ANOMALY

Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected

Article on the Pro-life movement

By libby Anne 

The spring of my sophomore year of college I was president of my university’s Students for Life chapter. The fall of my junior year of college I cut my ties with the pro-life movement. Five years later I have lost the last shred of faith I had in that movement. This is my story.

I was raised in the sort of evangelical family where abortion is the number one political issue. I grew up believing that abortion was murder, and when I stopped identifying as pro-life I initially still believed that. Why, then, did I stop identifying as pro-life? Quite simply, I learned that increasing contraceptive use, not banning abortion, was the key to decreasing the number of abortions. Given that the pro-life movement focuses on banning abortion and is generally opposed advocating greater contraceptive use, I knew that I no longer fit. I also knew that my biggest allies in decreasing the number of abortions were those who supported increased birth control use – in other words, pro-choice progressives. And so I stopped calling myself pro-life.

My views on fetal personhood and women’s bodily autonomy have shifted since that day, but when I first started blogging a year and a half ago I was nevertheless very insistent that the pro-life movement should be taken at its word when it came to rhetoric about saving “unborn babies” from being “murdered.” I insisted that the pro-life movement wasn’t anti-woman or anti-sex, and that those who opposed abortion genuinely believed that a zygote/embryo/fetus was a person with rights in need of protection just like any other person. I believed that the pro-life movement’s actions were counterproductive, but that they were merely misinformed. I wrote a post with practical suggestions for opponents of abortion. I believed that the pro-life movement was genuine in its goals, but simply ignorant about how its goals might best be obtained.

I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.

As a child, teen, and college student, I sincerely believed that personhood, life, rights, and the soul all began at fertilization. I was honestly opposed to abortion because I believed it was murder. It had nothing to do with being anti-woman or anti-sex. I thought that the pro-life movement writ large – the major pro-life organizations, leaders, and politicians – were similarly genuine. I thought that they, like myself, simply wanted to “save the lives of unborn babies.”

I have come to the conclusion that I was a dupe.

What I want to share here is how I came to this realization. And if you, reader, are one of those who opposes abortion because you believe it is murder and you want to save the lives of unborn babies, well, I hope to persuade you that the pro-life movement is not actually your ally in this, that you have been misled, and that you would be more effective in decreasing the number of abortions that occur if you were to side with pro-choice progressives. If this is you, please hear me out before shaking your head.

Changing Tactics and Breaking Ties

My journey began one blustery day in October of 2007 when I came upon an article in the New York Times. This article completely shook my perspective. It didn’t change my belief that abortion was murder or my desire to save the lives of unborn babies. Instead, it simply completely overhauled my tactical focus and made me realize that the current efforts of the pro-life movement are extremely backwards.

Banning Abortion Does Not Decrease Abortion Rates

The first thing I learned from that New York Times article shocked me: it turns out that banning abortion does not actually affect the abortion rate.

A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.

Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said.

The results of the study, a collaboration between scientists from the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Guttmacher Institute in New York, a reproductive rights group, are being published Friday in the journal Lancet.

“We now have a global picture of induced abortion in the world, covering both countries where it is legal and countries where laws are very restrictive,” Dr. Paul Van Look, director of the W.H.O. Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a telephone interview. “What we see is that the law does not influence a woman’s decision to have an abortion. If there’s an unplanned pregnancy, it does not matter if the law is restrictive or liberal.”

But the legal status of abortion did greatly affect the dangers involved, the researchers said. “Generally, where abortion is legal it will be provided in a safe manner,” Dr. Van Look said. “And the opposite is also true: where it is illegal, it is likely to be unsafe, performed under unsafe conditions by poorly trained providers.”

I was flabbergasted upon reading this. I followed the link to the summary of the study, printed the entire thing out for reading over lunch, and then headed off to class. As I perused the study over a taco bowl in the student union later that day I wondered why I had never been told any of this. I was shocked to find that the countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where abortion is most legal and available, and the countries with the highest abortion rates are generally the ones where the practice is illegal. It’s true.

Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.

Banning abortion does not actually affect abortion rates. I was could not have been more shocked. I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.

Overturning Roe, I realized, would not make women stop having abortions. Instead, it would simply punish women who have abortions by requiring them to risk their health to do so. This is all well and good if the goal is to punish women for seeking abortions, but if the goal is to keep unborn babies from being murdered, this is extremely ineffective.

The Real Solution: Birth Control

But if banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates, what does? Why do some countries have low abortion rates while others have much higher rates? The answer, I found, was simple.

Both the lowest and highest subregional abortion rates are in Europe, where abortion is generally legal under broad grounds. In Western Europe, the rate is 12 per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Europe it is 43. The discrepancy in rates between the two regions reflects relatively low contraceptive use in Eastern Europe, as well as a high degree of reliance on methods with relatively high user failure rates, such as the condom, withdrawal and the rhythm method.

As I sat there in the student union reading over my lunch, I found that making birth control widespread and easily accessible is actually the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate. Even as I processed this fact, I knew that the pro-life movement as a whole generally opposes things like comprehensive sex education and making birth control available to teenagers. I knew this because I had lived it, had heard it in pro-life banquet after pro-life banquet, had read it in the literature. The pro-life movement is anti-birth-control. And opposing birth control is pretty much the most ineffective way to decrease abortion rates imaginable. In fact, opposing birth control actually drives the abortion rates up.

As I mulled this over, I realized how very obvious it was. The cause of abortions is unwanted pregnancies. If you get rid of unwanted pregnancies the number of people who seek abortions will drop like a rock. Simply banning abortion leaves women stuck with unwanted pregnancies. Banning abortion doesn’t make those pregnancies wanted. Many women in a situation like that will be willing to do anything to end that pregnancy, even if it means trying to induce their own abortions (say, with a coat hanger or by drinking chemicals) or seeking out illegal abortions. I realized that the real way to reduce abortion rates, then, was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. And the way to do that is with birth control, which reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies by allowing women to control when and if they become pregnant.

I realized that the only world in which opposing birth control made any sense was one in which the goal was to control women’s sex lives. After all, birth control allows women to have sex without having to face the “consequences” of sex. But I had never opposed abortion in an effort to make women face the “consequences” of having sex. I had always opposed abortion out of a desire to save the lives of unborn babies. As a child, I had been moved to tears by the image of millions of babies murdered by abortion each year. If making it easier for women to have sex I personally believed was sinful was the price I had to pay to save the lives of unborn babies, it was a price I was more than willing to pay.

