Monday, December 11, 2006

Unconscious

“Unconscionable,” said Janice Shaw Crouse last week of Mary Cheney’s decision to have a baby. But in a piece she wrote on the issue for Townhall.com, she demonstrated that she’s the one without a conscience.

“Mary Cheney’s pregnancy poses problems not just for her child, but also for all Americans,” argues Crouse. According to her, 37 percent of American children are born to “fatherless families,” and “Mary Cheney is contributing to [the] trend…of women who don’t want a man in the picture, but want to have a baby.”

I am baffled. Either – there’s no charitable way to put this – Crouse is a moron of the first degree, or she thinks her readers are. The statistics are those of heterosexual single parent families, women who have gotten pregnant outside of committed relationships or who have been abandoned by men who didn’t want the responsibility (or, perhaps, are already committed elsewhere).

This is a serious issue, but I am at a loss to understand how two educated, professional women who have been in a committed partnership for 15 years (and, I presume, would be married if only the law allowed) and who have made the conscious decision to raise a child together serve as inspiration for heterosexual women to become single mothers.

Crouse engages in all manner of speculative, amateur psychological quackery, with a heavy dose of sleight-of-hand. “Too often,” she writes, “children in single-mother households end up angry at their absent fathers.” But Cheney’s child won’t be in a “single-mother” household, it will be a “double-mother” household. And children are often angry at their absent father because he made a choice not to be a meaningful part of their lives. Here, there’s simply no father, but there are two loving parents. “Fatherless children tend to have trouble dealing with male authority figures,” she claims. I don’t think Cheney is planning on whisking her child off to be raised by the Amazons; certainly with Grandpa Dick and his friends around, the child will have more than its share of male authority figures with which to contend.

“When fatherless children get to be teens, the girls tend to start looking for love in all the wrong places and the boys tend to find as their role model the bad-boy celebrities.” My, how conventional wisdom changes! I thought when boys had an absent father and a dominant mother, they grew up to worship Judy Garland.

To support her contentions, Crouse is able to cite not one study or professional by name. Instead she vaguely refers to “top experts,” as well as “a Georgia high school principal” -- because, as we all know, Georgia high schools are being overrun by pregnant lesbians -- and “an assistant principal in a junior high.”

The real threat posed by Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is that it will force people like Crouse to acknowledge that many gay people are stable, commitment-oriented family types. (Some of us go to church weekly, and apparently some of us are even Republicans!) Being a devoted, responsible, loving parent has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

it comes as no suprise to you, i'm sure, but i am of the mindset that says nature's default position is that children be born of both mother and father.
fathers matter every bit as mothers to a child's healthy developement.
i'm no social scientist, but throughout my life i have seen the difference in the many of those who didnt have both.

i'm not making a blanket statement, just a statement of general observation.
but some of the language of condemnation is way over the top, in my opinion. not all single gender parented children turn out damaged, and not all traditionally raised children survive the experience unblemished either.

to use words like 'unconscienable' is unconscienable, when it appears to me the decision to bear a child was clearly a conscious one.
it is not a decision i myself would advise, but its not one i am readily willing to condemn,either.

personally, i would prefer gay couples who desire to raise children adopt some of those hard to place kids. i think they may be better siuted, on average, to deal with the struggle and provide the child with the level of love and dedication they need.
generally speaking... gays who strive to adopt are better prepared emotionally and financially. this is just my personal observation, and not scientific in any way.

Andy said...

The problem here, Gino, is that conservatives are attempting to hold gay families to higher legal and social standards than they hold themselves. No one is questioning that the best environment for raising a child is a stable home with two married parents who want children. (Though there is some squabble of course over whether the gender of the parents matters; the academic studies that have been done so far indicate no measurable difference between children raised in same-sex and opposite-sex parented households.)

Crouse is pointing to very real social problems that are related to the difficulties faced by single mothers.

But look at the strategy: she's not attacking women who become single parents through sexual irresponsibility, she's attacking responsible same-sex couples. And instead of supporting a woman's right to choose and promoting birth control, she advocates limiting women's options, which results in an increase in unexpected and potentially unwanted pregnancies in unwed mothers.

Complain all you want about irresponsible heterosexuals having children they are not prepared to raise, but don't blame gay people for it.

