I've got a post percolating in my brain (by request, no less) on the subject of contemporary Christian men and their attitudes towards independent women. It will take a while to flesh out.
I've been thinking still more about men and abortion. Trish got me thinking with her post in response to my posts on Amy Richards. In Trish's final paragraph, she mentioned one particular men's rights outfit with which I wasn't familiar: Choice4Men, which seems to exist largely as an internet discussion group. She used C4M as an example of where many men might be in terms of the "men's rights in abortion" movement. Trish wrote:
As far as calling for men's rights in abortion, a quick reality check to that line of thought lies in looking at the misogynistic men's rights group Choice4Men and the backlash men's rights in abortion movement. This movement calls for men's rights to overshadow a woman's right to decide what to do with her own body. These men wish to control women's reproductive freedom, for their own benefit. The movement is about avoiding responsibility when men should take it and complaining about being "forced into daddyhood."
So I went and visited Choice for Men today, and got very sad. And angry. (Those emotions seem to constitute a theme this week!) I read through some of their letters and messages, and agree thoroughly they are misogynistic to the core, not to mention remarkably whiny. If you go to their site, you can read their statement of principles; I'll just quote the first two:
Choice4Men is about the right to choose to be a parent. Or not.
Choice4Men is about men who have been trapped into parenting without consent.
C4M is worried about men who have impregnated women who have chosen to keep the child, despite the fact that the man involved had no desire to become a father. (Hence the "trapped into parenting" line). I can't say I have even an iota of sympathy for these fellows.
I've been blunt this week. (Folks who believe in astrology would say it's because we're in Leo.) So let me continue to be straightforward:
Every man who ejaculates inside a woman, whether or not contraception is used, is signalling his willingness to become a father. If men are not ready and willing to raise a child conceived through an act of sex, they are morally responsible for refraining from sex. (I'll let my sisters make a similar case for women. I'm in enough trouble on that side of the fence already). A man who opposes abortion ought to be certain of his partner's feelings before he engages in sexual intercourse with her, lest she get pregnant and choose to abort the child that he may well wish to care for. A pro-life man whose girlfriend chooses abortion can hardly blame her for her "choice". Similarly, a man who has no wish to become a father has no right to complain when biology works as nature intended.
This is not to say that I think sex should be purely for procreation, nor even that sex ought always be confined to marriage. But those who believe that heterosexual intercourse can be fully divorced from procreation do so at the risk of both their own heartache and the destruction of innocent life. I have no desire to "control women" by making them breeding machines. But I see no reason why feminism must be linked to the right to have sexual intercourse without responsibility. The mystery and thrill and excitement and wonder and intimacy of sexual intercourse are ultimately linked to its procreativity, even when the folks engaged in it are unready and unwilling to become parents. We need to get this message across to our sons as well as to our daughters.
I still think what Amy Richards did was evil. That doesn't mean I am unsympathetic to her! Reading all the comments at various places (including here at my blog), I have a real sense of how overwhelmed she surely must have been. I'm choosing to be charitable and believe that she did what she thought best for her surviving child. But I can understand and sympathize with the reasons for the choice while simultaneously condemning the choice! Compassion does not equal support; empathy does not equal endorsement.
I have no sympathy for the guys at Choice4Men. Not only do I find their irresponsibility appalling, I find their sense of their own victimhood to be repellant. (Maybe it's my upbringing, but there's something about men who complain about mistreatment at the hands of women that turns my stomach.) But the boys at C4M and Amy Richards have something in common: they are convinced that they are entitled to enjoy sexual intercourse without accepting its inevitable attendant consequences. The former wish to change the laws in order to avoid their responsibilities, the latter used medicine to terminate hers.
I'm praying for the whole damn lot of them.