‘Gestators,’ ‘hosts,’ and ‘pregnant people’: The bipartisan pact to erase women

Image: El País/Samuel Sánchez

The headline of an opinion piece pubilshed in prominent Spanish newspaper El País, “We are not sheep,” implies a story of oppressed women reclaiming their agency. The piece, though, turns out to have been written by Noelia Oses Fernandez, who identifies herself as “a future mother via surrogacy,” and is a member of the pro-surrogacy organization Son Nuestros Hijos (“They Are Our Children”).

The article features an image of two men holding two children — one holding a pink doll and the other a blue one. The men are protectively shielding the children from the camera lens; one of the men looks straight at us, defiantly. Readers are to assume this is a gay couple, the man’s stare daring us to feel terrible about any qualms we might have about this couple’s desire to be parents.

The article contributes to the heated debate about surrogacy that rages in Spain. Conservatives and some naïve liberals are working to gain public support for surrogacy through a combination of neoliberal and feminist arguments.

This is a reality given the economic situation,” they say. Others argue that prohibition would encourage baby trafficking and the black market, and say surrogacy should be treated as any other legal contract in order to avoid this. Some, like Oses Fernandez and They Are Our Children, simply hijacked feminist rhetoric and analysis and used it against feminists themselves. Oses Fernandez writes:

“I am not defending surrogacy because I believe it is my right to be a mother. No! Nor do I defend it because I want to have a child that is genetically mine, because it won’t be that way. I defend it because it is a woman’s right to decide over her own body. Surrogacy is a technique for human reproduction in which women donate their capacity to gestate to favor another person or couple. I defend it as a technique but only as a last resort, meaning, only when a person or couple wants to have a baby but can’t gestate it.”

She never explains why she believes another woman should gestate her baby, instead resting on the passive “it’s her choice” argument. This line of argument is convenient for proponents of surrogacy because it prevents us from asking a different set of questions. For example, why are so many people intent on having biological children as opposed to adopting children already born? Why this desire to industrialize the bodies of women?

Therefore, Oses Fernandez acknowledges that “Collectives opposed to surrogacy accuse those of us who defend it of exploiting women and of trying to buy and sell babies,” but quickly brings the conversation back to “free choice.” She goes on to claim that “professional feminists” are working to prevent a debate around “whether a woman can decide freely to gestate for someone else” from happening at all.

The question of whether a woman can decide to gestate for someone else is easily answerable. Given that there are three billion women and girls on the planet — and that they are disproportionately affected by poverty across races and national boundaries — it is likely that you could find at least one or two women who would be game for any postulation imaginable. A common liberal feminist argument is “let women choose their choice,” but this is an individualistic analysis devoid of any understanding of structural power dynamics which, it might disappoint liberals to know, has much in common with conservative approaches to empowerment rhetoric. For example, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, recently said it was “difficult” for her to call herself a feminist because feminism is associated with being “anti-male” and “pro-abortion” and she was neither. But luckily, she added, there is a different feminism out there:

“There’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices… I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances. That’s really to me what conservative feminism, if you will, is all about.”

There are many more similarities between conservative approaches to women’s empowerment and liberal approaches than we often acknowledge. The idea that women’s oppression (rooted in male control over female reproduction/sexuality) should be monetized and reframed as empowerment is not exactly a progressive one. Yet efforts to dehumanize women and turn them into utilitarian objects for the benefit of more privileged people cross political lines.

Oklahoma Representative Justin Humphrey proved that last week when he referred to pregnant women as “hosts,” saying:

“I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

Humphrey’s bill, House Bill 1441, would require a woman seeking an abortion to get written consent from her sexual partner and provide his name to her doctor. This would effectively allow men to block women from having abortions.

As for the women whose bodies and pregnancies his bill would regulate, Humphrey said:

“I understand that they feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship, you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that, then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.”

Feminists were quick to condemn the idea that we could or should decentralize females from the material realities of womanhood. But where is the outrage when it is done in the name of “inclusivity?”

A document produced by the British Medical Association (BMA) for its staff also apparently intends to divorce women from the very real biological ramifications of their bodies… But instead of conservative anti-abortion rhetoric, the BMA used social justice language. The document states:

“A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers.’”

