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February 21, 2006

Comments

Vacula

Gonzman & Mr. Bad -

What do you think of paternity leave? Is it a step in the right direction? Do you think stay-at-home dads should get more respect in our society?

You guys have been addressing the parts of Hugo's article that deal with women but not the parts that deal with men or the comments about those issues. Why?

evil_fizz

I think it's most unfortunate that your entire argument seems to be "Suck it up and deal with your choices. No asking for special favors from the rest of us." To me, it seems manifestly unfair that it's easier for men to have children and a career than it is for women. This whole insistence that we should deal with our choices rings false for me because of the relative ease with which those choices can be made.

You can call it a choice if you like, but the inequality that surrounds the decision-making is still problematic.

badteeth

I think it's most unfortunate that your entire argument seems to be "Suck it up and deal with your choices. No asking for special favors from the rest of us." To me, it seems manifestly unfair that it's easier for men to have children and a career than it is for women. This whole insistence that we should deal with our choices rings false for me because of the relative ease with which those choices can be made.

Divorce and child support.

See, your equalizer is already in place.


Mr. Bad

Vacula asked:"What do you think of paternity leave? Is it a step in the right direction? Do you think stay-at-home dads should get more respect in our society?"

I think that paternity leave is fine as far as it goes, but you're addressing the wrong issue from a men's POV. The problem for men is fatherhood altogether - as I explained above, the reality is that in our current societies fatherhood is just too risky vis-a-vis cost/benefit, so men are opting out.

More: "You guys have been addressing the parts of Hugo's article that deal with women but not the parts that deal with men or the comments about those issues. Why?"

Because as is the case with most all articles about "sex/gender" issues (wink, wink), this one is really about women. It has very little to say about men's issues, and when it does it's offered from a woman's perspective.

The article gives a token nod to men - e.g., paternity leave (which is something that mostly women want) - but it's really about women.

Mr. Bad

evil fizz said: "To me, it seems manifestly unfair that it's easier for men to have children and a career than it is for women."

Well, it may seem that it's easier for men to have children and a career than it is for women, but things aren't always what they seem. The fact is, these things are just as hard for men (albeit in different ways), we just don't hear men whining about it day in and day out.

djw

In case anyone out there isn't entirely aware of just how evidence-free and myopic Mr. Bad's notion of a marriage/fatherhood "strike" is, I suggest a look-see at Stephanie Coontz's NYT op-ed and quiz:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19coontz.html

Here in the real world, men both want to marry and benefit from marriage more than women, divorce rates are well into their third decade of decline, etc.

evil_fizz

How are divorce and child support equalizers in this context? You're going to have to explain that one a little more.

Look, if you want to play the "But it's hard for men, too!" card, you're going to have to substantiate that. And if it's hard, why are you allowing it to continue without asking the question about why the system operates as it does?

aldahlia

I kind of wonder how many MRA's out there had single moms and selfish fathers?

How about an MRA who had two deadbeat ex-wives, and was told point blank by the prosecutor's office "We don't prosecute deadbeat moms, it's a political loser, we'd have the feminists in the street ready to lynch us."

In other words, you don't know, so you changed the subject. Convenient. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. And, it WONDERFUL that you want what your wife has do to your kids to happen to other kids. Says loads about your priorities.


The Gonzman

What do you think of paternity leave?

I am against government regulating paternity or maternity leave - if it is something private entities wish to do, fine. Forcing them to do it against their will will make excercising it a black mark - which is what I see happening with maternity leave.

Is it a step in the right direction?

I think that some who advocate it have their heart in the right place. The effectiveness of it as a mechanism? Don't know yet.

Do you think stay-at-home dads should get more respect in our society?

They should - but I doubt they will.

You guys have been addressing the parts of Hugo's article that deal with women but not the parts that deal with men or the comments about those issues. Why?