As my next class approached, I put the printout back in my backpack and walked out into the October sun. My mind was in turmoil, but there was one thing I knew for sure. I could no longer call myself pro-life, because I could no longer support the policies advocated by the pro-life movement and the major pro-life organizations. I no longer wanted to see Roe overturned or abortion banned. Instead, I wanted to work towards a world in which everyone has access to affordable birth control and unplanned pregnancies are reduced to a bare minimum. That day I became pro-choice.

What about the Zygote?

In the five years since that day in October, I have rethought many things. I no longer believe that abortion is murder because I no longer hold that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is a “person.” I also came to realize that the focus on personhood ignores the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is growing inside of another person’s body. For a variety of reasons, I see birth as the key dividing line. But even as my position shifted, I was still willing to give the pro-life movement the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because I believed that the pro-life movement’s opposition to birth control stemmed not from a desire to control women’s sex lives but rather from the belief that the pill was an “abortifacient.” This meant that the pro-life movement could oppose abortion as murder and yet also oppose birth control without actually being inconsistent. But in the last few months I have read several things that have shaken this belief.

Does the Pill Kill?

Let me preface this with a quick biology lesson. Every month, a woman’s body releases an egg into the Fallopian tubes. If there is sperm there waiting, the egg becomes fertilized, and this fertilized egg has its own unique DNA. This is when I was taught life – including personhood and the bestowing of a soul – began. This fertilized egg, or zygote, then travels from the Fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it implants in the uterine wall. That is when pregnancy begins.

Now, the birth control pill works primarily by preventing ovulation in the first place, and also by impeding sperm so that it can’t get to the Fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. But leading organizations in the pro-life movement argue that there is some chance that women on the pill will have “breakthrough ovulation,” and if this occurs and sperm somehow make their way into the Fallopian tubes, you could technically end up with a fertilized egg. Pro-life organizations further suggest that because the pill also thins the uterine lining, this fertilized egg would be flushed out of a woman’s body through her vagina rather than implanting in her uterus.

Here is how a Life Issues Institute article describes this:

The estrogen level is so low that it doesn’t suppress ovulation all of the time …, and sometimes there is what we call a breakthrough ovulation – ovulation which breaks through the effect of the drug and is simply a plain old ovulation. It just happens. Fertilization, then, can occur. But if fertilization occurs, implantation within the nutrient lining of the womb is prevented by another action of the same pill. That action is a hardening of the lining of the womb. What occurs, then, is an induced micro-abortion at one week of life.

How frequent is breakthrough ovulation in a woman taking a low-estrogen contraceptive pill? Well, let’s take a high estimate – 20%. Probably lower than that. How frequently does pregnancy occur when an egg or an ovum is waiting? Probably not much more than two or three times out of the twenty.

So if we use a high figure, a 20% breakthrough ovulation, that would mean a two or three percent fertilization rate. But, as a matter of fact, pregnancy occurs only about 1% or less of the time, so, in the other 1 or 2%, fertilization does occur, implantation cannot occur, and the little embryonic baby dies.

The bottom line, then, for the commonly used contraceptive pill is this: in 97 or 98% of the time, the effect is one of preventing pregnancy. But, in perhaps two or more percent of the time, the effect is abortifacient. There is no way in the normal clinical practice of knowing which is happening, or when.

When I learned that birth control, not banning abortion, was the best way to decrease abortion, I knew about this argument. However, I concluded that the small number of times this might happen was outweighed by the number of abortions the widespread use of birth control would prevent. Yet even though that was my conclusion, I could at least understand why those in the pro-life movement almost universally opposed the pill and other forms of hormonal birth control. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that, even though I thought they were misguided in their tactics, they really did simply want to “save the lives of unborn babies.” And give them the benefit of the doubt I did.

I later learned that  an increasing pile of evidence suggests that the pill does not actually result in fertilized eggs being flushed out of a woman’s body. I began to feel that the pro-life movement had no qualms with twisting the scientific evidence if need be, which was confusing because there didn’t seem to be a motive for insisting on the belief that the pill causes abortions if scientific evidence indicated the contrary. I also found that the pro-life movement is not afraid of twisting the evidence when it comes to things like the supposed harmful side effects of abortion, such as depression and breast cancer. Cooking up “scientific facts” in an effort to scare women out of having abortions rather than working to encourage birth control use in an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies seemed extremely backwards, and I became increasingly troubled by the way the pro-life movement treated science and their constant willingness to play fast and lose with the facts.

The Biggest Killer: A Woman’s Own Body

Because I knew that the pro-life movement believed that the pill causes abortions, though, I could on some level understand why they opposed it, and I continued to give them the benefit of the doubt on that score. That is, until I read this blog post by Sarah.

The anti-birth control crowd leaves out one very important fact: a woman’s body naturally rejects at least 18% of fertilized eggs. This means that if you have unprotected sex that leads to the fertilization of an egg (30% chance of successful fertilization), the resulting zygote has an 18% chance of being rejected by the uterus. The human body naturally performs “abortions” almost 20% of the time. So does taking birth control actually increase the chances of zygote abortion, or does birth control actually reduce the chances of this occurring? Let’s do the math.

Without Birth Control:

  • Out of 100 fertile women without birth control, 100 of them will ovulate in any given month.
  • Out of those 100 released eggs, 33 will become fertilized.
  • Out of those 33, 18% will be rejected by the uterus.
  • In a group of 100 women not on birth control: 6 zygotes will “die”

With Birth Control:

  • Out of 100 fertile women on birth control, around 6 of them will ovulate in any given month.
  • Out of those 6 released eggs, only 2 will become fertilized.
  • Out of those 2, 100% will be rejected by the uterus.
  • In a group of 100 women on birth control: 2 zygotes will “die”

So let’s get this straight, taking birth control makes a woman’s body LESS likely to dispel fertilized eggs. If you believe that life begins at conception, shouldn’t it be your moral duty to reduce the number of zygote “abortions?” If you believe that a zygote is a human, you actually kill more babies by refusing to take birth control.

I have to be honest, this blog post totally shocked me. I wondered about the numbers Sarah used, so I went looking for verification. As I did this I opted to use the pro-life movement’s own numbers on the rate of fertilized eggs that fail to implant for women on the pill. Remember, once again, that scientific studies have found again and again that the pill does not result in fertilized eggs failing to implant. However, I felt that if I used the pro-life movement’s own numbers I could not be accused of simply using studies with a liberal bias. And so I explored the numbers. What I found was that Sarah’s numbers were off. What I found was that for every 100 fertile women on birth control each month, only 0.15 fertilized eggs will be flushed out. In contrast, for every 100 fertile women not on birth control in a given month, 16 fertilized eggs will be flushed out. In other words, Sarah’s numbers were far too conservative. She was more right than she knew. It is the people not using birth control that are “murdering” the most “children,” not women on the pill.