While the BMA believes this language “shows respect for and sensitivity towards everyone,” it also has the effect of erasing women from their role in reproduction. Must we uproot the language we use in regard to something so deeply connected to the biology — and therefore the oppression — of women and girls in order to accommodate a small minority of people who, despite being born female, choose to identify as transmen or gender nonconforming? Considering that women are jailed for undergoing clandestine abortions and that girls and women die every single day as a result of dangerous pregnancies, it is utterly bizarre that so many people, particularly on the left, seem more concerned with “inclusive” language than with addressing this material reality.

For example, the good folks at Everyday Feminism make no mention of pregnant women or girls at all, using language like “somebody who is pregnant” and “pregnant person” instead.

Even if we were to entertain the hypothesis that all language referencing biological reality should be made gender-neutral, the reality is biased against women and girls. Where are the think pieces asking urological associations to stop referring to vasectomies as operations for men? I’ve yet to see queer keyboard warriors complain that strip clubs are “exclusionary” when called “Gentlemen’s Clubs” or that circumcision is a gender-neutral practice.

Women are constantly in a Catch 22: expected to overcome our biological constraints while at the same time being oppressed and punished due to our biology. By erasing the material realities of our femaleness from discourse, both the left and the right have agreed to hit us where it hurts the most: where women’s oppression and biology intersect.

As a woman who lives in a country where abortion is illegal in all circumstances (even in cases of rape and incest) and that has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region due to the prominence of unsafe abortions, I am baffled by the dissonance I see in Western progressive circles regarding pregnancy and women’s reproductive rights. People who get up in arms about “inclusive language” often have very little to say about what pregnancy means for the least privileged women and girls in society — those who can’t afford to worry about terminology because they are dealing with direct ramifications of their sex.

To the postmodern left, it seems language games are more important than material realities like dying as a result of puncturing your uterus while attempting a self-induced abortion. This focus on “inclusivity” has been so successful, in part, because it presents the needs of a minority, like transgender people, as a matter of life and death, while simultaneously presenting the concerns and realities of females (approximately half of the population) as trivial and dismissible.

The oppression women face due to their reproductive capacity is neither trivial nor dismissible considering that 246,275 clandestine abortions took place in El Salvador last year and 11 per cent of those women and girls died as a result. Women’s oppression is not trivial or dismissible when, according to reproductive rights organization Marie Stopes, the Global Gag rule reinstated by Trump’s administration has the potential to result in 2.1 million unsafe abortions and in the death of over 21,700 women and girls worldwide in the next three years. The oppression of females is not trivial or dismissable when teen girls make up 20 per cent of all pregnancy-related deaths in the Dominican Republic.

Where is the outrage over the deaths of those gestators, hosts, and pregnant people? We don’t hear a peep about this from the people who advocate to erase women from our own lived experiences. This is because the absolute majority of those gestators, hosts, and pregnant people are girls and women. And today, there is a bipartisan consensus between the left and the right that their lives are not even worthy of mention.

Raquel Rosario Sanchez
Raquel Rosario Sanchez

Raquel Rosario Sanchez is a writer from the Dominican Republic. Her utmost priority in her work and as a feminist is to end violence against girls and women. Her work has appeared in several print and digital publications both in English and Spanish, including: Feminist Current, El Grillo, La Replica, Tribuna Feminista, El Caribe and La Marea. You can follow her @8rosariosanchez where she rambles about feminism, politics, and poetry.

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  • Rivera

    I know this comment is unrelated to the article and the author is a Dominican feminist, but what is her or anyone else’s thoughts of the word “Latinx”? I know it’s been used by (mostly non-Latino white) liberal feminists and trans activists to be more inclusive, because they think the word Latino is “cissexist” and it “erases” nonbinary people. Also, it’s not news to me that Latino leftist media is now participating in female erasure, thanks to the US centric neoliberalism.

    • cday881@gmail.com

      Perhaps they are taking “Latino” as masculine (which it is).