Such as?

ricia_pd

mr. bad,

i agree that what can be hard for each gender, is different in many ways. but then i also think (in opposition to what you appear to believe) that the existing system and patriarchy have been as bad for men as it has been for women.

men are often robbed of benefits of parenthood due to norms and expectations that define a "man" and a "father". women carry the bulk of the workload and responsbility in their stead, and yet also remain undervalued, under supported, and disadvantaged due to the madonna complex they either adapt to or have imposed onto the them. the latter being more so the reason for unfairness in family court, than any threat of "feminists protesting". men aren't "nurturers by nature" but women "are". women aren't "providers" or "disciplinaries" but men "are".

your complaints aren't unfounded. in my opinion. your analysis of the problem and sense of resolution are.

the suck it up and stop whining arguement:

hmmm. while despite the whole thing about ideological democracy involving citizen participation and representation - and that it is therefore is perfectly normal and proactive to see groups of people organising in order to represent themselves, voice their interests and their viewpoints - as opposed to "whining"... if we ignore what you are implying (submit, submit, submit), and take the comment at face value:

fair enough. and in the name of equality let us also ask men to evaluate and take stock in their choices (such as having unprotected sex or simply put, procreating with a partner) and let us ask them to comprehend the full extent of the impact of their various choices, and accordingly - tell 'em to stop whining (whether about support payments, or family courts, or about feminists for that matter).


badteeth

Evil Fizz,

Actually I misunderstood your post and giving it a second reading, wish to withdraw my comment as it doesn't really answer what you actually posted at all.

badteeth

-"i think it's most unfortunate that your entire argument seems to be "Suck it up and deal with your choices. No asking for special favors from the rest of us." To me, it seems manifestly unfair that it's easier for men to have children and a career than it is for women. This whole insistence that we should deal with our choices rings false for me because of the relative ease with which those choices can be made."

I guess what I find unfair about your proposal is that it makes things more difficult for people who choose not to have children. I mean you get the kids, the career, and things are made easier for you, and I get to pay more taxes. Not much incentive to me.

The Gonzman

In other words, you don't know, so you changed the subject. Convenient. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. And, it WONDERFUL that you want what your wife has do to your kids to happen to other kids. Says loads about your priorities.

And just what, Ms. Snotty, would you accept as a study, or were you just being snide to begin with? I have absolutely no idea what the demographics are, but my experience is that a great, great many of them had extremely selfish mothers, and tended to wind up with a gal just like the gal that divorced dear old dad.

What I'd like to see - as opposed to what your closed little mind would like to believe about people who think differently than you - is for anyone who used a child as a pawn in a divorce to have the law come down on them with both feet. What I am sick to death of seeing is the government - and at-large feminism - regard a man who writes a check and stays disengaged as a better father than a man who struggles with real life, and paying bills, but still manages to be there for his kids, even when mommy wishes he'd die and get buried. What I'd like to see is for once a prosecutor go after someone - man or woman - for not spending time with their kids rather than being a little light in the CS check. What I'd like to see is as draconian a persecution for custodial interference as is is for Child support, and for deadbeat moms, who percentage wise far outnumber their male counterparts, be prosucuted, let alone prosecuted with equal zeal.

And that fact that it's the ostensibly "egalitarian" feminists who loudly oppose this which tells me loads about THEIR real priorities.

Your loaded little question is your first problem, because believe you me, I know plenty of women who didn't want jack or squat to do with their kids until they saw that they might have to pay CS, and when it became obvious they could hurt their ex-husband by playing games with the kids they flew into it with full abandon.

You might turn around and imagine the rage of a man who pays his support religiously, and nary a month goes by when he isn't asked to spring for yet something else - rent - shoes - groceries - all these things child support is supposed to be FOR; meanwhile Mama always has her carton of premium cigarettes, a full cabinet of top shelf booze, and all the latest trinkets and geegaws to adorn herself with, but the damn kids are living in squalor - and it's always "Well, fine, don't give me money for rent, I'll just go live with my sister in the next state and you can whistle for your visitation, buddy!"

