My flirtation with “Men’s Rights”

Right away, “men’s rights” sounds like a ridiculous notion. We think of it in comparison to women’s rights and the women’s rights movement, something absolutely necessary in the history of the United States, and still necessary today. We’ve needed women’s rights, from the early part of the century and before when women couldn’t vote, through the middle of the century when women were paid little and sexual harassment was accepted. There’s been a certain disadvantage to being a woman in society; the flip side is that there’s been a certain advantage to being a man. Only the most extreme of individuals will say these facts are firm 100% of the time – of course women have advantages in some areas, and of course men have disadvantages in some areas – but it is clear that life as a man is, on average, easier than life as a woman.

I agree with what I’ve said. That isn’t all simply a recounting of a narrative or a statement of a worldview I’m preparing to attack. I affirm that it is an advantage, on average, to be a man. Indeed, even with my gender and sex identity wiped from my memory, if I could be reincarnated and given the choice to be a man or a woman, I don’t imagine a scenario where I would choose to be a woman. That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with being a woman, though. It’s simply to affirm the advantage that comes with being a man. (Just the same, if I had a choice between being, say, 5 feet or 6 feet, I would always choose 6 feet. That doesn’t mean 5 foot tall people are bad.)

So, again, I affirm men, on average, have an advantage in life over women.

Sadly, the reason I have had to affirm my belief about the male advantage in society is that I’m also going to say something which will automatically cause a certain part of society to ignore absolutely everything I have to say on anything ever again: I sympathize with men’s rights activists (MRA’s).

Of course, I have to qualify this like crazy because the men’s rights movement (MRM) is so often vilified. For example, the Southern Poverty Law Center went idiot hunting last year. What they found was a handful of barely popular fringe websites that were antagonistic towards women, spewing a lot of misogyny and sexism. Coupled with these sites were two of the more popular outlets for men’s rights: A Voice for Men and r/mensrights, a subreddit on the popular site reddit.com. I would lump probably 80% of what A Voice for Men posts with the idiots. The r/mensrights subreddit, however, is a different story.

Since becoming a reddit addict earlier this year, I’ve taken to subscribing to a lot of different subreddits. (Think of reddit has a message board and subreddits as forums. It’s not quite like that, but the idea is basically the same.) I like to make it a point to occasionally subscribe to subreddits that don’t reflect my views. I figure I’ll either learn something or find something funny. The latter reason is why I initially subscribed to r/Christianity and r/mensrights. I soon unsubscribed to r/Christianity because it was so boring, but I stuck around r/mensrights. Men have a big advantage in life, so it was sure to be hilarious, right?

Not really.

As it turns out, there are a lot of important issues raised in r/mensrights that had never crossed my radar. For instance, it never crossed my mind to consider how much of a discount women get on their prison sentences versus men for the same crime. (It’s something like 60% overall, and only a few crimes net women harsher sentences than men.) As anyone who reads FTSOS knows, I’m no fan of the U.S. criminal justice system. I think it’s utter garbage, an institution set up to keep people locked up for petty crimes while private prisons (which should make everyone say “What in the fuck?”) make loads of money. So my reaction to women’s decreased sentences isn’t that they should be raised to those given to men, but I think it’s obvious men and women should be treated equally under the law.

And there are other issues. Go find any article about a male teacher accused of one form or another of sexual assault on a female student. The headline will never say he “had sex with” her. No, it will rightly say he assaulted/raped her. But read an article where the teacher is female and the student is male, and well, she had sex with him. He’s a guy. He must have wanted it, right?

Now, recall when I said I couldn’t imagine choosing to be a woman anymore than I would choose to be 5 feet tall. I’m assuming a clean slate, an equal chance to have my life turn out great as I have for it to turn out awful. But change the details and ask me if I’d rather be a man or a woman standing in divorce/family/criminal court? The answer is obvious: a woman all the way. Even beyond the criminal ‘justice’ system, it is never an advantage to be a man. Women are almost always given custody of children by default. Divorce settlements decidedly favor women (even when the woman is capable of making her own living based upon the skills she has obtained during marriage).

But now I have to get back to the qualifying, less I be accused of embracing everything to do with men’s rights. I greatly dislike when people in r/mensrights use intentionally sexist terms like “bitch”, “harpie”, “shriek”, and so forth. I’m all about using language freely and openly, but it’s obvious the intention by some of the people in that subreddit is to demean women. Fuck that bullshit. And fuck the commenters who genuinely do seem to hold a grudge against all women. I don’t support that.

So, let me be clear: I have a sympathy towards the men’s rights movement insofar as it points out issues where men are treated unfairly and do have a disadvantage. I think it’s wrong that our various courts are obviously (and insanely) biased against men. I think it’s wrong that the sexual assault of young boys is treated as something those boys wanted, provided to perpetrator was a woman. (Notice the lack of headlines declaring “Priest accused of having sex with altar boy.”) I’m very much a utilitarian, but I also very much see the value in egalitarianism. This isn’t always expressed by MRA’s, but it is the underlying theme I’ve seen. That is where my sympathy lies. (The utter lack of egalitarianism in 3rd wave feminism disgusts me.)

But let me be extra clear: My sympathy towards men’s rights does not mean one can possibly conclude my favor or disfavor regarding any given issue. I may think it’s wrong that a man walking with his son in the English countryside was assumed to be a pedophile (the same would not happen to a mother), but that doesn’t mean I have a significant issue with the massive funding disparity between breast cancer research and prostate cancer research – a look into the data shows that it makes sense for the most part. (I do, however, have an issue with the lack of funding lung cancer research receives as compared with breast cancer research.)