    • Julio

      its estupidx

    • Tired feminist

      Hi, I’m a Latin American woman. The term “latino” is a US-American invention and doesn’t refer to any specific ethnicity. Latin Americans outside the US don’t typically refer to themselves as “latinos” or “latinas”, let alone “latinx” or whichever crap US hipsters invented now.

      If I were you I’d just drop the term altogether, it means nothing anyway.

  • therealcie

    There are a lot of reasons why surrogacy doesn’t sit well with me. One of the simplest ones is the fact that there are already a lot of children in the world waiting to be adopted. Why not choose one of those children? I know there are a lot of answers, most of which don’t sit very well with me either.

    • Raysa_Lite

      In a lot of cases, males must have their “own child”.

      I see this all of the time with couples that can have kids. The woman has kids already, but the new male wants “his own”.

      Personally, I am kind of irritated that males insert themselves into the reproductive process at all. We are the ones that get pregnant, give birth and raise the kid.

      We all know who the mother is. Who cares about who the father is?

      It makes no sense. Except that males have inserted themselves, once again, into a process that has nothing to do with them (if you discount the tiny bit of sperm that they contribute. Which they don’t even have to be alive for us to obtain. ).

      • Cassandra

        He who controls human reproduction is in control. Population growth is often used as an act of war — just take over by sheer numbers. Cite “religion” and you’re totes okay though. What’s his name did it in Romania, as have others. Hitler for one. Countries in the middle east right now–I think Iran–severely restricting birth control in order to increase their numbers and increase their ability to dominate other men/countries or have more power to resist it being done to them.

        If men let women control their own bodies we control human reproduction. Men as a class can’t fucking stand that. The core of patriarchy/male domination is control of the female reproductive system. Forever and always the end.

        • Tired feminist

          I’ve heard countless men blaming Western feminism for the growth of Islam because ‘Muslim women have more children’.

          No, I’m not kidding.

          • Raysa_Lite

            I wonder. Are Muslim women CHOOSING to have more kids?

            I am going to guess that Muslim women don’t get a whole lot of control over their own reproductive capacity.

            If only us western women would give the menz the babies that they are entitled to. The Muslims will win! And it’s all the fault of the feminists!

            Ugh. Have males always been this damn stupid? I mean, really.

          • Wren

            There’s a lot of reasons why Muslim women have many children, and many reasons are about the patriarchal elements of the religion (depending on which sect and from what country, mind you). But also, the religion of Islam stresses the importance of children being the wealth of a family. I remember speaking to a class of Saudis about families in America and explaining that middle class families often only have 1 or 2 children. When they inevitably asked why, I said because children are expensive. They could hardly process this. They were horrified and sat there blinking at me for an uncomfortable amount of time.

      • Wren

        If a woman has the child of a man he will always have some control over her life. She will always feel somewhat bonded to him and he can always find ways to legally get access to her through the child. Of course, he will always find a way to not pay any child support.

        They don’t care about the child, they just want to manipulate her forever.

        • Raysa_Lite

          I’m married to a good guy, since 04.

          My first marriage was in my early 20s (1990s) and lasted about 2 months.

          I didn’t care about getting married. But he did. And he said that we needed to get married or break up because he wanted to get married, and that I shouldn’t waste his time.

          He was nice enough. I did wonder at the rush to marry, but I was young and didn’t over think (or think at all, really).

          I never had kids, never wanted them, and made no secret of it. Any male that I dealt with knew this, although most of them thought that their dick would be so magical that I would want to make kids with it.

          The first time he hit me was on our honeymoon.

          I knew then that I had been had.

          Even though I was clear going in that I didn’t want kids, he began to insist that I have them, and that insistence came in horrible forms that I have never spoken about.

          He thought that he could make me have kids. He was wrong.

          But his wanting to breed me like a cow was nothing but control. He wanted to tie me to him, and tie me to the house (because males don’t like to deal with women that have kids, and we all know that our most important focus is on getting and keeping a male, amirite.)

          I managed to escape and I was lucky that I managed to remain childfree. Because kids would have made it much harder and I would still be dealing with that asshole today.

          All of this to say, yep. Control. That’s been my personal experience, as well.

          • Wren

            Good for you for getting away from that shithead!