All the time? No - but no more or less common than the man who just decides to cut all ties and skip out entirely, as your little diatribe would seem to lead people to conclude is the rule rather than the rare exception. The only difference being if HE is caught, he spends the time in the crowbar hotel; if she's caught out, she might have a social worker wag a finger at her - most the time it's a yawner as far as "the system" is concerned.

Hugo

Watch it, Gonz. "Ms. Snotty" isn't an acceptable epithet.

SBW

Creeping Jenny,

I don't believe that it does have to be an either/or proposition. I also don't believe that society forces childbearing on women. They had the choice to not become pregnant in the first place and they chose otherwise. I think that unfortunately many in our culture (America) have elevated the act of "choosing" to more importance than the outcome of those choices. As if to say, it doesn't matter what the results of your choices may be, it only matters that you chose something. Our society talks alot about rights but far too little about responsibilty in the sphere of sexual relations.

A woman that chooses not to become pregnant is not denying her biological reality. Every woman doesn't want to be a mother and there is nothing wrong with that. And having a right to an abortion does not mean that a woman does not have a right to a family.

I have a laundry list of reasons of why I am anti-abortion and believe that abortion should be made illegal except under certain circumstances but I won't get into them because it would be too much for one post and I don't want to "blog" on another persons blog. But for the record my anti-abortion stance does not come about from a desire to return to any former traditionalist patriarchal society or that womens only role is to be barefoot and pregnant. It also doesn't come from any religious convictions.

alexander

This item came across my e-desk. I am really interested: what is the feminist position on paternity fraud? For example:

V-Day just rolled around on my campus, with a big discussion of violence against "women and girls". Do women in V-Day speeches also tell other women to stop lying about paternity as this hurts men?

Do campus women's centers tell women that paternity fraud is at least as wrong as "sexual harassment"?

I see in my campus class schedule an announcement that "sexual harassment" will not be tolerated. Anyone out there ever see an announcement that "paternity fraud" will not be tolerated?

Do government commissions for women insist on the prosecution of paternity fraud as they would for "date" or "spousal rape"?

Do women's studies program talk about paternity fraud as a way in which women have oppressed men?

> http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48871
>
> Paternity fraud
> rampant in U.S.
> 30% of those named as fathers bilked of child support unjustly
> WASHINGTON – More than three years ago, a Maine district court judge
ruled that Geoffrey Fisher no longer had to pay child support for a child
that wasn't his. But that didn't stop the state from revoking Fisher's
driver's license and coming after him for thousands of dollars it says he
owes in back payments. Last year, Maine sent Fisher, 35, a letter seeking
$11,450 in child support, even though officials know that DNA tests proved
he isn't the father of the child in question. As the nation experiences
an unprecedented increase in unwed motherhood, more men are finding
themselves named as "fathers," for purposes of child support, simply
because of their ability to pay, say several recent studies. It's
called "paternity fraud," and one state that examined the problem found as
many as 30 percent of those paying child support were, indeed, not the
biological fathers of the children being supported. The most recent
comprehensive study took place in New Hampshire under
> the auspices of the Commission on the Status of Men. The commission
found that even men who later were able to prove they were paying support
for the children of other men were sometimes still forced by courts and
state agencies to continue. "Paternity fraud is a growing concern for men
and children everywhere," concluded the commission in a report completed in
November. "It can spawn considerable grief for the men who may or may not
be emotionally attached to a child they later discover was fathered by
another; and possibly unsettling for children who may discover the false
nature of their paternity."

Hugo

Alexander, this is thread creep -- let's stick to the fertility topic on this thread.

alexander

Hugo:

I was responding to this statement, above:

"Feminism objects to legal, cultural, or social compulsion towards motherhood, not towards motherhood that is freely and eagerly chosen."

