Jesurgislac’s Journal

June 18, 2008

Why do people get so panicky about falling birthrates?

There are two short answers to that: racism and sexism.

The sexism part is fairly obvious: the anti-choicers (who hate the idea of women getting to decide whether we have children, how many children, and when to have children) see in a “falling birthrate” that a significant proportion of women in a country who have become uppity. (Anti-choice women seem to have achieved the far-from-unusual hypocrisy of thinking that all other women have become too uppity to have all the children they should want to have. (As David P. Barash (via Pandagon)points out in the LA Times op-ed pages recently, humans are evolutionarily inclined to eat when we feel hungry, drink when we feel thirsty, and have sex when we feel horny. We are also inclined to take care of and feel protective of babies when they arrive, but this is a separate bit of programming from wanting to have sex.)

The racism part ought to be just as obvious. The human species is in no danger of becoming extinct. None at all. There are over 6 billion humans worldwide: while it’s possible that a human-created catastrophe could end up wiping out our entire species, in plain fact, a species with as large a breeding pool as ours and as a wide range, is not in any danger of extinction short of a human-created catastrophe such as a nuclear war.

What several people have argued (most recently, I had this argument on Family Scholars Blog [before I was banned] but it’s a standard right-wing anti-choice Thing) is that there’s a problem with demographics – that countries where women are both educated and independent enough to be able to decide for ourselves how many children we want to have and when (and which are usually countries with a good enough health care system that all the children a woman decides to have will most likely survive to adulthood – this is not coincidental) are countries with an aging population, where “soon” there will be too many people too old to work and too few younger people to support them.

One may then – logically enough – point out that immigration generally solves that problem. It’s not as if there’s a real shortage of human beings: if there’s any country in the world which really is having trouble because there’s too many old people and not enough young people, it’s because that country has managed to block off most legal and all illegal immigration. (Needless to say, I do not believe there is such a country, nor ever will be.)

Then your average racist Christian right-winger (I mean that as a compound: Christians who are neither right-wing nor racist, and right-wingers who are not Christian nor racist, should not feel included, but FSB’s right-wingers are both Christian and racist and homophobic and sexist… you can see why they banned me….) frothing gently at the mouth, will say that they want their culture to stay their culture, and it won’t if there’s mass immigration from other countries that don’t share their culture. Right now, this fear is usually ostensibly anti-Muslim. A century ago it would have been anti-Eastern European/anti-Jewish/anti-Irish, and fifty years ago it would have been anti-West Indies. It is the same racist fear, and it is unfounded every time, as one can see by looking back at previous examples.

What this fear of falling birth rates ultimately comes down to is: we want our women to have more and more of our babies. What that means to your average right-wing Christian racist is: white women should have white babies, and a white woman shouldn’t under any circumstances be allowed to abort just because she can’t afford to take care of a child: she should hand the baby over to a white (and heterosexual, and married) couple. (Egg-donation and sperm donation, however, are bad, because anything that lets a woman feel in control of reproduction is fundamentally bad: women who are in control of reproduction have fewer children.)

I got banned from FSB because the moderators objected to having homophobia identified as bigotry, or indeed identified at all: the preference of your average right-wing Christian homophobe is for their feelings about LGBT people to be regarded as normal, not as homophobia – still less to have homophobes called out as bigots. But in a sense, their homophobia is a side-effect: the real motivation behind all this twisted nonsense is a knotted-up combination of racism and sexism. Hard to pick out which comes first, which is more important to them: a riddle as unsolvable as the chicken and the egg.

But it all ties together: these people who oppose contraception, sex education, abortion, and who oppose child support, a right to paid maternity leave, breastfeeding, subsidised daycare, free education for all beginning in nursery school. Racism and sexism are the roots, with homophobia as a flourishing fruit of the tree.

Lovely. Let’s cut it down, burn it up, and party on the ashes.

=====

This post was first published on my greatestjournal, on 13th May 2006.

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April 24, 2008

Goodbye, Ferret Face!

Suddenly it’s all over the net: The Ferrett, who blogs at livejournal, has written a couple of skeevy posts about how he regards women’s bodies as “open source” and wants other fans to regard women’s bodies that way too. (Links roundup here.)

The guy’s name is familiar, and his face is more than familiar: this is the guy who came up with the rapist’s credo three years ago. He wrote a couple of repellent posts on how when a man pestered a woman into sex, he blamed the woman for her behavior: The Correlary, Which I Cannot Spell Without A Spell-Checker, which was a follow-up to Do-Be-Do-Me-Do.

In this thread specifically, he defends this:

The Ferrett: * – Unfortunately, I can’t decry the process of “asking repeatedly,” mainly because it’s the only stimuli a lot of women respond to.”

Responder: “I can. If they say no, why not take it at face value? This, in turn, trains THEM not to say no if they mean “try harder”. And it’s taking some responsibility for yourself rather than putting the burden on someone else.”

The Ferrett: If it gets them what they want, then I can’t blame them for using an efficient system.

This was discussed at some length on my journal then: a commenter who identified herself as his wife showed up to defend him.

So when he talks about standing round at conventions groping women’s breasts being all empowering and healing, but claims

Second: When I say, “Like any good project, you need access control, because there are loutish men and women who just Don’t Get It,” I am not referring to the women who don’t want to be involved, who are perfectly cool, but rather the guys/gals who see a green button and assume that it means that the woman has to let herself be touched because she’s got the green on. [As I said, the answer “no” is something that can be given and should be respected – it’s not like a button should force you to give up your right to a body.] Or decide to spend a good five minutes in a mouth-breathing grope. Those kinds of idiots are the folks who we’re worried about, and if I could change any one sentence it would be that one, because I never meant to imply there was anything wrong with someone who didn’t want to be involved. There isn’t.

…bear in mind this is the same man who, three years earlier, argued that he couldn’t “decry” a man pestering a woman until she gave in, because this was an “efficient system”: (link) It’s sort of like the way some people consider it rude to call to find out if the company got your resume and to ask if you’ll get an interview. It may well be rude, but sometimes it gets you a job.

April 14, 2008

OMG. Clueless.

Filed under: Internet — jesurgislac @ 9:14 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

“I would never want to use a search engine aimed at middle-aged, suburban white guys like me; I want the world.” The segregated web, via Jim Henley, via Avedon.

Dear Jeff Jarvis,

You already have and undoubtedly use a search engine aimed at straight, white, middle-aged, suburban Americans: this one. Or this one. Or how about this one?

Much love,

Je Surgis Lac
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