The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Where am I inconsistent?

This subject just triggers fascinating reactions.

1) Men are responsible when women act out. Then...are women responsible when men act out? Or are you saying only men are responsible for the problems of the world, since almost all of them are caused by human beings acting up? And if you are, isn't that just a sneaky way of hiding a superiority complex inside the appearance of "sensitivity"?

2) My flat-out, plain spoken position is: neither men or women are superior mentally, ethically, or morally. Period. I do think there are some differences, but that the differences even out. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who most strongly criticise my position could not say that.: that they, in essence, are placing women ABOVE men. PLEASE prove me wrong, folks: do you think we're equal, or not? Please state your opinion plainly, without waffling or avoidance. I'd like to know what I'm dealing with.

3) "you're another man who is sure he knows better than women do how women should be leading their lives." Excuse me? When in the world did I say I thought I knew better?

a) My attitude about these things was primarily SHAPED by women.

b) I never said I knew better than women. I said I have the right to comment on the behaviors of others...which is the exact same thing that every one of you does, every day, unless your behavior is unlike every human being I've ever met. The fact that we disagree is the reason its most important to have the discussion.

4) I want to control women? I've stated directly that I wouldn't want to pass laws about this stuff. I speak of personal responsibility and balance, and how that relates to human beings. Some of those behaviors are based on gender. Again, I've never met anyone who limits their comments about the world to those of "their own group."

5) I want only men to have personal freedom? Really? This is just nonsense. When I say that I believe men have more responsibility for social security, I'm saying that in a very real sense, it is their obligation to DIE. Where the hell is the freedom? If that isn't the ultimate revocation of rights, I don't know what is.

6) Dan is right: it is more useful for the members of a given group to comment on that group. But it is ALMOST as useful for members of the "other" to comment, because we're all in this together.

I understand the reaction: when (I forget who, but a Conservative white male) made comments about family values in the black community being a source of serious concern, I was disappointed that so many blacks called him racist. When Bill Cosby did it, he was attacked as "out of touch." In other words, race really had nothing to do with it. Race was a convenient way to try to apply social pressure to silence a voice.

7) I'm using the "some of my best friends" fallacy? Is it a fallacy to think that if you have close friends who are a part of group X, you have the right to consider your opinion of X informed? Well, not if you've actually spoken to the X's about the issues, and your opinion is in alignment with what a large proportion of them think. Not at all. And like I said, any white person with 10% of the experience with blacks that I've had with women--listening to their opinions, living with them, reading their words, etc.--would be in my mind, extremely entitled to an opinion. Never have I said that "I know better than women." What's really being objected to is that my opinion is not that of women on the Left.

An example: I say that blacks are more responsible than whites for what happens to their families in the inner cities. If I was white and saying that, people would cry "racism." If I was a woman, saying that women have more responsibility for what they will spend nine months nurturing in their wombs, I'd be considered "Conservative." But because I'm a man, this position is thought to originate in my gender.

Tell me, please: is this position, in any way, inconsistent with my other positions? I don't think I've changed my way of looking at the world one jot because I happen to have a Willie. Please point out a single way that this is inconsistent: you'd be doing me a big favor.

##

In my own life, I've taken personal responsibility for children of single mothers, driving hundreds of miles to provide father figure input, flying them to California to spend the summer with me, waking up at six in the morning to drive them to martial arts classes. I've not been a passive observer here. More to the point, in my circle there are several women who have made what I consider "stupid, childish, damaging" decisions to have children without a man. I never rejected a single one of them, and often rolled up my sleeves, sighed, and pitched in.

Now...what about men? I've had friends who abandoned the children they made. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS NO LONGER A FRIEND. I kicked them from my life. I could no longer respect them at all, in any way. They are dead to me.

##

If I'm unfair, I feel I'm reflecting life, which is not fair. It just "is." I know of no culture, anywhere, who judges a woman MORE harshly for leaving her husband to be beaten by muggers as it would judge a man for leaving his wife. Not fair. Just is. And I know of no culture, anywhere, that judges a man MORE harshly for having a child out of wedlock than it does a woman. And since nothing is ever really "equal" what you have is a situation of: judging who more harshly creates the more stable society? It's never right down the line. It's always: this situation, that characteristic, that responsibility...etc.

No science fiction writer to my knowledge has ever had the guts to try to write a book or story in which there is a society in which males have MORE responsibility for the children and LESS responsibility for defense than females. I've never seen it, and if anyone out there has, please point it out to me. I'm merely saying what I see in nature, and in societies world-wide.

