Saturday, October 28, 2006

I don't understand NOW, feminists or "reproductive rights."

I am re-posting this as after just re-reading it I realize that I am even more convinced that what NOW has become may be the single most insidious force in modern society actively working against American families. Originally posted in Feb 2006.

I have to admit - as much disgust as I feel at a legal system that appears to systemically award custody based on gender instead of equally or on merit- I am not one to completely discount "maternal instinct."

I do feel as though often parents offer different supports to their children. A lot of the times these differences lie in stereotypical traits - mothers are more empathetic and nurturing while fathers are more pragmatic, physical and better equipped to teach boundaries. NOT ALWAYS - but a lot of the time. This is not to say that either contribution is more important but that often parents help teach their kids differently.

I'll bite when a woman claims the bond between mother and child at childbirth is stronger. I understand that the intimacy of breastfeeding is not easily duplicated by a father. I believe that more often the mother stays home with the child(ren) and is therefore more demonstrably involved in the day to day activities. I'll even temporarily agree that a stay at home mom (or stay at home dad for that matter) should enjoy spousal support along with child support until that party is able find a position with which they can adequately support themselves - not just the first cashier position in the want ads. (Now this forces the question of what is adequate and just how long but I'm not writing legislation here so lets just use the term reasonable. I know this a cop out but I will never be convinced that every case can be handled with some "joint custody, no support" position. There are stay at home Parents and often this arrangement resulted as a joint decision based on the children's best interests - the parent at home should have a reasonable expectation of temporary support in this realignment of the family structure).

I don't understand, however, why women keep beating the "pay discrimination" horse when it is so clear that more women take time off work (and plan to take time off work) to care for children. Not just maternity leave time but often for the first few years of the child's life. Time off for maternity leave should not result in pay disparities but certainly a woman coming back to the workforce after SEVERAL YEARS can not honestly expect to make a salary comparable with the man who worked through her entire period off. Would that not be discriminatory?

NOW lists their "top priority issues" as: Abortion Rights/Reproductive Rights, Violence Against Women, Constitutional Equality, Promoting Diversity/Ending Racism, Lesbian Rights and Economic Justice.

On the NOW site they list the median salary for male registered nurses as $36,868 and female registered nurses as $35,360. So the woman makes 96% of the males salary... This is certainly not the .74¢ for every dollar they were talking about the paragraph earlier. Nor is a male teacher at $33,800 with a female at $32,292. Could these small disparities have anything to do with more women taking time off to care for children? I can't prove it but it seems a hell of a lot more reasonable than as a result of pervasive wage discrimination.

They do get to the .74¢ with their salary numbers for computer operators- but the final example of cashiers have women making 83.3% of the males salary. I can't begin to consider all of the variables that would have to be accounted for in order to fully compare salaries by gender but I can say that it seems irresponsible to continue to cry about .74¢ on the dollar and then only produce one example of such a disparity while completely ignoring the fiscal impact on mothers who ELECT to stay home either temporarily or permanently after their children are born.

I don't understand feminists who assert that they need an "Equal Rights Amendment" while simultaneously fighting against all legislative efforts to equalize parenting post divorce. I'm not talking about the cases in which the father/mother is a demonstrated abuser of any ilk - but the run of the mill divorce with two involved and caring parents.

I would think women would prefer such a system as if one begins to think logically about who should be preferred in a custody case (as though any parent should be instantly preferred without considering the case and facts) it would have to be men. At least from the speculative point of who is less likely to abuse their children (if we want to use the issue of who *may* be abusive) it seems women are more frequently the perpetrators of abuse or neglect of children.

It appears children in mother headed households are also more likely to be under the poverty line when compared with father headed households. The CRC has a wonderful chart but you can see the census info here. Now, one might say that this is a result of men not paying child support effectively forcing these women into poverty. I mean, come on, you have seen those "deadbeat dad" commercials. Except that actual "deadbeat dads" account for somewhere around 10% of those who have accrued arrearages in child support. In reality, far more non custodial mothers default on their support orders than fathers.

I can't imagine why men would be at all hesitant to pay - it couldn't have anything to do with the fact that some researchers are now claiming as many as 30% of "fathers" may not be biologically related to their children.