  • Lucia Lola

    It infuriates me to tears that there is a baby factory already in place in countries like India and this push to have women forced to gestate for “economic” reasons is beyond understanding.

    It’s a nightmare. It really is.

  • Cassandra

    While this is beautifully written and really important, reading it was very upsetting.

    That we’re at this point and so few everyday women even know it…well, I feel sick, like I just read a science fiction story about a dystopian future. But it’s now, not the future, and it’s going to get worse. What a disaster patriarchy combined with global capitalism is. More and more poor girls to use and abuse. More and more novel ways to hide it. What a heavy heart I have. The hatred males have for females hits me like a truck when I read things like this — like I’m having a panic attack. Conservative men, liberal men — they all hate us.

    I hope Margaret Atwood was wrong but unfortunately I don’t think she was. I’m so glad I’m exiting my reproductive years. I’m so glad I didn’t have to endure the raised-on-porn men while dating or attempting to have any kind of “relationship” with a man. I *just* missed the suckled on the internet thing. I weep for the younger me’s because we are all still female and I had it so much better in so many ways.

    When you watch old footage of men talking about women’s liberation, they seem indignant and offended but almost amused at the same time.

    They’re not amused anymore.

    Will we ever be free before men eventually kill us all?

    Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. I think I’ll head on over to the trans and Title IX thread and entertain myself with Miguel Blando.

    • Zeus Mc.

      I fee like we lost the debate and people don’t take our movement seriously anymore. We were so mild mannered, willing to listen to all who opposed us in an open way, were the forerunners of the “I respectfully disagree” style of debate conduct, never shut down a conversation, never moved a goal post, did not rely on inaccurate or misleading platitudes to make a point and yet… this! Evil men!

    • Raysa_Lite

      I will not be surprised when we are eventually reverted back into property.

      Not all at once, of course. Little by little.

      And then, I suppose a lot of people will be happy. Males will own us and libfems can say that they chose to be owned because choice.

      I agree with you that it looks dismal.

      But I hope that you aren’t ready to give up. Because I know that I am not.

      You aren’t alone. There are more of us than we think.

    • cday881@gmail.com

      I think I’ll head on over to the trans and Title IX thread and entertain myself with Miguel Blando.

      Isn’t that masochism.

  • Which is why some people use Latin@

    But maybe others like Latinx better?

  • FierceMild

    Welcome, sister. I’m glad you’re here and I’m glad your daughter has a mother who looks for answers.

  • FierceMild

    Just hold on this will pass. It contains its own demise. As you pointed out, the demise of trans ideology lies in the fact that it is contrary to physical reality.

  • FierceMild

    I think they do, don’t they? I mean, in the context of what you just wrote trans suicide rates make perfect and horrific sense.

    • Cassandra

      Yes, within the context of some trans actually being gay, but I was referring to the editors or whoever runs that site — that they could have a headline like that and then have three or four pieces talking about trans rights, particularly the “rights” of males to say they feel like ladeez and lesbians— it’s a complete contradiction and disconnect right there on the page. I meant how do the editors not shoot themselves from the pain of holding two conflicting ideas that are completely incompatible in their brains all the time? How can it not be painful? Many trans/queers peeps would totes call that headline “transphobic.”

      P.S.
      On that same page, one of the trans articles you could click on was about how they have to fight back against alliances (radfems and conservatives) that while to be expected, are harmful to trans. Their very lives are danger! That’s what he wrote. Seriously.

      • FierceMild

        It’s so exhausting.

  • FierceMild

    Wait, how do we have the same sister?

    • Aylune B. Papyrus

      IT’S AN EPIDEMIC

  • FierceMild

    If there is a room with 500 Latinas and one Latino in it the proper form of address is latino…why does no one seem to care about that kind of exclusion?

    • Cassandra

      This came up as a joke one day in my Zumba class. A bunch of women in a room with one male dancer in the class. As the male instructor from the previous class was walking out of the room, he said, “Hasta luego Senoras” or something like that and then said, “Oh, but there’s a man in the room, so I have to say “Muchachos.” And the Spanish women laughed and one of them said, “OF COURSE.” And we all enjoyed a split second of solidarity.