So here’s the big conclusion. The MRM raises some valid points that I think deserve far more attention than they currently get. Moreover, I am on board with the egalitarian approach of the movement (an approach, incidentally, which characterizes much of 1st and 2nd wave feminism). I also agree with the idea held by many MRA’s that sexism is not defined by a power asymmetry, but by discrimination on the basis of sex. Aside from being the dictionary definition of sexism, I reject the idea that a given group being in power translates to the individual members of that group automatically having greater power. That is, Congress being composed of mostly white men does not mean that every white man has more power than everyone else. Thus, sexism can and does occur independently of a group’s collective power. But does that mean I embrace everything espoused by anyone claiming the label of “MRA”? Of course not. I’m not a frequent poster on reddit, but most of what I’ve posted in r/mensrights has been dissent. The movement doesn’t have a cohesive philosophy, so it has some serious holes. (Feminism also doesn’t have a cohesive philosophy – forget about claiming it is a philosophy – but as a political movement (and that’s exactly what it is), it is far more coherent than the MRM.) But just as feminist writers opened my eyes to sexism I once did not see, the MRM has made me aware of unfair treatment of one of the sexes.

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38 Responses

  1. A gentle reminder of something you may not have attended to: Men are completely without reproductive rights whatsoever, which largely contributes to men’s mistreatment in court.

    While feminists are fighting to ensure that whackos aren’t infringing on women’s reproductive rights, men have yet to acquire them.

    If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading or listening to the Men’s Rights March 2013 Internet Statement. You may find it of interest.

    http://francisdroy.wordpress.com/a-mens-rights-activist-faq/what-is-a-mens-rights-activist/

  2. From that document:

    3) We have no interest in legally denying anyone the right to control their reproduction, however we seek equitable reproductive rights for all persons regardless of sex. As a movement we believe no one should be forced into parenthood by the state or another individual, and that sexual intercourse is not a consent to parenthood. As such, mothers seeking arbitration from the courts in order to collect child support from a man she names the father should be required to submit a written instrument of consent signed by him, in which he explicitly accepts responsibility for, as well as defines his rights to, his child/ren. This will allow him to positively establish paternity through a DNA test before signing and allow both mother and father to define the rights and responsibilities of both parties rather than allowing the state to do so. Furthermore, if a mother conceals a pregnancy and subsequent birth from a father and he learns of this afterward without being given the opportunity to negotiate parenthood with the mother then he should have redress to obtain paternal rights and responsibilities.

    This is one of those areas where I part with the MRM. I’m all for paternity testing because it’s clear that some men have been forced into paying child support under the belief that the child was theirs when the opposite was the case. (There have even been cases where a paternity test was performed when the child was somewhere around 10 to 15, found not to belong to the alleged father, yet the “father” still had to continue paying support and was not entitled to any recompense.) However, the notion that a consent form should be required for child support is ludicrous. No man would ever be forced into paying. Moreover, consenting to sex is, in essence, consenting to the possibility of parenthood. That’s just part of what “consent” means – you aren’t only agreeing to engage in an act with another person; you’re agreeing to all the consequences that may and will come with sex.

    I understand the reasoning behind this: Women have the ability to abort, so they always have a choice in becoming a parent or not. Men, on the other hand, do not get that choice. However, an asymmetry in biology doesn’t translate to and justify an asymmetrical fix by the government.

  3. > Moreover, consenting to sex is, in essence, consenting to the
    > possibility of parenthood. That’s just part of what “consent”
    > means – you aren’t only agreeing to engage in an act with
    > another person; you’re agreeing to all the consequences that
    > may and will come with sex.

    Consenting to sex is NOT consenting to the possibility of parenthood–the widely available and legal access to and use of contraceptives reflects society’s denial of this claim.

    Remember that contraception is not a reproductive right; contraception is a strategy to prevent conception (Contra-Conception: “against conception”).

    If, as you claim, that consenting to sex is paramount to potentially consenting to parenthood, why then do women have reproductive rights in law that men do not have?

    Your argument is the more polite form of “If you don’t want babies, keep your dick in your pants”. I ask, as someone who wants equality for everyone to consider the following: “If you don’t want babies, don’t allow a penis in your vagina”. Don’t want babies? Don’t have sex. Sex is purely for procreation. How Catholic!

    I see no good reason why women should be the only ones to enjoy reproductive rights, whereas men should have only obligations, especially when he is the one with the least amount of control over the issue.

    Isn’t this sexist and discriminatory?

    I have a partial article (forgive me for it’s incompleteness–time and energy) that discusses the matter here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.

    http://francisdroy.wordpress.com/a-mens-rights-activist-faq/list-of-mens-issues/men-have-no-reproductive-rights/

  4. Consenting to sex is NOT consenting to the possibility of parenthood–the widely available and legal access to and use of contraceptives reflects society’s denial of this claim.

    No contraceptive is 100%. Everyone knows that. Thus, when people have sex, they are aware that there is a possibility of parenthood. That’s exactly what “consent” means: in addition to agreeing to intercourse with another person, you are also agreeing to take on all the potential risks that come with that (emotional entanglements, hurt feelings, STD’s, parenthood). You can agree to reduce one or several of those risks, but none of them disappear completely.

    If, as you claim, that consenting to sex is paramount to potentially consenting to parenthood, why then do women have reproductive rights in law that men do not have?

