all 35 comments

[–]greenish 24 insightful - 3 fun24 insightful - 2 fun25 insightful - 3 fun -  (4 children)

I disagree.

For some people having their own children is incredibly important. That includes men.

A man who would try to coerce his female partner into doing something like that when she wasn't keen would be a misogynist, for all the reasons you stated, but he has a right to leave her over it if it's that important to him, and try to find a partner who is compatible with his life goals.

I know two real families who came to mind when I read your post. In Family A the wife really wanted children and husband knew he was emotionally fucked up (due to losing all his family at a young age) and wouldn't make a good dad. Wife nearly left him over it and his subsequent moodiness and lack of communication, but he needed her because he didn't have anyone else, so he agreed to become a father on the understanding that he would be the breadwinner, and she would do all the parenting. She agreed because that's all she knew from her own father. The arrangement worked pretty well for the couple, but not, and this is the really important point for the children, who all grew up incredibly fucked up.

Family B: Husband came from a big family and loved it, his whole ambition was to be a dad. Wife had a cold, unloving mother and did not want to become one herself, but he was her childhood sweetheart and that's just what you did in those days, so she went along with it. They had 4 kids. He was a 'fun' dad who the kids adored. Her personhood just seemed to shrivel up and she lived on autopilot. The kids loved him and found her distant and strict, because she had to do all the discipline. The kids grew up and moved out, he died, none of them wanted to have much to do with her, and she was left wondering what happened to her life.

So from what I've witnessed, compatibility is absolutely vital fro a successful parenting partnership, which yes, begins hugely unequally, but for the whole of the rest of the kid's life the input of both parents (and quality/dynamics thereof) is vital to their life experience. It's absolutely reasonable to leave someone over if they want very different things from you, and a really bad idea to try to 'settle' and 'make do'.

[–]squintypreyeyes 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Your examples are about one person wanting to be a parent while the other does not. The question in the OP is simply about having biological children vs adopting. Both partners want to be parents though.

What the OP doesn't realise is that natalism is so firmly entrenched in the cultural psyche that, when posed with a question about breeding vs adoption, people will apparently just edit the adoption part out, and answer a question about wanting to breed vs not wanting to.

[–]greenish 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)


I answered the way I did because those are the examples of clashing parental desires that I'm familiar with.

The point I was making still holds true - that it's not a good area to expect compromise from one partner, and it impacts relationships and the kids badly.

I don't accept that wanting your own biological child is a thing called "natalism" that comes from being "entrenched in the cultural psyche", I'm pretty sure it's a basic biological urge, because we are ultimately animals. Not everyone will experience it, because of life experience/personality/individuality/our ability to make conscious decisions etc, but most do and that's as it evolved.

Other arrangements like adoption and step families are just as valid, but I don't think it's reasonable to pretend that that underlying drive doesn't exist in all animals, including humans, or that it's a product of our culture(s).

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't think the examples are relevant to the question I asked, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness in responding. I'm not trying to suggest what anyone in my hypothetical should do. My thoughts and pondering are more about the attitudes that the choices I talked about reflect.

[–]squintypreyeyes 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

What do you mean "nope"? You answered a question with irrelevant examples. It's right there. I can see it. Not wanting to be a parent at all is different to wanting (or not wanting) biological offspring.

[–]moody_ape 14 insightful - 1 fun14 insightful - 0 fun15 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

i don't think it's misogynistic for a man to leave a woman because she doesn't want to have biological children because in this case it's not about oppression, it's about compatibility. it's not fair for him to stay in a relationship that makes him unhappy (considering that having his own children is very important to him). at the same time it's fair for her either because compulsory maternity is terrible. they both want different things and therefore the relationship is not good for either of them.

it would be misogynistic of him if he decided to stay with this woman and insist that she has his children (compulsory maternity).

[–]TurkishCoffee 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I dont think that's misogynistic just for wanting children, or not wanting children. I cannot have them, and it's something I learned to readily mention early-ish in the dating process. No kids. Neither can have, nor want. At least one man graciously took the answer, and did not want another date. No harm, no foul in my book. I think it's something to agree on before becoming a serious couple- so that nobody feels like they have to sacrifice what they want.

Not all dads just want the woman to do it all, i mean, there's plenty of good dads out there. I was raised by one. They can't biologically carry the child but that's not exactly misogyny either. It's just reality.

[–]MarkTwainiac 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Sorry, OP, but some of the wording you chose jumped out at me:

A woman is asking her male partner for some sperm, while a man is demanding his female partner go through a difficult and dangerous process.

