This isn’t a fun post to write. I hate being in disagreement with many of my friends, especially on such a heated and personal issue for many.
The following image has been going around my facebook lately:
Though I hate to disagree, this argument has been bothering me long before this post came around, and it bothers me still. For those who may have randomly found my little corner of the internet, I by and large agree with my feminist friends. I fully support legal abortion, I think that rape should carry far stricter penalties than it does, and overall I see the treatment of women by their government as nothing short of abhorrent. Even as I write this, I hate these words. I feel like I’m saying, “I’m not a misogynist pig, really! I have lots of female friends!”
Still I write. I must hate myself.
I have a very real problem with this argument, primarily on the grounds that it is an argument from emotion and not a particularly logical or reasonable one. I understand how, for such a powerful issue, it should be an emotional issue in many ways for the people so affected. I understand that the argument stems from many years of old white idiots making bad argument after bad argument for why women shouldn’t get abortions, or why the pill shouldn’t be covered by insurance (“I don’t want to pay for your recreation,” one overly belligerent acquaintance of mine said recently). I wholeheartedly support your driving need to tell these buffoons to shut the fuck up, as they don’t know what they’re talking about. There are better ways to do that, though, for this statement implies that their argument is invalid because of what they have in their pants, not what they lack in their brains.
From this argument we could further suggest that we shouldn’t have a strong opinion about illegal immigration unless we ourselves are immigrants, or that the only people who should have an opinion on science funding are actual researchers (wait...I kinda like that one...). It says that our opinions matter only if the politics directly influence our lives. Certainly the opinions of those most affected should be strongly considered when coming to a conclusion on any issue thanks to their personal account of the situation, but it is not the person but the argument that should have the final say.
The worst part of this argument for me is that this argument seems to only apply if the Y-chromosome bearer disagrees with aspects of women’s rights. My opinions are and have been welcome for some time, and I suspect they will continue to be welcome as long as I continue to support women's rights. Though I doubt it, should I come to a conclusion that abortion should be illegal, or that women are made of sand and should be treated as such, I'd hate for my thoughts to be disregarded simply because I'm no longer playing for the home team. I'd much rather they be disregarded because I had a massive head injury so I'm clearly not thinking straight, or because one of my assumptions was invalid.
These arguments against women’s rights are bad arguments. This treatment dismisses a contrary argument based on the source, when instead it should be dismissed because it’s a bad argument. We shouldn't cry foul because the arguments are coming from men, as it’s an easy claim for the opposition to ignore. I've met anti-abortion women, and their arguments are no better than those of the anti-abortion men. All they need is to bring forth a Sarah Palin or similar and the argument is invalid. Instead of making our own logical fallacies that are as persuasive as a wet dog, I'd rather we stick to the solid, hard-to-refute arguments that women are people and deserve fair and just treatment.