Anonymous said...

this much is true: her peice is blurring the lines of distinction, and by using the 'hook' of mary cheney to rattle about a genuine issue that is not totally relevent to mary.

what she's using is a wedge issue.
both sides do it.
its dishonest, and avoids the honest discussion that becomes increasingly difficult to mantain.

as a matter of public policy: i wouldnt provide a blanket prohibition against gay adoptions.
but i endorse that it is more difficult to do by comparison to a married male/female couple.

but then, this point is off topic.

me, and my male friends, learned how to become men in all aspects by watching,observing,mimicking our own dads throughout the course of daily interaction spread through 20yrs of male developement.

those without dads got that somewhere else, but it wasnt of the same quality,nor on the same level,as the real thing.

my other observation:
those whose dads died when the kids were young didnt suffer the same as those whose dad's where not around through choice. the father-orphaned still had a father figure he may have never known, but who's memory was respected and revered. they didnt really see themselves as being without a father, in the intellectual sense. they also placed their mothers on much higher pedestals,over all.
knowing his father would be there, if he could, wasnt the same as those who's father walked away.

one of my best friends told me that he intended to meet his father some day(in heaven) and he wanted him to be proud of what he became.

my sense is that though the child of lesbians will be missing much what i think is vital to a boy's development into manhood, it is nowhere near being on the same plane as having a father who rejected fatherhood.
it is, psychologically, an entirely different situation.

Anonymous said...

andy:
please refrain from using 'right to choose' when you really mean 'abortion' when talking to me.

if you support abortion rights, dont flinch from the word abortion.

just a pet peeve of mine...

Andy said...

Gino, you're presuming that all fathers are positive influences. That is certainly not the case. Your right to argue that a child needs a dad has no bearing on Mary Cheney's right to disagree. (But I think you're libertarian enough to know that.)

I do not support abortion, it is a moral evil, but I think there are important constitutional reasons for why it needs to be legal. I support a woman's incontrovertible right to defer to her own conscience on such matters. Therefore, "the right to choose" is exactly the terminology I wish to employ.

Anonymous said...

i'm just not taking the exception:that some fathers suck,

and using it to justify a blanket policy choice: same-sex parents are just as good.

in a perfect world, with perfect parents,perfect marriages, and easy to raise kids, i come down on the side of male/female co-parenting as the optimum.

i just also understand that the world isnt always what we'd like it to be.


full disclosure: i've only known one kid well enough(a girl i dated), who grew up with same-sex parents(lesbians). but since my knowledge is limited to just the one, i dont use it,(and in honesty:cannot) as a fair example of what kind of product same-sex parenting by lesbians can acheive.
and knowing what i do about her family life, you wouldnt want me to cite that one,anyway.

kr said...

even dads who suck, having them choose to leave is damaging to the kids in that particular "my dad didn't love me enough" sort of way, from what I've seen ... not that having them stick around and teach kids bad things is good either. Damage all around. But both types of damage, the too-present and the too-absent, matter.

Imagine it's the same with all parents of all stripes.


I have two friends with "two mommies," both of whom are pretty cool but one of whom is one of my all-time favorite people (shout out to N.E.!). Actually, NE was probably WAY more "normal" than most of the rest of our crew, growing up. For what that's worth ; ).

Andy said...

Oooh, I had totally forgotten about NE's situation. Yup, here's a guy who's totally normal (well, except for that geology thing, what is that about?) and who grew up to have a lovely wife and family. If he happens to stop by the blog, I'd be curious to see if he has any insight to provide.

Jeff said...

Bravo on this blog post. Of course, it's easy when we get such easy targets.

I'd like to see one study that says kids who aren't raised by a mother and father are worse off than those who are. Usually this just seems to be based on "common sense" or "intuition," which have no evidential value whatsoever. It used to be commonsensical or intuitive that the world was flat, too.

I don't see what's so important about a boy having a male parent as a male role model. He'll still grow up to be a man - he'll have testosterone, after all. Is it a worry about "unmanliness"? If "manliness" is directly correlated to having a male parent, that doesn't explain the effeminate men who did, in fact, grow up with a male parent.

Furthermore, there are other males in a child's life beside his parents.

I particularly like Crouse's speculation about what happens to fatherless kids. If every child with a doting/dominant mother and a distant father grew up to be gay, there would be practically no heterosexual baby boomers today. Just look at the typical 1950s parenting style.

kr said...

: P.
_I_ like geology!

The Law Fairy said...

Um, I grew up with a father and learned his "values," which included sexism and patriarchy. If that's what passes for "manliness" nowadays, then if I ever have a son I certainly won't raise him to be "manly." That bullshit is bad for kids.

This whole notion that there's some way that a boy "should" be raised that has to do with making him into a "man" is so bizarre to me. And no, not because I'm a woman. Because I think about these things rationally.

