08 January 2009

The soft sexism of low expectations

One easy way to score points with chicks is to be the burly man-hero who is willing to put his foot down and say how cruel, dangerous, and oppressive it is to expect women to bear children beyond current standards of normalcy. Oh, brave sir! My feeble body and spirit thank you as best they can, considering their weak voice and will!

Or another tack is to point out how demeaning perpetual parturition is to women. What are they, breeder sows? Aren't they good for anything else? Who are you Zinjanthropoi who keep impregnating your wives? My wife is so lucky to have married someone who respects her!

How clever. What a marvelous life of freedom you've won for your wife! She can work and support your golf habit! You'll have to go out to restaurants since she won't have time to cook things you don't like that much! She won't have any excuse for turning you off by being chubby! You won't have trouble finding or affording a babysitter for your socially acceptable number of children! If only my own husband were so enlightened, I could be putting in applications at fast food joints right now as my youngest child's first birthday approaches.

From Father Rolf: "To assert the headship of man while deliberately disconnecting it from the blessing of the fruitful womb is pure male chauvinism." It's a selfish abuse of power for Christian men to encourage women out of their vocation rather than in it. Such talk makes motherhood sound like a nothing but a degrading, dangerous, excruciating humiliation to be endured as rarely as possible. Leave the farrowing to those bulky stupid chicks who apparently can't feel pain or boredom.

Safety first! Out of that childbed, you!

No wonder women are afraid to start up or keep at it. Frail self! It's a miracle I've survived this long. Heaven forbid that anyone should speak of maternity as the birthright and ontological glory of Eve's daughters rather than as a sentimentally appealing hobby if pursued in moderation. We wouldn't want to inspire women to challenge and discipline their bodies and minds for the growth of the Kingdom, not to mention their own personal benefit. Blathering about compassion and respect from the pseudo-empathic high ground is nothing a but a temptation for me to say, "I've multiplied, I've brought forth children in pain. Where'd those scissors get to?"

Whenever I hear a man bemoaning the plight of women suffering under the hypothetical yoke of fertility-span childbearing, or scorning it as debasing to women, I must mortify my foot's uncharitable desires. You want to cry, dude, or show off your bioethical sensitivity? Try talking to someone who with God's help defied her fear and pride, and by God's grace proved her self-doubt wrong. Ask a real mother of seven about her real scars, instead of dreaming up trials that some rhetorical woman might face if she got pregnant again. See how much your tears and broad-mindedness mean to a person who's done what you imagine to be so horrible. My guess is that she'd rather have your praise, and an hour to herself while you play with the kids--which she'll probably use for indulgent pursuits like saying her prayers and then washing the dishes with no one howling into her pants leg. Spare us the speeches and make yourself useful for once.

Poor, fragile, oppressed women, both too weak and too good for the work for which our bodies were designed! Thank goodness we have men around to save us from it. Can I get you a drink, dreamboat?


MooreMama said...

Wow. Anything in particular bring that on?

Reb. Mary said...

So. I'll bet that felt good to write :)

Pr. H. R. said...

Ack! The horror! Who would carry an M-16 (not an M4!) with a 14in length of pull in body armor without replacing the stock to an 11in LOP!

(And for you smartallecks who think that's an AR10 - you're just wrong. It's her small hands that make it look like it's chambered for 7.62 NATO).


Gauntlets said...


You kick total A.

Anonymous said...

In view of my last name "Keep" and moniker "Keep-At-It, I am afraid I am going to have to steal your comment "No wonder women are afraid to start up or keep-at-it"; along with another little quote I found this morning "It's hard to be rejected for who you are rather than embraced for what you have to offer"
Both of these gave me courage to keep-at-it this morning with my male colleagues on the church council who have made "Bureaucracy into the art of getting nothing done....very slowly!"

Joy said...

Yes, actually, I'll take a Mai Tai. Quick!--before my fertility returns!

Rebekah said...

MooreMama, of course!

RM, quite.

Pr HR, it's so easy to set you off.

Gauntlets, well I never. How unladylike.

Anon, church council? Surely you have better things to do with your time. ;)

Joy, you wish. It's Manhattans only around here. Leave the umbrella drinks to the weepy men.

Pam said...

Oh, my. You go girl.

Would that I had your vocabulary and your amazing control over it when I have run into that.

Can I bring you with me when I go shopping sometime? Oops, last time I went to the zoo with a friend and her bunch, my dh was there and hers wasn't. I think folks thought we were polygamists.

One-of-Us said...

Now THAT was ... I wanted to say righteous "rant", but it wasn't a rant, nor a scold ... it was a HERE I STAND -- a maternal CONFESSION, in the great Lutheran sense of that word!

Beth said...

Ooooh Girl! I would have jumped up and cheered here in my office if it weren't for this little nursling sleeping at my breast...
I feel so oppressed! ;)