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November 02, 2010

Equal Rights Mean Equal Responsibilities...For Both Sexes

That is, unless you're a radical feminist with an entitlement complex:

... the old situation, in which women presented men with a child, and the man either did the decent thing and offered support, or made a run for it, allowed women a certain leeway. The courtesan in Balzac who, on becoming pregnant, unhesitatingly sought, and got, maintenance from two of her men friends, can’t have been the only one. Uncertainty allows mothers to select for their children the father who would be best for them.

This is unreconstructed idiocy, but some of the responses don't seem much more lucid.

Let's stipulate one thing up front: what this author is advocating is the "right" of a woman to lie to and cheat on a man she's sleeping with and further, to hold him financially responsible for the support of a child he didn't father. That is so obviously wrong that I'm surprised it requires saying.

What I'm not seeing, however, is any recognition that sexual responsibility is supposed to be a two way street. If you're a man and you don't want to father a child, use birth control.

There is only one innocent victim in this scenario: the child. The man (unless of course he's married to the woman and they've previously agreed to try for a child) isn't a helpless victim. He's an adult who had just as much responsibility and opportunity to prevent pregnancy as the woman he slept with.

There's a word for people of both sexes who can't be bothered with birth control: parents. Think about it.

I don't for one moment endorse what this moron is suggesting, but a man who takes equal responsibility for preventing unwanted pregnancies wouldn't find himself in this situation in the first place. This has nothing to do with sexual politics or feminism and everything to do with simple biology.

We try so hard to make sex a morality and consequence free zone, but it isn't and it never has been. Like pretty much everything else we do in life there are risks.

Posted by Cassandra at November 2, 2010 01:43 PM

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Comments

1) If y'all haven't already, go vote. There's still time.

2) There's a word for people of both sexes who can't be bothered with birth control: parents.

I don't entirely agree with this. To the extent that irresponsibility is involved, these are sires and dams, not parents. One might almost term them child abusers; although this generally is extreme. Which does not mean they can't grow into the role and become proper parents, but that's a much harder row to hoe than deliberately setting out to have a child (hopefully with prior planning so the costs can be borne more effectively).

There were other attitudes in the article that I found even more appalling. ...he [A.C. Grayling, the philosopher(!?)] ponders the impact a DNA paternity test can have: ‘The result can be shattering, leading to divorce, marital violence, mental health difficulties for all parties including the children.’ Yeah, and? The truth is often painful. So: pay attention up front. And I suspect that the child abuse resulting from finding out that you've been had is overblown.

Scientific certainty has produced clarity all right, and relieved any number of men of their moral obligations, but at God knows what cost in misery, recrimination and guilt. Umm, what moral obligations? The truth was he never was the father. How terrible it is to go with the truth.

But in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice. And made the woman operate on fact rather than supposition, or outright lie. Further to your point on the inherent dishonesty of the author.

It's a problem when either/both parties to an engagement are not being honest with each other. But the initial lie in no way legitimizes subsequent lies. And with a high probability of success, it only requires one party to the encounter to practice birth control. If the man doesn't want a child take proactive action [sic.], don't rely on the say-so of another. Merely equal responsibility isn't necessarily sufficient.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at November 2, 2010 04:30 PM

But in making paternity conditional on a test rather than the say-so of the mother, it has removed from women a powerful instrument of choice. And made the woman operate on fact rather than supposition, or outright lie. Further to your point on the inherent dishonesty of the author.

That was the quote that blew me away, Eric.

On the topic of "things you tell your children about sex", I told my sons that birth control is a responsibility that cannot be delegated. I actually (God help me) used "joint and several liability" in explaining this to my sons.

This woman's essay was pretty horrifying and my comments in this post were by no means meant to imply that I don't think she's a jackwagon of the first order.

I just couldn't help thinking that (as usual) there was really no recognition that both partners have the responsibility and the capability to avoid pregnancy. The guy I would feel sorry for would be the married man who thought he was intentionally fathering a child only to find someone else's child had been foisted on him.