After reading Sarah’s article and doing the math using the pro-life movement’s own numbers, I concluded that the idea that the pill is an abortifacient is used as a smokescreen. It has to be. If the pro-life movement believes that even a very small chance of a zygote being flushed out is enough reason to oppose the use of the pill, then there should be an extreme amount of concern about the much, much higher number of fertilized eggs flushed out of the bodies of women not using the pill. Anyone who really thinks about it cannot help but come to the conclusion that if your goal is to save “unborn babies,” and if you truly believe that a zygote – a fertilized egg – has the same value and worth as you or I – the only responsible thing to do is to put every sexually active woman on the pill. Sure, according to the pro-life movement’s figures a few fertilized eggs would still fail to implant and thus “die,” once again according to their own figures, an enormous number of these “deaths” would be prevented.

And yet, the pro-life movement still up the pill as a great evil. Pro-life doctors often refuse to prescribe the pill, and pro-life pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions for it. This makes utterly no sense unless the point is not “saving unborn babies” but rather making sure that women who dare to have sex have to face the “consequences,” i.e. pregnancy and children. As I thought through all of the implications of Sarah’s article, the benefit of the doubt that I had been giving the pro-life movement began to falter. How could they justify opposing the pill when putting sexually active women on the pill would actually save the lives of unborn babies?

Why No 5K to Save the Zygotes?

A few months after reading Sarah’s article I came upon one by Fred Clark. In it, he argues that if those who oppose abortion really believe that every fertilized egg is a person we ought to see 5K fundraisers to save these zygotes. This is very much like what I said above, except that the focus here is whether the 50% of all zygotes – 50% of all fertilized eggs – that die before pregnancy even begins could be saved. Fred suggests that if the pro-life movement really is about saving unborn babies, and if those in the pro-life movement really do believe that life begins at fertilization, then pro-lifers really ought to be extremely concerned about finding a way to save all of these lives. But they’re not.

Name a disease and there’s a charitable research foundation committed to finding a cure, and for just about every such foundation there’s a corresponding 5k race or walkathon, lemonade stand, bake sale, golf tournament, banquet, concert, gala or festival to raise funds.

But for the biggest killer of them all, there’s nothing.

No 5k or 10k. No walkathon. No foundation promoting research. No research.

The deadly scourge that claims half of all human lives ever conceived is completely ignored.

Here’s Jonathan Dudley discussing this killer in his book Broken Words:

Due to hormone imbalances, genetic anomalies, and a number of unknown factors, between 50 percent and 75 percent of embryos fail to implant in the uterus and are passed with the monthly menstrual flow. If we agree with pro-life advocates that every embryo is as morally valuable as an adult human, this means that more than half of humans immediately die. This fact provides pro-life advocates with an opportunity to follow through on their convictions. Surely, a moral response to a pandemic of this magnitude would be to rally the scientific community to devote the vast majority of its efforts to better understanding why this happens and trying to stop it. Yet the same pro-life leaders who declare that every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child have done nothing to advocate such research. … Even if medicine could save only 10 percent of these embryos — and we don’t know because no one has cared enough to ask — it would be saving more lives than curing HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined. One could say that this massive loss of human life is natural, and therefore, humans are under no obligation to end it. But it is not clear why the same argument could not be used to justify complacency in the face of AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and other natural causes of human death.

For anyone who genuinely believes the pro-life argument that “every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child,” the sort of research Dudley describes ought to be an inescapable obligation.

And yet there are no charitable events to support the foundations funding such research. No such foundations exist to be supported. No such research exists to be funded.

Reading Fred’s article compounded what I had felt reading Sarah’s article. The pro-life movement is not about “saving unborn babies.” It can’t be. As someone who as a child and teen really did believe that life – personhood – began at fertilization, and who really was in it to “save unborn babies,” this is baffling. If I had known all this, I would have been all for this sort of research. I would have been all for sexually active women using the pill to cut down on “deaths.” But I didn’t know any of this. The adults of the anti-abortion movement, though, and certainly the leaders, they surely must know these things. This isn’t rocket science, after all. They must know these things, and yet they are doing nothing.

The Ultimate Hypocrisy

Reading Sarah and Fred’s articles and then thinking them through and doing some research made me realize that those in the pro-life movement, or at least the leaders of the pro-life movement, are incredibly inconsistent. You simply can’t be against the pill for fear that it will result in flushed out zygotes and yet not concerned at all about the vastly greater number of zygotes flushed out naturally every day. At least, not if you really truly believe a zygote has the same worth as an infant, toddler, or adult, and not if you’re truly motivated solely by a desire to save the lives of these “unborn babies.” Fresh off of these thoughts, I came upon two news articles on the subject in the last week that have completely shattered the last bit of faith I had in the pro-life movement.

Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero?

Those who oppose abortion are all set to vote for Romney because he has done things like voice approval for the personhood amendment, which would ban abortion, but what they don’t seem to realize is that, as I found out for the first time last week, Obama has already done more to reduce the number of abortions than any other president ever has or ever will.

On October 3, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine published a study with profound implications for policy making in the United States. According to Dr. Jeffery Peipert, the study’s lead author, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly—perhaps up to 75 percent—when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge. Declaring himself “very surprised” at the results, Peipert requested expedient publication of the study, noting its relevance to the upcoming election.

As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion. If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past forty years.

In the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, we have a previously unimaginable opportunity for satisfying compromise on abortion. In accordance with liberal demands, the procedure will remain safe and legal, and reproductive choices will be extended to those who have been unable to afford them in the past. In exchange, conservatives will see abortion rates plummet, achieving a result comparable to that of illegality but without the fierce controversy or government imposition in the lives of individuals.

I am not so naïve as to believe that this conclusion is likely to be reached soon, or without further contest. Nor do I anticipate that Tom Minnery or Bryan Fischer will embrace President Obama as a pro-life hero. But it seems to me that, if conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively.

Obamacare stands to cut abortion rates by 75%. And yet, the pro-life movement has been leveraged in opposition to Obamacare, and most especially in opposition to the birth control mandate. They don’t believe women should be guaranteed access to free contraception even though this access is the number one proven best way to decrease the number of abortions. That access would, to use the rhetoric of the pro-life movement, prevent the murders of 900,000 unborn babies every year.

When I was pro-life, I truly believed it was about saving unborn babies. If I had seen a study like the one above – that making birth control available free of charge would cut the number of abortions by 75% – I would have immediately supported the requirement that all insurance companies offer birth control without copay. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lives. I cried about this as a child, cried about all the deaths. I felt guilty that I was one who had survived the abortion “holocaust.” Saving hundreds of thousands of these lives a year? I would have jumped at the idea!