    The only thing I can imagine you mean is the right to abort, but I think you’ll need to go into more detail for that to make much sense to me. Because, if you do mean abortion, then the reason is because men don’t get pregnant.

    Your argument is the more polite form of “If you don’t want babies, keep your dick in your pants”. I ask, as someone who wants equality for everyone to consider the following: “If you don’t want babies, don’t allow a penis in your vagina”. Don’t want babies? Don’t have sex. Sex is purely for procreation. How Catholic!

    This conflates what I’m saying with anti-abortion rhetoric. Yes, I agree with both statements about keeping one’s genitalia in one’s pants: if you don’t want to deal with pregnancy, don’t have sex. Of course, I modified it from being about having kids to being about pregnancy. That is, once impregnated, women have (and should have) an autonomous choice regarding whether or not they will actually have kids; men do not have such a choice, but that’s because they aren’t the pregnant ones. Again, the asymmetry is not one of rights, but one of biology.

    I’m for a woman’s right to have an abortion up to the beginning of the third trimester because I see the issue as resting on whether or not a fetus retains the right to life as any born human would; I think after the end of the second trimester, the issue becomes too ambiguous, and so I side with the fetus. But for many other people, they take a libertarian point of view. That is, they favor a right to abortion on the basis of a woman’s personal autonomy. It’s her body and she can do as she pleases with it (even if the fetus is deserving of human rights). I think that’s the argument that the MRM uses given its libertarian bend. (Let me know if it’s your basis.) So, using that argument, we see that it doesn’t apply to men. A man’s bodily autonomy is not being infringed upon because he must pay child support, and so to say he should have the right to refuse to consent to parenthood is incongruous with why women have the right to consent. That is, a woman can refuse to consent via an abortion guaranteed to her via her own bodily autonomy, but a man refusing to pay child support has nothing to do with bodily autonomy.

    I’ll take a look at your article soon.

  5. Michael, I take the approach that the genetic parentage of a developing fetus is irrelevant. A parent is someone who makes a free decision to raise a child to adulthood. Having sex, even resulting in conception, even without any attempt at contraception, is not consenting to become a parent. It is certainly irresponsible and I think should result in legal liability in the case of unwanted pregnancy leading to abortion or adoption, but it ends there.

    I can’t speak for Francis, but your logic is faulty. One does not require the same reasoning to support women’s access to abortion, and the right of men to choose whether to become fathers, so long as the reasoning is valid in each case.

  6. Michael, I take the approach that the genetic parentage of a developing fetus is irrelevant. A parent is someone who makes a free decision to raise a child to adulthood.

    That seems like an awfully convenient definition of “parent”.

    Having sex, even resulting in conception, even without any attempt at contraception, is not consenting to become a parent.

    I’m unclear on what either one of you means when you use the word “consent”. Under your definition it seems that merely saying “yes” to sex encompasses all there is to the nature of consent.

    I can’t speak for Francis, but your logic is faulty. One does not require the same reasoning to support women’s access to abortion, and the right of men to choose whether to become fathers, so long as the reasoning is valid in each case.

    Presuming the reasoning is an underlying philosophy (such as libertarianism), I don’t see the justification in picking and choosing when to apply it. If the point in giving men ‘equal’ reproductive rights is to level the playing field with women who get a choice in the matter, then the reasoning is libertarian for women yet egalitarian for men. It’s two different standards.

  7. “Thus, when people have sex, they are aware that there is a possibility of parenthood.”

    Not quite; there is a possibility of PREGNANCY. The question of whether that pregnancy continues on into ‘parenthood’ is entirely up to the woman, which is clearly unjust.

    I’d be all for a proposal that required men in an unplanned-pregnancy situation to share half the cost of an abortion–or even to pay the full cost in exchange for a waiver of all future involvement. Then the decision could be solely up to the pregnant woman free and clear.

    But telling men “if you didn’t want to be a parent for the next 18 years, you should have kept it in your pants” is no different from the arguments offered to women when THEY were fighting for reproductive choice. And it’s disgusting that so many self-proclaimed feminists are now the ones making that same argument.

  8. people have sex, they are aware that there is a possibility of parenthood. That’s exactly what “consent” means: in addition to agreeing to intercourse with another person, you are also agreeing to take on all the potential risks
    that come with that (emotional entanglements, hurt feelings, STD’s, parenthood). You can agree to reduce one or several of those risks, but none of them disappear completely.

    Pregnancy is the phase in a female’s reproductive cycle that ranges from conception to deliverance. Parenthood is the long-term guardian and stewardship of a delivered child.

    By Canadian law, “consent” means “voluntary agreement”. Voluntary agreement to engage in sexual intercourse in no way is the expression of agreement to long-term guardianship or acceptance of the obligations of supporting an unwanted, delivered child.

    That the real world imposes itself via the physics of the matter, whereby nothing can be ascertained to 100% certainty, including the efficacy of various contraceptive or fertility control methods does not imply that one must inequitably grant rights to one sex while denying them to the other.

    The only thing I can imagine you mean is the right to abort, but I think you’ll need to go into more detail for that to make much sense to me. Because, if you do mean abortion, then the reason is because men don’t get pregnant.

