Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A friendly debate

Miss Laura has had a not-so-friendly debate with my friend, Sam, this of course caused me to browse her blog. It has turned into a spot where I try to "get in touch" with a christian conservative view. It is a perplexing view, but interesting and frustrating to read. During her debate with Sam instead of responding to Sam directly, she responded on Sam's son's blog - infuriating to say the least.
Laura recently wrote an entry about feminism. This caused me to try to respond to her again. I tried to respond once before, but my comments were erased. So, breaking in my new blog I'll post my response since I'm sure it will be erased again.

"I don't have a toddler's blog, so I'll have to respond to this post. Every so often I read this blog – just to see how some christian conservatives think. I do not dislike conservatives – or christians. However, opinions without research are difficult to take seriously. I have replied to this blog before with simple questions (without any derogatory language or personal attacks), but they were deleted. I would guess that this will be erased as well. However, it is important to me to respond to unsupported and outlandish claims.
Like any philosophy, feminism is divided into many movements, but radical feminists are spotlighted – much like the extremist Muslims. Not all Muslims are terrorists and not all feminists are radical. Dr. Hirshman doesn’t represent all feminists (maybe refer back to the Newsweek article where the interviewer inferred she was using feminism).
Laura claims that self-esteem has become an issue over the past 30 years and she attributes that to feminists. Self-esteem has become an issue over the last 60 years because the concept of self-esteem has been spotlighted through the self-help movement. Furthermore, self-esteem is strongly related to media images and peer interaction.
Obviously, parents do impact their children’s development. Laura infers feminists do not care about children, nor do “career women.” Mothers that work aren’t given enough credit. According to Huston and Aronson (2005) from the University of Texas, Austin, mother-child time is “necessary for children’s cognitive activity, language, and positive social interactions.” With that being noted, the same study concluded that time spent with children must be attentive and sensitive. Furthermore, they concluded that employed women compensated by lost time during the week by increasing time during the weekend – by decreasing leisure time. Finally, employed mothers spent more time in quality activities (e.g. playing, talking, and holding their children). There was no conclusion that mothers’ time working interfered with the quality of their relationship with their children. Yes dear, it seems women can work and have a family too. Feminists weren’t so far off when they imagined this world. You do remember that
Laura clearly has no idea what “feminism has done.” Feminism has made a choice available to women. This so called divide between stay-at-home moms and working women has been perpetuated by the media; much like the Newsweek article in the 80’s that claimed women over 40 were more likely to get shot by a terrorist that be married (this was retracted and overwhelming evidence refutes this claim). People that resent feminism blow “Mommy Wars” out of proportion.
Really? The divorce rate can be attributed to feminism? Again, the choice that was offered to women is a result of the feminist movement and cultural shifts. So, women and men that are unhappy have to stay in a marriage? As Laura has so eloquently put it “women are the same as men and that men should have no more leadership in the relationship than the woman.” There is an undeniable difference in the physiology of men and women, so that should be magically overcome right? Women can’t be in the military or physically demanding jobs because of this difference? We are not as cognitively competent? In my marriage, it is a partnership between my husband and I. Watch out – an egalitarian relationship? I thank the women before me that worked so diligently for this cultural shift.
As for abortion, we could debate this for years. Ending a pregnancy can be the best choice for the woman and fetus. Let us address the children that result from unwanted pregnancies. A study done by David et al. in 1998 followed children from unwanted pregnancies and wanted pregnancies. By adulthood, unwanted children were more likely to abuse drugs, have legal issues and have overall psychological difficulties – this list is not exhaustive. Women that go through with unwanted pregnancies are also unhappy and report that they treat their children poorly throughout development.
Just a few statistics I have for you: before Roe v. Wade, an estimated 200,000 to 1.2 million illegal abortions were performed each year and about 10,000 women died from them. Women used crude and harmful ways to induce abortions. A woman is 25 times more likely to die as a result of childbirth than of a legal abortion. (Matlin, 1998).
I have worked in a group home for cognitively disabled and unwanted children. Have you met children that have been in and out of foster care and that are unwanted by everyone - only having revolving staff to look up to? It is heartbreaking. However, our friends in the government cut funding to social services and this group of people is forgotten.
We’re not going to stop people from having sex. Instead, our president has promoted an abstinence only policy – these people aren’t even getting the education they need to protect themselves against disease and unwanted pregnancies. Educated individuals are less likely to have children at a young age and to practice safe sex. Abstinence only policies don’t work. Not everyone is a christian – nor does everyone want to be a christian. Even people that identify themselves as some type of christian have premarital sex.
Laura is misguided by what feminism stands for. Many feminists work for HUMAN rights. For example, boys are trailing significantly in school and it is the feminist psychologists that are working towards understanding this trend.
Before making such wild claims, please Laura, do your homework. You write as though you know feminists, but from your description you have no idea what the philosophy is about. You make extreme generalizations about a group of people you obviously don’t know. It seems as though your trend is to criticize groups of people you couldn’t begin to understand.
You seem to think that feminists hate men. Where did you get that? And feminists are promiscuous. Please, come up with something better than that. How can a promiscuous woman hate a man? It seems to be the exact opposite, don’t you think? Oh and maybe you should take a look into third-wave feminism and the ‘girl power’ movement. It encourages self-respect and loving yourself – no matter your physical appearance. Feminism is about empowerment – not at the expense of anyone else.
Substantiate your claims at least. I consider myself a feminist and I love my husband and our egalitarian relationship. As for my sex life, well dear, sorry to disappoint you but I wouldn’t be considered promiscuous by any standard. I’m also pretty satisfied and happy in my life. I could provide you with all kinds of similar examples, but that wouldn’t add to your ridiculous claims would it?
By the way, primary references are helpful when making any type of point. I respect that you are a christian, but have you ever thought critically about the information you are fed? Maybe a course in general psychology or sociology – or God forbid, a course in gender would expand your ability to have an informed opinion. I hope you’re able to write a rebuttal that is researched – but I understand if you cannot."