I have ZERO sympathy for adult parents, male or female, in comparison with what I feel for their children. Zero. Parents who make children but would not be willing to die to protect them, to sacrifice for them, to give up their illusions for them...are children at best and lower than animals at worst. In terms of time, energy, and resources, it hits mothers harder than fathers. Personal responsibility says that you must be aware, alert, and capable of making the hard decisions in direct proportion to the impact a BAD decision will have on your life. The more freedom you want, the more responsibility you must have.

##

No one on this blog is trying to silence anything, but I ask you to note the same reactions being used. If I'd had Tananarive post the exact same words, you might have disagreed, but she wouldn't be accused of sexism...and you may take my word for it that our attitudes are quite similar. Because I have a penis, I'm trying to oppress women? Control them? Give men the right to run around and do anything they want? I don't know who you're talking to, but it isn't me. I speak of human adulthood, with the road leading there involving:

1) Responsibility for our bonded sexual relationships.

2) Responsibility for our bodies

3) Responsibility for our financial interactions with our communities.

Men who don't take responsibility for the children they make are beneath my contempt, off my map of human adults, lower than whale shit. In no way, shape, or form am I letting them off the hook. My only concern is for the safety of the children, girls and boys. Period. Because it is their health that will build the next generation.

Everything I'm saying flows from my basic principles: healthy people can find healthy relationships. Healthy parents create healthy children. Not 100% true, but the principles I live by. What the hell follows from this? What conclusion can I come to except that a woman who CHOOSES to start a family without a man (or woman) in her life is CHOOSING to have dysfunctional children, because she herself has no idea what health is?

Someone accused me of telling women to stay in abusive relationships? Are you kidding? I've been a part of rescue teams moving mothers OUT of such relationships. You are reading things into this that I never put there. Those women started by TRYING to have, HOPING to have, a healthy relationship. It didn't work. ESPECIALLY if she has children, she has an obligation to leave.

That is not the same thing at all as deciding "it's time to have a baby" and getting knocked up.

I honestly believe that you are hearing my words through warped filters, perhaps thinking that I'm trying to set up some scenario where men get to screw around all they want, and the finger of blame is pointed at women. What punishment would I like to impose on men who father children and don't take care of them?

For the good of society, I'd probably suggest a multiple-tier approach:

1) Socially, they should be shamed as scum.

2) Financially, they should be legally forced to support those children financially and emotionally.

3) If they are unwilling to support them in this way, some kind of a chain-gang scenario, where they are imprisoned and forced to work for their food and shelter, producing enough excess money to go to their children, is not out of the question.

But remember: I suggested no legal punishment for women who CHOOSE to become pregnant out of wedlock. I suggested that their behavior was immature and damaging to their future children...on average. The fact that there are (many) individual cases where it worked out well doesn't change the fantastic damage I've seen in my own community due to such behavior.

##

When you accuse someone of trying to control women, that I think I know what's good for a woman better than women do (which women? Women who agree with you? You know damned well there are plenty of women who agree with me. You just don't like it that I have a "Conservative" attitude about this.) that I want women to stay with abusive husbands, and so on...you are exercising exactly the same freedom that I am, to express your values and beliefs in a public forum. So long as they are expressed politely, I think it furthers social evolution.

So, I guess, thanks for trying to tear me a new asshole. And you white folks out there are still free to comment on black people. As you've always done.

21 comments:

Steve Perry said...

Here we are again. You think you are being perfectly clear and perfectly reasonable, and yet, here are all these would-be asshole-tearers assailing what seems to you to be a rational -- and obvious -- statement.

From where I sit, the spark was that women who elect to have a child on their own are making a huge mistake -- because they are emotionally-crippled if they don't have a partner in their lives. That children who don't have two parents suffer more than those who do, and that one of the parents should be a man, especially if the child is a boy.

Can't see how people might find that a tad on the offensive side? Did we just throw the lesbians out with the bathwater? Keep the bad dads?

And can't you see why somebody would wonder how you can justify telling some woman somewhere that she's emotionally bent?

Yep, if T had said that, she might avoid the sexism label, but the truth of the statement would have been just as open to dispute -- how would she know? It's not in her experience, either.

I don't think there is enough data on adult women who choose to have a child without having a live-in partner to help in the rearing to offer a definitive verdict on how well those kids do long-term. My suspicion that those numbers are relatively small anyhow.