    I’ll ask you to read the article I’ve written on reproductive rights before committing yourself to that position.
    http://francisdroy.wordpress.com/a-mens-rights-activist-faq/list-of-mens-issues/men-have-no-reproductive-rights/

    This conflates what I’m saying with anti-abortion rhetoric. Yes, I agree with both statements about keeping one’s genitalia in one’s pants: if you don’t want to deal with pregnancy, don’t have sex. Of course, I modified it from being about having kids to being about pregnancy. That is, once impregnated, women have (and should have) an autonomous choice regarding whether or not they will actually have kids; men do not have such a choice, but that’s because they aren’t the pregnant ones. Again, the asymmetry is not one of rights, but one of biology.

    Yet, despite the above claim, you are still conflating pregnancy with parenthood. More importantly, reproductive rights extend beyond the female’s pregnancy cycle–they extend to rearing the offspring until the age of majority.

    Again, I’ll wait until you’ve had the opportunity to read the article.

    I think that’s the argument that the MRM uses given its libertarian bend. (Let me know if it’s your basis.)

    The MRM is a loose collection of individuals. We are not consistent in our political views. Some are far-left liberal, far-right conservatives, or libertarians, or, like myself centrist bordering on apolitical. I approach politics issue-by-issue with equity in mind rather than hanging issues within a predetermined framework. The MRM has no ideology, only goals.

    So, using that argument, we see that it doesn’t apply to men. A man’s bodily autonomy is not being infringed upon because he must pay child support, and so to say he should have the right to refuse to consent to parenthood is incongruous with why women have the right to consent. That is, a woman can refuse to consent via an abortion guaranteed to her via her own bodily autonomy, but a man refusing to pay child support has nothing to do with bodily autonomy.

    To the contrary–a man must use his body and time-of-life to generate money. To force a man to work for something that he has not agreed to is servitude. Reproductive rights are not limited to pregnancy. Reproductive rights include a comprehensive set of conditions and consequences of sexually reproducing from conception until the child reaches the age of marjority.

    We in North America live is a wealthy, technologically advanced society where various forms of contraception and fertility control are available to women, a political environment that favours a woman’s choice to bodily autonomy, and a cultural environment that is condusive to her choosing her path in life in regards to reproduction.

    All the Men’s Rights Movement asks for is the same degree of choice, especially in the light that males, by physically enforceable law, are forced to bear the burden of the woman’s choice without having a say in the matter.

  9. The fruits of ones labor being forcibly liberated from ones wallet to support a child certainly seems like it should count as at least a minimal infringement on bodily autonomy.

    Sidestepping the question over whether abortions should or should not be allowed, perhaps the question of the mans rights is simpler than it seems to be.

    1. A man and a woman have consensual sex.
    2. Woman gets pregnant.
    3. Woman decides to abort.

    On the other side:

    1. A man and a woman have consensual sex.
    2. Woman gets pregnant.
    3. Man decides he doesn’t want children.
    4. Woman can do what she wants, but the man is absolved of financial responsibility for the child. (obviously losing all parental rights by doing so)

    Much as Francis said in his last comment, one of the oft used arguments to support abortion is that the woman shouldn’t be “punished” for the rest of her life. If that is actually accepted as a valid argument than it is hard to make a case that the father should be subject to “punishment” when he doesn’t get the benefit of deciding when to become a parent.

    Again, I’m sidestepping the question of abortion itself, but just to touch on it, does not society have an interest in ensuring population growth or at least stability? If so, perhaps that interest overrides, to one degree or another, individual autonomy. I absolutely think that is rubbish, but it is a point that should be considered.

  10. Again, I’m sidestepping the question of abortion itself, but just to touch on it, does not society have an interest in ensuring population growth or at least stability? If so, perhaps that interest overrides, to one degree or another, individual autonomy. I absolutely think that is rubbish, but it is a point that should be considered.

    I’m sure that this question was a quickly passing thought, because if one draws the above to a logical conclusion, one would have to ensure that neither mother nor fathers had reproductive rights. The first thought that came to my mind upon reading this was an alarming vision of a post-apocalyptic society that uses forced-breeding as an economic prop. I enjoy fiction as much as the next person –because it’s fiction! :)

    Alternatively, I claim that when both women and men can control their fertility, that what we’ll have is an increase in cherished families, rather than broken homes.

    That will be a dreamily pleasant article to write.

  11. Well like I said I think it’s rubbish, but if you look at China that’s exactly what they have going on. The state claims an interest in the rate of reproduction and there are lots of people who think they have the right idea. But really, if you agree that programs like Medicare and Social Security are great things, you need to also resign yourself to the fact that you need to have a population that grows at a certain rate to maintain solvency, as they are funded similarly to a pyramid scheme.

  12. Copyleft –

    Not quite; there is a possibility of PREGNANCY. The question of whether that pregnancy continues on into ‘parenthood’ is entirely up to the woman, which is clearly unjust.

    I don’t see how this is unjust. If bodily autonomy is the important factor here, then the fact that men and women have different bodies is irrelevant. The only important thing here is that men and women are each given autonomy over their bodies. It so happens that the details of a woman’s autonomy are different from those of a man. It’s a consequence of biology. To say otherwise is like saying that people have the right to go out into the sun, but since white people are more subject to skin cancer than black people, there should be some type of legal redress for the issue.

    Francis –

    By Canadian law, “consent” means “voluntary agreement”. Voluntary agreement to engage in sexual intercourse in no way is the expression of agreement to long-term guardianship or acceptance of the obligations of supporting an unwanted, delivered child.

    I suppose we’re just going to disagree on this. “Consent” isn’t mere saying the word “yes”. It involves an understanding of the situation, of what’s entailed. If one is unable to understand the consequences and responsibilities that come with doing something (whether it be sex or otherwise), then one is unable to consent. This is why an 8 year old saying “yes” to intercourse does not constitute consent.