And yet, the pro-life movement is fighting tooth and nail to repeal the very act they should be praising to the rooftops. In fact, some of them don’t even just think birth control shouldn’t be covered without copay, they don’t think birth control should be covered at all. When I read this study and thought about the pro-life response to Obamacare, I was baffled. Dumbstruck. But it gets worse.

Making It Harder to Afford Children

One thing I realized back in 2007 is that, given that six in ten women who have abortions already have at least one child and that three quarters of women who have abortions report that they cannot afford another child, if we want to bring abortion rates down we need to make sure that women can always afford to carry their pregnancies to term. Maternity and birth is expensive, adding your child to your health care plan is expensive, daycare is expensive, and on and on it goes. Raising children costs money, and women who have abortions know that.

The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

I realized, then, that if the goal is to cut the abortion rate, the pro-life movement should be working to make sure that women can afford to have and care for children. After all, a full three quarters of women who have abortions say they could not afford a child. If we found a way to offer more aid to parents, if we mandated things like paid maternity leave, subsidized childcare, and universal health insurance for pregnant women and for children, some women who would otherwise abort would almost certainly decide to carry their pregnancies to term. But the odd thing is, those who identify as “pro-life” are most adamant in opposing these kind of reforms. I knew this back in 2007, because I grew up in one of those families. I grew up believing that welfare should be abolished, that Head Start needed to be eliminated, that medicaid just enabled people to be lazy. I grew up in a family that wanted to abolish some of the very programs with the potential to decrease the number of abortions. When I shifted my position on this issue, I was in many ways simply becoming consistent.

With the advent of the Tea Party movement and new calls for a small government and for cutting things like welfare and food stamps, those who claim to believe abortion is murder, who claim to want to bring abortion rates down, have only done further damage to what credibility they had left in my eyes. And lately, it’s gotten worse. You see, in some cases conservatives are actively working to make it harder for poor women to afford to carry unintended pregnancies to term.

A Pennsylvania House bill seeks to limit the amount of TANF assistance that low-income women receive based on the amount of children they give birth to while covered under the program.

Despite the fact that low-income women who give birth to children would logically need increased assistance to care for their larger family, Pennsylvania lawmakers — State Reps. RoseMarie Swanger (R), Tom Caltagirone (D), Mark Gillen (R), Keith Gillespie (R), Adam Harris (R), and Mike Tobash (R) — don’t want their state’s welfare program to provide additional benefits for that newborn. If a woman gives birth to a child who was conceived from rape, she may seek an exception to this rule so that her welfare benefits aren’t slashed, but only if she can provide proof that she reported her sexual assault and her abuser’s identity to the police

In other words, this bill would make it so that if a poor woman gets pregnant, she has to decide whether to have an abortion or whether to carry to term, have the baby, and see her welfare benefits slashed, taking food out of the mouths of the children she is already struggling to feed. I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m really not, because I’m remembering rumblings underneath the polished surface of the things I was taught. This idea that women shouldn’t “spread their legs” if they’re not ready to raise the results of their promiscuity, that the government shouldn’t be expected to pick up the tab for some slut’s inability to say no. As a teen and a young adult, I never thought about how inconsistent these ideas were with the “saving unborn babies” pro-life rhetoric I so strongly believed in. But they are. If it’s all about “saving unborn babies,” it shouldn’t matter how those unborn babies are conceived, or whether their mothers are rich or poor, married or not.

If those who oppose abortion really believes that abortion is murder, they should be supporting programs that would make it easier for poor women to afford to carry pregnancies to term. Instead, they’re doing the opposite. Overwhelmingly, those who oppose abortion also want to cut welfare and medicaid. Without these programs, the number of women who choose abortion because they cannot afford to carry a given pregnancy to term will rise. Further, they are working against things like paid maternity leave, subsidized daycare, and universal health insurance for children, programs which would likely decrease the number of women who choose abortion because they cannot afford to carry a pregnancy to term. And in this specific case, conservatives want to penalize a poor woman who chooses to carry a pregnancy to term by making it harder for her to make ends meet.

This makes utterly no sense if the goal is to save babies.

Conclusion

After reading that last article just a couple days ago, I realized something. I am done making excuses for the pro-life movement. I am done trying to explain that the movement is not anti-woman. I am done trying to insist that the movement really is simply trying to “save unborn babies.” I’m done because it’s not true. The pro-life movement supports the exact policies that will keep abortion rates high. It is those who believe in choice who support policies that will bring the abortion rates down.

I was a dupe. I’m ready to admit it now.

The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.

But I am very sure that there are other dupes out there. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking “but I really am in it to save unborn babies,” I am sure you’re not alone. After all, I was one of you.

If you are one who has been a part of the pro-life movement because you really do believe in “saving unborn babies,” it’s time to cut your ties with the movement. You may be an honest and kind-hearted person, but you’ve been had. You’ve been taken in. It’s time to let go. It’s time to support Obamacare’s birth control mandate, it’s time to call off opposition to birth control, and it’s time to get behind progressive programs that help provide for poor women and their children. It’s time to make your actions consistent with your motives. While I am myself no longer morally opposed to abortion, I and others like me share your desire to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and to ensure that every woman can afford the option of keeping her pregnancy.]

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

Abortion is a right at any and all times

There is no such thing as inalienable rights, and that rights are “whatever humans decide they are” and therefore I cannot assert that a mother has rights to a fetus over the fetus itself and over the would-be father. Resisting the urge to tell him to get the hell out of the country, I instead redirected my horror to suggesting that he read the Declaration of Independence.

Let’s get some things straightened out first:

  1. Fetuses are not aborted. Pregnancies are aborted. [will be explained]
  2. Giving birth is a method of abortion. The pregnancy is aborted.
  3. When a woman who is 8 to 9 months pregnant arrives at a doctor’s office and says, “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. Make me not pregnant anymore,” the doctor who agrees to abort the pregnancy, whether by triggering an early birth or by surgically removing the baby from the mother, is obligated to abort the pregnancy in such a way that does not interfere with the inalienable right to life of this (newly) independent life-form. The baby can be placed in an incubator and may survive. If it does not, the woman is even less responsible for its death than the doctor. She merely separated the fetus from her body, the same way a doctor can decide not to provide resources to sustain the child’s life if, for example, finances are inadequate.
  4. That is why it matters whether a life-form is independent: the method of abortion comes into question. When the life cannot survive outside the womb, the doctor may abort the pregnancy in any fashion. When the life can survive outside the womb, the doctor is obligated to abort the pregnancy by removing the life without harming it. As medical advancements are introduced, this window will become smaller and smaller. The question of whether the life can survive outside the mother does not interfere with a woman’s right to separate a fetus from herself.
  5. If you can’t identify the difference between a woman arrested for not feeding her child and a woman not providing for her child by aborting her pregnancy, you’re an idiot. In the former scenario the enforcement of the law does not result in forcing the woman to feed her child—it results in taking the child away and providing it with a guardian who consents to sustaining its life. Likewise in the latter, the child is separated from the woman and cared for by someone—or something—else, like an incubator.

