My article about paper abortion has led to some interesting discussion, online and off. What I’ve been brewing on since, however, isn’t the topic of abortions or paper abortions themselves, but a question that will occur to anyone who dares try to discuss them: Why is men’s right to paper abortions so fiercely opposed? In almost any venue, anger at the specter of “infringement” of women’s right borders on the rabid and irrational. I saw this within my own family and it appears in the media whenever paper abortions are discussed. Why is that?
I come from a liberal family and have three sisters of varying ages and a not-so-varying stance on my status as a Men’s Right Activist. I wrote the article about paper abortion knowing full well (and maybe hoping just a little) how controversial it would be among the general population and my own family. I knew my sisters wouldn’t agree with any argument in favor of paper abortions, nor would any left-of-center woman. Hell, far-right women would probably say I’m encouraging “deadbeat” behavior.
But that’s the point that kept coming to mind for me. Why is abortion and paper abortion such a hot-button topic? Few things get people so worked up. Abortion (non-paper) has come to be seen as a “basic right”, but how can any right be “basic” if it is only granted to half the population? After all, only a little over 10% of abortions are for health/safety reasons. For the rest, it is effectively a ‘morning-after-the-morning-after’ solution, emergency birth control. Handy, definitely, so why so much opposition to giving men a legal equivalent?
I think it’s not really about abortion at all, and what made me realize this was a conversation I had while making breakfast. It was shortly after the publication of my article and I was discussing it with some family members. Not female family members, though. My father and teenage brother. Both of them are well aware of the many issues faced by men, but neither is as much of an MRA as me (Red Pills for Christmas?). We were discussing the article, and by extension abortion and paper abortion and men’s responsibility and women’s rights and all the other bullshit feminists try to block paper abortion with. The usual (and irrational) argument is that men don’t give birth, can’t understand it, don’t bear the same burdens, and so can’t be given the same rights of choice. In essence I argued back that childbirth is nothing special and so there’s no reason for women to have exclusive access to abortions. I admit, I was a little worked up; it happens easily when discussing men’s rights. Eventually, to make my point, a bit hyperbolically, I said:
Giving birth is no different than taking a piss.
Now, remember, these were two men I was talking to, both moderately well informed about the MRM, and yet their response was down right chilly. They weren’t hostile but both were perhaps just a bit short of shocked. Even for me, this was apparently an extreme stance.
But I kept arguing the point logically.
- Giving birth is a biological function.
- Women evolved to give birth.
- Almost every mammal on the planet does it.
- There’s nothing special about the act of childbirth.
But no, it seemed I had sinned. The discussion quickly died away and I was left with the distinct feeling I had violated a taboo.
If I ever drop that line on one of my sisters, I’m bringing a flak jacket.
All that is anecdotal, yes, but it is illustrative of how a larger social construct filters its way down into our thoughts and our daily lives. Our society is suffering from a Maternity Cult. I don’t mean a literal cult, but a cultural complex which mythologizes and even deifies childbearing. This is nothing new, of course. Fertility goddesses and reverence for childbearing date well into pre-history. It is likely humans were worshiping childbirth before they’d figured out men were involved. (Probably still footing the bill back then, though)
But even today? Yes, even today, even in the developed, secular world. Women’s status as incubators grants them most if not all of their social privilege. They are viewed as the creators of life, hence women and children first and the tendency (policy) of the mainstream media to always paint female deaths in war zones as far more tragic than those of men. Throughout the ages, women have been considered more reproductively valuable, despite most societies being monogamous. The whole mystique of women as nurturing, caring, delicate beings deserving protection and special consideration stems, I think, from their childbearing function. Biologically, it is the only unique feature of the sex. They’re smaller, yes, but short men receive no such special treatment. Motherhood is the driving force behind female privilege, and therefore a driving force behind feminism, which seeks to enhance female privilege while avoiding any social responsibility.
Hence the bloody war over abortion, paper and medical. Women’s ability to bear children is worshiped, and therefore they are granted total control over the children they miraculously, mercifully, beautifully bring into the world. Child custody imbalance, maternal gatekeeping, international kidnapping, abusive behavior during birth, murderous behavior after birth. All tolerated, not just because the child belongs to the woman, which it effectively does in today’s world, but because society wants us to act like she did us a favor by giving birth so we shouldn’t question her in any way regarding the child. Mother knows best.
I’m not saying pregnant women shouldn’t be given consideration. Like anyone in an altered state of health, their diminished physical capacities should be taken into account. But let’s be realistic and practical and still treat these women as adults. Adults undergoing a draining physical experience, but still adults. It was their choice, after all.
The extreme opposition to paper abortion is just one part of this cultural mindset of mommy-worship. To grant men any control/influence over how/when/if a child is raised would be to infringe on woman’s divine status as Chalice of Life. It’s not even up for discussion if a woman should have exclusive control of any given power over ‘her’ child. Automatic yes. To suggest otherwise, whether by calling for paper abortions or simply agitating for equality in family law, is seen as an affront to womanhood itself, the purest form of misogyny, a violation of their god-given rights of motherhood.
Now, let me be clear. I am pro-choice (or anti-life, your call); I think women should have the right to abortions. But it is time to cut all the crap worship of childbearing as if it is a magical, mystical, rainbow-infused super-power granted unto them by almighty Mother Earth over which men have no rights.
Giving birth is a biological function that evolved over millions of years, in humans as well as in just about every other female with hair/fur on the planet. But people still seem to think childbearing is some sort of sacred endeavor. A common argument is that it is so “dangerous” to give birth. Well, maybe it was a century ago, but not so much today. In the U.S., less than a thousand women die during childbirth each year. That makes the odds less than one in one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand. That makes it about as dangerous as being a truck driver. And truck drivers are over 90% male. We’re even.
No, I won’t worship women for giving birth. There is nothing special or sacred about the event. It is a natural biological mechanism. We praise small children when they successfully relieve themselves, but after a certain age successfully carrying out your body’s automatic functions should lose its sense of wonder. Men are often ridiculed for being comically obsessed with biological functions like farting, belching and urinating, but women obsess over their periods and pregnancies and then receive special privilege for it.
Who is it that never grows up?
Giving birth is not the most important achievement. However, what is special, what does set humans apart of other animals on Earth, is what comes after.
Parenting. That is the miracle. What has made humans great and allowed us to build a civilization out of the dust is our ability to communicate and to teach our children, to pass on our knowledge. Any rabbit can give birth to a litter, but only humans can bond, nurture and teach in the way we do. Only we pass stories down through the generations, leave legacies for our offspring and build a world that will be better for them.
And men do it too. Pregnancy and childbirth is a biological function, a side-effect of intercourse. It’s not sacred, but what we do with the result can be. The modern maternity cult blinds people to the contribution of fathers, allows for the abuse of children by unfit mothers, and strangles society with the demands of privilege for the supposedly incredible act of childbearing.
If we stop worshiping women for giving birth, we can focus on what really matters: the needs of the children that come from it. They’re the miracle. Mothers and fathers both make them happen, but the real work only begins after the first nine months.
Featured image is in the public domain.