Your demand to be consulted if she chooses not to undergo that burden would be a special right for men, above and beyond the bodily autonomy that we all enjoy. You are demanding that she either give her body for nine months to the service of creating this baby or, in the alternative, that she pay you off for your "loss." Your loss was apparently that she did not put her body and potentially her health (pregnancy and birth being a rather risky processes) at the service of the result you wanted to see. Either way, under your proposed scenario, the woman is under your control because she had sex with you and has to "pay" in some way either by abiding by your wish that she undergo the pregnancy or by giving you restitution. I fail to see how this can in any way be considered "equality."

While the fact that you yourself cannot create a baby and give birth is indeed also lack of equality, that is a biological reality, not something feminists or the law did to you. Trust me, if we could have you men undertake pregnancy instead, we would.

Your question about child support is a completely separate issue from the question of whether a woman can be forced to undergo the physical burdens of pregnancy and childbirth-- and frankly I don't really see the connection to the issue of whether a woman has the right to choose an abortion on her own, unless you are somehow proposing that you should have the right to choose to force her to abort? The sad fact is that the child has the right to have its physical and other basic needs met once it is born. If I understand the law correctly, the woman may not necessarily have the right to waive the child's right to support if it turns out she herself cannot support the child.

Unfortunately, basic biology burdens both men and women unequally. It isn't the law that favors women in being able to control whether a child results after conception -- it's biology. To give a man the right to control or get restitution for that decision would be to give the man special rights over the woman's body. Sorry, but them's the breaks.

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