    …does not imply that one must inequitably grant rights to one sex while denying them to the other.

    The right is one to bodily autonomy. The consequence is the birth/abortion of a child/fetus.

    I’ll ask you to read the article I’ve written on reproductive rights before committing yourself to that position.

    I have read the article. I still maintain my position, and I hope I’m becoming more lucid as the discussion continues: I believe your focus is on consequences, not rights. A male’s right to bodily autonomy is never infringed upon where parenthood is concerned.

    The MRM is a loose collection of individuals. We are not consistent in our political views. Some are far-left liberal, far-right conservatives, or libertarians, or, like myself centrist bordering on apolitical. I approach politics issue-by-issue with equity in mind rather than hanging issues within a predetermined framework. The MRM has no ideology, only goals.

    It’s true that the MRM has no underlying philosophy. Egalitarianism seems to be a major theme, but libertarianism is also expressed quite a bit (at least insofar as r/mensrights is concerned). However, I don’t think any single philosophical framework consistently supports the movement. Egalitarianism probably comes the closest, but then there’s a split on certain issues such as an eye-for-an-eye censorship. Libertarianism has its problems, particularly in this discussion. Even utilitarianism doesn’t work for the movement because if it did, support for things like equal premiums under Obamacare would be much wider spread. But I digress.

    To the contrary–a man must use his body and time-of-life to generate money. To force a man to work for something that he has not agreed to is servitude.

    I think this stretches the definition of “bodily autonomy”, and I of course disagree that the man has not agreed to parenthood, but we’re hashing out that point elsewhere.

    For what it’s worth, I see the value in your argument. I disagree with it, but it isn’t the misogynistic rouse so many would make it out to be before they even looked at its details.

  13. Pregnancy, the condition, is entirely the woman’s experience, and her choosing to continue or end it should be up to her.

    And parenthood, the result of a decision to adopt or to bring a pregnancy to term and take responsibility for the child so produced, should be the responsibility of those who made THAT choice. If both man and woman agree that they want a child, then both are responsible; if ONLY the woman decided to have a child, then only she should be responsible for it.

    Your body, your choice… and therefore, your responsibility.

  14. Another area where women have it easy compared to men: Domestic violence. As a prime example, watch this video: http://youtu.be/LlFAd4YdQks Listen to the bystander’s words…

  15. Forgive the lateness–and the length–of my response, often I need time to allow my mind to step back from the details. I’d like to review where we stand, for clarity’s sake.

    My understanding what what you are currently saying is as follows–please do correct me if I’m misunderstanding your position.

    Overall points of agreement:
    1) We both agree that are men’s rights issues that require attention and action.
    2) We both agree to a position that could be referred to as egalitarian, that is both parties should enjoy the the rights and benefits and share equivalent duties and responsibilities, legally, culturally, politically.

    Specific agreements:
    You DO agree with mandatory paternity testing within a time-sensitive window around the time of birth.

    I’m all for paternity testing because it’s clear that some men have been forced into paying child support under the belief that the child was theirs when the opposite was the case

    In short, you see the value of limiting the opportunities for paternity fraud.

    Specific disagreements on your part:
    1) You disagree with the following statement: “sexual intercourse is not a consent to parenthood”; for clarity’s sake, flip it to a positive statement. You believe that “sexual intercourse is a consent to parenthood”. Is this correct?

    Your claim:

    Moreover, consenting to sex is, in essence, consenting to the possibility of parenthood.

    My response: Please note that there’s a clear distinction between “possibility” and “inevitability”. Using barrier contraceptives such as condoms, applying spermicides, while the woman claims to be on the pill is a clear indication that parenthood is undesired, and thus is a clear indication that there is no explicit agreement to the long-term rearing of a child. The court recognizes the notion of “reasonable precaution”.

    2) You disagree with the statement: “mothers seeking arbitration from the courts in order to collect child support from a man she names the father should be required to submit a written instrument of consent signed by him, in which he explicitly accepts responsibility for, as well as defines his rights to, his child/ren.”

    Again, to flip it to a positive claim: “… the notion that a consent form should be required for child support is ludicrous.” and you support your claim with “No man would ever be forced into paying

    My response: we currently see countless cases of where a man is in effect assigned the obligations of paternity, even when the court is well aware that he is not the father. In Canada, as a remnant (funny aside: my spellchecker suggested “ensnarement”!) of older times, paternity is automatically assigned to the male who is married to the female that has given birth.

    3) You make the following claim:

    I understand the reasoning behind this: Women have the ability to abort, so they always have a choice in becoming a parent or not. Men, on the other hand, do not get that choice. However, an asymmetry in biology doesn’t translate to and justify an asymmetrical fix by the government.

    This leaves me confused, possibly due to misunderstanding, possibly due to phrasing, or possible because I don’t make a connection that you do. What I take from the above is the following: “Women have control over one part of the process, whereas a man does not. That she has control over this process does not mean that a man should have reproductive rights once a child is delivered. Somehow, his having a post-partum choice as to life-long obligations is ‘asymmetrical’, presumably in the man’s favour. “. I really don’t understand this argument. Can you clarify it for me? Either the logic is bad, or there’s an unspoken assumption that isn’t being brought to light.

    I emphasize that at all times, that I’m specifically referring to rights in law, not hypothetical concepts of “justice” or “fairness”; in this case, I address Canadian law, because I’m Canadian.