  • I’m a biology prof and I have never not once seen or heard of or read an article about any actual biology professional who says or teaches that humans can change sex. (Some fungi, a few invertebrates, even some fish, have rather extraordinary sex lives, but I doubt that’s what concerns these people.) They’re not getting that sex change folderol from biology class. Unless it’s the same one the creationists all went to.

    This whole nonsense is astronomically exasperating. The radical right has their articles of faith to mark their tribe: creationism, global warming denial, etc. And now the left has caught the disease: anti-vaxxers, sex-choicers, and you can probably add four or five others.

    When did the whole world go crazy and decide to live in their own hallucinations?

    • Cassandra

      Well I hope that hasn’t started happening. I was sort of joking. I know no biology teacher would teach falsehoods on purpose, but with the way the world is shoving this gender identity down kids’ throats *within school settings*, I fear the day may come when they are asked to lie, or to simply start saying “penis people” and “uterus people” as is currently fashionable.

      It cracks me up though, because no matter what argument they put forth about breaking down categories and barriers, there still has to be an A and a B when you teach human reproduction, right? One of these things is not like the other and so forth. So now instead of male and female we have male vaginas (funny how we actually don’t hear that one that much!) and female penises, or sperm producer or ova producer or menstruators, which only further enforces what they call “biological essentialism.” And again, funny how it’s only women being asked to call themselves front holes and chest feeders and menstruators. Why aren’t men being asked to disassociate their penises from their manhood? Hmm. It’s a mystery!!

      But I digress.
      I don’t know when the hallucinations started, but they’re really something, aren’t they? We could add “sex work is empowering” and “prostitution is liberating” to the left’s column. Also knee-jerk screaming of any “ism” or “phobia” they can dream of, especially when any female has the temerity to criticize religion for its horrific misogyny.

      ALT FACTS: Because something’s either a fact or it’s not!
      Oh wait, that’s not what they mean at all.

    • Wren

      I want to believe you, but then why are doctors agreeing to perform such surgeries and medical abuse for the trans-agenda?? Surely they’ve taken a lot of biology? WTF is going on?

      • Tired feminist

        Money ofc…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah those forms throw me for a loop, too. I can’t believe how many people don’t understand the difference between sex and gender…

  • FierceMild

    There’s a BIG DIFFERENCE between eradicating gender ( the assignment of neutral behavioris, ideas, clothing choices etc. as either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’) and denying physical reality by the confusion of language i.e. acting as if a vagina is totally separate from what a woman is and a penis from a man. Woman means ‘person with a vagina’ you don’t need the confusion unless you want to protect the idea of gender and the naturalness of gender roles.

    • ptittle

      Right, but we use ‘woman’ when we don’t need to, i.e., when having a vagina is irrelevant. Saying ‘person with a vagina’ instead of ‘woman’ would, I think, prevent referring to a vagina when it’s irrelevant. If our options were only ‘person’ ‘person with a vagina’ and ‘person with a penis’ …?

      • Wren

        Sorry but this doesn’t make sense.
        If someone refers to me as a woman, I’m cool. If someone pointed at me and said “there’s a person with a vagina” I would punch their fucking lights out, in any context.

      • FierceMild

        Hmmmmmm, I’m going to sit with that one a little while and see what it sounds like. Thanks for the thought.

  • FierceMild

    What did you choose? I write in either ‘none’ or sh age gender to sex.

  • Cassandra

    It’s very, very common in medical situations now. I was filling out a form online (a huge, well-known medical conglomerate’s site, or extension thereof), and they literally asked this:

    With what gender do you identify?
    Male
    Female

    FUCK!!

    And that was the *only* way they ever asked if you’re male or female — not “sex” as it should be, not even the horrific “gender.” With what gender do you identify? !!!!!! It’s so f*ckig offensive.

    If I’m filling out a paper form in a doctor’s office and they have that gender bullshit I always always cross it out and write SEX.

    • Wren

      I just went to my new doctor and THANK GOD the forms just asked my sex. But it’s a women’s health collaborative so why they ask I dunno.

  • Morag999

    Not long ago I had to take a stray cat to the humane society, and the form asked for — you guessed it — the animal’s “gender.” Made me snicker.