Characterizing the woman as merely "asking" but the man as "demanding" seems to convey a bias against the man in this imaginary, hypothetical couple.

If they are to treat women as full humans and not just vessels to carry out their whims, they need to not value a woman based on whether or not she agrees to birth his offspring. Any man who leaves a woman who refuses to have his children, on that basis, is a misogynist.

Characterizing any/all children a woman has with a male partner as "his offspring" and "his children" is misogynistic, belittling of women and frankly male-supremacist. The idea that the children women gestate and give birth to are solely the progeny of men, not of the women as well, is fundamentally patriarchal. I'm surprised to see such lingo and framing used in 2020 - and on a feminist forum too.

Also, I'd hope no one of either sex who is seriously considering becoming a parent by any means would regard the children they hope to have as "whims."

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Sorry, I don't know how quoting works here.

To your first point: Yes, to me one choice seems worse than the other. "Asking" because they likely engage in sex and he's producing sperm anyway. "Demanding" because she doesn't want to be pregnant and he wants her to be pregnant and it'll have no material impact on him. I framed it as I see it, and so my bias of seeing one as worse than the other is apparent.

To your second point: I put that there not as what my opinion is, but what the hypothetical man's attitude seems like to me. I do find it incredibly misogynistic as well.

To your third point: Yes, I would hope so too

[–]MarkTwainiac 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

A woman is asking her male partner for some sperm, while a man is demanding his female partner go through a difficult and dangerous process. Men can’t birth.

In this hypothetical couple, would the female partner really just be "asking her male partner for some sperm"? Nah, she'd much more likely be wanting and expecting him to be her major support during her pregnancy, labor and birth, as well as the fourth trimester - and to be her partner in parenting from the day the child is born.

Far from being a matter of simply asking her male partner to contribute some sperm, the woman in this couple - and the man too - would have to be aware that agreeing to have a baby together would tie the two of them together in a demanding, utterly exhausting, often thankless, decades-long joint venture that will alter both their lives - and will bind them existentially in the most profound ways that even a breakup, separation and/or divorce can't put asunder.

What's more, unless this woman is living in a country like Saudi Arabia, she would probably expect her male partner to behave as a father to their child, meaning doing his fair share of child-rearing, such as changing nappies, bathing, feeding, playing, rocking, staying up nights with colic, and providing all sorts of other care throughout the kid's life. This would most likely profoundly change and restrict the everyday behaviors of the male partner in myriad ways.

In most jurisdictions, agreeing to become a father would also place significant legal and financial obligations on the male partner for the next 18-21 years or more.

But my overall impression is that in the hypothetical couple and situtation you've created, neither the woman nor the man seems ready to raise children. In fact, they way they view each other suggests that they'd both be poor parents.

IMO, a woman who sees the male partner she's in a serious, committed relationship with merely as a sperm donor isn't operating on a much higher moral plane than a man who sees his female partner whom he supposedly cares for as just a vessel for "his offspring" and a vehicle for his "whims." Both partners sound shallow and like rather narcissistic users, in fact.

Regardless of how a child comes into their lives, chances are that this couple will see their child not as a full human being, but as a means to their own selfish ends. Coz that's how they see each other.

Also, these hypothetical people sound like they have no clue what raising children entails. Which is made clear by the fact that they've agreed

they want to be parents.

The question they should be discussing with each other is: do we want to be in situation where we are responsible 24/7/365 for the care, health, education and wellbeing of another much smaller, more vulnerable, less skilled and competent, and initially entirely helpless human being for the next 18-21 or more years of our lives, or perhaps until the day we die?

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

No offence, but a lot of this seems irrelevant.

First, the scenario consists of people who've agreed they want to be parents and are contending with the how of it. And the "asking for sperm" is relevant only in that context. That is literally all the man is required to do in creating a child.

Second, the woman would likely be seeking support from her partner, but that would be the case if they were adopting too. Couples undertake difficult endeavours and support each other. I don't know why that is relevant here.

Third, I've said nothing about the 18-20 years of parenting of how bright or stupid the people involved are, or how ready they are to have and raise children. All of that seems entirely irrelevant to the question I asked.

I do agree with you that a woman who views her male partner as simply a sperm donor isn't that much better than a man who views his female partner as simply a gestation vessel. I do think there's a difference though, even if minor. Because a woman might want to experience pregnancy. What's a man longing for? To watch a woman be pregnant?