    Francis:
    By Canadian law (Criminal Code of Canada), “consent” means “voluntary agreement”. Voluntary agreement to engage in sexual intercourse in no way is the expression of agreement to long-term guardianship or acceptance of the obligations of supporting an unwanted, delivered child.

    Michael:
    I suppose we’re just going to disagree on this. “Consent” isn’t mere saying the word “yes”. It involves an understanding of the situation, of what’s entailed. If one is unable to understand the consequences and responsibilities that come with doing something (whether it be sex or otherwise), then one is unable to consent. This is why an 8 year old saying “yes” to intercourse does not constitute consent.

    It is not a matter of disagreement, it is a matter of “consent” being defined as “voluntary agreement” in law (Criminal Code of Canada: 273.1; Meaning of “consent”)

    This section supports your case where consent is situational, and thus I agree that consent includes a variety of precising factors. My point of contention is the line between agreement to sexual intercourse and agreement to parenthood.

    My intent is not to argue moral notions, but to ensure that men acquire equivalent reproductive rights in law to protect men as women’s reproductive rights protect women.

    The basis for this approach is merely the extension of the idea of gender neutrality of the pairing of rights and duties that is encoded in our Canadian Charter of Rights

    “15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

    Canadian Charter of Rights, Section 15

    I short: the law shall not discriminate based on sex.

    If you recall, the following reproductive rights–by law–are available to women:

    Once the woman has conceived, she can:

    1) Terminate pregnancy.
    2) Carry pregnancy to term and
    2a) Legally abandon the child, or
    2b) Raise the child
    3a) To legally assign paternity rights to a man (on the birth certificate)
    3b) To deny legal paternity rights to a man

    Reproductive rights begin where reproduction begins: at the moment of conception. All of these reproductive choices and rights are post-conception choices and rights.

    We agree on the following: A man has no legal right to enforce his preferences regarding a woman’s choices during pregnancy. He can neither force the termination of a pregnancy, nor the continuation to delivery. It is the woman who bears the physical risks and responsibilities of a pregnancy, and thus, rights are granted to her so she may control these risks and consequences.

    That she bears the risks associated with pregnancy, should she choose to accept them, has no relationship to legally enforcing obligations upon a man once the child is delivered.

    For your arguments to stand, you must provide a chain of wilful and explicit agreements (voluntary agreement, consent) that lead to acceptance across the various phases: intercourse, conception, parental obligation until the offspring reaches the age of majority.

    I will draw your attention to the fact that all rights save 1) and 2) are post-delivery rights. These post-delivery rights are exclusively granted to females, and none to males.

    I hope I’ve accurately summarized our interactions on this thread. Please do correct me if you feel that I’m misrepresented or misunderstood in any way.

    One final question: I observe that you pointed out “This is one of those areas where I part with the MRM”. Was this the only part of the document that you disagreed with, or merely the first stopping point?

  16. Using barrier contraceptives such as condoms, applying spermicides, while the woman claims to be on the pill is a clear indication that parenthood is undesired, and thus is a clear indication that there is no explicit agreement to the long-term rearing of a child.

    A lack of desire to have a child, no matter how it is expressed, doesn’t absolve one from the responsibilities of raising a child. A lot of things come with consent; consent is more than just saying “yes”. To say otherwise would be like saying a person’s decision to play baseball does not mean they consent to dealing with the consequences of injury, should they find themselves hurt. A player hit in the face with a baseball would be able to turn around and demand payment of medical bills from his high school or peewee league organization.

    My response: we currently see countless cases of where a man is in effect assigned the obligations of paternity, even when the court is well aware that he is not the father. In Canada, as a remnant (funny aside: my spellchecker suggested “ensnarement”!) of older times, paternity is automatically assigned to the male who is married to the female that has given birth.

    Canada obviously has it wrong, but I imagine they also define consent to marriage as also being consent to parenthood, should it happen. This goes beyond our dispute on a man’s responsibilities because we’re discussing a situation outside a government-defined contract (marriage).

    Somehow, his having a post-partum choice as to life-long obligations is ‘asymmetrical’, presumably in the man’s favour. “. I really don’t understand this argument. Can you clarify it for me? Either the logic is bad, or there’s an unspoken assumption that isn’t being brought to light.

    The woman’s reproductive rights have to do with her reproductive system, with her body. She has a right to ‘regulate’ it as she pleases. As a result of this, she has the added benefit of being able to choose abortion if she wishes. That is, the rights of a woman in this situation are borne from her bodily autonomy as a human being. On the other hand, a man having the ‘right’ to refuse to participate in parenthood on any level has nothing to do with his body. By being forced into paying child support or otherwise supporting a child, his bodily autonomy has not been infringed upon.

    I emphasize that at all times, that I’m specifically referring to rights in law, not hypothetical concepts of “justice” or “fairness”; in this case, I address Canadian law, because I’m Canadian.

    I can’t address Canadian law, but the general theme in the U.S. is that age of consent relates to the concept of age of competence, which is the age at which a person is able to understand given legal proceedings. A person unable to comprehend proceedings before him is unable to consent to (or be forced into) trial. The rationale behind consent laws isn’t laid out so plainly in state statutes, but it’s the basic idea.

    That she bears the risks associated with pregnancy, should she choose to accept them, has no relationship to legally enforcing obligations upon a man once the child is delivered.