6 comments:

the occasional cig... said...

[right now i'm thinking, 'did that comment i jsut posted not go through? what the fuck?! dammit, i'll just type it out again...']

oh shit, i just read your first post, commented, and backed the browser up to discover that you posted JUST NOW! fuckin a', you just made my night--that and the ryan adams tix i recieved in the mail today. yes, we have actual tickets, not the 'free' printed versions from my lexmark. i'm keeping this stub forever...

LauraS said...

Before I start, I would first like to point something out. I have never, not once, received a comment from you on my blog. Never. As for your assesment of the "friendly" debate that sam and I once had I would like to point out that your assesment is wrong. You probably won't acknowledge it, but sam is the person who started the debate, by personally attacking me. Oh sure, she threw in some of her liberal rederic here and there, but most of it was attacking how I was raised, calling me names, and attacking my phylisophical world view. Doesn't sound very open-minded or friendly does it?
Anyway, enough about her, I'm done.
As for your view of my most recent post I kind of have to chuckle. It seems that you took a lot of that personally, when, for the most part, I was attacking radical feminism and the author herself. And, as you pointed out you are neither radical, nor share the same views as the author. I will say this though, until you have visited a Muslim country, YOU should not draw conclusions about things you do not understand. If you want to talk about that, let me know, I can give you PLENTY of insight.
I absolutely threw in generalizations about feminism as you did about Christianity. It seems to me that you believe that I am "fed" what to believe instead of being able to come up with a world view based on what I see on a daily basis. It's everywhere, liberal hypocrisy I mean, on the news, in music, in hollywood, in politicians.
I'll start with abortion. You said, "before Roe v. Wade, an estimated 200,000 to 1.2 million illegal abortions were performed each year and about 10,000 women died from them. Women used crude and harmful ways to induce abortions." I say, so what. If you break the law (which they did, since abortion was illegal) you suffer the consequences. If death is one of them, so be it. Just because people die of overdosing on heroin doesn't mean we make it legal. If it's wrong, it should be kept illegal. And it's wrong. It's a human, a life, someone that deserves the chances that every other (living) person is given. You must think that I think that women who don't want to be pregnant should actually keep the baby. I don't. I think it's selfish. If you don't want the baby, give it to someone who does. Have you ever met someone who can't have children? I have. It's heartbreaking to watch the pain they go through on a daily basis while the extremely fertile 14-year-old down the street is walking around, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, and a bulging belly. It's even more painful to hear of the millions of people who throw those little lives away every year. But my body, my choice, right?
I also find it interesting that somehow in my post, you were able to come to the conclusion that I believe that women are less "cognitively competent" than men. Can you please point out the exact place I said or implied that? I must have missed it. In actuality, I believe that there are some areas where women are more cognitively blessed than others. *gasp* I do, however, believe that men are much more capable of doing physical, hard-core labor. i.e. military and police work. Have you ever watched the police video where the (female) police officer was taken down in one punch by a VERY LARGE man? He proceeded to beat her literally within an inch of her life. You see, I'm not trying to keep women down, I'm all about keeping women safe and this is one of just many cases where female police officers have been taken advantage of simply because of their physical "weekness" in comparison to men. Don't be so blinded by the idealism of equality that you can't see the differences between the sexes. Isn't that what your kind is all about? Celebrate the differences, understand them and appreciate them. But most of all respect them. Women may generally be weaker physically, so what? Work around it rather than fighting it, you may be safer in the long run.