    It’s used almost everywhere as a euphemism for “sex.” How prudish, eh? Ha.

    • Tobysgirl

      Yes, isn’t it interesting how uncomfortable people are saying SEX?

      • Wren

        sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex
        it’s actually a very nice, concise word.

  • Cassandra

    Great to hear this! Come on in and join the feminists who actually *are* cool.

    And I know what you mean about rabbit holes. You have to be determined to get to the bottom of it. Whoa be to anyone who just types “feminism” into Google. LOL!

    • disqus_Indie828

      Thanks for the warm welcome and you too FierceMild! This morning I googled transgender to see what’s in the news – what do I find? USA today tech headlined “Silicon Valley’s Dirty Secret: The way it treats women.” Then I see “List of mostly tech companies lobbying for transgender rights.” Again thank goodness I found this site to help me learn about these things at deeper level away from MSM.

    • FierceMild

      I got to Radical Feminism by googling things like ‘do men actually hate women?’ And similar. Also, I waded through some Jezebel and everyday feminism for quite a while before striking deeper.

      • disqus_Indie828

        I used to go to Jezebel a lot a few yrs back – but started to feel off about some things. EF – well I just have no words for that site.

  • Rachael

    I can’t read that without laughing. It’s like suddenly my vagina is separate from me. Like it’s now my handbag. It also makes me feel like I’m reduced to only having a vagina. It’s now my identity. I’m not a person with a vagina; I’m a woman.

  • Tobysgirl

    You are absolutely right in calling this faith-based thinking. I live in a society of people who think they are above primitive religious thinking but whose attitudes reek of religion. Why is trans ideology so acceptable? Because we are human beings, not ANIMALS! (And if ever there was a religious idea, that’s one.) That means we can be whatever we want, we are not tied to biological reality like ANIMALS. The disgust in Western so-called civilization (and I won’t even go into other cultures) for ANIMAL functions such as digestion and reproduction is grotesque, and it is part of the foundation for men’s antipathy toward women.
    I am sorry you have such stupid neighbors, join the club. I had one who said, “Don’t you believe that god should be in the schools?” and then said “I don’t believe in talking about politics and religion”! Her husband bragged to me about shooting a coyote and I told him it sickened me. On the other side I’ve got a nonworking doctor who wrote a screed for a tea party website; his essay was so extreme the website took it down. What a fucking world we live in!

    • Wren

      This is why I don’t talk to my neighbors at all.

  • Tobysgirl

    I do that every time. I always cross out gender.

  • Tobysgirl

    Remember Jazz? One woman online talked about how “she” will feel when “she” starts menstruating. The commenter had so little biological knowledge or understanding she didn’t realize that a biological male will never start menstruating. I will say once again that the most depressing thing about getting old is realizing how incredibly stupid people are.

    • FierceMild

      Do you really think they thought a sexual change was possible?! Maybe they just didn’t realize Jazz is male?

  • Tired feminist

    Not to mention the irony of having those same who accuse us of “reducing women to their genitals” calling women “people with vaginas”.

    • Aylune B. Papyrus

      Yeah, but they would tell you ”No but people with vaginas aren’t all women ! There are transmen ! So we’re not actually referring to women, it can be BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. HA GOTCHA”
      Transgender ideology has its own twisted non-logic.

  • Tobysgirl

    My question to the commenters writing about gestation, surrogacy, etc, is:
    What do women here think about two gay men “having a baby”? Years ago there was a good program on our local television about two gay men who adopted a teenage boy; it seemed a very positive experience for all involved.
    But I have issues with two men “having a baby.” I have issues with ANY men being involved with babies or children, and sometimes think we would be better off if we took a page from elephants and threw males out of human society as soon as they reached adulthood. Does this bother anyone else, or is it only me?

    • lk

      I’m not opposed to men who want to raise children, particularly if these children might remain unloved, living on the streets, being shuffled from home to home and etc.

      For me, if you are capable of giving a child a loving, stable environment to grow up in, I support that.

      Hopefully these men who are raising children reject masculinity/femininity, teach their children to view women as human beings and are mentally fit to care for a child.

