Thursday, August 23, 2012

A man's opinion on a woman's issue

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.


  1. When those dickbags want to engage with logic and facts, I'll be happy to do the same. Until then, I ain't wasting my time constructing a good argument for disingenuous, lying fucksticks.

    1. So you'll waste your time constructing bad arguments? :P

  2. While I admit I found the graphic above briefly amusing, I didn't repost it, because of your exact argument, David. Men are certainly allowed to have opinions on it. And as long as the discussion is civil it should be had, and men shouldn't be disregarded. I do think, however, in that men cannot possibly ever know what it's like to carry a child and what it does to your body and brain (and let me tell you, going through it right now, it's intense) that their opinion should factor less into the debate, unless men can be held to the same standards as women in the child bearing process. Paying for prenatal care, for example.

    My major problem is that I'm torn on the abortion thing; I find the procedure abhorrent, and I can't imagine ever doing it myself without causing serious psychological damage. The mere idea of the procedure makes me ill. That said, my personal disgust is no basis for a law, particularly when I've only been in the position to make the choice twice and haven't needed to. Which, I guess, is where I stand on men's voice on the issue too. Our voices should be heard and considered, and it should be an emotional issue, because it IS. But ultimately we have to protect the health and choices of others, and that's what it really boils down to, no matter who says it.

    I hope this makes sense. If not, blame the hormones...

    1. Makes perfect sense! While I don't feel as icky at the idea of abortion, there are plenty of things that *do* make me squeamish that I feel should be permitted by the law.

      I'm tired, though I planned on saying more.

  3. I think the heart of the problem is in your perspective. From the tone of your Argument, David, I think you see the problem more as:

    A car heading down the freeway, which is drifting into another lane. with a small correction, the car will ease back into the center of the lane and you can go on your way.

    From the perspective of most women, as this is a contest of power, I believe they see it as:

    A game of tug of war. Right now, the flag is on the men's side. In order to bring the flag back to center, the woman need to jerk harder than the men.

    While I agree that logical argument and irrefutable fact should be the core of the argument, I believe that it will take many sentiments such as this in order to balance out statements such as "legitimate rape won't result in pregnancy" or "if a husband does it to his wife, it's not rape".

  4. I apologize sincerely, my last post was made in reference to women's rights in general, not reproductive rights. I misread the picture (should NOT read facebook when in a hurry).

    To amend my previous statement - I'm afraid I have to mostly disagree with you, David. While I *do* agree that men shouldn't be left out of the argument, I don't think they should get a vote, so to speak. The burden of pregnancy, physiologically, lies with women, and therefor the responsibility and choices that go with it.

    I apologize for the dissenting opinion, I'm just so excited to see a cogent argument being made that I wanted to participate! ^_^

    1. Dissenting opinions are vital and necessary! As long as we don't resort to name calling or other stupid pettiness, I welcome being told I'm wrong. :P

      I'm not saying that men should "get a vote," though frankly I think that any issue of how the government is run belongs to every able-bodied citizen. I tend to think that, ultimately, a woman's choice to have a baby or abort the pregnancy is a personal choice, and while others in her life (male or female) may have opinions on the matter she makes the ultimate decision. I'm not arguing against the right of that mother.

      My argument is that, in public discourse, it's a bad argument to growl at a man for voicing his opinions. It's just fine to growl at anyone for being dumb. :P

  5. My opinion is as long as a persons money is paying for abortion services or female birth control of any sort through pubic funding, then a woman's uterus is well within that persons jurisdiction and interest. I don't want that to be the case anymore than a woman would but it is our reality as long as the public is paying the bill for a lot of these services. The best thing we can do to empower women is to make these things a direct transaction between them and their doctor with no public funding middlemen. As far as insurance covering the pill... I think it is important to first recognize the difference between insurance and healthcare. We don't need insurance to provide general supplies and routine services. Insurance is meant for unforeseen costs and like illness or traumatic events. Getting pregnant after having sex without some sort of birth control should not be a surprise to anyone, therefore it should not be covered for that reason(for this same reason abortion should also not be covered). If we are talking about medically diagnosed hormonal replacement it should be covered and as far as I know most insurance providers do indeed cover it in this case.

    Hope I didn't step on too many feminist toes with this one... though by definition I consider myself a feminist. I just have an entirely different point of view on how we need to change things.

    1. And just so we are clear, I know there are other reasons for taking the pill, I think a lot of them are legitimate medical reasons that should fall under illness and should be covered. The majority of women and men rely on the pill to prevent pregnancy. These people should be paying out of pocket.