I think it's safe to say that the people who believe that boys "should" be raised to be "men" (whatever on earth that means) tend also to be of the mindset that there are socially relevant biological differences between men and women. You know, the folks who buy into John Stossel's whole "boys like guns and girls are bad with directions" paradigm.

Well, people, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Folks like me believe that gender roles are socially constructed, and that therefore a boy would not grow into a stereotypical "man" unless he's exposed to stereotypically "manly" pursuits and taught that he should seek to emulate stereotypical "men." But the anti-gay-marriage folks are PRECISELY the ones who always throw back at me how boys' manly natures are inherent and we shouldn't mess with "nature" by doing silly things like letting gay people marry, or letting women in the military.

Well, which is it? Will a boy grow up to be a man on his own or not? If he will, then why are you getting your panties in a knot about two mommies? And if he won't, then for God's sake stop harassing female firemen!

/rant

Anonymous said...

Folks like me believe that gender roles are socially constructed,

all evidences and studies point to the contrary.

and that therefore a boy would not grow into a stereotypical "man" unless he's exposed to stereotypically "manly" pursuits and taught that he should seek to emulate stereotypical "men."

this is not the point. a boy's propensities to such pursiuts of dominence,hierarchy, sexual gratification, brutality, warriorhood etc... will occur naturally. the father provides a proper role model to channel these traits towards a positve end. boys dont respect girls. boys respect men, alpha males, and want to be like them.
that is why societies, like our ghettos, where the fathers arent present, are hotbeds of boys gone wild (gangs,violence ,promiscuity,illigetimacy, disrespect toward women)

adult men, when present,serve to civilize boys.

once again, all studies and evidence show you wrong.

IF you ever have a boy, and you give him a stack of barbie dolls to play with, just how shocked will you be when he turns those into imaginery machine guns?

i've raised one boy into proper manly manhood, and one girl into proper womanly womanhood.
i gave them both, starting with my son, who was born first, a wide range of toys(dolls,trucks etc...)
they made their own choices without prodding. the boy went on to masculine pursuits, and the girl to feminine pursuits, without any prodding in either direction.

they made their natural choices.

my son shaved barbie's head, and wrapped her with tin foil armor for battle.
my daughter made a bed in the back of her trucks to tuck in GI Joe to sleep.

boys and girls, generally speaking, are inherantly different.

The Law Fairy said...

"boys dont respect girls."

And... this is why they should be raised by other men... who also don't respect "girls"??

I mean, you can't really be serious.

Can you?

And if so, why are you talking to me? You know, being a womanly woman unworthy of a man's manly respect and all.

I don't know whether I should laugh or cry at the ridiculous, backwards, anti-woman drivel in your comment.

kr said...

more accurate, perhaps, to say that little boys and little girls don't understand and (therefore instinctively respect) each others' native ways of learning about the world/themselves, not that they don't respect each other.

I agree with Gino to some extent; as a mom my experiences surely did not match up to the "it's all socialization" theory, so I started reading. The biological/neurological/hormonal studies do point to flat-out socially uncompensatable differences in emotional, social, physical, etc. development, based in the genetic gender of the individual, with possible refernce to the hormonal environment in the womb.

Andy said...

Yes, but we're dancing around the central issue here, which is not about gender, but whether sexual orientation by definition makes someone a better or a worse parent; the conservative argument is that two heterosexual parents -- ANY heterosexual parents -- are by definition better than anything a same-sex parented household could provide. And that just defies all logic, let alone fairness or constitutional guarantees of equality.

The Law Fairy said...

kr, perhaps, but that's not what I took gino's point to be. To say that male and female children may have different inherent tendencies (which hasn't been subjected to sufficiently rigorous study to rule out things like, say, the effects of auditory socialization while still in the womb) is different from saying something like men should be raised to be the manly men they were meant to be, and women should be raised to be the womanly women they were meant to be. A position like this is limiting and demeaning to both genders.

Andy, sorry for the deviation from your point. Sometimes my feminist-agendized self gets the better of me ;)

It is an odd sort of illogic; I don't hear many conservatives yelling about how we need to make it illegal for single mothers to raise children...

Anonymous said...

further illustrating my point, law fairy, you take one phrase, out of its context, and hide behind emotional rant, without making a logical point. this is not womanly behavior, btw. this is feminist idealogy that had been socialised into you.

boys naturally respect hierarchy. that is why grown men need to teach them how to properly treat women.

but, i see you havent really addressed any of my points, nor offered any thoughtful rebuttal.