I'd assume that choice for men would be an issue, also.

Mr. Bad

djw said: "In case anyone out there isn't entirely aware of just how evidence-free and myopic Mr. Bad's notion of a marriage/fatherhood "strike" is, I suggest a look-see at Stephanie Coontz's NYT op-ed and quiz:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19coontz.html"

Ah, yes - a New York Times opinion piece presents a non-referenced 'fact' sheet. If you expect me to give this any stock whatsoever, then I've got some prime oceanfront property in Kansas that I'd like to offer you.

Still, assuming that the info on the 'fact' sheet is true, it primarily talks about trends, which can be caused by lots of things (e.g., increased life expectancy, increased population, changing demographics, SES, ethnic profile, etc., etc.). The factoids, while somewhat interesting (if we can trust them) prove nothing whatsoever.

As I said in previous posts, the 'marriage strike' is a euphamism that we men call our increasing hesitancy and refusal re. fatherhood and marriage. You can try to tell us that we men aren't really doing this, but hey, if that makes you feel better about it then go for it. Denial can be very soothing.

"Here in the real world, men both want to marry and benefit from marriage more than women, divorce rates are well into their third decade of decline, etc."

Direction and rate of a trend can be due to many factors (see above). Sure, divorce rates may be going down, but perhaps it's because fewer people are getting married in the first place. And who defines the criteria that says that men "benefit from marriage more than women"?

There are many questions that need to be answered before I could take that factoid-littered NYT opinion piece seriously.

ricia: First off, I don't believe that "patriarchy" exists any more than I believe that the Devil does, so arguments based on it are a non-starter. If anything, our society is a matriarchy, but for the record I don't believe in that either.

I agree with what you say vis-a-vis societal roles and expectations limiting choices for men, however, we disagree on the culpability of feminists in the discrimination that men endure in the so-called "family" court. Feminists have pushed through pretty much all of the draconian laws, prejudices, stereotypes, etc., that contribute to the dreadful experiences that men face there, so they most surely are the ones to blame for the sorry state that we're currently in.

Arwen

Not that I have kids, but if I did, I wouldn't want the government interference that comes with the government handout.

Ha! I hear this on American boards a lot. I'm in Canada of the 35 week parental leave (and dads do take it: 4 in my playgroup alone), and never once has the government told me how to raise my kids. Well, unless I have a problem with criminal law: but since beating, molesting, or selling my kids isn't something I'm into, it's a non-issue.

Also, the "I've chosen to be childfree and so shouldn't pay taxes for kids" sort of misses the point of taxation for families. It's not about any of us individually; it's about *society* generally. I absolutely support the choice to remain childfree. However, there are exactly 2 ways to bring new people into society: childbirth or immigration. You've come into a country through one or the other means. (And even immigrants were once born.) Programs that benefit families is about structuring society over the long term; same with programs that benefit immigrants.

I don't drive a car. We've chosen to live in a place where we don't need a car for reasons environmental. I will not waste my breath griping about the portion of my taxes that go to infrastructure, though, because the society in which I live (and whose products I consume), operates on roads. I wouldn't have a job if there were no domestic economy that ferries food in from the breadbaskets. No one would: society is predicated on farming.

Similarly, kids and immigrants add to demographics in the now and the future; YOU wouldn't have a job if there were no coherent society in which to have one. The careful balance between resource consumption, wealth creation and population makes or breaks the viability of societies in the long term. So you do benefit, regardless of your status as a breeder or an abstainer. Further, kids ARE members of society all on their own; their parents choices are irrelevant to the fact that they exist here and now. Careful expenditures for children in the here and now (vaccinations, education, poverty initiatives) prevent future societal problems. Governance is not limited to the 50 year scope in which any of us'll be working.

badteeth

Arwen,

What are the tax rates like?

Is there any incentive to work a 60-100 hour work week, or does the tax system make it not worth while?

