Making Kids with AIDS

[I wrote this piece a while ago, but have since then, seen the same sort of denial of male agency.  Apparently kids are found in pumpkin patches.  Yeah.  Or the stork brings them.  What are you, six?]

[Quite apart from the point about AIDS.]

What has been glaringly absent in news stories about children with AIDS in Africa is comment about why there are so many children with AIDS.  “We are going down,” a woman says, “Theft will go up, rape all over will be high.  People –    Wait a minute.  Back up.  “Rape all over will be high”?  And that’s just one more unfortunate circumstance beyond their control, is it?  What, as in ‘boys will be boys’? 

Excuse me, but when someone knowingly infects another person with a fatal disease, he’s killing her.  And if someone takes away someone else’s right to life, I say he forfeits his own.  And not only is the HIV-infected rapist guilty of murdering the woman he rapes, he’s guilty of murdering in advance the child he creates (whether he himself is HIV-infected or whether he rapes an HIV-infected woman).  There’s something incredibly sick about knowingly creating a human being that will die, slowly and painfully, because you have created it.

So, the solution?  Drugs, yes.  But the kind vets use when they put an animal down.  (Or, if mere prevention rather than justice is the goal, castration.  At the very least, vasectomy.)  I mean, let’s have some accountability here!  Those 20,000 kids with AIDS didn’t just appear in a pumpkin patch one morning.  Someone made them.  With a conscious, chosen, deliberate act. 

This is your brain. This is your brain on oxytocin: Mom.

I think many women realize that their children make them vulnerable; their love for them holds them hostage.  So many things they would do (leave?)—but for the children.  I wonder how many realize that their imprisonment is physiological.  And, in most cases, as voluntary as that first hit of heroin, cocaine, whatever.

‘But I love my children!’  That’s just the oxytocin talking.  You think you love them because you’re a good person, responsible, dutiful, and, well, because they’re so loveable, look at them!  That’s just the oxytocin talking.

All those women (most of them) who didn’t really want to become pregnant, but did anyway (because contraception and abortion weren’t easily available, and sex was defined as intercourse), and then claimed, smiling, that they wouldn’t have it any other way, they love their children—just the oxytocin talking. 

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Every Man, Woman, and Child

There’s an interesting phrase.  Man, woman, and child: those are my options, are they?  Identifying oneself by one’s sex is a prerequisite for adulthood: if I don’t want to identify myself by my sex, as either a man or a woman, I’m left with identifying myself as a child.  How interesting.

Actually, it explains a lot. Continue reading

Short Men

I recently watched, with horrified amusement, a tv program about short men who choose to undergo excruciatingly painful surgical procedures (which basically involve breaking their legs and then keeping the bones slightly apart while they mend) in order to become a few inches taller.

Asked why they would choose to undergo such a drastic, and excruciatingly painful, procedure, they said things like ‘Do you have any idea what it’s like to go through life as a short person?  To sit in a chair and only your toes reach the floor, you can’t put your feet flat on the floor?  To not be able to reach stuff on the upper shelves in grocery stores?  To be unable to drive trucks because you can’t reach the pedals properly?  To have people always looking down at you?  Do you know what that’s like?’

Well, yes, actually I do.  I’m a woman. 

Oh, but that’s different, I suppose.  Why?  Because we’re supposed to go through life inconvenienced?  Feeling subordinate?

Ah.  That’s the real problem.  These poor guys can’t take their rightful place over women.  (As one man, 5’6” before the surgery, explained, “I’ll be a better father and husband and son.”  Yup.  Sure you will.)

The Gender of Business

Business is male.  Make no mistake.  Everything about it smacks of the male mentality.

First, the obsession with competition.  You have to be #1, you have to outcompete your competition.  So hierarchy, rank, is everything.  As is an adversarial attitude.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Business could be a huge network of co-operative ventures, each seeking to better the whole.  But no, we have to be better than, stronger than, faster than – 

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Why isn’t being a soldier more like being a mother?

Motherhood is unfair to women in a way fatherhood most definitely is not. Not only are there the physical risks (pregnancy and childbirth puts a woman at risk for nausea, fatigue, backaches, headaches, skin rashes, changes in her sense of smell and taste, chemical imbalances, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, embolism, changes in vision, stroke, circulatory collapse, cardiopulmonary arrest, convulsions, and coma), there’s the permanent damage to one’s career: if she stays at home, the loss of at least six years’ experience and/or seniority; if she doesn’t, the loss of a significant portion of her income, that required to pay for full-time childcare. (And even if she can swing holding a full-time job and paying for full-time childcare, she probably won’t get promoted because she typically uses all ‘her’ sick days, she’s reluctant to stay past 5:00 or to come in before 9:00 or on weekends, and she occasionally has to leave in the middle of the day, perhaps even in the middle of an important meeting. In short, she can’t be counted on. Such a lack of commitment.) Continue reading

Why aren’t more men insulted by the low standards we set for them?

If he changes a diaper, he’s father of the year.

If he cooks something, anything, he’s a chef.

If he marries, but otherwise continues to live pretty much as he has to that point, he’s suddenly respectable.

If he continues to pay a child’s ball game into adulthood, he gets paid a six figure salary.

If he gets a B.A., he’s an expert in his field.

If he writes a book full of incoherence and grammatical mistakes, he gets (edited and then) published.

 

We don’t expect men to pick up after themselves.

We don’t expect them to be sensitive to other people’s emotions, or even be aware of  their own.

We don’t expect them to be aware of, let alone appreciative of, natural beauty.

We don’t expect them to be interested in children.

We don’t expect them to be in control of their sexual impulses or their aggressive impulses.

 

Additions welcome.

Child Support Insurance – What an Intriguing Idea!!

“For guys who inexplicably want to do the thing that makes babies without wanting to support the inevitable babies, the obvious solution would be child support insurance — 0 to 18 plus college and professional school to say, age 30. They would have to sit down with their insurance agent and describe their sex lives in detail so that an appropriate premium could be calculated. Women could ask to see guys’ proof of insurance just as if they were Highway Patrol. In case of pregnancy women would receive regular monthly checks, without having to see chumpass motherfucker again.  Letting his insurance company support his child would likely raise a guy’s rates into the stratosphere, however, making future intercourse prohibitively expensive.”

Hector B. May 31, 2010  I Blame the Patriarchy

 

War Rape

It’s not just an enthusiastic spillover of violence and aggression.  The act of sexual intercourse is too specific, too far removed from the other acts of wartime violence and aggression.  Shooting a person twenty-five times instead of once or twice would be such a spillover; forcing your penis or something else into a woman’s vagina is not.  Furthermore, war rape is often not a spontaneous, occasional occurrence; apparently it’s quite premeditated and systematic. Continue reading

Being Josh (Monday Night Basketball)

It’s Monday night basketball, an all-comers pick-up game, supposed to be fun and a good sweat.  But week after week I steel myself against the anger, the frustration of not knowing how to correct the problem, and the despair of not being able to even begin to do just that.  Eventually it happens: this time it’s Josh who yells at me to switch, to guard the new grade niner who’s just come onto the court to sub for the guy who’d been guarding Josh and Josh would guard the guy I’d been guarding.

I am distracted, as always, by the insult, the unwarranted assumption that I’m always the worst player there (even worse than the new grade niners) (although I’m thirty-five and played basketball for all of grade nine, and ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen), and by the faulty logic that weak offensive players* are weak defensive players and should therefore guard other weak offensive players. Continue reading

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