Surrogacy – Why Not?

Sure, women should be allowed to be surrogates.  We all do work with our bodies, some of us also include our minds in the deal (some of us are allowed to include our minds in the deal), so why not?  As long as they get paid for service rendered.

Being a surrogate is sort of like being an athlete.  You have to be and stay physically healthy, for the duration: you have to eat and drink the right stuff, and not eat or drink the wrong stuff; you have to get the right amount of physical activity.  And so on.  It’s important.  Use during pregnancy of illegal drugs (such as crack cocaine and heroin) as well as legal drugs (such as alcohol and nicotine) can cause, in the newborn, excruciating pain, vomiting, inability to sleep, reluctance to feed, diarrhoea leading to shock and death, severe anaemia, growth retardation, mental retardation, central nervous system abnormalities, and malformations of the kidneys, intestines, head and spinal cord (Madam Justice Proudfoot, “Judgement Respecting Female Infant ‘D.J.”; Michelle Oberman, “Sex, Drugs, Pregnancy, and the Law: Rethinking the Problems of Pregnant Women who use Drugs”).  Refusal of fetal therapy techniques (such as surgery, blood infusions, and vitamin regimens) can result in respiratory distress, and various genetic disorders and defects such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus (Deborah Mathieu, Preventing Prenatal Harm: Should the State Intervene?)

To be an elite surrogate, Read the rest of this entry »

“Oh Canada” Revision

I’m all for sex-neutral language.

In fact, I think we should completely revamp English to eliminate all sex-specific terms (except ‘male’ and ‘female’, to be used only in relevant contexts, most likely only in medical contexts).  As is, the language encourages, obsessively, sex-differentiation when sex is, or should be, irrelevant.  As is, it supports the patriarchy, a blatantly ridiculous and unfair system.

That said, I’m quite happy to be excluded from a group supposed to be ‘commanded’ (a few steps beyond ‘inspired’, yeah?) by Canada to patriot love (true patriot love, no less).

Because, to be honest, Canada does not inspire me to patriot love.  Why not?  See “Canada Day – Are you sure you want to celebrate?

 

 

Population Growth (i.e., rape)

I am amazed at the number of population growth analyses that don’t mention rape.  So far I’ve read, let me see…none.  And if they don’t even mention rape, they sure as hell can’t consider it a major causal factor.  I mean, think about it:  Do you really believe that millions of women want to be pregnant for five to ten years?  Do you really believe that most women would actually consent to child number four when the other three are still under six?

And look!  Read the rest of this entry »

School Crossing Signs

You’ve seen the signs I mean – silhouette figures of two children about to cross the road: one boy, one girl.  (How do we tell?  One’s wearing a skirt.)  (That’d be the girl.)  (Really, do most girls still wear skirts to school?)

So, yes, let’s emphasize sex.  Boy and Girl.  Ms. and Mr.  Nothing else matters.

And nothing else is possible.

Note that the boy is taller. ‘Oh, but they are.’  Not at that age! Taller suggests older which suggests more mature, wiser.  And just in case you miss this not-so-subtle suggestion of male authority, look, he has his hand on the little girl’s shoulder – guiding, protecting, patronizing.  It will be there for the rest of her life.

Just to make sure of that, Read the rest of this entry »

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.

And it’s not, or not just, a matter of ethnic cleansing.  If men truly wanted to eradicate the other culture, (and if they believed ethnicity was genetic), they’d just kill the women along with the men.  (Women are killed, but as I understand it, they’re usually raped first.)   (Or, sometimes, after.)  (And men are castrated, but not nearly as often as women are raped.)

And if they truly wanted to increase their own numbers, they’d hang around and see that the kid reached maturity.  (Raped women are sometimes kept prisoner until the child is born – but unless the kid is subjected to specific and exclusive cultural conditioning, how is their purpose achieved?  They’d have to look after the kids themselves for ten years.)  (Which is unlikely.)

And it’s not, or not just, a property crime against the enemy.  If men sought merely to destroy their enemy’s property, they’d, again, simply kill their women and children, along with their livestock, before or after they burned their houses.  (Unless, of course, they wanted to confiscate their property – in which case, they’d enslave the women rather than rape them.)

So what is it?  Read the rest of this entry »

The Silence of Descartes and Bacon

Reading (again) (this time in Daly) about how during the Renaissance it was so inconceivable that women were knowledgeable, especially with regard to the human body, that when they cured various ailments, they were not lauded as competent physicians but accused of consorting with the devil; such ‘witches’ were tortured with eye-gougers, branding irons, spine-rollers, forehead tourniquets, thumbscrews, racks, strappados, iron boots, and heating chairs. (A bit over-the-top, one can’t help but note.)

And as both a feminist and a philosopher, I am ashamed to say that it never occurred to me to wonder why Descartes and Bacon didn’t object; nowhere in all their voluminous writing do they address this being-‘punished’-for-knowing-something. So they approved? How could they?

Reporting What Women Do

What if, for just one year, the media reported 90% of the time what women are doing instead of, as is now the case, what men are doing?

Not because what women do is better, or more newsworthy, but just to see how it would change our outlook, our world view.

The news might be more boring. But then, hey, what does that say?

It would likely involve a lot less death and destruction. Ditto.

It probably would have less to do with money. Again…

Bare Breasts: Objections and Replies

[I wrote this piece back in the early 90s when Gwen Jacobs did her thing (yay, Gwen!), but apparently it all still needs to be said. A couple years ago, I was ‘spoken to’ by a neighbour for taking my shirt off on a hot summer day when I was out kayaking. Most amusingly, I was ‘spoken to’ again when I did the same thing just last year, post-bilateral-mastectomy. Which brings to mind Twisty’s hilarious “Cover ’em up if you have ’em and even if you don’t” comment.]

In response to the moral outrage about women going shirtless in public, I offer the following. Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Authority and Being a Parent

I’m wondering whether it’s just me or…whether most women who never become mothers simply never develop an authoritative manner.  Men have it from the get go: they are automatically thought, by themselves as well as by others, to be authorities, and early on, they develop both the habit of telling others what to do and the expectation that they’ll be listened to.

Women don’t.  (Unless they’re deluded.)   At least, not until they become a parent.  Only then do they gain some authority.  Only then do they start telling someone what to do and expecting to be listened to. 

Sure, the authority they now have extends only to their kid, but it leaks out.  As it does with men.  When you talk with authority in your house, to your wife or kids, you don’t suddenly ‘turn it off’ when you leave the house.  It’s an acquired manner, a way of carrying yourself, a way of presenting yourself that becomes part of yourself. 

I’ve never acquired that manner.  I’m not in the habit of telling anyone what to do.  I don’t expect to be listened to.  So, despite my breadth and depth of knowledge and skill, I don’t have any authority.


More reasons not to celebrate being Canadian…

We’re barely in the top quarter when it comes to the gender gap in wages (we’re fourth worst).

We’re barely in the top quarter when it comes to the gender gap in health (it’s safer to be pregnant in Estonia than in Canada).

Speaking of which, Read the rest of this entry »