Speaking of consent, its involvement is the definition of an inalienable right. There are two types of rights: inalienable rights and civil rights. Inalienable rights include but are not limited to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (Sound familiar?) You are screwing over your own argument by denying the existence of inalienable rights, like the right of the fetus to live independently. Inalienable rights do not come from government. Civil rights are protected by government.

The right to life is inalienable, but the definition of an inalienable right is one that does not require the consent of another. If it requires consent, it’s not a right. You have the right to live–you do not have the right to survive at the expenses of someone else. Once you are enforcing a right by encroaching on another person, you are no longer practicing an inalienable right but infringing on the rights of that other individual. A civil right may require consent on the most fundamental level, but does not remove the right of the person from whom it requires consent to deny that consent without consequence.

When the fetus is living off the body of a woman, it is not protected by its inalienable right to life because it is DEPENDING on the woman and on her consent. *Removing* it from her is not *killing* it; it dies on its own because it cannot live. That is why pregnancies are aborted, not fetuses.

And no, having sex is not consenting to being pregnant for nine months. That is not a contract.

Who’s to say that woman is any more responsible of a fetus dying once she separates it from herself than the person who neglected to invent an incubator that can sustain it? Or refuses to provide it?

The right to life does not mean someone else sustaining that life. The distinction is only made when the human in question is of the male variety. No one ever says, “That guy refused his ability to give his organs and totally aborted that patient!” No one ever collapses a man’s abilities with his person.

Just because someone has the ability do so something does NOT mean you can FORCE her to do it and USE that ability for your own purposes. This is true regardless of sex.

At any stage of a pregnancy it is okay to remove the fetus (or baby) from the womb. That means at nine months, that is *still* okay. The child is likely to survive outside, or it may die, but either outcome is irrelevant: at no stage of a pregnancy is the child *entitled* to the bodily provisions of the mother. You need a person’s consent to live off of them, and when you need consent that means it’s not an inalienable right.

Whether or not you believe it is moral or immoral for a woman to abort a pregnancy at nine months is irrelevant to the foundational principle that she has that right.

Whether mother is or isn’t providing an incubator for the life to continue is IRRELEVANT to her right to abort the pregnancy or *separate the child from herself* and to whether the government can interfere with that inalienable right.

The next time you are giving birth announce to the medical staff, “I am aborting the pregnancy now.” Because you are.

4 Reasons to dump him

This article covers some really good red flags and It can also be helpful for men in bad relationships. So I would call it, 4 reasons to dump him your significant other

1. He isn’t supportive. The modern woman expects a true life partner. Gone are the days of aspiring to take care of a man or putting your needs on the backburner for his. Non-supportive traits include:

  • Making fun of or belittling your goals and ambitions in career or life
  • Making you feel guilty for spending time at work
  • Not helping around the house
  • Ignoring you in times of need or distress
  • Pressuring you into making life decisions like quitting your job, moving or having children

If you bring it up and he still doesn’t get it, dump him. 


2. You can’t be yourself around him. Are you playing a character of who you think he wants to be with? Not only does this perpetuate a relationship based on lies (even if it’s just through omission), but it also can be detrimental to your emotional well-being. Lying about your job or considering a breast enhancement just to impress someone or to fit into their “ideal” is a bad idea. The best partners are the ones who make you feel great in your own skin and who you can relax around. If you reveal your true self to someone you’re dating, and he doesn’t appreciate your true colors, dump him.


3. He’s a user. We all know the type - the freeloading dude who spends his days in the coffee shop, nights playing in a band and lives with his parents. However, users aren’t always this easy to spot. It may start slowly as he “forgets” his wallet or has his car “repaired,” but if you notice that these situations are becoming more normal than exceptions, it’s time to run. You are not an ATM, a taxi driver, a cell phone provider, hotel or sex machine. A real relationship consists of contributions from both sides — not just emotionally but also financially. If you think he’s taking advantage of your generosity, dump him.


4. He doesn’t get along with your friends and/or family. What would life be without your girlfriends? Any person you are seriously considering dating also will most likely spend time with the people in your life who you care about. While variety is the spice of life, if you find that your new boo and your friends or family are getting into knock-down, drag-out fights, he speaks to them inappropriately or talks about them badly in public, despite your feelings, dump him.


Any relationship should end immediately, no matter what, if the following things occur:

  • He is physically abusive
  • He is verbally or emotionally abusive
  • He threatens you or your friends and family
  • He steals from you
  • He cheats on you
  • He habitually lies to you

Reach out for help from friends, family and law enforcement if you have serious concerns about your safety and well-being in any of these situations. If you break off a relationship and he begins to stalk or threaten you, don’t be afraid to take action.

Every relationship will have its ups and downs

  • Weigh the pros and cons. Are you really ready to end it or are you just caught up in the moment? Make sure the reason you are ending it is legitimate and that you are prepared to deal with the consequences.
  • Don’t break up over a text message or email.Tweeting the bad news is tacky. Everyone deserves at least a phone call when ending a relationship to ask questions and get the closure they need.
  • Don’t blindside him. How can you expect him to change or work on problems if you never told him about them? If you aren’t happy, bring it up and discuss it first before jumping straight to the breakup.
  • Hold your ground. He may try to convince you that you need to be with him or that you’ll never find another boyfriend if you break up with him. Don’t be sucked into claims that he’s “changed” or “will work harder.” And don’t look back after the deed is done.
  • Be Honest. Don’t lie about why you are ending the relationship or say things like “maybe we can be together in the future” if you don’t mean it.

Whether you’ve only been together a short time or it has been years, a breakup is never easy or enjoyable.

Remember that you don’t owe anyone anything, and you have the right to end a relationship for whatever reason you choose and whenever you feel is right. It will take time to get over the breakup, and it’s normal to be sad and even angry.

Allow yourself to feel these emotions and give yourself time recover before diving into the dating scene again. Turn to your girlfriends and family for support, and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

Men with stay-at-home wives more likely to be sexist in the workplace

No shocker there, but it’s nice to see it so neatly laid out.

The paper’s findings are a social Molotov cocktail wrapped in academic brown paper. Most notably, the three researchers (who hold positions at Harvard, NYU, and the University of Utah) found after a series of four studies that “husbands embedded in traditional and neo-traditional marriages (relative to husbands embedded in modern ones) exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that undermine the role of women in the workplace.”

