Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Taking a short break

Hi All,

I'm taking a short break. I'll be back soon, but here's a tiny bit of positive news: a study dedicated to the astonishing idea that husbands might be affected when their wives have cervical cancer. Also, the world seems to have belatedly noticed Parental Alienation Awareness day, here's one example.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Suffering in Silence

A post in the man-o-pause blog sets me off on what I find one of the more irritating components of modern gender mythology, that of men being unable to express themselves adequately.   As if our society didn't already have enough problems for women to be neurotic over, a not-so-new book (2004) claims that women in their 30s are suffering from something that looks a lot like a midlife crisis.  The truth (or BS) of this notwithstanding the host of man-o-pause points out a comment from a retired male doctor in the readers' reviews on Amazon.   Dr. Johnathan Dolhenty, in a positive review of the book, says:

"Unfortunately, men going through their crisis tend to do so silently and in secret, while the women are intelligent and clever enough to be more open and conversant. Men should take a cue from this. They might suffer less."

Trying not to get distracted by what this implies about men's intelligence, what also makes me fume is the assumption that men wailing about their misfortune can in any way help them.  Any man who has gone through some real suffering in his life (and I put the midlife crisis fairly low down on the scale) will know that society isn't interested in hearing about his pain.  In fact, it can be actively counter-productive to pour one's heart out. 

Women are supposed to be vulnerable -- the combination of archaic chivalry bringing men flocking to their defense and the victories of feminism encouraging women to be vocal about their desires and failures results in a culture very prepared to listen, sympathise and give a helping hand at the drop of an accusation.  Vulnerability has always been a social advantage for women - under "the patriarchy" they were protected by their men because they were perceived to need it.  These days, the residual of this is still around and unlikely ever to go away, but is augmented by victim politics and a positively morbid fascination with generating statistics to show a supposed epidemic of violence against women.

Men, on the other hand, have been told that "the patriarchy" has given them an unfair edge for too long, and they should take a back seat for a while.  They are told, over and over again, that they are aggressive, violent brutes who must work (or be trained) to control their anger.  (Do I really need to point out the psychological consequences of telling a good and peaceful man over and over again that he is a violent, aggressive brute?)  Efforts to assert themselves as having rights as men or fathers or to show that they too are victims of violence are met with tirades of resistance from the feminists  while simultaneously they are beset by complaints that they don't contribute enough to the housework or parenting.  Women complain justifiably, men whine because they didn't (can't) win.

On top of this, men can be their own worst enemies -- the conventional, and probably scientifically if not politically correct anthropological picture is that men evolved as the defenders of the village, the hunters, the warriors and they competed among each other for mates.  In this context, the weakness of one man is the advantage of another.  Moreover, it is to one man's advantage to get his neighbor to spill his guts, literally and metaphorically, because he will look all the stronger for it.  Women encouraged this, it was in their interest to know who is the fittest mate.  Do we really think we're any different now?  Do the girls really like a "cry baby"?  Do the boys? Our cities don't look like mud huts in the jungle, but in many ways they might as well be.

In this environment, is it any wonder that men "suffer in silence"?  Claims that men would suffer less if they complained more are disingenuous, empty posturing - when men do it, it is a trap, designed to get the competition to admit their weakness, when women do it, they're winnowing out the chaff, looking for the wheat.  This is why men's activist groups always suffer so much in-fighting and why the feminists have so much fun tearing into them (and get away with it).  This is why so few fathers complain about their troubles in court.  This is why suicide is so much higher among men than women.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Women Who Make the World Worse

I picked up a copy of Kate O'Beirne's "Women Who Make the World Worse" the other day. It's obviously not intended to be a scholarly tome and makes for interesting reading, assuming you're not one of the feminists she's got it in for. I guess I might write more later, but what I wanted to highlight for now is that for all that I agree with her, she does seem to have one enormous blind spot. Her position is very much against the feminist creed of absolute equality between the sexes: "anything he can do I can do just as well, and if I can't, I'll bring him down to my level". Well and good, but the feminist creed is not quite that. It's more like: "anything he can do, I can do just as well, and anything I can do better than him he'd better not try"; and sometimes it's just: "men are bad" (throw rocks at them).

O'Beirne's blindspot is one that I can't miss and that is the feminist stance against the idea of father custody if the mother doesn't want it. O'Beirne seems to think, and can provide some documentation to support it, that feminists just don't want women to be tied down by kids, arguing for massively subsidised daycare services and for dad to pull his finger out. But when it comes down to it, attempts at legislating shared custody are opposed most strongly by whom? Feminists, of course.