But the questions you have to ask yourself regarding what you said, and why it is seemingly being misunderstood -- why they -- read: we -- aren't getting it are:

1) Is it my fault? Did I not bespeak it well?
2) Is it their fault? They couldn't hear it no matter how I phrased it?
3) Is it some combination of these?

You a have fairly bright and literate audience, and most of the posters are fairly adept at offering reasoned responses. If you throw something out and a whole bunch of them leap on it like hungry wolves and rend it to bloody tatters, then it's Cool Hand Luke's Dictum. It's not coming across.

It's not that you are inconsistent. It's that there is disagreement with your statement as to its validity.

(You can be consistently wrong, you know. )

If you didn't say that, then why do we think you did? I got no dog in this fight, other than the belief that the guy inside the barrel has different view of the proceedings then those who are lined up outside the barrel.

Dan Moran said...

First, let me start off with an apology -- if anything I've said has struck you as disrespectful, I'm sorry. Not my intent.

This subject just triggers fascinating reactions.

:-) Doesn't it?

Or are you saying only men are responsible for the problems of the world, since almost all of them are caused by human beings acting up?

Only? No. Mostly? Yeah. Men are the source of most of the violence in this world, which strikes me as the the worst of the problems in male/female relationships in this country. (Closely followed by male sloth.) I'm also saying that men are almost entirely responsible for their failures as fathers. Male violence and sloth is a much larger problem than women opting out of relationships for no good reason.

It's kind of a circular argument to say that women are not providing male role models for young men, which then produces men who are bad fathers, and therefore it's the women's fault that there aren't enough good fathers out there. One, I think it's a minor component of the overall problem, and two, to the degree it's true, solving the problem is more within the male than the female domain.

And if you are, isn't that just a sneaky way of hiding a superiority complex inside the appearance of "sensitivity"?

It's possible, but if I didn't recognize that you know things that I don't, I wouldn't be here.

2) My flat-out, plain spoken position is: neither men or women are superior mentally, ethically, or morally. Period. I do think there are some differences, but that the differences even out. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who most strongly criticise my position could not say that.: that they, in essence, are placing women ABOVE men.

My flat-out, plain spoken position is: in the area of raising children, women as a group are superior to men as a group. More conscientious, harder working, less violent. Sure there are outliers, and when we get to different domains -- protecting the village from the evil barbarians over the hill -- men are superior to women. But the conversation we're having is about raising children, no?

Yes, in this area, women are superior. I won't try to parse nature/nurture out of that, but I can't imagine anyone doesn't see that it's true. How many women abandon their children? If it's as much as 10% the number of men who abandon theirs, I'd be shocked.

PLEASE prove me wrong, folks: do you think we're equal, or not? Please state your opinion plainly, without waffling or avoidance. I'd like to know what I'm dealing with.

That's as plain as I can be. Don't know if I can prove you wrong.

6) Dan is right: it is more useful for the members of a given group to comment on that group. But it is ALMOST as useful for members of the "other" to comment, because we're all in this together.

I think you and I see the size of this problem differently, which I'm sure is directly out of our respective life experiences. I've just known far more bad men than bad women, in my life. That's not me being "sensitive" -- I'm nicely in touch with my inner hostility in this area:

"If I were King of the World I would roam my kingdom in rags, incognito, dropping fortunes onto the people who are nice with no special reasons to be nice, and having my troops lop off the heads of the mean, small, embittered little bastards who try to inflate their self-esteem by stomping on yours. I would start the lopping among post-office employees, bank tellers, bus drivers, and pharmacists. I would go on to checkout clerks, bellboys, prowl-car cops, telephone operations, and U.S. Embassy clerks. By God, there would be so many heads rolling here and there, the world would look like a berserk bowling alley. Meyer says this shows a tad of hostility." - Travis McGee, The Empty Copper Sea.

My bowling alley would have more violent men and fewer merely embittered ones, but I'm genuinely serious -- an awful lot of men I've known would improve the world with their absence. I can't think of any women I could say that about for sure.

Tell me, please: is this position, in any way, inconsistent with my other positions? I don't think I've changed my way of looking at the world one jot because I happen to have a Willie. Please point out a single way that this is inconsistent: you'd be doing me a big favor.

I don't know if you're inconsistent in this one, but I'm absolutely certain that the % of women who'd agree with you is much smaller than the % of men who'd agree with you on this one. Why do you suppose that is? Because the women happen not to have a Willie?

salina said...