Also, don't you think that in much of human society, outside of Saudi Arabia even, most of the work of child rearing and raising continues to fall on women? Even in the western world.

[–]MarkTwainiac 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

How in a discussion about people "who've agreed to be parents" is what being a parent actually entails and the long-term or lifelong commitment it involves "irrelevant"?

The 18-21+ years of hard work and sacrifice following childbirth that being a parent actually entails is "entirely irrelevant" to a couple's decision to "be parents" and to "creating a child." Really? Well, that sure explains why there are so many screwed-up people about! LOL

You and the hypothetical couple you're discussing seem to think that being a parent is merely an identity, or just a short-term deal akin to a fashion choice, not a series of activities that will change and shape the lives of both parents in innumerable ways.

If you only wanted to discuss couples who've "agreed to they want to be parents" and only care about the how of "creating a child," not about what these decisions and actions mean over the long-haul, that's what you should've said!

People who are solely focused on "creating a child" like your hypothetical couple - and you - seem to have no clue about what a child actually is and how long human childhood lasts, nor about all the love, care, education, resources, time and energy that parents need to provide a child with if that child is to grow and thrive. They/you seem to be thinking exclusively of babies - and confusing babies with plastic baby dolls.

Also, if this hypothetical couple of yours equates becoming and being parents with creating/having/acquiring a child - which now you've revealed really means making/getting a baby - then adoption is not gonna be a reasonable option for them. Coz not too many babies are available for adoption.

Similarly, children aren't babies for very long. When people "agree they want to be parents" it always seem they have a pie-in-the-sky fantasy of a cute cherubic babbling 100% healthy baby in mind. Not what it's like to have a toddler throwing tantrums, a tween screaming "I never wanted to be born! I hate you," a teen who constantly gives you side-eye and feels embarrassed by your existence, or a child with disabling health conditions, special needs and/or severe developmental disabilities that mean the parents will be taking care and supporting said child until the day the parents die.

Also, don't you think that in much of human society, outside of Saudi Arabia even, most of the work of child rearing and raising continues to fall on women? Even in the western world.

Yes and no. In the West, a lot of the work of child rearing and raising has been traditionally put on female people, but not necessarily on the mothers of said children. Historically, families with any surplus money relied on a number of females other than mothers to provide child care and rearing - wet nurses, "hired girls," governesses, babysitters, au pairs, child minders, the nuns in convent schools who taught and raised huge swathes of the population. In the 1960s, I personally worked as a babysitter and "mother's helper" for a number of families other than my own starting when I was 11, as did most of my female friends.

Also, in large families like the one I grew up in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, much/most of the work of child rearing (and household chores) was put on the older children - both boys and girls, though yes more heavily on the girls. I personally had a younger sister and brother whom I was expected to "be a mother to" from the time I was eight - & in the long run it turned out it was a good thing (sort of) that had I been put in that role, coz our real mother ended up dying pretty young...

Also, it used to be that a lot of kids of the world were left largely on their own to fend for - and raise - themselves. And that's just not true of orphaned kids in Victorian England like Oliver Twist. When I was growing up in the era of "free range parenting" in the 50s & 60s, kids spent most of our time outside school unsupervised by adults.

Growing up when I did in the US (born 1954), many of the middle-class mothers I knew were so burdened by - and resentful of - numerous unwanted pregnancies and being relegated to the role of "housewife" that once they gave birth and got their kids through the toilet-training stage, they pretty much checked out and devoted their time and energies to interests other than raising their children. Many of these women were utterly miserable, so their interests ended up being drugs and alcohol, and many became deeply depressed and even psychotic.

By contrast, because the men/husbands in these relationships had opportunities to fulfill their potential as full human beings, many of them were happier and had much more energy and interest in interacting with their kids and doing the hands-on work of raising them. In my own childhood, it was my father - and several of his good friends - who put the most effort and energy into raising me. They all adored and doted on me, and taught me everything they knew...

When I had children myself, I did so with a man who would've loved to have been able to be pregnant and to breastfeed. His personality was/is much more "maternal" than mine. He couldn't breastfeed, but night after night he'd patiently and lovingly cradle in his arms and "walk" our colicky firstborn from 1 am to 4 am, when all I could think of was throwing the child out the window or leaving him on somebody else's doorstep. I don't think either one of us can claim to be the better or more involved parent...

