Among the bottom-feeders

I had another look at that post David Thompson did last July, and noticed a couple of things. Ironically (or not) I wanted to address that post in a substantive way at the time, and was just about to, but then the torrent of sexist abuse killed any interest in engaging, so I never got to it. This is, by the way, one reason epithets are not such a great thing: discussions that collapse into stupid name-calling do not generally also manage to discuss ideas in a substantive way. That’s probably because discussions that collapse into stupid name-calling tend to repel intelligent people and attract stupid ones, which makes substantive discussion kind of difficult. There is something quite risible about DT’s continued sober, reasonable, slightly pompous tone interspersed with all that schoolyardy jeering, as if DT simply hadn’t noticed that his thread had fallen into a pool of crap.

So anyway. The post started with the stupidity of one Julie Bindel, who apparently makes sweeping claims about men, and went on by way of ‘a riposte of sorts to such adamant idiocy, and to broader claims of “male privilege”’ to quote items from various bloggers’ ‘Female Privilege Checklist’. Such a thing could be interesting – there are of course benefits to being female, and drawbacks to being male, and they’re interesting to think about and discuss. Some of these were unexceptionable – but others were absurd. This one for instance:

If I become pregnant, I and I alone choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or have the baby. As a result, I can be reasonably certain that I will never be held financially responsible for a child I didn’t want to have…

You have got to be kidding. Women are held financially responsible for children they didn’t want or choose to have all the time. Of course women as a class can’t be reasonably certain they will never be held financially responsible for a child or children they didn’t want to have. Women get talked or coerced into sex, they get talked or coerced into unprotected sex, they get talked or coerced into having children that they themselves don’t want to have, and they are by no means certain in any of those cases that they won’t subsequently be abandoned and left with all the financial responsibility. Women also sometimes get landed with the responsibility for grandchildren. In addition to that, not all women do have the power to choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or have the baby; lots of women are forbidden and prevented by their husbands or partners, or the church or mosque, or both – not to mention all the women who live in places where abortion is not available (which includes great swathes of the US) and those who live where it is illegal and harshly punished. In addition to that, of course, women sometimes get pregnant without wanting to but have the child all the same because they don’t want to have an abortion, so merely having the legal right to abortion (which the majority of women in the world don’t have) certainly does not translate to being reasonably certain one will never have (or be held financially responsible for) a child one doesn’t want to have. It’s incredibly shallow and ignorant to suppose that it does. It’s also smug and self-pitying.

Another for instance:

Because I am not expected to be my family’s primary breadwinner, I have the luxury of prioritising factors other than salary when choosing a career path.

Again – you’ve got to be kidding. That just ignores all single mothers, not all of whom are single of their own volition. If you think they’re not expected to be their family’s primary breadwinner, you’ve never heard of ‘welfare reform.’ Of course they damn well are.

I did make a start at pointing this out at the time, but then as I said gave up when the epithet-flingers turned up in force.

Part of what’s odd about this is that DT, much as I disagree with him about many things, is no fool. I was deeply puzzled at the time, and I still am, that the tone of the subsequent discussion didn’t (apparently) give him any qualms.

Ain’t people mysterious.

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