    I’m of the belief that the existence of a child at all is a requirement of responsibility for the parents. So just as the father has a responsibility if the mother goes through with the pregnancy, the mother has a responsibility even if she wants to give the child up for adoption but the father doesn’t. If he chooses to raise it, she should still have to pay child support. (Of course, we know that’s unlikely to happen.)

    For your arguments to stand, you must provide a chain of wilful and explicit agreements (voluntary agreement, consent) that lead to acceptance across the various phases: intercourse, conception, parental obligation until the offspring reaches the age of majority.

    We may be at an impasse. I believe bundled with the concept of “consent” is an inherent agreement to be responsible for any and all consequences of sex.

    I will draw your attention to the fact that all rights save 1) and 2) are post-delivery rights. These post-delivery rights are exclusively granted to females, and none to males.

    Some of these rights seem like Canadian issues, and they aren’t actually rights per se, but rather laws designed to balance the parental scales whereas it is usually men who tend to abandon families. (I’m not saying this attempt to balance the scales is necessarily right. It’s just the impression of intent I get from these laws.)

    One final question: I observe that you pointed out “This is one of those areas where I part with the MRM”. Was this the only part of the document that you disagreed with, or merely the first stopping point?

    I didn’t read through the entire document. I was looking for a good example of where I part ways, and that seemed as good as any. I also part ways on male circumcision and the apparent love of censorship over at r/mensrights when it comes to feminist writings on social media.

  17. The greatest part of your answer is a mere repetition of previous assertions, I don’t perceive any investigation or explication of your position.

    Michael

    Francis:
    For your arguments to stand, you must provide a chain of wilful and explicit agreements (voluntary agreement, consent) that lead to acceptance across the various phases: intercourse, conception, parental obligation until the offspring reaches the age of majority.

    We may be at an impasse. I believe bundled with the concept of “consent” is an inherent agreement to be responsible for any and all consequences of sex.

    Then at this point, there is an impasse. I’ve asked you to clarify the chain of logic that leads from sexual intercourse to parental obligation until the child reaches the age of majority, and your response is to deny an exposition of the logic that you use to reach that conclusion, or to highlight any assumptions that might be made that I’m not seeing. In essence, your response is “because I said so”.

    I’m disappointed that there’s nothing in that response that can lead to any further conversation, understanding or some form of resolution.

    All that is left is for me to bow out of this conversation. I wish you joy and success in your life.

  18. […] Hawkins wrote an interesting article on For the Sake of Science entitled My flirtation with […]

  19. How can a person truly consent to something without knowing all the risks and benefits that come with it? In effect, a man who consents to sex is agreeing to take on the risk that the woman will get pregnant. He then further agrees to take on the risk that she will bear the child because he is agreeing (at least legally) that she has a right to bodily autonomy. In knowing all these things – pregnancy may happen and the woman is not required to abort – the man assumes responsibility for whatever the outcome. And what if he doesn’t? What if he says, no, I have no responsibility? This has a direct impact on what the woman chooses to do; her bodily autonomy is compromised.

  20. Michael forcing a man to pay child support for a child he didn’t chose to bring to term and has no parental rights to the child enforced by the state is a form of theft or economic and financial rape. While those who support such a policy, seek to benefit from it and/or enforce it are IMHO “Economic and Financial Rapists”!

  21. Use the word “rape” in that context is as bad as when feminists talk about “rape culture”. It undermines the seriousness and magnitude of the crime.

  22. DaPoet said:
    While those who support such a policy, seek to benefit from it and/or enforce it are IMHO “Economic and Financial Rapists”!

    Michael replied::
    Use the word “rape” in that context is as bad as when feminists talk about “rape culture”. It undermines the seriousness and magnitude of the crime.

    I do agree with Micheal that the term is misused. I urge people to abandon the empty word “rape” as it is inflammatory and very imprecise. When speaking of unwanted sexual contact, I urge people to adopt the legal term “sexual assault”, a subset of “assault”, whereby, at least in Canada, the term is significantly less prone to triggering and distortion.

    On the other hand, what I accept about DaPoet’s response is the intention that I discern (and admittedly am reading into) is that a male being forced into paternity (even when no sexual contact has ever been made) is a gross injustice. I would point Micheal to the US based “Presumed Fathers Act” to prevent the reassertion that “the state would never enforce these laws upon men who have had no sexual contact with the woman”.

    Micheal, I’ll be responding to your previous comment shortly. I’m awaiting a response from a family court lawyer to confirm or dis-confirm an assertion you had previously made.

  23. The original meaning of the word Rape is to take property by force. Hence anyone who is being forced to support a child they did not want nor chose to to bring into this world is having their property – “Financial Resources” – as well as their freedom to take a lower paying job that entails less bodily risk taken away by force. Therefore those who support and enforce this policy can be correctly labeled as “Financial and Economic Rapists”.

  24. You know exactly how the word “rape” is understood in a modern context. You know the exact connotations of the word. Your rhetoric is willfully dishonest and ugly. You undermine the pain of rape victims when you attempt to usurp “rape” in your political efforts.

  25. While I agree that DaPoet is making the error of using a historical context for a word to equivocate with the usage of the word “rape” as a modern colloquialism, do you really believe that “Your rhetoric is willfully dishonest and ugly.” in any way enhances this conversation?

    Circumspection goes a long way to having civil conversations.

    One of the reasons that my reply to your earlier post is delayed because I’m taking the time to check up on the facts (which requires time and energy), and when I’ll respond, I’ll be giving it my full attention–a sign of respect to my interlocutor.