      • Tobysgirl

        One thing you did not address is where two men “get a baby.” There are very few babies available for adoption, so where does the baby come from. I wasn’t suggesting that it isn’t a good idea for two men willing to take on children who are already here, though there is the case of the two men (one American and one Australian, I believe, one of whom now declares himself trans) who adopted boys in order to groom them for sexual exploitation. As a former foster parent I am well aware that many foster and adoptive parents do not provide a loving, stable environment, and certainly do not practice the values you suggest (many of them are conservative Christians fanatically devoted to gender).

        • lk

          I was interpreting get a baby to mean get a child (of any age, not just actual babies). And since you’re a former foster parent, you know all about how difficult it is for older, minority and special needs children to get adopted. So for me, if there are adults who are willing to give these children homes..a part of me doesn’t care if they are male or female….as long as they are fit to care for children.

          I feel somewhat torn about your initial post…on the one hand, given male propensity to abuse, violence,exploitation, I understand why we don’t really want them raising children. On the other hand, I am slow to put the tremendous work that is raising children solely on women (though if I’m being honest, women already do the bulk of child-raising anyway). To ease some of the burden on women, I would want to teach men to be decent human beings who can take part in raising the next generation of children. If they can’t or won’t learn, then no…I don’t think they should be caring for children.

  • Tired feminist

    To be honest, I mind LESS when gender is used as a synonym of sex than when it’s meant to describe some kind of magical property in the brain. In your example, at least it’s still only two genders.

    • Wren

      Yeah I don’t think most people have any understanding that sex and gender might be two different things, and I use them interchangeably, but I refer to expectations as gender roles.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    ”If these two rules were met, I think there would be very little or no surrogacy. Without social pressure and economic pressure, I really don’t think many women would be willing to risk their lives to become surrogates.”

    This. Exactly. And they know it. It’s strange one would actually think a woman would willingly and with pleasure choose to suffer the numerous inconveniences of a nine-month pregnancy (pregnancy poses a real risk and could even involve death), get attached to her unborn child, and immediatly give it away to strangers when it’s done ”Few ! That was easy ! Time to go hand-bag shopping”.

    Who in their right mind would do that if they had any other choice? Don’t people realize pregnancy is fucking painful, even dangerous ? It’s already hard enough when it’s your own kid. Why would someone go through this willingly for strangers ?

    A woman who actually had another choice – a strong economical and social background, the possibility to go to college, to get a decent-paying job- would never do this. That people even think that is insane.
    Or you know, maybe a tiny minority would if they had a weird pregnancy-related masochistic fetish, but I’m not sure that’s so common (and fetishes don’t come out of nowhere, anyway…)

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    What is quite amazing with Twilight is how Stephenie Meyer has unintentionally described, with great accuracy, the dynamics of an abusive relationship. Edward’s behavior comes straight out of the Abuser’s Playbook. If it had been intentional – and meant as a warning cautionary tale for women and girls – it would have been great. Poorly written and poorly edited still, but much better.

    It goes on to show how we have internalized the idea that abuse is love.

    We need a book/movie about a young girl who romanticizes an abusive relationship, only to discover how she was in denial, and who manages to get out of it and rebuild her life. That’s what adolescent girls need to read.

  • Reese

    Intersex men and transmen can get pregnant, saying so is not necessarily erasing women from their role in reproduction as men play a role in reproduction too. The fight for women can and should be inclusive since the degradation and dehumanization of anybody degrades us all..

    People who care about “inclusivity” do not have little to say, they don’t just care about but are likely the most concerned about justice for all women in society.

    This site is the teapot calling the kettle black, it prioritizes semantics over engagement and conversation with our political allies more often then not.

    There is bipartisan consensus between the right and the left in this country that the lives of women are not even worthy of mention?

    Ridiculous.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Transmen can get pregnant because they are female…

  • Villy Politi

    And don’t forget ! According to teen Vogue we are also “non-prostate owners”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/teen-vogue-anal-sex-prostate-owner-sheila-michaels-feminism-teenagers-a7831671.html#commentsDiv
    sheesh…

  • LearnUnlearnRelearn

    Oh teen vogue… Except we do have a prostate! It’s what magazines like teen vogue like to call the “g-spot”. Oh world…