Saturday, December 03, 2005

Parental Rights & Feminism

Most of the feminist blogs I read are based in the US. There is quite an organised 'men's rights' movement in America. One of the 'men's rights' movement's principle targets is child-support (because they're actually misogynist fucks who don't care about anything but maintaing power and control). Now one of the hypothetical examples these men bring up is the inequality around reproductive rights, because men can become parents when they don't want to and women can't (this assumes universal access to abortion - and these men do, because they don't care about women or reality).

Anyway I disagree with almost everything they say, but I believe really strongly that no good can come from making someone who doesn't want to parent, or doesn't feel capable of being a parent, fill that role. I believe parenting should be a choice, and there is no reason that it should be tied to biology. I don't really believe this because I feel sorry for men, but because I feel sorry for children whose parents don't want to parent, or who knew they weren't ready to be parents before the child was born.

This issue comes up with semi-frequency among feminist blogs - and there has been another round of discussion(because of some moron supposed 'liberal' that husband notification laws were actually a good thing), and the view on feminist blogs is pretty unanimous. Biological fathers have an absolute obligation to be parents:

That baby, once born, has a right to parental support whether the parents like it or not.

It's simple. Abortion is a surgery terminating a medically dangerous condition that a woman doesn't want to have. She has a right to decide whether or not she's pregnant or not, period. You think it's scary that someone else has control over whether or not you're a parent? Imagine someone else forcing you to donate your body to someone else's life support against your will. Better analogy.
I realised that the reason for our different perspectives was actually a pretty simple one: the domestic purposes benefit.

Lets be absolutely clear, in my ideal world the resources for raising a child wouldn't come from the individual biological parents, but from society as a whole, and the work of raising a child would be valued.

In America they're even further away from my ideal world than they are in New Zealand. This means two things, one is that mother's really need the child support, and secondly that the mother actually gets the child support (women on the DPB don't get child support in New Zealand, because the money goes to the government - although women who don't name the father do have their DPB docked - which is horribly sexist). I can see why in America at the moment ensuring that single mothers get the money needed to raise their children is seen as more important than ensuring that all parents actively wanted to be parents. But I see that as a particular situation, not a universal one.

My actual point to this post, is to show how much the end results of a feminist analysis depends on what your starting point is. Of course a feminist analysis of single-mothers would be different in a world where there's no DPB. I think it's important that feminists acknowledge when their analysis is limited to the circumstances they're in, and not assume that the same circumstances apply everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:04 pm

    You've expressed, "(because they're actually misogynist fucks who don't care about anything but maintaing power and control)", don't you find it a bit odd that you consider a group who is seeking to establish equal recognition within a situation that they currently have no equal recognition within, to some how be interested in “maintaing power and control"? To be “maintaing” something is to keep it within its present state and seeing as how most men do not receive equal custody of their minor children after divorce, I fail to see how they are attempting "maintaing power and control" over something that they currently have no power or control over.
    To generalize a sex with regard to an individual intention external the general biological design is to engage in prejudice. Of all prejudice is found basic ignorance’s of reality.
    You’re evidently befuddled within the muddy waters of your mind.
    Mind you, this is a candid moment of you, not women in general.
    P.S. maintaing is the correctly spelled as maintaining.