"I don't know whether I should laugh or cry at the ridiculous, backwards, anti-woman drivel in your comment. "

this is a typical feminist response. attack the messenge, instead of addressing its points.

a strong womanly woman, confident in her viewpoint, like i raised my daughter to be, would take me apart point by point.
a girlie woman hurls emotional invective, and runs away, demonstrating her weakness while denying it exists.

i'd offer a book for you to read, further explaining my points of view, but i'm not really sure your strong enough to read it. you've already demonstrated emotional weakeness when your views are challenged, and i wouldnt want you to have to run off screaming in hysterics.

The Law Fairy said...

lol, gino -- and your response isn't emotional? What would that make you... a girlie man?

okay, I'll pick it apart, point by point. I didn't see the point earlier because I find that people adamant in the view that men and women are different and need to be different, don't often listen to reason. But please, prove me wrong. (Andy, I apologize again for hijacking your thread, but I've been insulted now).

"Folks like me believe that gender roles are socially constructed,

all evidences and studies point to the contrary."

And those evidences and studies would be...? I hear a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this notion that male and female humans are "naturally" meant to become "men" and "women" (again, conflated with the clunky need for "proper" upbringing, thus conceding at least in part, that there are some things about social "manhood" and "womanhood" that are in fact quite unnatural, and are instead the result of calculated socialization meant to turn otherwise ... less-gendered? ... persons into these "manly men" and "womanly women"), but I have not seen very much actual scientific study done. And to be clear, in order for a study to be scientific, it must be willing to question the very assumptions on which its own hypotheses rest. This is how good science is done.

"and that therefore a boy would not grow into a stereotypical "man" unless he's exposed to stereotypically "manly" pursuits and taught that he should seek to emulate stereotypical "men."

this is not the point. a boy's propensities to such pursiuts of dominence,hierarchy, sexual gratification, brutality, warriorhood etc... will occur naturally. the father provides a proper role model to channel these traits towards a positve end. boys dont respect girls. boys respect men, alpha males, and want to be like them.
that is why societies, like our ghettos, where the fathers arent present, are hotbeds of boys gone wild (gangs,violence ,promiscuity,illigetimacy, disrespect toward women)"

This says nothing about how women would be somehow unable to achieve the same effects. When you say "boys" don't respect "girls" do you include their own mothers??? (and if so, it should be noted, it's offensive to refer to grown women as "girls") Certainly my own experience tells me this is not the case. The only men I know, who don't respect their mothers, are Grade A Assholes. Where do you get the notion that "boys" don't respect "girls"? Do you not respect women? If so, why not? What is so "natural" about disrespect for women and respect for men?

Further, if it is men who are so integral to a child's development, then presumably you must have no qualms about gay men raising a child? If you do in fact find this arrangement less than ideal, why? We don't have to worry about the boys growing up to be criminals now, since apparently having a father is the important key in reducing criminality.

And what does your missive say about women who are prone to, say, dominance or sexual gratification? If I like having sex does that make me less of a woman? Should women not enjoy sex? Should women be submissive? What about the women who don't fit your paradigm? What happens to us?

"adult men, when present,serve to civilize boys."

So... men are born beasts... and therefore need to be civilized... by other beasts?

Don't we call this the blind leading the blind?

(and note: I'm not saying men are beasts. I'm simply taking gino's assertion that men are predisposed to less socially desirable and "uncivil" characteristics, and demonstrating the silly place this leads us. I dispute the notion that men are any more inherently uncivilized than women).

"once again, all studies and evidence show you wrong."

Once again, which studies would those be?

"IF you ever have a boy, and you give him a stack of barbie dolls to play with, just how shocked will you be when he turns those into imaginery machine guns?"

This is just silly. Neither you nor I know how my hypothetical future son, should I have one, will turn out. Regardless, I'll love him whether he turns into some silly "manly man" or matures enough to realize that a fully developed person is more than a box checked "M" or "F."

"i've raised one boy into proper manly manhood, and one girl into proper womanly womanhood.
i gave them both, starting with my son, who was born first, a wide range of toys(dolls,trucks etc...)
they made their own choices without prodding. the boy went on to masculine pursuits, and the girl to feminine pursuits, without any prodding in either direction."

I'm glad your kids are upstanding citizens, and thank you for raising them.

But... is this supposed to prove something? I know gay men who were raised to be hyper-masculine and now they know more about shoes than I do. I was raised by my father to be a good, quiet little Christian girl and... well, you can guess the rest.

And please define "proper manly manhood" and "proper womanly womanhood." If I don't meet one of those definitions am I a bad [gender]?

"they made their natural choices."

"Natural choices" sounds like an oxymoron to me.

