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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
vasaris
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
Just An Interesting thing

about feminism and being childfree. This all starts with a note in childfree about a thread on feminist regarding some of the names and such the CF use about parents and children. I'm not going to go over the the whole thing other than to say:

1. I do have problems with some of the name calling. On the other hand, I don't seem much difference between the term 'breeder' and 'asstard.' Some of the terms I find funny -- like baby-rabies, which I have known people to be afflicted with and have felt quite puzzled by.

2. Hatred and fanaticism, no matter where you find it is scary. Duh. I'm still human and occasionally afflicted by such things.

Anyhoo, blueskycomplex said something interesting.

The core of this argument seems to stem from the peculiar belief that modern feminism seems to have created among many women: that they have a right to make a choice about their own lives without fear of criticism or being ostracised for it, but they don't have to take responsibility for their choices after the fact.

The whole point of feminism was that women wanted to be treated as equals to men. We could, would and did work just as hard as many men: we wanted the same rates of pay and the same possibilities for promotion. We were and still are just as capable of making informed decisions about the state of our respective countries and deciding what the best course of action was: we wanted the same voting rights so that we could make our voices heard in this regard. We wanted people to understand that yes, it is entirely possible for a husband to rape his wife; no, we don't have to stay in a violent or otherwise dangerous environment for the sake of saving face; no, our choice of clothing does not put us at fault and exonerate the attacker if we get raped. We didn't want to be placed on pedestals and worshipped as goddesses, we just wanted to be treated as human beings, and we shouldn't have to dress in sackcloth, fill our conversation with pretty, delicate things or stay at home squeezing out littl'uns to be respected. All of which are perfectly legitimate things to demand, and no modern feminist would dispute any of the above statements, I suspect. But they seem to have forgotten all about following through on these demands, rather like a child who begs and pleads for a kitten or puppy, only to lose interest in it once it ceases to be perceived as "cute" or needs its crap scooped up and disposed of.

The irony of this is that it's turned everything backwards. Maternity leave, in and of itself, is not a bad thing; the fact that some women now think they can demand more and more out of maternity leave and then not have to provide their employers or co-workers with anything in return is very much a bad thing. It used to be that women demanded equal employment rights and promised their employers that they would do the work to the desired standard. For many women that's probably still the case, but some give us a bad name by making the same promises, only to go back on them once they've sprogged and expect that their bosses will pay them more and that their co-workers will cover for them, indefinitely and thanklessly, just because they have a chyyyyyyulllllld. The result: employers privately deciding not to hire women of childbearing age "just in case". And it's something which is all over feminism now, especially when children are involved. And if you dare to point out that they're crossing over the line between wanting to be treated as equals and wanting to get to do whatever the hell they want, they start berating you for "oppressing" them.

Are we trying to deny women their right to choose to have children, to breastfeed, to ask for understanding when it comes to clashes between their work and home lives? Of course not. We're just asking that they stop taking the piss and start taking some damn responsibility for their choices. You want to have kids? Make sure you can support them and be prepared to actually parent. You want to breastfeed in public? Be discreet about it and you won't hear any complaints. You want maternity leave or flexitime? Don't exploit it to the point where you make your employer regret hiring you, or your co-workers resent you.

Feminism is great. But feminism without responsibility just makes it that much harder for the rest of us.

As for the whole "hate language" thing, their main objection to "moo" or "duh" is that these names are gendered. They're no different from calling someone a jerk or an idiot, they just vary depending on whether the jerk or idiot is male or female. "Moo" is no more derogatory in its connotations than "duh", and it's more commonly used here because children are more frequently with their mothers than with their fathers, simple as.


There's a discussion I'd have with my mom every six or eight months about taking responsibility for one's actions. Mostly it was in regards to reproductive rights and a father's responsibility to the raising of his child, but one of the issues that would come up was 'who is responsible' for a pregnancy and who should 'take responsibility' for one.

Mom argued that a man is always responsible, even when a woman sabotaged the birth control (an attitude I vehemently disagree with). I argued that men and women both are responsible for their mutual fertility but the party that does everything he or she can to prevent pregnancy should not be held responsible for the financial obligation of a child (which, in this case, would mean that if a man was obviating a woman's birth control and she chose to bring the child to term anyway, she should be able to stick him with the kid with no expected child support from her, in case you're curious since I also don't think a man should have to pay child support if a woman deliberately either lies about b/c or sabotages it.)

In any case, my theory was that it's my body. I've demanded the right to decide what I do with my uterus, and as such I have responsibility for what goes on in it. I should not, ever rely on someone else's sense of responsibility to keep me from getting pregnant (aquiring an STD, or whatever.) It is my body. MINE. I have a responsibility to it.

Mom would tell me that I owed early feminists both for the attitude and the fact I've got the ability to legally back it up. And she was right. I do.

But I am frightened, really truly and honestly, by the 'feminists' who seem to think that women should be able to get whatever the hell they want without regard to much of anything other than their desires. I'm all for equality, but being on equal footing means I get to compete equally and be judged equally on my efforts. It means owning my choices because I have the right to make them instead of having to have some male make them for me. And I am grateful for that, but as with other choices, the ones regarding my body, my reproductive rights, and such there are consequences.

Do I think a woman should get maternity leave?

Yes.

Fathers should get paternity leave too.

Do I think they have the right to assume that their payscale, promotion opportunities, etc., should go apace with what it would have been before the time off?

No. Because a child is a choice. Someone who busts his or her ass for the same amount of time someone else spent at home with their new baby deserves to have recognition for choosing their employer over their reproduction. It's only fair -- they've chosen the company instead of a family and that choice is their right.

My choice. My body. My responsibility. My consequenses. Some of that will be selfish, and some of it will be selfless, but it will be me, out there to be judged equally with everyone else, male, female, parent, childless, or childfree.

Do I call myself a feminist? Hell if I know, but I do know this... I own my choices and their ramifications because they're mine. Do I think that feminists that don't should be called feminists?

...hell, I don't know, but I would lean toward no, because the sense of entitlement is too much like that of men before we started bitch-slapping them into a new reality.

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Word. Just... word.