What a pity that with all her talk about men "doing the decent thing", this woman clearly doesn't believe women have any responsibility to be decent.

Or responsible.

Or honest.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 2, 2010 04:46 PM

You're preaching to the choir, Ma'am. My beefs were mostly quibbles around the edges of your OP. It was pretty clear at the outset what you thought of this...person.

"Feminists" like this give equality a bad name. Someone might point out to her that with lions and many of our primate cousins, the price of a female's getting to hook up with a male is that he gets to kill all her other offspring. No question of paternity there, either.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at November 2, 2010 05:16 PM

"We're going to need a bigger cluebat..."

Maybe it's just me, but if a guy is in a sexual relationship with a woman where he is pretty sure he's not the daddy, doesn't that pre-suppose he already knows she isn't really into the monogamy thing?

And, he's not thinking "maybe this might be a bad idea?"

Posted by: Allen at November 2, 2010 05:43 PM

"What a pity that with all her talk about men "doing the decent thing", this woman clearly doesn't believe women have any responsibility to be decent.

Or responsible.

Or honest."

Exactly!!! I wasn't going to click on the link - as I completely agreed with your premise that responsibility is a two-way street and that it will be the child who suffers.

However, got curious and went to read. I think I'll need gallons of brain bleach to get her tripe out of my head!!! In my opinion as a mother and as a woman there is no possible way I'd even entertain her twisted premise. The woman truly needs a really really really big cluebat!

However, I am loving the comments on the article! Pretty much across the board in complete opposition to her!

Posted by: Nina at November 2, 2010 06:30 PM

"Maybe it's just me, but if a guy is in a sexual relationship with a woman where he is pretty sure he's not the daddy, doesn't that pre-suppose he already knows she isn't really into the monogamy thing?"

Assuming the relationship was ever actually sexual in the first place, rather than a casual date or even an acquaintance known to be well-off. It would take a lot of gall to do it, but the mother could probably throw a name on a birth certificate as the "father" without ever having slept with the guy, particularly if she knew that the tests required to prove otherwise were banned by law...

Posted by: Matt at November 3, 2010 07:27 AM

It would take a lot of gall to do it, but the mother could probably throw a name on a birth certificate as the "father" without ever having slept with the guy, particularly if she knew that the tests required to prove otherwise were banned by law...

I can't imagine under what equitable principle paternity tests would be banned (keep in mind: I'm not saying I don't believe it could happen - just that I can't imagine one good *reason* for it to happen).

The idea of not allowing a man to prove he's not the responsible party undermines the principle of innocent until proven guilty (not that paternity is a crime, but even civil cases don't usually place the burden of proof on the person being sued). Talk about perverse incentives!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2010 08:28 AM

This is the absolute worst kind of post to respond to, Cass. Not because the topic is taboo, or because we don't dare disagree with you. Merely because about the only comment I could offer would be along the lines of "I completely agree". And that's terribly unhelpful.

I can't even construct a logical "devil's advocate" argument in favor of this 'person' (term used loosely). Her entire premise is that women should be not just allowed to lie about paternity of their child, but that they should morally be abetted in their fraud. And that's all we're discussing here. Fraud. Theft by deception. Any woman who knowingly lies about paternity to "secure the best father possible" deserves to have the child taken away and jail time.

Posted by: MikeD at November 3, 2010 08:51 AM

Actually, I find a lot of your comments helpful because many of you see things in the post or comments that I didn't see :)

I decided to respond, not because anything she said merited thoughtful attention (it didn't - she's an idiot), but because I didn't care for the broad brush character of some of the comments and posts it inspired.

It continues to amaze me when people want to hold one up obviously extreme viewpoint as somehow representative of "all people in group X".

I hold no great brief for radical feminists, but clearly this woman is on the fringe of feminism. So there's no way that she speaks for all feminists (not that that will stop people from saying she does). And several of the responses also proceeded to do pretty much what the author did - paint all women with the same broad brush.