(I myself wondered about those definitions. For the record, the researchers label “modern marriages” those where wives are employed full time and “traditional marriages” those in which wives are not employed.)

The authors arrived at these startling findings by examining the issue of “stalled progress toward gender equality” – or the fact that while women account for a growing number of advanced degrees and share of the labor force, they remain an endangered species at the ladder’s highest levels: Among other notable numbers, women are fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, occupy barely 15 percent of board seats of the Fortune 500, and make up not even 20 percent of Congress.

The researchers asked whether this lack of progress might in part be caused by “a pocket of resistance to the revolution,” namely “husbands embedded in marriages that structurally mirror the 1950s ideal American family portrayed in the ‘Adventures of Ozzzie and Harriet’ sitcom.’” They write that a 2008 paper spurred them to wonder “‘whether a domestic traditionalist can also be an organizational egalitarian?’ The answer we posit is ‘no.’”

Wow.

In other words, the paper’s three authors say, when it comes to shaping views on women and work, there’s no place like home:

“We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.”

The studies showed that personal views and the domestic architecture of male leaders’ private lives helped shape women’s professional opportunities. This held true in both surveys and lab experiments, including one that tested whether candidates with identical backgrounds, but different names — Drew versus Diane — should receive a spot in a sought-after, company-sponsored MBA program. According to the research, men in traditional marriages gave Diane “significantly poor evaluations” compared to Drew. It seems that husbands with wives working at home imprinted that ideal onto women in the office.

Is every man with a stay-at-home wife sexist? Of course not. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that traditional marriage structures often reflect traditional views on gender roles, and traditional views on gender roles mean that women are considered inferior. And men don’t leave those views behind when they leave home and come into the office. 

Virginity loss and Teenage Boys

The money quote is this: 43% of never-married teenage girls and 42% of never-married teenage boys have experienced sexual intercourse at least once. (Note: throughout this post, “sex” means “a penis put inside a vagina.” Blame the CDC.) In addition, a similar number of girls and boys have had sex in the last month. It is almost as if boys and girls are more similar than they are different! Nah. Couldn’t be.

The percentage of teenage girls who have had sex has been steadily declining over the past twenty years; the percentage of teenage boys who have had sex was steadily declining, but has been the same since 2002. So, uh, that hookup culture thing those people who like talking about The Kids These Days on the TV keep talking about? Dooooesn’t really seem to be in evidence. It’s anyone’s guess why people have stopped having sex so much: Internet porn? Abstinence-only sex education? A sudden rise in the popularity of oral sex? Who knows?

The majority of both boys and girls had lost their virginity to someone they were dating at the time.  However, about a quarter of boys lost their virginity to a friend or someone they’d just met, as opposed to 16% of girls, which is a fairly significant and interesting difference. I have no idea why that is; perhaps it’s related to the sociologically attested fact that boys tend to see their virginity as a shameful burden to get rid of as quickly as possible, while girls tend to see their virginity as a gift to give to someone special whom they truly love.

Boys were more likely than girls to be happy to lose their virginity: 63% really wanted it, 33% had mixed feelings, and 5% didn’t want it. 41% of girls really wanted it, 48% had mixed feelings, and 11% didn’t want it. “Didn’t want it”, of course, can include everything from “I wasn’t ready and I really shouldn’t have lost my virginity then but I consented” to “my partner raped me”; I do find it interesting that the gender ratio for not wanting to lose one’s virginity when one did is roughly the same as it is for rape.

I think a lot of the girls’ mixed feelings are rooted in slut-shaming; some percentage of those girls who have mixed feelings are going to be ones who actually do want sex, but are afraid that having sex will make them worth less or that giving it up will make him not want to be with you any longer.

…holy shit the boys are lucky because 63% of them actually and unambiguously wanted to lose their virginities AMERICA WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU

41% of virginal girls didn’t have sex because it was against their religion or morals, compared to 31% of virginal men. The next most popular among men was not having met the right person yet, at 29%; for girls, not wanting to be pregnant and not having met the right person yet were roughly tied. Again, we see girls tending to see their virginity as a gift to be preserved and men as a stigma to be gotten rid of; men are about ten percentage points more likely to be like “I want to lose my virginity but I don’t have anyone to lose it WITH,” while women are more likely to be all “I don’t want to have sex yet.”

The single result that has left me the most boggled is that 13% of girls and 19% of boys would be pleased by a pregnancy, and 57% of girls and 46% of boys would be very upset. I can only presume it is because boys do not have to give birth, are less likely to have their entire lives disrupted by a child, and are less likely to have babysat. Perhaps I have spent too much time reading what asshole misogynists have to say, because my gender stereotypes were assuming that women would all have The Baby Rabies and men were all Kids Suck, Rawr, but apparently not.

http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/virginity-loss-and-teenage-boys/

Lingerie Football League

The Lingerie Football League essentially represents everything that is wrong with (attitudes towards) women’s sport today. I’ve written before about how women’s sport isn’t taken seriously in this country, and the LFL is only likely to encourage the view that it is only viable as parody, or soft core porn.

Currently, the most popular female sports stars are also the most sexually appealing. One’s mind immediately goes to such athletes as Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova and Australian swimmers Stephanie Rice (who was honoured for her achievements at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with an FHM shoot) and Giaan Rooney (I’m not even sure if she still swims but she continues to be beautiful and profitable on my television screen). Their talent is secondary to their looks, and the ability to earn sponsorship money depends on their physical beauty too. The LFL takes this to the most offensive extreme: that women are only worth watching in sport if they are able to serve as fantasy objects. The names of the teams serve to highlight this element. While men’s sports team names seek to evoke strength, power and victory, through names such as the Tigers, the Storm and the Giants, the LFL team names relate almost solely to sex, e.g. Charm, Crush, Passion, Sin, Temptation.

The ‘sport’ itself is irrelevant – as evidenced by the League persisting in playing American football on our shores, which no one here cares about. The gridiron serves only as a pretext to have women jiggle about enticingly. The jiggling is especially apparent due to the women’s barely-there ‘uniforms’ of bikinis plus token shoulder pads (I’m sure those have a real name). Contrast this to male players of American football, who are clothed to the knee, are well padded and protected from injury.  Furthermore, the padding helps to hide the shape of a male player’s body, while the LFL ‘uniform’ reveals almost all of a female player’s and leaves her open to scrapes. The message is clear: men’s sport is about the skillful playing of the game; women’s sport is an almost-pornographic novelty. Male players are valued; female players are replaceable units of flesh.