Kudos to Steve for standing your ground. I'm glad somebody has a true north. I have LONNNNG tired of the "namby-pamby, anything goes, everything is ok" way that folk live their lives.

I could care less what the "data" says, I'm in regression lab as we speak so PLEASE don't get me started on that topic.

Even more, I'm sick to DEATH of people making SELFISH-thoughtless decisions that invariably are to the detriment of children; both unborn and those already here.

Keep speaking life Steve, and remember: never betray the Truth/God/Spirit/Divine/Universe in order to please the world.

The proof is in the pudding...




Christian M. Howell said...

For my part I believe men and women SHOULD be equal but as we all like to say that isn't the reality.

I do believe that men cause wars, men rape, men rob, men force their beliefs on women.

I have said before most of us "men" should be killed for lack of idealism and effort to improve everyone's lot. We are all too busy dividing ourselves by race, religion, etc.

We call women the fairer sex, the weaker sex, etc and invent an institution called the glass-ceiling and make movies about it.

We call our daughters "daddy's little girl" and then when they are 18 they just have to deal with how "unfair" things are.

If they act out I'm not sayign they shouldn't be responsible but I jsut read an article linked to a sex study done on the New York Times site and it rightly mentioned that biological\natural differences between men and women has been drowned out by the aforementioned - among other - cultural institutions.

I try to eliminate cultural influences and look at the base human reaction. I mean, disrespect is the same for everyone, as is an insult.

No one really has all the answers but most of us don't look. We are too contented to "eat cheeseburgers and drive Chevy's" for fear of ostracism; perhaps the definition of "abusing one's self with mankind."

I don't think your sexist just short-sighted. Most people are. I don't usually involve myself with this kind of discussion as the old saying is "what would your grandmother say?"

Ethiopian Infidel said...

"women who elect to have a child on their own are making a huge mistake -- because they are emotionally-crippled if they don't have a partner in their lives."

I can't accept this carte blanche. Different traits may underlay different kinds of relationships. I consider it probable that some people may make great lovers, friends and mates, but horrendous parents. Conversely, there may be outstanding parents who are abysmal at sustaining relationships with fellow adults.

Anonymous said...

I laud your boldness in being one who dares to speak heresy to the face of the politically correct world.

And to those who argue that children can be raised healthily in single-parent or same-sex "parent" households, I would contend that whereas that is possible, and does occur, it is not the anthropological, biological, or evolutionary human norm, and there is good reason to respect those norms.

We are mammals. Females and males are co-evolved to work together in special ways where young are concerned. Culturally, we have departed from those ways significantly, and to our detriment. Defending that departure is not the solution.

I am a woman, and do not feel the slightest bit offended by what you had to say. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly, and further contend that if some situation did arise in which individuals were no longer insulated from the direct personal pain of being irresponsible, a sudden awakening would occur. People would discover that, for the most part, they really can dispense with all the bull and do whatever they need to, to survive, and to keep their kids surviving. Our choice as a society to insulate individuals from the requirements of primal survival have favored loss of personal responsibility.

Nature doesn't waste energy after all, and if a paradigm is no longer necessary, it will be cut.

And for those this offends: we are not guaranteed the right to go through life unoffended. We have the right to take offense at whatever we choose, and the state of being offended does not afford special dispensation.

salina said...

"And for those this offends: we are not guaranteed the right to go through life unoffended. We have the right to take offense at whatever we choose, and the state of being offended does not afford special dispensation."

LOVE. IT!!! lolllol

and may i add one of my favorite quotes:

"No offense to a playa', yo', but I don't play, and if you take offense? f#$% it got to be that way." - Pos, (De La Soul) "Stakes is High"

azrael said...

Healthy parents create healthy children.

What percent of the adult population would you guess is healthy? My guess is that if only healthy people reproduced the world's population would decline significantly.

What conclusion can I come to except that a woman who CHOOSES to start a family without a man (or woman) in her life is CHOOSING to have dysfunctional children, because she herself has no idea what health is?

I'd argue that she is choosing the POSSIBILITY of having dysfunctional children. But, then so are the overwhelming majority of people who reproduce.

Personally, I will only reproduce if I'm fairly certain that I can have a healthy long term relationship with the father of my children. And, I do think choosing single parenthood is a bad idea. Unless we're talking about adopting or becoming a foster parent as a single parent.