I suspect that either she hasn't noticed this, or O'Bierne, from her position of the mother's place in a "traditional" family, doesn't believe in joint or father custody either. In fact, she really doesn't say very much about fatherhood at all, and when she does, it makes me a little unhappy:

p13: "Whenever men are not lured or corralled into concerning themselves with their children and mates , decent human society fades..." Dear Mrs. O'Bierne, I like you, I really do, but there are fathers out here who don't need to be lured or corralled into behaving like decent fathers and mates, please don't forget that.

Otherwise, she speaks a lot of sense and illustrates well many of the more foolish if not outright dangerous consequences of rabid feminism. Sometimes her logic gets a little shaky, and she could have made a stronger case for her own side of the fence, because she seems to hanker vaguely for "traditional" values but doesn't define what she means.

There are quite a few gems which ought to pop up more often than they do, so I'm glad she's documented them.

For example, in the chapter on the daycare industry, we learn that even Dr. Spock puts profits before children. He used to argue against daycare, but pulled the advice from "Baby and Child Care" to avoid making working mothers feel guilty. He himself said: "It's a cowardly thing that I did, I just tossed it in subsequent editions." (p. 36)

She ably points out that there is a selection effect in operation within the media among women journalists who preferentially report on news in support of daycare because they have a vested interest (p 36 & 39). It does indeed seem quite likely that daycare advocates are unlikely to be selected on the basis of their motherly attributes and that those who don't believe in daycare would find it harder to compete in their careers, unless they choose not to have children of course.

It is a point worth pondering that if women are paid less than men for the same work, as many feminists claim, then this represents an enormous and cheap labor pool that is not exploited as one might expect it to be. Why pay a man $10 an hour when you can pay a woman $7.50? (p 52. I know, simplistic, but like I said, I think it's worth pondering.)

She, rightly, I guess, sings the praises of Mary Kay Ash on page 66, but I wonder if she's aware of the MKA foundation's support of PBS's "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" because on the same page, she also complains about the use of victimhood instead of empowerment.

Other chapters discuss the feminization of schools, sports and the military and are particularly strong on examples of lowering the bar on standards to bring the sexes closer to parity when there are clear innate differences and, when that doesn't work, hobbling the ankles of men to keep them from getting too far ahead.

I got kind of bored with the "gender gap" chapter as this seems to be so much of a pointless exercise of "we're more popular with the girls than you are, nyah, nyah!".

There's a strong finish with "Mother Nature Is a Bitch" if only by virtue of the quoted exchange (p. 181) between ABC's John Stossel and that icon of feminist thought, Gloria Steinem:

Stossel: "Aren't women, in general, better nurturers?"
Steinem: "No. Next Question."

I plan on using that next time I find myself, er, discussing father's rights with some feminist who's opposed to the idea.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Patriphobia, n., an irrational dislike of fathers.

I do believe that I have coined a new word. I have for a while been at a loss to find quite the right word to describe the point of view in our modern age that is so averse to fathers. For men in general, the word "misandry" is growing in its use as the appropriate mirror term to misogyny, although many more know and use the latter than the former. To describe a person who practises misandry, we have a misandrist just as we have a misogynist. Less well known are androphobia and gynophobia for morbid fears of men and women respectively, and with their forms androphobe and gynophobe for particular sufferers.

But where are the equivalent terms for the hatred or fear of fathers? They don't seem to exist, but if they did, I believe that they should be something like "mispatria" and "patriphobia". I'm not a lexicologist, and I'm not sure about "mispatria", but I think I rather like patriphobia. I would use the term rather as we use "homophobia" to describe someone (the vast majority of the time, a man) who doesn't like homosexuals. That is, a patriphobe ought to mean someone with an irrational dislike of fathers.

Three rather obvious examples are Liz Richards, Marcia Pappas, and Mo Hannah, all of whom seem to think that fathers who want something to do with their kids in the face of a mother who doesn't must perforce be abusers. This is rather reminiscent to me of the homophobe's common association of homosexuality with pederasty.

Today I found what I believe to be a more subtle example of the patriphobe in the person of Stephan Poulter. This gentleman has written a book called "The Father Factor" in which he divides fathers up into five types - super-achieving, time bomb, passive, absent and compassionate/mentor - and purports to analyse the effects of each on the careers of their children. Dividing people up into categories seems to be his specialty - his previous book "Mending the Broken Bough" presents six "mothering styles" and offers ways to mend relationships between mothers and daughters.