Lest you say this is just anecdotal, I know of many couples like this. Also, men who aren't even parents can and do step up to raise children of their relatives who fall on hard times or into mental illness, as veteran feminist Vivian Gornick's 1987 memoir "Fierce Attachments" shows. Life's not always so black & white.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

It's irrelevant because the question isn't about how they'll parent, it's about how they will come to be adult humans who are in charge of a young human. I don't know whether you're being willfully obtuse or if this is genuinely not registering with you, but the topic I raised was simply how a child enters into the mix, not what happens after. Yes, lots of people don't really realize the enormity of having a kid and blah blah. That's not the topic here. I hope you get it. I will not engage with you on this anymore.

[–]MarkTwainiac 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

In your OP you specifically and very clearly said you and your friend

discussed a scenario wherein a couple agrees they want to be parents

Not a scenario where they agreed only that they want to have a baby and their sole interest was

simply how a child enters into the mix, not what happens after

I don't think I'm the being obtuse here. It's very telling that your response to being disagreed with is to stomp off in a strop saying

I will not engage with you on this anymore.

Well I'm told, then. You crack at it. LOL

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm not replying to the bits about my question because I think you're not listening and I don't care to try and make you listen.

But, I wanted to let you know that I don't actually disagree with anything you've said, I just think most of it is irrelevant to my question. My only major point of disagreement with you would be that I don't think western women are as supported by men in the work of child rearing as you seem to think, but I agree things are more balanced than they used to be, and much much better than for women in other places in the world.

I'm surprised that you perceive my telling you that I don't think you're getting what I'm trying to talk about and I don't want to spend my energy on a post I made on things I didn't ask, as a "stomp off". Perhaps you'd prefer if I said let's agree to disagree about the topic I tried to discuss. If so, please accept that from me. I don't think it applies so I didn't use it. Others in the responses have disagreed, and I'm okay with that. My friend didn't agree with me either.

Let's let it be now. Thanks

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

While I sort of agree with the OP about you drifting away from the central topic, this is still a great comment.

They/you seem to be thinking exclusively of babies - and confusing babies with plastic baby dolls.

This is a really good point and something I seem to see a lot among progressive women. The idea of adopting a kid or using a surrogate instead of getting pregnant has an undertone of "Why make your own when you can buy a pre-made one off the shelf?" I didn't realize it until you pointed it out. I think generally a lot of that cohort and the childfree crowd have missed the central spiritual meaning of having children and along with our culture reduce it to its aesthetic and consumable components.

And your comment about men being often better/more involved because they are more free and fulfilled is great. I felt that in my own parents too. My mother was suffering under the weight of expectations about being a "good" mother and it led to her being frustrated and distant, while dad was free to just be a person, himself, and show up authentically. Ironically, it leads to him being the more balanced and involved parent, which just adds to her feelings of inadequacy. I've worked on my 'mother wound' and committed to making sure i am always a person first, and a parent second.

And thanks for your positive comments about your husband. We only ever see the crappy stories and it trains women to accept that. I have a wonderful husband too and we're just starting our family.

[–]lefterfield 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

I can agree with that reasoning. I don't believe we should fight for perfect equality in all things with men, because this would lead to injustice on the subject of childbirth. Having children is worlds more of a burden on women than men, to the extent that you can't compare the sacrifice involved. (none, for the male)

[–]MarkTwainiac 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

Having children is worlds more of a burden on women than men, to the extent that you can't compare the sacrifice involved. (none, for the male)

Yes, that's true if we focus solely on the burdens imposed on women by pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period, and perhaps for as long as she breastfeeds.

But pregnancy, birth and the neonatal period are just the first stages of what for most parents of both sexes is a long-term enterprise lasting many decades, often the entire rest of their lives - which involves all sorts of burdens, chores, sacrifices and obligations for both mother and father.

In the sort of couple OP is talking about - where both parties have agreed to become parents with each other - parenthood over the long-haul isn't always or typically so one-sided over time. Over a child's lifetime, a father might put in as much sacrifice and work as the mother. If the mother dies or becomes seriously ill or disabled, he might end up shouldering a whole lot or most/all of the burdens of raising the child himself.

And when couples "agree to become parents" as OP framed this hypothetical, they are agreeing to raising a child until age 18-21 or longer - not just bringing a baby into the world and getting her to the age where she's ready for solid food.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

"Yes, that's true if we focus solely on the burdens imposed on women by pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period, and perhaps for as long as she breastfeeds."

Correct. That is the focus here.

[–]MarkTwainiac 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

But you didn't say that in your OP. You specifically set up a "scenario wherein a couple agrees they want to be parents."