Has this system done anything to increase the number of women in top corporate positions?

Do they have these government run day-cares that were also proposed?
If so, what's their reputation?

I don't know what Canadians opinion of their government is, but down here in the states, I can't remember the last time I said, "oh good, the federal government is getting involved, this should be resolved quickly and efficiently now."

badteeth

Also Arwen, the government interference I was referring to was in reference to the proposed government daycare centers, not the parental leave option.

Admittedly it wasn't clear in my original post, but that's what I meant.

badteeth

And actually, it wasn't "paying taxes for kids" per se that I was objecting too. I mean we already do that, pay taxes for kids that aren't ours. And you're right there's no getting around it.

It was paying taxes, or making other sacrifices so that moms had it easier on the career trek. I mean I have to subsidize them to make it more easy to compete with me for jobs.

ricia_pd

"I agree with what you say vis-a-vis societal roles and expectations limiting choices for men, however, we disagree on the culpability of feminists in the discrimination that men endure in the so-called "family" court. Feminists have pushed through pretty much all of the draconian laws, prejudices, stereotypes, etc., that contribute to the dreadful experiences that men face there, so they most surely are the ones to blame for the sorry state that we're currently in."

no. that's not true Mr. Bad. The justice system has been and is in fact responsible for that, that is what they do and get paid to do - make laws and legal policies. much moreso than the various politico's elected to sit in office. BOTH of which are primarily and overwhelmingly composed of men ages 45 to 104. now, i'm not too sure that there are any stats to back this up - but i'm pretty comfortable estimating that an extremely small of them are feminists (whether self-described or otherwise). Now let us also consider that these laws and policies are not exactly contemporary (created yesterday afternoon). So the chance that any resemblance of a majority of them were / are even pro-feminist or feminist friendly, is whittled down considerably.

BTW: throwing an entire point of discourse out the window based on the word "patriarchy" showing up somewhere within a number of paragraphs - is somewhat of a distraction from contending with the substance of what I 'said', is it not?

Arwen

badteeth - Generally, Canadians are okay with the direction of Canada and its government: scandals and the like come up, but there's not a general feeling of despair even when the party you dislike gets in. We have inflammatory rhetoric, sure; but not nearly as intense as what I witness on CNN or Fox.

As someone who has friends who've worked both sides of the border, and who also has American family, (most of my experience is middle to upper middle class income earners in the States), the effective outpay to taxation seems to net us more disposable income than taxation plus "user fees". What is gained in efficiency is often lost in profit in a number of socially relevant areas, I think. I have friends who moved their small business (25 employees) back from the states because the financials just made more sense for the company. I can't remember all she spoke about vis a vis American taxation, but it seems there's straight up taxes, and then surcharges of this that and the other, and increased costs in a number of industries, and higher insurance generally. The US is in worse debt per capita right now than any of us mildly pinko countries; unashamedly in debt even, so the taxation levels are actually becoming comparable just on their own. It's probably better to be insanely wealthy in the states, and if you're really into military expenditures by your government than fine: but fiscally, you're no more conservative than our wildest lefty ideologues who want free beer and hockey tickets for everyone! You just spend differently.

As for 60 to 100 hour weeks, well. There are those who are motivated to do such a thing by passion (my small-business owning friends), but there's also lots of other unpaid/volunteer work which builds a society (parenting, charity, organization, community, family). Seems to me that whipping people into 100 hour weeks with the threat of hunger actually creates a more ossified worker base: people afraid of taking risks because to do so may leave their families up the proverbial creek. You end up with a risk-intolerant working class.

As to status of women: I know that in the small and medium business sectors, more female entrepreneurs are entering the market year over year (44% between 91 and 98). The childcare thing isn't happening; but abortion is protected, gays and lesbians can marry, and discrimination on the basis of gender is built into our Charter (like our Constitution). In general, I'm pretty happy to be a woman in Canada and not in the States.

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