"my son shaved barbie's head, and wrapped her with tin foil armor for battle.
my daughter made a bed in the back of her trucks to tuck in GI Joe to sleep."

Again, all this proves is that your kids, being raised in a hyper-gendered western society, grew up to fulfill their gender roles. Um, gee, wow, I should be shocked? Again, what does this prove????

"boys and girls, generally speaking, are inherantly different."

I'll be sure to send God the memo and let him know.

Hot Toddy said...

I miss you! That's pretty weird, huh? But I do :)

Andy said...

LF: no need to apologize, this is highly entertaining.

HT: Aww, I miss you, too! Hopefully my top secret evil plan will come to fruition!

Gino: really, now.

DJRainDog said...

I think Law Fairy has raised some very good points, so I won't go theoretical here, but I will personally refute a couple of points. Homo-leaning bisexuality aside, I'm pretty much what most would call a "guy's guy". I like big trucks, firing guns, camping, hiking, fishing, watching fast violent sports, action movies & westerns, drinking straight bourbon, and belching loudly, and I was raised to look you in the eye and shake your hand with a grip you'll be thinking about for a minute or two after I let go. That said, I never respected alpha males; they've always annoyed me with their boorish trying-too-hard bullshit. And I've always, ALWAYS respected women and believed that if they were hurt, crying, or even just whining, it was my responsibility to fix it. On the contrary, I've NEVER had any respect for hierarchy; I talk to and look at everyone the same way, from the CEO down to the garbage collector. And finally, it's been my observation that men no more civilise each other than do piranha in a feeding frenzy. Assembling groups of men, in fact, seems to have quite the opposite effect. Should I cite examples, or are they obvious enough?

Anonymous said...

gee, i'm used to igniting the passion in a woman, just not from this distance.
ok,Law Fairy... where shall i begin...
i'll start with this:
(Andy, I apologize again for hijacking your thread, but I've been insulted now).

no dear, you've been insulting, if i must remind you:
"I don't know whether I should laugh or cry at the ridiculous, backwards, anti-woman drivel in your comment."

you threw it out.
i threw it back.

and you responded with a thinly veiled ad hominen:
" What would that make you... a girlie man?"
followed by another indirect attack on my character:
"I find that people adamant in the view that men and women are different and need to be different, don't often listen to reason."

i been in this dialogue since post #1, without directing insult to another. you chose to change that, and now protest about insults?

OK... moving on..., you seem to be reading into my comments what isnt there, while ignoring what i've previously said. that may be your gender-feminist bias showing, but i dont honestly know you well enough (maybe we can change that?) to base a fair judgement. for example:
When you say "boys" don't respect "girls" do you include their own mothers???
i previously stated that boys respect heirarchy,did i not?
to think that mothers are equal to 'girls' is to deny the intimacy of the mother-child relationship, dont you think? i do, but then i also exhalt motherhood as sacred and the ultimate calling, and i'll make this blanket statement: no man can ever be good enough to carry the title of 'mother'. to a boy, mother is hierarchy. top of the food chain.
the ultimate power over a man.

"This says nothing about how women would be somehow unable to achieve the same effects. "
a good mother can achieve a lot, but a boy doesnt grow up to emulate his mother. he naturally sees himself as a future man, and will look for other men to emulate and to be like. the point has already been made, not by me either, for the need of positive male role models. take this argument up with them. i'm stating that the daily constant role model of a devoted father and husband is the ideal, and weekends with 'uncle joe', though valuable, dont even come close in comparison.

" What is so "natural" about disrespect for women and respect for men?"
hierarchy. a boy sees himself as a future man, and wants to join those ranks.
boys establish hierarchy early,even at a very young age. look at a preschool yard where you see a handful of boys playing among themselves. there is hierarchy already present among them. the alphas stand out, and other boys instinctively recognize it.(the alpha may be bigger,smarter ,stronger,better liked...or any combination of), and this pattern extends into manhood.
i've even seen it in internet discussion boards. where females form a sisterhood, men play survival of the fittest, and dont tend to rally round when one of their number is taken down.

"Further, if it is men who are so integral to a child's development, then presumably you must have no qualms about gay men raising a child?"
where is the mother figure?
i've already stated my view on this, and the reason behind it, along with the willingness to compromise.
go back and read.

"And what does your missive say about women who are prone to, say, dominance
whatever floats your boat,honey.
or sexual gratification?"
some are, but like the saying goes 'a woman needs a reason, a man just needs a partner'
"If I like having sex does that make me less of a woman?"
no. that makes you a hot prospect.
"Should women not enjoy sex?"
with me they do.
"Should women be submissive?"
personally, i prefer them adventurous.
"What about the women who don't fit your paradigm?"
i have no use for them.
What happens to us?"
who cares?