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yes because I'm discussing attitudes towards the fact of the burden of pregnancy being on women.

Either way, even if it wasn't clear to you earlier, perhaps it can be now. If it's still not, I don't know what else to do. You're not engaging with the question I asked and are having an entirely different conversation. You're welcome to it, but I don't care to have that conversation so I'm done.

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

What MarkTwainiac seems to be saying is that the disproportionate burden placed on a woman when having biological children rather than adopting pales in comparison to the 18+ year long commitment to child rearing by both parents.

Imagine a situation where the father does 55% of the childrearing over 18 years, while the mother does 45% of it. He's just slightly more into the kid, and slightly more involved. Over 18 years he will do the equivalent of 9.9 years (9 years and 11 months) of parenting and she will do 8.1 years (8 years and 1 month). Even if you add pregnancy to her share, in terms of total time invested he's still doing over a year more parenting that she is.

Of course its slightly different when talking about physical investment of pregnancy and birth vs emotional and time investment, but then there are plenty of women who have extremely easy (even pleasant) pregnancy and birth, in which case you almost shouldn't count it at all. My mother has said she never in her life felt healthier than when she was pregnant.

But I believe that's what MarkTwainiac said when she said you're reducing 'having children' to 'making babies' and therefore ignoring the biggest part of being parents, so your hypothetical isn't really valid.

I think you should also consider that temperament is at least partially inherited. Having a baby/child/teengager who slots right into your family dynamic and naturally bonds with you from the moment of birth is likely to be a lot less work than adopting a child, building a bond with them over months or years (which might not ever totally form), and working through and abandonment or other issues they might have as a result of being adopted. So even when you only consider the strain on the mother, adoption is not the silver bullet you might think it is.

[–]jet199 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Newsflash, love doesn't conquer all.

No one is going to stay with you or anyone else just because they love you so very, very much. People get together and stay together because they have multiple reasons to do so, and why should something like bonding hormones be more important than having kids? Anyone can walk for any reason. Love is a risk. A big risk.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't disagree with you :)

[–]Aloudmeow 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

As a married child free woman I can’t disagree more. The question of whether or not to reproduce should be agreed upon before marriage but some people don’t have their decision set in stone until they’ve lived as a couple and seen how good life can be without kids. Folks need to be encouraged to leave a marriage as soon as they make that decision if their partner doesn’t share the same feelings so as not to waste that person’s time. But it doesn’t always work out that way and no one is done any favors by either agreeing to have kids they don’t want, or to be holding back someone who has incompatible feelings.

[–]squintypreyeyes 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (8 children)

Well this isn't going to win me any friends but: I am antinatalist so I don't think anyone should breed.

The desire from men to breed is especially gross because it means they are okay with using their partner, who they ostensibly love, as a vessel to propagate their own genes. As a consequence the mother will almost certainly have pain and discomfort for roughly a year of her life (pregnancy and childbirth recovery) and risk some kind of long term health issue, whether that is lack of pelvic floor control or something more severe- even death. I don't know how these men live with themselves even when the woman is a willing participant, let alone if she is reluctant.

That said, if a man doesn't want to breed, it is extremely wrong to try to push it on him. He will have to support his pregnant partner and live with the knowledge that it is his fault that a new life has entered the world. I would not fault a man for leaving a relationship because he wanted to adopt but his partner wanted to breed. In fact, I would admire it, precisely because it would be so easy to capitulate in that scenario.

[–]MarkTwainiac 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I take no umbrage at the position of anti-natalist women, and I'm a mother... So I wouldn't write you off as a potential friend coz of that.

But I don't think your portrayal of all/most men or all/most women is accurate or fair.

All/most men are not "okay with using their partner as a vessel to propagate their own genes." In point of fact, over the course of human procreation, mothers have contributed more to the human genome than fathers have. And in acts of individual procreation, many men are aware that many of the most highly-valued traits - such as intelligence/IQ - come from the mother not the father.

Similarly, not all women experience pregnancy, childbirth, the post-partum period and motherhood in the negative way you portray them. Many women find pregnancy pleasurable and deeply fulfilling, and consider giving birth to be an amazing experience that's a highlight of their lives. Many women find motherhood to be the most meaningful and rewarding experience they've had opportunity to be engaged in.

Many women who experience pregnancy-labor-birth-infancy as a time of never-ending pain and discomfort as you make it out to be still often have absolutely no regrets about the entire process because of the payoff: making, birthing and having a baby to love, nurture and raise!

