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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

This article by Catherine Deveny on the ABC called “Financial abortion: Should men be able to ‘opt out’ of parenthood?” is infuriatingly limited.

I have recently come to the conclusion that, as a feminist, I support men being able to opt out of fatherhood early in a pregnancy via what is known as a financial abortion.

I believe a woman should not be forced to become a mother any more than a man should be forced to become a father. If a man has not said, “I want to have a child with you now-ish”, it is fair to assume he doesn’t, and therefore should be able to legally withdraw from becoming a parent.

It would also be less traumatic for children, and more empowering for women.

A financial abortion (also known as a paper abortion or a statutory abort) would essentially enable men to cut all financial and emotional ties with a child in the early stages of pregnancy.

Men can ‘opt out’ already. Don’t have sex with women, get a vasectomy, take lots and lots of responsibility for contraception. Oh.. you mean not that kind of “control over reproductive choices”.

Men can have more control than they do currently over whether parenthood happens (see my paragraph above), but just like women they don’t have full control over conception. Pregnancy is not something you can ‘make happen’.. you can provide circumstances that will facilitate pregnancy or which won’t… but conception is a biological action that happens outside of women’s and men’s control. We all need to carry responsibility for that.

It is not something one can ‘opt out of’ if you, like me, happen to enjoy the act of putting sperm near eggs inside women’s bodies.

What certain men are seeking to ‘opt out of’ is not whether parenthood can occur, it is the responsibility of parenthood. How very user choice, what part of reality might possibly be missing from this?

The parent with the ability to decide to carry a pregnancy to term (or not) is the one whose body has a foetus inside it. If we lived in another reality where men could choose to carry a foetus in their body to term then they could opt out of doing so.. and I am sure many women would be content to concede that right to men.

 

And of course on the wider issue of opting out, as someone said on my Facebook page, is this…

“In practice men do have this choice: courts won’t demand men conform to care and contact agreements & DHSCS has a poor record of enforcing compliance with child support assessments/ agreements. Women’s access to abortion remains practically constrained and single mothers a group at high risk of poverty – these remain the bigger issues than further expanding masculine financial & paternal discretion.”

 

 

 

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It is another common assumption that a single mother is a woman who puts her sex life ahead of her social responsibility. Manipulative or sexual, she exhibits either too much self-control or not enough (what is never mentioned in relation to teenage pregnancies is the possibility of child abuse and rape). Behind the idea of maternal virtue, therefore, another demand and/or reproach. A mother is a woman whose sexual being must be invisible. She must save the world from her desire – a further projection that allows the world to conceal from itself the unmanageable nature of all human sexuality, and its own voraciousness. Even in the years leading up to the 1960s, when there was more sympathy for the predicament of single mothers, the basic assumption was there. ‘Innocent’ girls could get into trouble and deserved understanding ‘provided that they did not flaunt their transgressions’. Nor is the childless woman immune from sexual taint. ‘Surely,’ one journalist said recently, expressing a common attitude to the declining birth rate in 21st-century France, ‘a woman who refuses to be a mother enjoys lovemaking rather too much?’

In this context, ancient Greece and Rome are again refreshing. Cleopatra, deemed the most desirable of women, was the mother of four children, one, she claimed, by Julius Caesar and the three youngest by Mark Antony, something most representations of Cleopatra conspire not to remember or talk about (no one I have mentioned this to had the faintest idea she was a mother).

From this amazing essay, “Mothers” in the London Review of Books by Jacqueline Rose.

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What fantasy is Trump giving his supporters the liberty to consider? What secret have they been hiding from themselves?

Trump seems to awaken something in them that they feel they have, until now, needed to suppress. What is that thing? It is not just (as I’m getting a bit tired of hearing) that they’ve been left behind economically. (Many haven’t, and au contraire.) They’ve been left behind in other ways, too, or feel that they have. To them, this is attributable to a country that has moved away from them, has been taken away from them—by Obama, the Clintons, the “lamestream” media, the “élites,” the business-as-usual politicians. They are stricken by a sense that things are not as they should be and that, finally, someone sees it their way. They have a case of Grievance Mind, and Trump is their head kvetcher.

In college, I was a budding Republican, an Ayn Rand acolyte. I voted for Reagan. I’d been a bad student in high school and now, in engineering school, felt (and was) academically outgunned, way behind the curve. In that state, I constructed a world view in which I was not behind the curve but ahead of it. I conjured up a set of hazy villains, who were, I can see now, externalized manifestations, imaginary versions of those who were leaving me behind; i.e., my better-prepared, more sophisticated fellow-students. They were, yes, smarter and sharper than I was (as indicated by the tests on which they were always creaming me), but I was . . . what was I? Uh, tougher, more resilient, more able to get down and dirty as needed. I distinctly remember the feeling of casting about for some world view in which my shortfall somehow constituted a hidden noble advantage.

From George Saunders’ “Who are all these Trump supporters?” in The New Yorker.

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And it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald

Have you ever run with a baby? You’re up, you scoop, you leap. Bone against bone, you and the baby in your arms knock against one another. But within two of your running strides, the baby knows to fold herself into you, she tucks under your chin and presses against your chest. Two strides, heart pounding, and you both find flight.

Babies must know, somewhere primitive in them, how to be held by someone running. Because two strides and the instinct awakens, they’re suddenly weightless in your arms, moulded against you.

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These are your heroes, your American Snipers and Captain Americas in all their syphilitic charm. This is your oblivious entertainment and the parade of your own lack of imagination. This is the girl on the back of your motorcycle, your cardboard sexy. This is the bullshit you worship.

How far gone you must be. How lost in your own fantasy and privilege. How determined you must be to maintain your bubble. How unaware of your place on this planet, in this climate, of your voice and power (lived not assumed. imposed) must you be to have voted for your own lack of conscience?

We who are not immune to your nasal vocal fry, who hear your raised voice and bombshell laughter, who recognize the twang of your guitar and that robotic twist of hip are very clear on what we’re seeing. The profane mascot on your cap and shirt, rather than remove and burn, you have chosen to present to the world as a mask. You have elected a caricatured mascot. A totem to your ignorance.

Here is the proof of the internal battles you have not fought, the lines of credit you have not questioned and never intended to pay back. The thin man you saw in the forest. The clown that kept popping up in the shadows. The chair that rocks that no one is sitting in. This is your haunted house built over our graveyard. The car that won’t start. The murderous ski mask. This is your cop drama, your cowboy fantasy, your bed sheet cape and plastic boots. Your fears, fantasies and entertainment all wrapped into one high-strung effigy whose burning fire you will not be able to contain.

You have proven your enemies right.

Saul Williams. (Credit for the image to Xoaquín Torres and  Reuben Weinzveg)

 

Breathtaking!

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our society is currently gripped by a pervasive ideology of work. It is continuously preached to us as the pinnacle of human virtue. If you’re not doing superhuman stints at the office then something is wrong with you. And don’t even mention the word unemployed … that’s blasphemy.

The most worrying facet about the ideology of work is this: we are obliged to toil even when it’s not really necessary in concrete, economic terms. Appearing super-busy becomes more about fulfilling a societal expectation than doing something useful to society.

From Peter Fleming’s “The way to a better work-life balance? Unions,  not self-help” in The Guardian

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