I thought her essay was more interesting from the standpoint of confirmation bias than anything else.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2010 09:06 AM

Generally, good points about the ethics advocated by this article.

Seems like she wants to use the court's requirement to advocate for the "best interests of the child" even as to the ethics of the mother's dealings with the potential fathers. Which is pure evil. If that were the standard, why doesn't she just name some random guy from a list of wealthy people. Or for that matter, what makes her think that the birth mother should be the mother of the child? I'm sure there are lots of childless couples who would like to adopt who could do a better jobb of raising the baby.

Leftist Feminism was never about equality. It was about gaining an advantage through having choices and opportunities not given to others. It was always hypocritical.

So what about those situations where both parties (jointly and/or severally) did provide for birth control and it fails? I think that undermines your point about who finds themselves in these positions.


Posted by: ruralcounsel at November 3, 2010 09:31 AM

...what about those situations where both parties (jointly and/or severally) did provide for birth control and it fails?

Here's where I think there's a distinction between a rule that works in the vast majority of cases and a perfect rule that never results in injustice (there is no such thing).

I suppose I'd say that in that case both parents are on the hook. Every activity has risks. You can mitigate those risks, but not eliminate them. Another legal doctrine (assumption of the risk) works pretty well here, don't you think?

The point I intended to make here (and obviously didn't do a very good job) is that it's not exactly uncommon for men to simply assume the woman will take care of birth control. That's irresponsible, but more than that it's just plain dumb.

I wouldn't call someone who voluntarily assumes a risk a helpless victim. FWIW we used birth control and I got pregnant anyway, so I'm not advocating any harsher rule than I applied to myself in that situation. I don't recall ever thinking I was a victim - even for a second.

I took and chance and I paid for it.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2010 09:49 AM

Technically, there IS a form of birth control a man can practice that is 100% effective. It's called not having sex. Crazy... I know. But honestly, what the author of the piece Cass is quoting is saying, when taken to the logical extreme, is that a woman OUGHT to be allowed to declare ANY man to be the father of her children. Regardless if he ever had intercourse with her or not. Bill Gates would rapidly become the #1 dad of the Century in such an event. After all, without that darned paternity test, how in the world could he possibly defend himself against every paternity claim?

Posted by: MikeD at November 3, 2010 10:10 AM

...what the author of the piece Cass is quoting is saying, when taken to the logical extreme, is that a woman OUGHT to be allowed to declare ANY man to be the father of her children.

A good summary of the author's thesis. And, it seems to me, prima facie evidence of the dam's unfitness for parenthood and so ample justification for the removal of the newborn and giving it over into the hands of adoptive parents, who are vastly more likely to raise the child with love and discipline.

As to ...those situations where both parties (jointly and/or severally) did provide for birth control and it fails?, there are two clear options here (and perhaps others): the parents raise the surprise child, anyway, with love and discipline, or if the parents are unable, for any reason (economic, or they can't love this one come to mind), the newborn, if it wasn't aborted, can be put up for adoption. After all, these parents have had nine months in which to sort that one out, or three months if abortion is a serious consideration for them.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at November 3, 2010 12:01 PM

No comments, just taking notes.

Carry on.

Posted by: Cricket at November 3, 2010 02:05 PM

...just taking notes.

Making a...list, are we, Cricket? :P

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at November 3, 2010 02:37 PM

Actually, yes. I have an 18 yo son. He has made a vow of abstince, and is dating. The girl he was seeing decided that since he would not go further than a kiss on the cheek or a handshake, he was not worth it.

He was hurt, and relieved at the same time. The Engineer and I are extremely proud of him and are applying balm to his broken heart.

It is a minefield because we can't trash the young lady, but only point out that he was on the right track.

There are some other issues as well, but I can't go into them.

Hence, the note taking and list making.

Carry on.

Posted by: Cricket at November 4, 2010 09:08 PM

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