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Stupid question of the day

It's nothing new to see women questioning the validity, ethics and usefulness of birth control options for men. Dr. Coutinho, who studied a then though possible formula for a male pill, recounts how feminists led by Betty Friedan protested his research years ago. Friedan's accusation that men will lie about the pill to obtain consent is ridiculous in the context of a legal system that pins 18 years of financial responsibility on a man if he and his sex partner conceive, but it's been echoed by feminists every time the idea of birth control for men is brought up. Feminists assert everything from a belief that men are too irresponsible to a belief that despite the risk of becoming an estranged, unwed father, they don't want the option. It's also not uncommon to see the issue discussed in terms of zero sum, writing or speaking as if one partner's use of any form of birth control precludes the other partner's ability or right to do the same. Radhika Sanghani of DailyLife.com is the latest writer to do this, in an article about Vasalgel, an upcoming new innovation in male birth control, titled "Male birth control could be here by 2017 - but will anyone take it?" Her subheading asks if women would "relinquish responsibility." Even before the body of the article, she has hit two of feminism's main talking points on the topic.

Sanghani uses conjecture from a female behavioral psyhcologist to lend credibility to her theory. Donna Dawson is quoted stating that men will either say birth control is a woman's job, or be too squeamish to take the shot. This, despite the fact that men do opt for a more invasive and permanent procedure; Vasectomy.

Dawson goes on to suggest, despite the fact that they make up the majority of workplace deaths and injuries due to being the majority of workers in dangerous, difficult, and dirty jobs, that men won't handle the responsibility because they're not accustomed to it, and have a lower pain threshold than women.

Treating the issue of birth control as a zero sum game in which only one partner may use preventative methods at a time is irrational. There is nothing about a man's use of any birth control method that would prevent a woman from also using birth control. Widening men's access to birth control does not raise a question of trust, but eliminates a need for it. Expanded options for men will not reduce options for women, but they will make it harder for women to use chicanery and lies to become pregnant with a male partner's child against his will. Given that, the tendency of female-oriented media and outspoken feminists to nay-say the upcoming increase in options for male birth control is senseless at its face value. At best, it's a thinly disguised protest against an impending break of women's near-monopoly on control over conception and childbirth by providing men with a new measure of preventative control over their own reproduction.

Equally irrational is the suggestion that men don't want the option. Currently, a man only has two, condoms and vasectomy. Condoms reduce sensation, and are subject to abuse by unscrupulous women. Vasectomy is intended to be permanent, and though sometimes reversible, it is not always, so it's mainly an option for men who are done wanting to have children, or never want to have them. Even when a man does want to opt for a vasectomy, some physicians actually require the wife's consent before the procedure can be performed.

That men do opt for vasectomy even with its potential drawbacks (somewhat painful procedure, some risks, permanence) directly contradicts the supposition that they'll wimp out of using the less invasive, safer, and reversible procedure involved with Vasalgel. The claim that they will smacks of looking for any excuse one can come up with to oppose the option, or an attitude of disdain toward men. It sounds particularly stupid coming from people working in an industry which places little physical demand on the body, writing about the half of the population from which come the majority of workers in industries in which daily tasks cause bodily damage.

The most ludicrous thing, however, about discussion on male birth control by female and feminist media is the presumption that women's opinions on the subject even matter.

If we were discussing the right to use a diaphragm, birth control cream, gel, film, pills or injections, intrauterine or sub-dermal implants, or even abortion, most of these women would shout down any man who chose to express an opinion which contradicted their own. The "my body, my choice" mantra leads the charge to make female birth control and termination of pregnancy a woman-only issue. Even the suggestion that women should be responsible for obtaining these conveniences at their own expense when they are elective has been deemed a shot fired in an imaginary war on women promoted by feminist ideologues. That particular feminist flag has been picked up and carried by the uninformed voter in droves, with the layman... er, woman, knowing no better than to compare medically unnecessary drugs used for convenience to medically necessary drugs used to treat bodily dysfunction as an argument in favor of forcing insurance companies to cover elective use. Any man daring to question this ideological push faces an onslaught of accusations of attempting to interfere with women's choices in what to do with their bodies.

In light of the facts, questioning the validity, ethics, and usefulness of increased options for male birth control is truly stupid, as is making one's support of it contingent on how it helps women. This issue is not about women. A more reasonable question is this: Women's issues ideologues have fought to make women's bodies a strictly female-opinion issue. What even makes feminists like Friedan and writers like Sanghani feel entitled to the slightest consideration of their opinion on what men may do with theirs?