From where I sit, the spark was that women are emotionally-crippled if they don't have a partner in their lives.

Maybe. I'm a 35yo single woman and might actually agree with this controversial assertion. At least in my case. And the case of my closest single 30-40something friends.

That children who don't have two parents suffer more than those who do, and that one of the parents should be a man.

My experience is that people who are partnered are not necessarily healthy people in healthy relationships who will raise healthy children.

Using my social circle for anecdotal evidence, I'm not sure the ones who grew up in single parent homes are doing any worse than those of us who grew up in two parent homes. Worse in this case means in terms of financial, educational, and relationship success as 30 and 40 somethings. Of course, the fact that I know these people personally means that it isn't a random sample as my social circle tends to be middle class and educated.

Lynn said...

I think sometimes a person outside a group is able to see things about that group more clearly than a member of the group. It's sad that most people immediately rush to the defensive position instead of listening and thinking.

I'm a woman but, oddly, I often (not always) find myself agreeing with men in the men vs. women arguments.

Christian M. Howell said...

"women who elect to have a child on their own are making a huge mistake -- because they are emotionally-crippled if they don't have a partner in their lives."


Wow, I'm glad I read by that. This very statement says you feel that women are inferior as they need a man to be "whole" rather than "emotionally-crippled."

Steve Perry said...

Apparently, I wasn't clear in my presentation. Or else a couple of you did what I pointed out to Barnes -- you misread what I wrote.

Re-read that second graph in my posting. I was pointing out to Barnes that what got danders up was *his* contention that single women electing to have children was a mistake.

It's not my belief, and I feel fairly certain that if you reread the whole posting that should be clear.

I believe in this instance, not to put too fine a point on it, that my friend Barnes is full of shit.

But again, I have to consider is it me, is it you, or is it both of us?

Show of hands -- how many thought I was saying that women who elect t have a child on their own are making a mistake?

Josh Jasper said...

Dan - It's possible that women bond with children because of the birth process, and after, because of the nursing process, which releases a compound known as Oxytocin, which is related to social bonding in mammals.

On the other hand, women also suffer form post partum depression, which men don't.

It's a fair thing, and not sexist, to say that hormonal cycles in women, especially women who become pregnant are much more far ranging then in men, who don't. I'm extremely leery of anything that looks like Evolutionary Psychology, because so much of it is just heinously bad science, but without drawing conclusions, there's a chemical compound related to bonding that's released in women when nursing that just isn't in men, who're not.

Is it possible to think of someone who might have a chemical addiction to that compound, like the woman who had the octuplets? I think it's possible. Or there might be some other psychological pathology that led to her choice, but it's not something you see in the rest of the world.

But I also think the big mistake made in making reference to her was to use her as an example. Her case is not common, it's incredibly rare. If we're going to talk about single parents, we have to take typical cases, not extreme ones. Extreme cases make for good stories, but bad social science.

Steven Barnes said...

How am I throwing lesbians out? Gay partners are fine with me.

And I said specifically: if the father is bad, throw him out. My criticism is reserved for those who planned it that way from the get-go.

Steven Barnes said...

Note that I did not say "women who elect to have children on their own are sick" or wrong. I said that women who go out and deliberately get pregnant with that intent are immature, selfish, and wounded. That I stand by. If she got pregnant accidentally, and decided not to get an abortion or adopt out? Non-optimal, but I get it. The guy turned out to be an absolute asshole? Ditch him. My only comment was about those who deliberately, with conscious aforethought, make that choice.
##
I absolutely agree with Dan that women are superior to men in the arena of child rearing. Could not agree with him more, on average. Unfortunately, that leads me to believing that they are also more responsible for making choices in that arena.
##
The reason I don't think I'm full of shit is the percentage of time my comments are being misquoted (the constant reference to my saying single mothers are wrong, or women should stay with abusive husbands, or I'm condemning lesbians). I said none of those things. I SPECIFICALLY said that those things are fine, confining my comments to a single context. And again and again it is misinterpreted. I am forced to believe that we have run into a limitation of the written word. The very last thing I ever intended to do is hurt anyone, or have people think I am attacking the single mothers who sacrifice their lives and happiness every day for their families. Because I don't think I can make it any clearer than I have, and that still isn't enough, let's call this one a day. I don't live in this world to increase the amount of pain.

Steven Barnes said...