    I think that we can all agree that if we care about making a better world that we do it one gesture at a time.

  26. Michael I suggest that both you and Roy obtain a copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich written by William L. Shirer in which he entitled the chapter dealing with the Nazi takeover of Austria: THE RAPE OF AUSTRIA.

    The fact is whether its a man sexually assaulting a woman or a woman using the family court system to steal her ex’s financial resources BOTH INDIVIDUALS ARE RAPISTS.

  27. “Someone stole my wallet” =/= “Someone penetrated me against my will”

  28. It never creases to amaze me just how far – low – a dishonest mind will go in order to justify its dishonesty. Especially when it comes to the integrity of an individuals body. One of the basic premises of the two faced ideology and the double standard feminists willfully choose to indulge is the defense of a females bodily integrity while denying this same right to the male gender both individuality and collectively.

    By defending the immoral act of stealing a males financial resources to finance the choice to bring a child into this world from which he is excluded: Financial Rape. Logically and morally justifies the act of forcing a female to carry a child to term that was conceived through an act of sexual intercourse; to which she consented knowing that she may become pregnant as a result of both her choice and action.

    Reducing a man’s employment choices by forcing him to pay for a child he never wanted nor chose to have; violates his bodily integrity just as much as forcing a female to carry an unwanted child to term violates hers.

  29. I do agree, that the world is filled with hypocritical ideologues of every type, but if we start off with the assumption that our interlocutor is such an individual how far is the conversation likely to go?

    Circumspect: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences : prudent [diplomacy required a circumspect response]

    Micheal is our host, we are his guests. Assuming that another is foolish or ill-willed changes an interaction from a discussion where we still have room to find agreement to a pissing contest. That sucks for all parties.

    This is an opportunity for all of us to polish our best conversational and logical skills, and to develop the character traits of curiosity and generosity of spirit. I think this stands a better chance of getting the point across to those who are as of yet unconvinced.

    It is Saturday, I’ll finally have time to deliver my response to yours, Micheal.

  30. It’s cute that you’re calling me the dishonest one when it’s you that’s trying to associate the equivalent of a stolen wallet with sexual assault.

  31. Applying the original meaning of the word rape to the theft of a man’s financial resources in regards to the support of a child he never wanted nor has any rights too by the family court system. Is not comparing the theft of a wallet to a sexual assault and you know it. On the other hand it is you who is comparing the one time event of the theft of a wallet to the on going theft – rape – of a man’s financial resources by the family court system which is a far greater crime committed with the consent of our society.

    Have you no SHAME or COMPASSION whatsoever?

  32. Is not comparing the theft of a wallet to a sexual assault and you know it.

    Yawn. It’s exactly what you’re doing.

  33. Incidentally, I’ve unsubscribed to r/mensrights. Aside from being very anti-science on circumcision and very pro-censorship when it comes to reporting feminist Facebook pages, someone recently post this video:

    Everyone in the thread is celebrating that the woman got punched, even though it’s clear she was walking away. They aren’t happy she was hit in response to her hitting someone else (which she did). They’re happy simply because a woman was hit. I still care about men’s issues, but fuck that horseshit.

  34. Let us look at what the dictionary says:
    Rape:
    1.the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
    2.any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
    3.statutory rape.
    4.an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.
    5.Archaic. the act of seizing and carrying off by force.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rape

    So DaPoet is correct in the usage of his word.

    DaPoet, you have conflated two different senses of the same word, and equivocated between items 2 and 4.

    You are both speaking at each other rather than with each other. Doesn’t matter who started it, it’s not even relevant to the conversation.

  35. I don’t care about the dictionary definition of the word. I think his intentions are to bring about the violent imagery of sexual assault and unwanted penetration.

  36. There’s a clear distinction between people’s uncivil behaviour and civil rights.

  37. Micheal said:
    I don’t care about the dictionary definition of the word. I think his intentions are to bring about the violent imagery of sexual assault and unwanted penetration.

    I suspect that his intentions–of which neither of us can authoritatively speak to–is a combination of two things:

    1. He wants to express his opinion that forcibly taking someone’s wages without his consent, and often fraudulently for 18+ years is psychologically, emotionally and morally equivalent forcing sexual intercourse with someone. Whether the opinion is agreed to or not, I think that point 2 self evident.

    2. His opinion is expressed in the way that it is, in part due to a sense of rage, frustration and helplessness.

    When you feel angry, frustrated or helpless, do you always express yourself in an ideal manner?

    It is not my purpose to make his case for him, I’m trying to bring this conversation back on the rails.

    Can we all agree to do that?

  38. Michael wrote: I don’t care about the dictionary definition of the word.

    DaPoet: Herein is the problem Roy! Michael isn’t so much interested in discovering the truth of a matter than he is in imposing his own subjective views of this issue on those who dare to disagree with him.

    Sound Familiar?

    It should since – depending on the issue this is the modus operandi of Liberals, Conservatives, Christians and Feminists.

    I was inspired to identify those who actively promote and support the theft of a man’s financial and economic resources in regards to a child he did not chose to bring into this world nor has any protected rights to as “Financial and Economic Rapists. By the chapter in The Rise and Fall Of The Third Reich written by William L. Shirer entitled: The Rape of Austria. I also did indeed consult a dictionary as to the original meaning of the word Rape in order to be certain that I was applying the word in its proper context.

    This is why I will not back down and consider each and every female with whom I come in contact with – along with those who both defend and support them as a “Potential Financial and Economic Rapist”!

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