So... men are born beasts...
well, if that is your understanding of general male behavioral tendencies? OK. i'll work with it.
i use the word 'pigs',myself.

and therefore need to be civilized... by other beasts?
no. by other socialized men. get with the program, and stop being silly.

are you one of them 'man-hater' feminists, or something...?
i may be wrong, and we dont really know each other well (maybe we can change that?),but i'm sensing a lot of male-directed hostility on your part.

look, honey...
my belief in the inherant differences between the genders, as i've stated before, are generalized.
not all males and females follow the same tendencies. there are many exceptions. which is why i use the word 'generally' rather liberally.

with my girlie daughter and boyish son, i strove to build on their strenths, and strengthen their weakness. that is why my daughter can fight(though she prefers not to, but can seriously hurt a boy much larger than she), and my son (6'2" 250lbs, all jock))can cradle a baby with the poise and grace of a woman (he adores babies).

my definition of a manly man?
a man who stands up for himself,meets his responsiblities, and protects the weak.

some women can compare with the physicality required of a man to be a firefighter, and they should be permitted to.
and some men can make great day care providers and nurture children as well as the typical woman. they should also be permitted to do so.

not all men, nor all women, will fall into the generalizations for their gender.

Anonymous said...

DJRaindog:
well spoken.
but as for heirarchy, i'm speeking in a social context, not a profesional one. there are men that you respect and dont cross. these are often the same men that other men respect and do not cross.

and i didnt say men civilize each other. we dont. we let the animal out more ofetn than not.
its the boys who are civilised by the grown men in their life.

Andy said...

its the boys who are civilised by the grown men in their life.

And a woman -- or, in this instance, two women -- simply isn't capable of civilizing a boy child? These kids aren't being raised in isolation; they have relatives of both genders, and they'll be socialized in school and anytime they're out in public, and let's not by any stretch of the imagination underestimate the influence of movies and television. Unless Mary Cheney leaves her kid tied to a pole in the basement until it's 18, I don't really see a substantive argument that the child is going to grow up confused about gender or civilized behavior.

Jeff said...

I still haven't seen Gino cite any studies or any evidence other than the anecdotal. He's dealing entirely with the theoretical. He's making guesses. He's not citing one piece of evidence based on an actual child raised by an actual same-sex couple. Without any such evidence, this is all just mental masturbation.

Andy said...

mental masturbation

My third favorite kind!

Anonymous said...

i've already stated i'm not totally against the idea of same-sex couples raising kids.

and i've also said that i do not know enough kids raised by same-sex couples on which to base an adequate observation.

let me help you:

"it is not a decision i myself would advise, but its not one i am readily willing to condemn,either."

i dont how much more honest i can be.

"generally speaking... gays who strive to adopt are better prepared emotionally and financially. this is just my personal observation, and not scientific in any way."

sorry, i'm just not going to give anymore than this.

He's not citing one piece of evidence based on an actual child raised by an actual same-sex couple.
and niether are you.
just a position without even an anecdotal reason.

at least i am being honest about it, and open with my thoughts.
can you say the same when you havent offered up anything of your own?


goodbye.
over and out.

Andy said...

and niether are you.
just a position without even an anecdotal reason.


Okay, allow me to cite the Brookings Institution's report on the children of same-sex parents:

There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. . . . On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. . . . Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.

The Law Fairy said...

Gino, I'm sorry if you took my earlier comments as an insult. However, I did not personally insult you until you did this to me. I called your COMMENT "drivel" -- I directed no personal attacks at you. In the law and philosophy, my fields, attacking the message is quite distinct from attacking the messenger. In this case, I simply threw up my hands in exasperation at what I perceived to be some very wrong-headed ideas. The exasperation comes from having dealt with way too many people who hold views like yours, than one strong-minded, independent woman should have to. At least, she shouldn't have to in MY ideal world, where no one in the government gives two shits about what's in your pants, as long as you're a decent person.

YOU brought in the personal attacks by accusing me of being a "man-hater." What about my comments points to "hating" men? I'm not the one who thinks so little of your gender that I would call them "pigs" who are virtually incapable of becoming fully rounded human beings without the presence of some appropriately-civilized male.

YOU called me a "girlie woman" -- I did not call you a girlie man, I asked if your emotional comment would make you a girlie man. It was a sarcastic rhetorical question that I posed to point out the rudeness of your statements. Sorry if that went over your head.