Since you brought abstinence up, I figure I'll run with it. Since I've been a part of both "seminars" I'll enlighten you. I learned less about sex, it's dangers, it consequences and it benefits in sex ed (in 5th Grade no less) than I did from abstinence education. Abstinence teaches more than just "don't have sex" which is what the ignorant seem to believe. It teaches that sex is an intimate act that should be entered into thoughtfully and preferably after marriage. The reasons why are simple. Sure you can just put on a condom to (hopefully) prevent STD's, you can take birth control so you don't get pregnant. But what is sex reduced to if it is just an act? It no longer has the special value or intimacy it was designed for if you share it with many people. Major self-esteem issues come from this. If, as a woman, sex is all you're good for, because it's just an act, how depressing is that? How much more then, are you subjugated to a man? Women are the ones with the power of 'NO'. We have the power. Abstinence teaches that. Christianity teaches that. You would know it if you researched it.
One other thing. I never criticized working mothers.I criticized the idea that leaving the work-place to be a stay-at-home mom isn't smart or degrates women. My mom works, and I'm one of 5 children. Though she did stay at home with us during the ever-formative "early years" she went back to work once we all were in school. I'm grateful that she stayed home with me, but I understand some of the reasoning behind why some women can't stay home. I do not understand the logic of motherhood (the stay at home kind) being degrating to women. I think stay at home moms have the best job in the world. It's rarely easy, but the benefits are out of this world. I'm sure working mothers make time for their kids, to not do that would make one unfit. But I can't help but think that the relationship is sacrificed for financial gain or the desire to fulfill ones own career goals. In case noone knows, kids are HARD work, and when you're a parent, it's not about you anymore. It's about your kids, until they grow up and move out. Even still, a parent is still a parent whether or not their child is at home. But you can be a little more selfish then. To think of yourself or what you want when you have a crying 2-year-old tugging on your pant leg is selfish. If one can't sacrifice self, they have no business being a parent.
You should sit outside of a daycare for at least one day. It's the most depressing thing you'll ever see. Little kids clutching onto their mothers crying, begging not to be left with the worker. But, mom's gotta pay for that Mercedes she's driving, too bad Johnny.
Hopefully, this has satisfied your need for a rebuttal from me. After this, the only rebuttal you receive will be my blog, which oddly enough, you can't seem to tear your eyes away from. All of course for the desire to "see how some christian conservatives think". I've got news for ya honey, MOST christian coservatives think this way, and believe it or not, it's not because we're made to believe it or we're "fed" this belief system. It's because we see how dark and depressing life without hope of Christ is. Babies are murdered, people are abused, sex is degrated to only an act, Bill Clinton is President. I could go on and on. Open up the church doors and step into the light, it's much sweeter on this side.

LauraS said...

Oops, mistake, Instead of saying " In actuality, I believe that there are some areas where women are more cognitively blessed than others." I meant to say "In actuality, I believe that there are some areas where women are more cognitively blessed than men."

LauraS said...

One more thing, as evidence to the fact that I've never received your comments, If, while on my blog some other time you take a look at the comments section of the Glass Half Empty article you'll see on there that one of the comments was deleted, but by the author. Perhaps that's yours?

the occasional cig... said...

dearest ash,
oh wow, can we say dellusional (yes laura dear, that was one of my signature personal attacks)?
clearly it is in vain to try to enlighten one of our seemingly purposely unelightened friends so i say we just scare her with our liberal-ness now. won't that be fun? let's try it--head over to the blog.

the occasional cig... said...

furthermore, i should mention how upsetting it is to me that laura contends to understand what being a mother is all about. i think my opinion, one you and i share, as a mother trumps her's here, eh?