Looking at the website for the League further highlights this. All photos of the players are from the breasts up. The shoulder pads cover the women’s neck/upper chest area, leaving the cleavage exposed – it’s clear where the audience is supposed to look. Clicking into the teams, the women’s stats consist of their height, weight and age . Important information for your sexual fantasies, less relevant to their ability to play the game. The players are all smiling (at you), and are heavily made up, in order to sexually excite the audience. This downplays their ability to play football, as to be a strong and talented player would intimidate the intended customers.  Can’t let the menfolk think we are actually attempting to play sport!

Another post on Nice Guys (tm)

You hear it all the time: “He was such a NICE Guy, and she’s such a Heartless Bitch for dumping him.”

I get letters from self-professed Nice Guys, complaining that women must WANT to be treated like shit, because THEY, the “Nice Guy” have failed repeatedly in relationships. This is akin to the false logic that “Whales are mammals. Whales live in the sea. Therefore, all mammals live in the sea.”

If you have one bad relationship after another, the only common denominator isYOU. Think about it.

What’s wrong with Nice Guys? The biggest problem is that most Nice Guys (tm) are hideously insecure. They are so anxious to be liked and loved that they do things for other people to gain acceptance and attention, rather than for the simply pleasure of giving. You never know if a Nice Guy really likes you for who you are, or if he has glommed onto you out of desperation because you actually paid some kind of attention to him.

Nice Guys exude insecurity — a big red target for the predators of the world. There are women out there who are “users” — just looking for a sucker to take advantage of. Users home-in on “Nice Guys”, stroke their egos, take them for a ride, add a notch to their belts, and move on. It’s no wonder so many Nice Guys complain about women being horrible, when the so often the kind of woman that gets attracted to them is the lowest form of life…

Self-confident, caring, decent-hearted women find “Nice Guys” to be too clingy, self-abasing, and insecure.

Nice Guys go overboard. They bring roses to a “lets get together for coffee” date. They try to buy her affections with presents and fancy things. They think they know about romance, but their timing is all wrong, and they either come-on too strong, too hard and too fast, OR, they are so shy and unassertive, that they hang around pretending to be “friends”, in the hope that somehow, someway, they will get the courage up to ask her out for a “date”.

They are so desperate to please that they put aside their own needs, and place the object of their desire on a pedestal. Instead of appreciating her, they worship her. We are only human, and pedestals are narrow, confining places to be — not to mention the fact that we tend to fall off of them.

They cling to her, and want to be “one” with her for fear that if she is out of sight, she may disappear or become attracted to someone else. A Nice Guy often has trouble with emotional intimacy, because he believes that if she learns about the REAL person inside, she will no longer love him.

Nice Guys are always asking HER to make the decisions. They think it’s being equitable, but it puts an unfair burden of responsibility on her, and gives him the opportunity to blame her if the decision was an unwise one.

Nice Guys rarely speak up when something bothers them, and rarely state clearly what it is they want, need and expect. They fear that any kind of conflict might spell the end of the relationship. Instead of comprimising and negotiating, they repeatedly “give in”. When she doesn’t appreciate their sacrifice, they will complain that, “Everything I did, I did for her.”, as if this somehow elevates them to the status of martyrs. A woman doesn’t want a martyr. She wants an equal, caring, adult partner.

Nice Guys think that they will never meet anyone as special as she is. They use their adoration as a foundation for claiming that “no one will ever love her as much as I do.” Instead of being a profound statement of their devotion, this is a subtle, but nasty insult. It is akin to saying to her: “You are a difficult person, and only *I* can ever truly love you, so be thankful I’m here.”

The nice guy -needs- to believe that he is the best person for the object of his desires, because otherwise his insecurities will overrun him with jealousies and fear. The truth of the matter is that there are many people out there who can be a good match for her. We rarely stop loving people we truly care about. Even if we no longer continue the relationship, the feelings will continue… But love isn’t mutually exclusive. We can (and do) love many people in our lives, and romantic love is really no different. Though he may love her immensely, there will likely be other people who have loved her just as much in her past, and will love her just as much in the future. The irony of it all is: “Who would want to go out with someone who was inherintly unlovable anyways?”

More than loving the woman in his life, a Nice Guy NEEDS her. “She is my Life, my only source of happiness…” YECH! What kind of a burden is that to place on her? That SHE has to be responsible for YOUR happiness? Get a grip!

Another mistake Nice Guys make is to go after “hard luck” cases. They deliberately pick women with neuroses, problems, and personality disorders, because Nice Guys are “helpers”. A Nice Guy thinks that by “helping” this woman, it will make him a better, more lovable person. He thinks it will give him a sense of accomplishment, and that she will appreciate and love him more, for all his efforts and sacrifice. He is usually disappointed by the results.

This ultimately boils down to the fact that Nice Guys don’t like themselves. Is it any wonder women don’t like them? In order to truly love someone else, you must first loveyourself. Too often Nice Guys mistake obsession for “love”.

Get this Guys:INSECURITY ISN’T SEXY. IT’S A TURNOFF.

You don’t have to be an ego-inflated, arrogant jerk. You just have to LIKE yourself. You have to know what you want out of life, and go after it. Only then will you be attractive to the kind of woman with whom a long-term relationship is possible. 

Articles I found on Nice Guys (tm)

http://www.shakesville.com/2007/12/explainer-what-is-nice-guy.html

http://thefatalfeminist.com/2011/12/18/nice-guy/

Nice Guy™

The terms Nice Guy™ and nice guy syndrome are used to describe men who view themselves as prototypical “nice guys,” but whose “nice deeds” are in reality only motivated by attempts to passively please women into a relationship and/or sex.

The majority of Nice Guys™ (once again, used gender-inclusively) are suffering from a common delusion: that the dating world is even remotely logical.

True Nice Guys™, as opposed to stage one Pseudo-Nice Guys who just happen to have a passive dating strategy, seem to regard dating as more or less like ordering something from a vending machine. If you put in the right sum of money and press the right buttons, then a relationship will be dispensed for you. This belief is, of course, incredibly objectifying: you’re not treating the people you might date as people, you’re treating them as objects that function according to a simplistic set of rules.

Nice Guys™ also generally regard people of the appropriate gender as being more-or-less interchangeable. When a boy texts you X, he will always mean Y. Always tease women, because that turns all girls on. But in the real world people are different. The most viable seduction tactic for me is to have a four-hour conversation with me, in which you explain to me several things I didn’t already know; the most viable seduction tactic for someone else is going to be dancing all night at a house club, arguing with them about NPR, seeming to be broken and in need of fixing, or wearing eyeliner. You simply cannot reduce the multiplicity of people’s turnons to “women like this and men like that.”