So NOW stands for equal rights - but not equal rights for men or children. Their rights come after our wonderful feminist population has been sufficiently (*equally*) served.

They also list "lesbian rights" as a top issue - listing Equal Marriage Now as a related issue. Not being particularly religious, I won't go into what a conflict this position could be for a religious woman - but honestly, how can you claim to desire "equal" marriage rights for gay women while publicly bashing the fatherhood movement?

In this link there is a heading titled "Relocation Laws Keep Women in Their Place." That is asinine - relocation laws keep children in their communities. Women can go wherever they want - they may just have to do so by voluntarily leaving their children. To in any way assert that women should be able to move at will with children (moving them away from their fathers and community) just because they are women may be the pinnacle of an outright discriminatory and inherently UNEQUAL position. This is a quote from the link above: "Feminists vow to educate legislators and judges that ex-husbands are sometimes more interested in exerting control over and making life difficult for their former wives than in maintaining beneficial relationships with their children and that the needs of the children and custodial parent must be given priority."

Absolutely no commentary on how children do better with meaningful contact from both parents. No mention of the hypocrisy of this position. No substantive mention of the welfare of the children - just a warning about "abusive or controlling ex-spouses and sexist judges" with no evidence to back up the claim that either of these alleged groups are conspiring to keep women in their geographical place.

And finally, "reproductive rights." I'm sorry but considering it takes both genders to "reproduce" should not reproductive rights be offered to both parents? Not in the cases where the mother is in danger but in truly elective abortion should not both parents have the opportunity to offer to raise the child? Is it fair to the child or to the father to let a woman unilaterally decide to abort a child just because it is "her body?"

I'm not anti-abortion per se but I certainly think that provided a father willing to raise the child it is just insane to allow the woman to abort just because she wants to. How did women make unregulated fetus killing a primary position? Again, this also seems a very difficult position for a woman of a religious background. Apparently you cannot be religious and "dedicated to making legal, political, social and economic change in our society in order to achieve our goal, which is to eliminate sexism and end all oppression." (That is what NOW says it stands for anyway - can't say I'm convinced).

I find that I am not resolutely anything one way or another. There are tenets of all political parties that I agree with, there are self described feminists that can make a lot of sense as are there proponents of the fathers movement that are reasonable and dedicated to what I consider worthy and laudable goals.

But I'm sorry - most of what I see on the NOW site looks like crap. I simply cannot begin to comprehend an organization who purports to seek equality but uses the most unequal of methods.

And really, the thought that goes through my head every time I read feminist nonsense of this ilk - all of these efforts have and will visit themselves on the boys of this country. I'm quite sad for my 8 year old stepson - he has a long road ahead.

I found this quote today ~ apparently Ms. Lewis was an actress.

You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman. ~Jane Galvin Lewis

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Blogger Undercover Angel said...

Your article is right on the money. The social system today is still so biased against fathers - even though so much progress has been made, the battle is nowhere near won. My spouse and I are trying to get custody of his son, and it's an uphill battle - but he's worth it.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be idiots. If a woman chooses to stay home with her children, that's usually a decison made by both the father and the mother. Our "social system" preaches to women that this is the right way to go. However, the same social system doesn't do anything to right the problem of wage inequality for women after they've met the other obligation society places on them. That's why it's fair for a man to have to pay spousal support (even when there aren't children); a woman can _never_ make up the ground she's lost in the workforce after she's been out a while. In essence, your rant makes NOW's case for their arguments. I'm with you in terms of the need for courts to recognize men and women as equal parents, but don't do so under some "oh poor abused man" banner. That's just a way of failing to step up and take responsibility for your own mistakes.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ComputerWorld's 2005 Salary Survey showed women in IT departments around the U.S. average MUCH higher salaries than do men. There are fewer women, but they make more money. They also tend to gravitate into lower-level management positions.

Glass ceiling, my a--.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Thomas Rockwood said...

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7:57 PM  
Anonymous eben_cole said...

i don't know. whereas i agree about society's bias, i don't think you can blame a women's group for fighting for women! it just means we have to fight harder.

1:48 PM  

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