I do have a question for Christian, however. You see women as being almost totally dominated by men. This is the position of feminists who believe that, because this is true, any sexual interaction between men and women is tantamount to rape. Considering that you seem so proud of the amount of semi-anonymous sex you've had, do you consider what you were doing to be an energetic exchange between equals? Do you have any idea if any of them got pregnant? How do you reconcile your actions with your belief that women are helpless in the thrall of men? Just wondering...

Steven Barnes said...

And to Dan--

Old friend, I don't think you could ever offend me. But what you CAN do is help me see how my words are interpreted. "The meaning of a communication is the reaction you get." Sigh. My intentions do not matter. Behavior is truth. Either I care about people or I don't. If I seek to speak my truth, I have to care about how it is recieved. Otherwise, I am a total asshole.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve- from those of us not as good at desribing these points. I do not agree with you on all issues but this one you hit 100%!

Josh Jasper said...

How many of these single mothers who get pregnant because they just want to do you think there are, Steve?

I absolutely agree with Dan that women are superior to men in the arena of child rearing. Could not agree with him more, on average. Unfortunately, that leads me to believing that they are also more responsible for making choices in that arena.

Great, but who controls the system in which people get education to make educated choices? An uneducated choice might as well not be made.

Christian M. Howell said...

I do have a question for Christian, however. You see women as being almost totally dominated by men. This is the position of feminists who believe that, because this is true, any sexual interaction between men and women is tantamount to rape. Considering that you seem so proud of the amount of semi-anonymous sex you've had, do you consider what you were doing to be an energetic exchange between equals? Do you have any idea if any of them got pregnant? How do you reconcile your actions with your belief that women are helpless in the thrall of men? Just wondering...


I don't think I said any sex is tantamount to rape. Yes, I've had casual sex with women.

Men do ATTEMPT to dominate women but it always comes out as "abusive captivity."

Though I don't love rubbers, they have their place. Besides, one of the problems is that birth control can happen without contraception. Any doctor could tell you that men can only generate enough sperm for pregnancy once every 24 hours; hence the saying "I should have swallowed you."

My point was that you say a women is emotionally crippled without a man to help them and I think that's incorrect.

This would be a happier world if women were in charge. At least we could have SOMETHING different for a change. I personally would LOVE to arrange a coup and put 16 year old girls in charge. They can be trusted. They would then grow into great statesmen, unlike men who just become bigger dicks.

American culture has eroded into a hot bed of lust and perversion and that's the fault of THOSE IN CHARGE: White Men.

We've got males growing up to replace women by having psychotic surgery and I'm expected to call them she - FUCK THAT!

We've got "men" in power supporting prostitution rather than encouraging them to become educated. We can't trust our day care, or our priests and in many cases our parents.

Many parents want their boys to sell their bodies and souls for the trappings of foolishness and now even disease - deadly as fuck BTW.
More problems caused by men. I just don't feel that women can be blamed for anything.

When I was young a friend of mine and I were playing outside. We saw a cute little girl and he wanted to beat her up. I wouldn't let him. That's been my whole life. I feel like I can bench press a lot and women can't so I'm fighting for them. PERIOD!!

This is my last post about women. I just get upset.

Lynn said...

Steve,

I've been reading a very interesting article about the differences between men and women and the evolutionary reasons for those differences. It's an extremely long article but worth it if you have the time. It contains several lengthy quotes from books on the subject.

Here's a link in case you're interested:

http://alphadominance.com/?p=631

She's Lost Angeles said...

Steven, I've been following this line of discussion for a while, and I have to say that at first it enraged me to the point where I couldn't see straight. Rather than jump right in and add more heat than light, I've taken some time to try and pin down where my problem is. So please forgive my late entry.

Because in the main, I agree with many of your points. The more loving adults providing resources for children's care, the better. Ergo, two is more optimal than one, and a village beats a pair. However, one will do in a pinch.

I think I tripped up on your "keep your damn legs closed" line of argument. Thanks to advances in technology (it's GOOD to live in the future), women have opportunities, similar to those always enjoyed by men, to develop their sexual selves as corrolary to their reproductive life, not part and parcel with it.

Today's post was the first time I saw you amend "legs closed" with "insist he wear a rubber or get better birth control." That works a lot better for me, because it doesn't deny women the right to exist as sexual beings. Which, having met you, is not what I think you were trying to do, but that was what set off all of my triggers.

You can't deny women's right to have sex based on their reproductive capacity without sound horribly, horribly regressive. You can certainly comment on best practices for conducting said sex life, but the other, not so much.