Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Evolution's Coming Out of Its Shell

I went to a poetry reading at a bookstore strictly devoted to poetry (and cafĂ© fare) last week. It was a nook of thing—twenty by twenty shelves of chapbooks and one long table nearly the length of the bookstore. A poet and sitar player performed translation of the Gita Govinda for this degraded age where god is the body—what’s left of it.

I stood in the back, against the bookshelves. A striking woman with a fur lined hat sat toward the front. A striking woman with a fur lined hat sat toward the front but never removed her hat so I was reminded how comfortable privilege can be, how blind.

(Speaking of lost sight, Ohio, you clown show. Get some sunshine. )

A woman wrote a book about being the opposite of a tiger mother—leaving her children behind—the antithesis to loving kids is leaving them if you are a woman. What is the opposite of a tiger mother? Lilith? A deadbeat dad?

I digress and recommend, “Why Men Need to Speak Up About Abortion.” Aaron Traister reports: “I think this may be one of the reasons so many men have trouble talking about this issue. For me, it represents my low point as a human being and as a man: I was a failure, I couldn't take care of myself let alone a child, I couldn't provide for myself, or a wife, or family. My weakness and carelessness resulted in people hurting. I was not a man, I was something so much less than that. Why would anyone ever want to talk about something like that? I recognize that not every man out there has found himself in my situation specifically. I've been told a lot of pro-choice guys don't talk about "women's issues" for fear of saying the wrong thing. All I know is: We're not talking -- as if it doesn't have to do with us, as if it's "their" problem, not ours.”

I still believe we’re waking. I still believe.

1 comment:

  1. It is so important to think about why men don't speak up more and how we can encourage them to do so. Those of us who work in clinics know that Traister is right: many men see abortion as personal failure.

    I also think that there is an historical element to men's reticence to speak about abortion. Supportive men of a particular age (those men associated with the Second Wave of feminism--feminism in the 1960s and '70s) very appropriately stepped back to allow women's voices to take priority. During this time, it was really important that we--and only we--could speak about our reproductive experiences because male authority figures (including husbands) had been speaking about and to us for so long.

    It is important to acknowledge that, in the process, we also silenced some women, especially women of color, lesbians, and transwomen, in regards to reproductive experiences.

    Now, I would argue that in the U.S. we have achieved social change in this regard. I'm not saying women are equal to men (yet!), but I do think we have come a long way toward seeking women's voices when we speak about reproductive experiences. We are doing a much better job of seeking out the voices of women of color, too.

    We must invite men and transgender people to feel confident that we want to hear their voices, that we support their talking about their feelings and beliefs regarding reproductive experiences.

    People of all genders and all races need to work together politically. Together, we will bring light.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.