Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Who's more feminist?

Last week I walked into a discussion about abortion between my boss and another guy I work with. Now mind you, my boss is a big Bush supporter (he's got a brother who works for Wolfowitz!), a big war supporter, and not in any way shape or form what I would call a progressive feminist. I also would not remotely put the other guy in the "progressive feminist" category (if anything, he'd think "radical feminist" was an insult).

Now, I'm not saying that either of them are "bad people". I have seen and heard of some pretty kind deeds from both of them, and they are both very professional and respectful when it comes to serious interaction with others at work. But they're also the "ha ha let's make racist/misogynist jokes and then say 'we're only kidding, what's your problem?'" types.

Anyway, they happened to both be pro-choice. They both pretty much said that they remembered how bad things were "before Roe", how every child should be wanted, and the "scourge" of teen moms, etc. So this means that they're oh so pro-women, right?

Wrong. There was more to this conversation. (And here, it was mostly with the 2nd guy while my boss stayed relatively silent.) When I asked him if he approved of sex-education (non-abstinence-only), he said no. When I said it was scientifically proven to be more effective (than abstinence-only) at preventing pregnancy, he said he didn't care. To him, apparently, it was the principle of the thing. (huh ???)

Then, at another point in the conversation, he stated (his exact words) that he'd "kill his daughter if she came home pregnant". Thus implying that it would be OK with him if she got an abortion (since he agrees with its legality and even seemed to not have a real moral issue with it), as long as he didn't have to know about it. And also that it would NOT be OK for people to even KNOW she was pregnant (i.e. by making the foolish choice to *have* the baby!)

I want to know what people like Mouse or Ampersand think of this scenario. A "pro-life-ish" feminist arguing with two "pro-choice" anti-feminists? They'd probably think I was talking about Bizzaro World. Except that this was real life.

I happen to think that this is the trend in the abortion debates. Non-feminists are rapidly coming over to the pro-choice side. (e.g. Hugh Hefner, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Arlen Specter)

But what feminists don't seem to realize is that this particular trend is not going to make the non-feminists suddenly more feminist. It's just going to make the reality of abortion much uglier than it already is.

Mark my words: In 10-20 years, the Republican consensus will be saying "you're pregnant? We're not helping you. Just get an abortion. We're OK with that now."


Blogger Sarah said...

Your position on abortion has really deepened my own understanding of the complexity of this issue. I am still pro-choice (of course) but abortion is no longer the simple black-and-white issue I had previously imagined it to be, and I appreciate that.

11:18 AM, November 15, 2004  

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