YOU attacked me by questioning my intelligence when you stated you didn't think I'd be able to "handle" a book. For your information, "honey," I was actually indoctrinated to be one of your sweet little submissive womanly women. I've read more books than you probably know about how to submit yourself to God and your father and your husband, as a good Christian woman should. I've been to classes designed to teach young girls to grow into "Godly" women, who are in fact LOWER than the men as the man is the head of the household. I don't know where you got the notion that women run the family... it certainly is not a prevalent one in conservative circles and makes me wonder even more about what you mean when you say "manliness" and "womanliness." My understanding of the general social connotation of these terms roughly lines up with conservative Judeo-Christian thinking. Please enlighten my if your views differ.

As you say, Gino, you don't know me. I become a feminist because when I began seriously interacting with reality around the end of college, I observed firsthand just how damaging and insidious sexism in society is. I used to be the biggest flag-waving, homo-hating, Bible-thumping fundie you ever met. You know what changed me? Not "indoctrination" -- that's what made the first Me. Nope, real life opened up my eyes and showed me how excruciatingly wrong-headed I was.

As one or two others here have noted, you have not cited a single fact or statistic to back up your sweeping claims. You make moral arguments without even laying out and defending your premises. You throw around terms like "hierarchy" without defining them or explaining their social and natural meaning. Your comments lack etymology and historicity. Your arguments are circular. I will grant that I play the role of the cynic in this discourse, which makes my job easier. But if you want to posit that we "ought to" put men and women in certain roles, then the burden of persuasion rightfully falls to you. You have not met it, and have managed to be rude and demeaning to boot in your rhetorical failure.

And, since you think relevant my personal feelings about men (neither germane nor an appropriate subject of conjecture), I'll gladly share them. I have nothing against men. I am disappointed in many of them because I see potential for much, much more. I feel the same way about most women, though there are more women than men, I think, who recognize the problems with the strict social roles constructed for us by society (this makes sense, as while these roles harm both men and women, they disproportionately harm women MORE). I have a vague dislike for PEOPLE who tell me that because I don't have a penis I should "properly" fit into Category X (or, similarly, who tell men that because they don't have a vagine they should "properly" fit into Category Y). I get exasperated with at least as many women as men, in this respect. Conversely, I have a great deal of respect for quite a few intelligent, thoughtful men (Andy among them).

Your comment is peppered with diminutives directed at me, for no particular reason. I am not your "dear" or your "honey," so I can only surmise that you do this in order to belittle me. Why such animosity? I became exasperated, I can admit. You, however, have become outright rude. I wonder, too, about your notation that you have no "use" for women who don't fit your paradigm. This seems to me precisely the problem. Women do not exist for your "use" in the first place. We are people in our own right. And my God, I can't believe that I actually had to make that statement.

No, Gino, I am not a "man-hater." I'm curious what feminist authors you're familiar with that would give you so narrow and skewed a view of feminism?

Andy said...

Note to self: never piss off Law Fairy.

kr said...

gino--LF is right, you need to lay off on the diminutives to even begin to be listened to by any reasonable feminist. They are by themselves insulting (implying that we need you, or that you somehow own us), and probably are part of why I was so immediately antagonistic toward you when you appeared. Appropriate with The Blonde? Sure (as long as she gets to call you pet names too ; ), recognizing that you two actually _do_ need and protect each other).

LF: as a good Christian woman should. I've been to classes designed to teach young girls to grow into "Godly" women, who are in fact LOWER than the men as the man is the head of the household

I suspect part of the trick with Gino is, he's Catholic, not mainstream American Christian. The whole female-submission thing, not so much a Catholic teaching, believe it or not (priests aren't allowed to say mass unless there are at least two other people present--Catholic thinking is by nature very communal, for all the visible formal heirarchy). Female submissiveness is among a great number of Puritanical worldviews that get pinned on Catholicism but were actually from different cultural sources. (Yes, many Catholics, especially American Catholics, have fallen for those cultural messages, including that uniquely American and terribly destructive invention, "The Rapture.")

LF+Gino: My assertions about the fundamental developmental differences between boys and girls* were to validate part of Gino's perceptions, but definitely not the "boys don't respect girls" part. In my experience, boys _and_girls_ learn to disrespect (girls, women, minorites, gays, etc.) from society (especially the media) and/or 'nurturing': if Mom(s) and or Dad(s) teach or show that women or girls are not to be respected, they won't be. And Moms and Dads can both be responsible for that, as with any prejudice, and girls and boys are both, as they grow and learn and think, responsible for continuing to consider such a view acceptable.

