Elsewhere in her post, Anne N. quotes me as follows: "The narrow assertion I want to make is that the social norms we are
inculcating are working to safeguard reproductive choices for women, and to undermine men's investment in pregnancies and child-rearing."
Translation: See ladies? If you insist on making your own decisions
about abortion, that's fine, but don't expect a man to be around later
on when you need help with pregnancy or child-rearing. Because men
aren't going to be willing to have a "mutually supportive dialogue"
with you unless they get a say in every single decision you make,
including the one that has to do with your autonomy over your own body.
It's all or nothing, girls! Oh and also, this isn't totally my opinion,
it's just something other people might think, and it's up to you to
decide, although I did just write an op-ed about it.
In other words, the post as I wrote it wasn't amenable to the kind
of outraged, offense-seeking rebuttal that Jezebel traffics in at its
worst, so the blogger felt a need to offer a "translation" of my post
to rage against -- never mind that the "translation" asserts spurious
arguments that I utterly reject, and that are nowhere implied by my
original post. I defy anyone, for example, to cite anyplace in my
writing wherein I argue that men take an "all or nothing" approach to
supporting women they impregnate. It is rather easy to argue against a
caricature of one's interlocutor, but there isn't much point beyond
posing as an aggrieved opponent of misogyny for the majority of readers
who never follow the link to my piece.
She concludes as follows:
I don't believe that all anti-abortion advocates are acting in bad
faith, or that they all want to control women. I do believe that many
of them have genuine religious objections to abortion, and that these
objections don't necessarily make them misogynists. But I also believe
that on both sides of the debate are men who don't really get what it's
like when something is not their decision to make. It's time for them to learn.
I am not particularly religious, I am certainly not a misogynist,
and I haven't taken any position on the question of whether or not
abortion is a decision that is ultimately the sole province of
women. I understand that it is easier to view every debate that touches
on abortion as a struggle that pits religious conservatives who
undervalue the autonomy of women against enlightened progressives who
know better. Doing so in this case, however, entirely misses the point
of my argument, the impulses that motivated it, and the opportunity to
advance the discussion.
And though I am perfectly equipped to defend my posts, and critique
those who misrepresent them, I'd hasten to add that this kind of
response to good faith efforts to discuss controversial topics is what
discourages many male writers from entering the fray at all. It is oft
lamented on feminist blogs that certain subjects pertaining to women
are ghettoized in venues like Slate's Double X, rather than being discussed in mainstream publications geared at both sexes. Ann Friedman penned a sharp piece on that topic in The American Prospect. I've personally been told by two male bloggers that they shy away from any subject pertaining to gender because they fear the fallout should their views be mischaracterized and villainized. We'd all be better off if bloggers like Anne N. stopped writing posts that make such fears rational responses to reality.
UPDATE: Michelle Cottle makes some good points in this thoughtful response to my original post.