A question of respect

A question I heard out of context today kind of crystallized for me an aspect of the #gamergate controversy, multiple men's issues, and the difference in public response to incidents of domestic violence among famous people depending on whether the perceived perpetrator is male or female. Standing in a convenience store, listening to a woman complain about a man smelling like smoke, I groaned inwardly as she landed on what seems to have become an old standby for gals with something to complain about.

"What's the matter with that guy? Doesn't he respect women?"

Most of the time, when I hear that line, the woman saying it is using the word "respect" when she really means "venerate."

Once upon a time there was a trade-off under which women earned special treatment. It was contingent on eschewing rough behaviors like heavy drinking, fighting, and sexual promiscuity. Women were presumed morally superior, and expected to live up to that. They were presumed gentler than men, and expected to live up to that, as well. Even feminine aesthetics were about being something more special than a man, which is why women were and still are allowed the luxury of wearing clothing that restricts one's ability to perform heavy or hard labor. In return for living up to those standards, women were entitled to certain concessions not afforded to men. They could display more delicate sensibilities such as offense at rough language or crude subject matter, and expect their aversions to be indulged. They could expect exemption from some of life's responsibilities, like supporting a family or even themselves. It was not just a gentleman's responsibility, but his honor to assist a woman in need, and doing harm to a woman was taboo for any man. Women who lived up to the moral and social standards associated with their traditional role were considered respectable in a way that deserved veneration; men who lived up to theirs revered them.

The reverence that women today so loudly and crassly demand in the name of "respect" is not earned under such an arrangement. Sixty years of feminist protesting has freed women from the constraints of social obligation, allowing us to, without expecting judgement for it, become as crass, as violent, and as sexually promiscuous as men, and in many cases, more. Feminists fought for this under the guise of equality, demanding society acknowledge not only equality of rights and human value but capability and toughness. Feminists fought to free women from our side of the bargain, yet what do we hear from them the moment a man's equal treatment of a woman means she is no longer indulged or exempted as before? "What's wrong with that guy? Doesn't he respect women?"

What does that have to do with #gamergate? Well, it began with women complaining of a lack of equal treatment and ended up with a massive shaming campaign wherein women and their supporters drew on traditionally unequal standards to try to shame gamers into giving them special treatment; exempting the women central to the controversy from criticism they would be expected to face and address if they were men. Both the women and the media substituted a demand for veneration of women, requiring subjugation of male gamers' concerns, where an open dialogue was needed.

How is that respect for anyone?

You can see the same treatment in various issues discussed by the men's rights community. Bring up equal parenting rights, and women's groups shout down arguments in favor by demonizing fathers without evidence, calling them deadbeats and abusers. Try to apply fact and reason to discussion about the wage gap, and the misogyny card is immediately thrown down. In the face of impending equal treatment, women's groups defend gender disparity in likelihood of arrest, in chance of a conviction, in criminal sentencing, and in length and type of sentence served in cases where men and women commit the same crimes. Even in an area that should be a no-brainer, involuntary underage genital cutting, women's groups defend girls' bodily autonomy, demanding total elimination of the tradition, while supporting the use of it on infant boys. This, with no better reason than those given for the use of it on girls.

The same groups which claim physical equality in their arguments for equal pay reverse themselves when the discussion turns to intimate partner and sexual violence. Abuse is abuse, unless a woman is the perpetrator and a man is the victim. A man must treat a woman the same as he would another man... unless she assaults him. Then, he owes her the special treatment of not defending himself as he would against another man. She is to be coddled like an unruly child. Though we're equal when women's advocates are demanding an equal share of life's rewards (*edit - excellent point made by Bernard Chapin - feminists demand rewards women have not earned such as equal representation in CEO positions despite women not putting in the work and making the sacrifices to get there... a more than equal share*), when confronting life's rough side, we're not at all equal. Suddenly, women are inferior, not only too weak to back up their display of temper with a strong assault, but also too stupid to acknowledge that by keeping their fists to themselves. Which message should women buy into? Are we strong and smart enough to earn the same pay as roughnecks and loggers, scientists and engineers, or are we too weak to defend ourselves yet too stupid to refrain from picking fights with men anyway? Do feminists and other social justice warriors think women aren't savvy enough to notice that contradiction?

This indicates to me that women's outrage is badly misdirected. It isn't men's attitudes that need to be examined, but those of feminists and other social justice warriors who play the misogyny card to deflect attempts to hold women to the same standards and expectations faced by men. That behavior is not indicative of very much faith in their supposed charges.

Hey, feminists and SJWs! What's wrong with you guys! Don't you respect women?