Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tick Tock and the Pendulum Swings

Credit: Amanda Roach

I find it interesting the way people attempt to discredit opponents based on assumed gender or sex. For example, it is very common in the circumcision debate to hear a person who supports circumcision say, "Well, you are all women. I'd like to see a male on here." [As if a male is needed to validate the arguments against cutting babies].

I see that happen as Roger mentioned in the abortion debate as well. 

But overall, it seems males, especially fathers, are the ones who are shunted to the side in our culture. This makes sense to me on a primal level. Fathers have a deep desire to protect their partners and their offspring. So targeting them and stripping them of their power is the first thing that needs to be done, leaving the woman vulnerable and the child helpless.

We clearly see this in the obstetrics industry, too, where fathers are disempowered. In fact, Janel's documentary on this phenomenon brings up a lot of food for thought:

The interviews with the fathers are very eye-opening. As Janel asks in the film: at what other time and place would a man stand to the side silently while his partner and child are tortured? Abortion, birth, circumcision, vaccination?

Note that all of these situations put the power in the woman's hands. She chooses, legally, all of them. And yet she is the one who can reach levels of emotional and physical vulnerability. Standing alone, no support, no back up, she is burdened with the full responsibility to protect her child. This is not fair, nor is it feasible in most situations (such as when she is under societal pressure to abort or in the high-pressured environment of a maternity ward while laboring).

Now, YES, the father has influence in some cases. Indeed, we DO hear about fathers coercing women into abortions, refusing to consider homebirths, demanding circumcisions, sneaking off to vaccinate, etc. But looking at the overall societal message and legal infrastructure, fathers don't get a say. And children of course never get a say or choice in any of these issues pertaining to their bodies.

True feminism would not stand for this. We've simply swung the pendulum from one side to the other, using our children as ammunition in a war that cannot allow both sides to be equal. Instead of all people being raised up, receiving basic human rights and protection from violation, our culture has us tearing each other apart based on sex.


  1. Excellent! I totally agree. I've always looked at it as a key in the breakdown of the family and furthering our isolation from each other.

    I have a husband that actively participates in the raising of our children, but does defer to me in matters of birth and health decisions. I take that more as a sign that he trusts me to make educated decisions because I'm the one who puts more time and energy into the research.

    How we've come to treat men, husbands and fathers due to feminism, is such an sad overcorrection. I hope the pendulum will swing back more to the middle soon.

  2. Well said. My husband defers to me in those matters for the most part, too, Miranda, but it is because of his love and trust for me. We both research the matters and discuss them, though.