The two men I know raised by lesbian couples? Seem pretty well-adjusted to girls and women, even as teenagers. The most chauvenist boy (well, the most chauvenist I actually spent any time talking to)? Raised by a single mother. (To his credit, as soon as he found sources of alternative ideas, he straightened himself out pretty well.)

LF: Western cultures are hyper-gendered???????? Damn, girlfriend, what culture are you looking at that is less gendered?? Myself, I'm amazed at the strides Western culture has made since, oh, say, the "Golden Age of Athens," or the cultures recorded in the Old Testament ... . Asia? Africa? The Middle East? Given, the pre-historic cultures in many places appear to have been perhaps less-male-dominated ... but nowadays? (This is a serious question, not rhetorical; your assertion realy doesn't mesh with my reading and observation and I wonder what you've seen/read to create such a view?)

----

* Everyone: Book, which you have probably heard of: The Wonder of Boys. Yes, the title is COMPLETELY cheesey. Sadly, I've only read the first chapter... but it cited studies (as everyone here keeps asking for and noone provides) and gave a decent overview that helped me to see what my (then toddler) son was doing. Anyhow, the author is a 30?-years counselor who started gathering neurological studies and travel-research to try to figure out why boys (not men, necessarily, but boys) don't "fit" in American social structures anymore. That includes some stuff about in-womb devlopment that probably resonates to the "born gay" debates that sometimes rage here.

Sometime (probably when my son starts confusing me again) I hope to read the rest of that book ... .

The Law Fairy said...

kr, thanks for the well-thought-out remarks.

I'll confess unfamiliarity with a fair deal of Catholicism. I'm learning a bit more as I also learn about the Episcopal church, of which I've happily been a member for about six years now.

As to calling western culture "hyper-gendered," I'm admittedly speaking from the viewpoint of a hypothetical non-gendered society. I absolutely one hundred percent agree that we're much better off, equality-wise, than we've been in any recent historical period, and we're absolutely less gendered than plenty of other societies in the world. As an absoslute matter, however, I still think we are "hyper-gendered." For example, if I say "nurse," it's virtually inevitable that you'll think of a woman. If I say "lawyer," you're still pretty likely to think of a man even though women have been graduating from law school in greater numbers than men for about a decade now. It's still socially acceptable -- normatively expected, even -- to treat men and women differently. Never ask a woman her age, always open the door for women; never challenge a man's masculinity, always laugh at a man's jokes. Perhaps reasonable people could disagree about the degree to which we are unreasonably gendered as a society, but nonetheless, we haven't reached equality yet, so that's why I call us hyper-gendered.

And Andy, as long as you don't call me "sweetheart" we're probably okay ;)

kr said...

I'm admittedly speaking from the viewpoint of a hypothetical non-gendered society

; ). Alright then : ).

Myself, I'd probably go with "still very gendered," just to leave some wiggle room for talking about the less progressive groups ; ).

Andy said...

KR: The whole female-submission thing, not so much a Catholic teaching

Well, if we're speaking specifically about *submission* maybe not, but let's just say many Protestants ordain women as priests/ministers and the Catholics...not so much.

LF: Isn't okay, though, for a gay guy to call you sweetheart or honey? I think I've even called Gino "honey," LOL. I'm just friendly that way.

All: Hey look, Andy wrote a new post!`

The Law Fairy said...

Tee hee, okay Andy -- just be sure you're respectful when you do it ;)

kr said...

Andy, yes and no.
One thing about the Roman Catholic priesthood, it is supposed to be incomplete. Whether male-only was a good way to achieve it, eh, I think the argument can be made either way. There are Catholics who feel much more strongly about this than I, and if you really want to engage on it, you should probably find one of them to argue with.

I think male-only priesthood can be argued from the New Testament, even just the Gospels. I also think the role of the New Testament women has been (understandably, given our cultural heritage) until recently mostly ignored. The roles seems to have been different. The extent to which that difference was "natural" and the extent to which that was "cultural" of course up for debate.


And, frankly, no, it is not OK for a gay man to call me sweetheart or honey, unless we have a relationship of mutual vulnerability. It is still diminutive. It is also not OK for a woman to call me those things--and actually, mutual vulnerability wouldn't excuse it, from a woman. The only women I can think of that I accept it from are my older female relatives. (I do not accept it from my older male relatives.) And that's my strangely sexist 2c ; ).

Have you ever called me any of those things? I'm thinking not, nor do I recall calling you any of those things. I suspect this is because we respect each other. It's something to think about.

I take LF at her word ; ).

(And I've already contributed to your new post ; ). )

kr said...

oop--LF posted while I was writing. Not too surprisingly, she is less uptight than me ; ).