Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lustful men force innocent, unsuspecting girls to have abortions

In the recent debate about game (aka the practice of seduction) that has engulfed a certain number of blogs I follow, the central bone of contention seems to be the question of what, exactly, has been understood about female sexuality in the past and whether or not new information about the same has been discovered recently. In a post on this topic, Thursday, who graciously quoted me, wrote the following:
The usual social conservative/traditionalist explanation was that bad males had gotten these young girls to sleep with them because these poor females wanted love and affection (but not sex) and those bad males refused to give them love and affection unless they slept with them. Those innocent females didn't really want the sex, you see, they just wanted to be loved and cherished, but they had to give these men sex outside of marriage or else these bad men would move on to some girl who would have sex with them. It was sexual extortion, aided by the fact that the young man could now say, "But you won't get pregnant. We have birth control now."
Whatever your background, I'm sure you will at least recognize this view as being a commonly held one. A prominent expositor of it is Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and in his spare time a prolific anti-male, woman-on-pedestal-placing blogger who seems to believe that all the problems in the world stem from the fact that men won't do what women want. When I read the above paragraph by Thursday, I immediately thought of Mohler, and surfed over to his blog to see whether in what way he had been attacking men lately. Sure enough, he wrote a post just last week entitled "The Hidden Reality of Abortion -- Empowering Men."

The reader is invited to peruse Mohler's blog at leisure, but I'm less interested in what Mohler himself had to say on the subject than on the piece which apparently sparked his thoughts. It's an opinion piece from the August/September issue of First Things entitled "Her Choice, Her Problem: How Abortion Empowers Men." In this essay, Richard Stith of Valparaiso University School of Law argues that abortion "has had the perverse result of freeing men and trapping women." Supposedly it has done so by allowing men to demand casual sex of women, under the threat that the men will not be responsible if the women become pregnant. I don't know what universe Stith is living in, where a man can force a woman to have an abortion. It's certainly not the one I'm living in, where an unmarried father can be sued for, and forced to pay, child support for 18 years, if the girl decides that she wants to keep the baby.

In a perfect illustration of the kind of thinking described by Thursday above, Stith writes:
I’ve also met a clever female undergraduate student living with her boyfriend, who thought she had solved this problem. When I asked whether she was for or against abortion, she answered: “I’m pro-choice, but you can bet I tell him I’m pro-life!” She reasoned that, in light of her warning, he would be careful not to fool around in ways that could lead to pregnancy.

Such a lie may not provide protection for every young woman in her situation, however. If she says she is pro-life so that he thinks abortion is not an option for her, he might decide to keep her from getting pregnant by leaving her for someone more open to abortion, a woman who doesn’t insist on his using a condom. That is, the presence in the sexual marketplace of women willing to have an abortion reduces an individual woman’s bargaining power. As a result, in order not to lose her guy, she may be pressured into doing precisely what she doesn’t want to do: have unprotected sex, then an unwanted pregnancy, then the abortion she had all along been trying to avoid.
Got that? A girl who is pro-choice, but for some reason trying to avoid an abortion, may, by lying and claiming to be pro-life, be "pressured" into the very abortion she'd been trying to avoid. Oh, the poor, clever, pro-choice, lying, angelic ingenue! Conspicuously absent from this scenario is any mention of the fact that the girl wilfully and deliberately chose to have sex with the guy. Does Stith even believe that is possible?

Jeez, if men had the power to mind-control women the way the Mohlers and Stiths of the world think we do, I'd have been married for 10 years by now.

Fortunately, a couple of the commenters display some common sense, including one Jerome, who writes:
A related myth embedded in this article is that women, somehow, don't naturally enjoy and want sex, but view it purely in procreative and responsible terms, while men are somehow wired to pursue irresponsible sex with no attention to the possibility of procreation.
It's true; this is a subtext that is present in the writings of most social conservatives on these subjects, though rarely stated explicitly. It's like the elephant in the living room, totally unnoticed when one has never questioned these myths about female sexuality, but, once one has had the veil lifted, makes reading such pieces a quite frustrating and somewhat unnerving experience. Unfortunately, in my experience, social conservative writers who espouse these views never respond to comments or any other form of feedback. No matter how many Jeromes write in to correct them, they never even bother to address the rebuttals; they simply ignore them and go on writing as though women don't like sex and are incapable of immorality.

A final thought: both Mohler and Stith's headlines place a negative connotation on the phrase "empowering men." Isn't it bizarre, that these male writers, believers in a traditional religion, one so often castigated by feminists as patriarchal, men who would undoubtedly affirm the biblical precepts that men be the head of both the church and their families, and that women submit to their husbands, apparently consider the empowerment of men to be a bad thing? They remind me of conservatives who are always arguing against affirmative action on the basis that it hurts black people; leaving the door wide open for everyone to assume that if it helped black people, it would then be OK. Hey Albert Mohler and Richard Stith: if it were proved tomorrow that abortion really empowered women and disempowered men, would it be OK after all?


Elusive Wapiti said...

Good catch on the "empowering men" bit.

Contra Mohler et al, the Pill and abortion serve to enslave men, not empower them, in that through those technologies the power of reproduction shifts entirely to the purview of the woman. It becomes her choice and her choice alone, rather than a baby in which both parents must share responsibility. Instead, as you write, the responsibility is all his to bear.

Honestly, the sooner the Victorian view of women's sexuality exits the scene, the better it will be for men in general.

Thursday said...

Good post. One quibble: abortion does empower some men at the expense of women, namely alpha males. Eg. Roissy is rabidly pro-abortion.

Hermes said...

Thursday, that's a good point, and it brings to mind something else I've been thinking about. We often say that when women complain about "men," they're really complaining about alphas: i.e., the alphas won't commit to them, so they lament that "men are afraid of commitment." "Men" doesn't include betas, who are simply invisible. They don't count.

Similarly, the Albert Mohlers who attempt to shame men are also talking about alphas: these men who are allegedly causing the age of marriage to rise, by refusing to settle down, are the alphas. Plenty of betas are willing to settle down, but they don't count.

Women's desires are believed to be a litmus test for what is right and good, so if a woman wants to be with a certain man, she's the one who's meant for him, and he is wrong if he doesn't think so. So, "men" are to blame, even if lots of other men would be perfectly happy to be with that particular woman. And when "men" are empowered by abortion, those men are alphas. Betas aren't empowered by abortion, but to the Mohlers of the world, whose guide for what is right or wrong in relationships is based on women's desires, betas don't count.

Indeed, when they do deign to give advice to betas, it amounts to telling us to settle for ugly women.