I personally have no regrets about the pelvic floor damage & other health problems I now suffer coz I bore children earlier in my life. Those children are now wonderful adults... and I personally feel that that being able to gestate and birth and raise them was one of the greatest, most rewarding and most interesting experiences of my life. And I'm a highly intelligent educated person who has had a very varied, interesting life apart from breeding & child-rearing.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

You know, I kind of understand what you mean about men's attitudes about this. I don't think they're gross, but I do think there's a lot of entitlement on the male side of the equation. Men can't birth. No matter what, a man will need a female body to go through a difficult process, if he wants biological children. Why is this something all men feel like they're entitled to have, instead of something they hope to be lucky enough to have? Isn't this exactly what patriarchy is? That men feel they're entitled equally to have biological children? That's sort of where I've been hovering in my thinking over this topic.

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

No one is ever entitled to children. If we can't produce our own gametes and find someone willing to mix theirs with ours, we don't get to have kids. It's not a right. I do think both men and women have been taught to expect certain things from their partner, especially sexual reproduction, without ever making it explicit. It's just a more offensive when it comes in the form of "you must carry a child for me" rather than "you must allow me to create a child with your genetic material". Both expectations are wrong, but one has more weight in it. It's always going to be a negotiation, even if you've agreed to have kids, how many? What if you agree the have three kids, but after having two he doesn't want more because he feels he wont be able to invest enough in them, but she wants another as agreed. It's always going to be difficult.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

I'm not an anti-natalist. Just decidedly childfree. I'd be happy to be your friend :) I do consider myself sort of contributing to the voluntary human extinction movement though. Maybe you've heard of it?

I agree, that if a man doesn't want to have children or use his sperm to create children, he shouldn't be pushed into it. No one should ever be coerced, tricked, or forced to participate in the creation of new human life.

I do believe that plenty of women are not put off by pregnancy. I'm horrified at the prospect of pregnancy, and growing up I thought everyone must be horrified and scared like I was. I also thought I had no choice and I would eventually have to be pregnant and have children, just like everyone else. Eventually I realized I didn't have to have kids, and in the process I found a lot of people want to and look forward to being pregnant, even when they know how hard it can be and the lasting impact it can have on their bodies. Confounds the crap outta me, but there it is.

[–]MarkTwainiac 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Just want to make clear here that in this instance I was specifically responding to the comment of squintypreyeyes that began:

Well this isn't going to win me any friends but:I am antinatalist so I don't think anyone should breed.

As to the voluntary human extinction movement, yes I've heard of it. My own opinion is that the human race is the most destructive species on planet earth ever, and long ago it became apparent that it would be best for all if we humans became extinct. However, I think getting people not to pro-create is way too slow a means to this end. Hence I pray for meteors and/or horrible plagues/pestilence to wipe us all out in a much shorter space of time.

[–]TalkToTheVoid[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

My reply was to squintypreyeyes

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

the voluntary human extinction movement

Evolution has you in a bind, my dear. Even if all members of the movement ended their own genetic lines, all they'd be doing is selecting for humans with a stronger breeding instinct. In a few generations you'd have far more humans than if you'd all stayed in the gene pool.

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The desire from men to breed is especially gross because it means they are okay with using their partner, who they ostensibly love, as a vessel to propagate their own genes.

This doesn't make sense. I'm equally using him to propagate my genes, if not more. In every species it is the female that selects the male. That's why male peacocks lock like that, for example. The woman is the gatekeeper of reproduction and chooses which male, or none, to use for making her offspring. Your perceptions seem to be distorted by the patriarchal world we live in which seeks to invert these natural laws, and yet even so if I decide not to have kids, they're not getting had. If I decide to have them by another man (who consents) that's whats happening. Men have never been happy about it but women retain divine control over reproduction and therefore the future of the species.

[–]jelliknight 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't think it's even confusing that a person of either sex would leave the other over not wanting biological children.

Imagine if you wanted to travel the world, it was super important to you and maybe the most important thing that you want to do in your life, but your partner just isn't interested in travelling at all and will not support your desire to do it. Of course you leave them. Neither of you will be happy in the long run.

You're not just asking your partner for sperm. I mean, yes, physically that's all that's required. But you're also asking him to consent to there being a little Half-Him out there in the world. He might not be comfortable with that for any number of reasons. None of us has any claim over another persons body or reproductive capacity.

Of course, trying to pressure a woman into having a child she doesn't want is abusive. But leaving a woman for not having the same life priorities is just plain sense.