However, there is definitely a gendered difference in what inputs people decide the vending machine really ought to operate on. (For this bit Nice Guy™ is going to indicate actual dudes.) In general, Nice Girls™ tend to do What Men Want, and Nice Guys™ tend to do What Women Want. (I haven’t meant any Nice Guy™ Queers, but I would be entirely unsurprised by the existence of, for instance, a Nice Butch™ who does What Femmes Want. Objectification crosses all sexual orientations.)

Unfortunately, most of the Nice Guys™ and Nice Girls™ appear to be gathering their ideas of What Men Want and What Women Want from some unholy amalgation of romantic comedies and Disney movies.

In my experience, Nice Girls ™ tend to perform femininity. Like the moments in high school where I was like “all right, I’m here, I’m wearing a skirt, I put the gunk on my face, now where are the dudes hitting on me?” Unfortunately, you cannot actually get a date with a guy by wearing a skirt in his general direction.

Similarly, other Nice Girls™ will act stupider than they are around guys, pretend to need help carrying things, or artificially speak in a far higher voice. Teen magazines like Seventeen are, in my experience, primarily directed at Nice Girls™ who don’t understand how relationships work, so things like “compliment his headphones—boys love electronics!” or “wear gold eyeshadow to appear flirty” will seem like good advice that is unlocking The Secret To Boys. I could go in detail about this but we’ll save the Nice Girl post for another day.

Nice Guys™, on the other hand, tend to use a couple of different inputs to the Great Dating Vending Machine. Some, especially older Nice Guys™, will tend to rely on their success: after all, they have a good job (often, for some reason, in IT), a college degree, a nice respectable middle-class lifestyle, some spending money… why, they just can’t understand why they wouldn’t be able to get any woman they wanted! Nice Guy™ rants on the Internet often point out the great injustice that is the unemployed DJ down the street getting laid more than they do, when he clearly has no prospects in life whatsoever.

However, for most Nice Guys™ that I’ve met, the input was pedestalization.

I had a very revealing conversation once with a Nice Guy™, who pointed out that he had brought a girl flowers every date, paid for dinners, and not even asked if she wanted to have sex. In short, he said, he was incredibly nice, he had done everything that women say they want, and he had still gotten dumped! I had to stop myself from responding “dude, I would dump you too.”

In general, Nice Guys™ tend to go for that white-knighting shit. They are so nice. They buy you things! They sing you romantic songs! They do every clichéd gesture of romance! They held you while you cried into their shoulders! They do you all kinds of favors and don’t ask you for anything in return! Don’t women get off on that? (Nota Bene: Roosh V’s Compliment and Cuddle is, unintentionally, the single best description of this mindset. Particularly since he seems to think that the attitude described therein is what feminists recommend for men. Roosh, you fail feminism forever.)

Let me be clear: I don’t blame Nice Guys™ for falling into this shit. I blame the culture that taught them that pedestalization is romantic and that all girls love Prince Charming riding in to save the day. Every damn Hallmark holiday in which you show your love for your unique, special partner who is like no one else in the world through buying the same expensive shit everyone else is buying. Every damn Tumblr macro about how you should put your girlfriend up on a pedestal and save her from the evils of the world. Every damn romantic comedy about earning the love of a beautiful woman, often via stalking. Pretty much anything having to do with diamonds.

Nevertheless, I have to be clear that pedestalization does not work. In general, people do not like to be supplicated to. Being like “I have done everything you want, Mistress! I ask only for the touch of your lips!” works well in BDSM scenes and fairy tales, not so much in real life. And while some women like all that Hallmark shit, a lot of women don’t, and ignoring the desires of your partner in favor of the desires of All Women Everywhere rarely ends well. Most people don’t want to be a plaster saint: they want to be treated as a person by their partners.

Many Nice Guys™, having realized that supplication and pedestalization don’t actually work as well as could be hoped, go to the complete opposite and start degrading women. After all, they figure, if women don’t want to be treated like princesses, they must want to be treated like dirt! Many misogynistic pick up artists take this route, which is why I classify many forms of PUA as a type of Nice Guy™-ism.  The actions are different, but the mindset is the same.

To be fair, even misogynistic PUA often works better than supplication, partially because they approach tons of women, and partially because some of their strategies work for reasons other than the reasons that they think it works. For instance, the famous “neg” may be taken as friendly and flirtatious teasing, blunt honesty, a sign that he’s interested in her despite her imperfections, or even a straight-up compliment.

However, both degradation and pedestalization are the completely wrong. Gender egalitarianism ought to deal with the degradation/pedestalization problem the way sex-positivity deals with the virgin/whore dilemma: it doesn’t say virgins or whores are better, it says that the whole conversation is stupid because you can’t meaningfully judge people’s worth based on how much sex they’ve had. Similarly, the proper response to the pedestalization/degradation dilemma is neither “women are princesses” nor “women are ugly bitchy sluts,” neither “women are elves” nor “women are orcs”; the proper response is “I reject the entire premise of this conversation.”

You’re not a nice guys if you do what you do in hope to get something in return. So if you’re giving me rides, buying me gifts, opening doors, helping me with homework, or doing any favors in hope for something in return doesn’t make you a nice guy, it makes you a nice guy™.  If you were an actual nice guy you would do all those things because you’re a good person, not so you could get a girl. When you think you’re entitled to a girl because of all you’ve done for her or now she owes you and must want/like you, you’re going to come off as obnoxious, narcissist and misogynist, not to mention demeaning. 

Also do not call me a bitch because I don’t give you what you want in return. Even my girl friends(victim of society that creates the nice guy™) sometimes try to make me feel bad if I don’t date or hook up with a guy who gives me rides, texts me all day, takes me out, pays for things, but I don’t feel bad because I’m a person too. I have feelings too and can pick who I like and I don’t feel guilty if I don’t give a guy what he wants just because he was “acting” nice. 

So if you’re a guy who often finds yourself saying things like, “women like assholes, not nice guys,” “I’m too sweet and that’s why women don’t like me,” or thinking why the hell don’t girls give me attention, stop for a second and realize the problem is with you and not the women. Women don’t like you because you’re boring, you suffocate them with your presence, they find you ugly, you’re creepy and/or super overwhelming. Also If you ignore the not so attractive nice girl who likes you, you’re not a nice guy, you’re a guy who pretends to be nice to girls who’re way out of your league and can do better than you.  

So please stop being obnoxious, narcissist, and feeling entitled to women. Women are people, which means they are everywhere on the elf-orc spectrum. The proper response to women is not to worship at her feet nor to push her into the dirt, it’s to treat her exactly like you’d treat a person, except that this person usually has boobs.