Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Women are weak--there's always more shit they can put up with

As I predicted, people would read this article in Salon about a woman who tries to have a child with a man she loves, but realizes rightly before it's all over that it is wrong to bring a child into a marriage characterized by emotional abuse, an a number of them would conclude that she is a selfish person because she didn't go out of her way to ruin her life in order to avoid making them uncomfortable by getting an abortion. Of course, there were also a large number of letters with intelligent things to say about abortion and women's struggles to combine their traditional reproductive role with roles that give them a shot at making some happiness for themselves. But those aren't fun to fisk, of course.

Should a person really have a right to make these choices? Ms. Walters chose to marry her husband, to become pregnant. When she confronted her husband about the pregnancy, she still hoped he would "assure me that we'd work things out, that he'd take care of me." When he didn't, she terminated the pregnancy.

Why not do something admirable, like give the child up for adoption or raise the child on your own? Why does a woman of 37 feel that she can't stand on her own feet? It seems she still blames her ex-husband for the choices she made.


I'm tired of hearing about women who are unwilling to do anything difficult, yet shield themselves behind the mantle of "feminism." Surely we can do better.

The problem of course is not Walters had too much, but too little feminism in her life. If she had more of a feminist perspective before she got pregnant, she might have known more of the history of men who don't think they need to work things out and don't feel the need to take on responsibility for the children they help create. That she realized it at all is a blessing, not an act of selfishness. In this letter-writer's rush to lay all the blame for the situation at the wife's feet, she renders the idea that men have any responsibility invisible. Why can't a woman bear a child and give it up for adoption or take on the struggles of a single mom? I don't know--why aren't we talking about why the woman's husband couldn't even bring himself to the much simpler responsibility of treating his wife like she was an important person in his life? That was the easiest way to prevent the abortion, but we would rather ask of a woman to ruin her entire life than to ask a man to realize that there's other people in the world than himself.

I love too the people who think it's so simple to just give up a child for adoption. One is reminded of the saying about throwing stones. Why ask others to give up children for adoption when you yourself would never consider adopting? Why ask someone to do something admirable? Why not just do something admirable yourself if you want some more admirable behavior out there?

Unlike most situations resulting in abortion, she tried to get pregnant, and after succeeding, she aborted because she realized that to "a woman like me who'd lived an independent life, the idea of giving birth and raising children began to seem almost a retro, labor-intensive enterprise, like growing your own vegetables or sewing your own clothes." This "independent woman" wasn't independent enough, however, to leave an emotionally barren marriage or get back on the Pill. Not only is this far too little, too late, it's an insult to the very modern women (and men) who choose to invest time in raising children.

Okaaaaay. This letter-writer clearly believes that he/she supports "independent" women, so much that he/she insults women for not being independent "enough". However, he/she seems to think that "independent" doesn't mean that a woman should live her life entirely for others. After all, he/she thinks that Walters was obliged to through with the pregnancy to avoid insulting strangers who make a different choice than she made. And while this writer pretends to believe that he/she thinks men are equally obliged to make choices around the fear of insulting strangers who are parents, he/she seems to have forgotten to disparage the husband in this story who also got out of having a child.

This anti-abortion goober didn't seem to even read the same story as I did:

The real tragedy is that her fear of the burden on her "lifestyle" led her to end her child's life.

Gosh, I missed the part of the story where she justified her decision because she wanted to party and carry on with her unwomanly "lifestyle". Let's go back to what she said:

I did not want to, could not, raise a child with William. If this was the way he treated me when I was sick and in pain, how could I depend on him during a pregnancy, and in the years thereafter?.... I never felt a moment of utter clarity; just a consistent pull toward the conclusion that I could not have a child with William, could not count on him to treat me with respect, could not by way of a child yoke myself to him for the next 20 years.

Party on!

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