Why do I think he's a patriphobe? It is the discussion on the absent father that did that:

'"A lot of people say, 'I never knew my dad,'" he said. But, he added: "You knew the myth, you knew your mother's hatred, you knew your anger, you knew your dad was a loser. Trust me, you knew your dad."'

Do you see the equation? Dad's not around. Mom hates him. You're angry too. Therefore Dad must be a loser. Well, yes, Dad lost his kids, but that doesn't make him a "loser" given the odds, these days. Given that Poulter's a psychologist, such an inuendo is at the very least irresponsible.

Most tellingly, the article ends with:

'Poulter, by the way, describes his own father as the absent type. After this book, he said, "my dad won't even talk to me."'

Well, if your father was absent, Mr. Poulter, and you think absent fathers are "losers", then who's really surprised?

Actually, I think this case is quite probably fairly sad. It seems reasonable to guess that Poulter's experience of his absent father is conditioned by a mother who hated him and perhaps to suggest that his book is a rather roundabout, spiteful and apparently successful way to attack his father. It looks like a bona fide case of Parental Alienation to me.

I could be wrong, but I think he's a patriphobe, although if he goes on to publish a book on repairing damaged father and son relationships, I'd be prepared to back down and might even warm to him.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Many mothers' groups demeaning to men

Just once, I'd like to see some women's group say something good about men. Just once. As it is, we are continually and interminably treated to their hypocritical complaining about us. Do all feminists really think that all men are bad?

From The Times Union the spat over the attempt at getting some sort of equality for fathers in New York State which was ultimately cut down by the same old narrow minded BS continues with a letter from one Mo Hannah who says that a male writer's position that "because children are most likely to be killed by their mother, they require the joint custodial oversight of their biological father -- reflects the denigrating opinion of women that is held by many fathers' rights proponents."

It's the usual crap. Anyone who is not completely committed to the absolute supremacy of mothers when it comes to children's rights to have a father is "demeaning to mothers". Puh-leaze. What makes this all the more disgraceful is the transparent hypocritical misandry of it.

She goes on:

"Imagine being forced to make all of the decisions about your child's education, medical and mental health care, leisure activities and other central aspects of his or her upbringing in tandem with a biological father who resorts to threats, demands and stalking to get his way."

To which, I respond:

Imagine being completely unable to make any decisions about your child's education, medical and mental health care, leisure activities and other central aspects of his or her upbringing in tandem with a biological mother who resorts to threats, lies and parental alienation to get her way.

It happens, Ms. Hannah, it happens, and it is not "demeaning to mothers" to admit it.

She finishes:

"Mothers cannot raise healthy children while they are being forced to parent with a man who demeans and disrespects her [sic] as a woman and as a mother."

And a father cannot raise healthy children while being forced to parent with a woman who demeans and disrespects him as a man and as a father.

If you cannot recognize this, you have no right to be outraged by the reaction of a few men driven beyond despair into abuse in response to your own abuse, because that is what it is, abuse. You may lobby for women that have been truly abused, you may even be "chairwoman" of such a group, but you are using the abuse suffered by these women to promulgate an abuse of your own. It is utter, foul, hateful hypocrisy. Could you get much more despicable?

Enjoy your mother's day.

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Confused conservatives

I have mixed feeling's about Tom Utley's editorial in the Daily Telegraph (UK). It is peculiarly sensible in its parts yet overall quite ridiculous. I suspect he just doesn't know what's going on. He starts out with an anecdote regarding his 14 year old son complaining about women's football and opining that they should "be at home cooking lunch". Utley then claims "I don't know where he gets it from, I really don't." and promptly provides the answer:
"He has attended thoroughly PC state schools since he was three, having it drummed into him that any sort of discrimination against other people on grounds of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation is a far more grievous sin than, say, failing to produce his maths homework."
One would think that Utley, despite his three children, knows absolutely nothing about human psychology. If you're told over and over again that one thing is wrong but other things which ought to be equally as important (if not more so) are more or less ignored, then whose credibility is going to suffer in whose mind?

There follows a fair amount of the usual PC waffle about how Utley's not one to believe a woman's place is in the home and they've got rights to careers, etc, etc, yadda, yadda, yadda. But his consciously proffered explanation for his son's irritation is:
"...that every schoolboy in the country has a gene, buried deep in his DNA, which tells him that it is the natural order of things for a mother to take charge of looking after the children, and for a man to play football and bring home the bacon."
This seems to be intended ironically, he's not really serious, except that the next sentence suggests something different:
"When the Government tries to indoctrinate young boys, by telling them that there is absolutely no difference between the functions of fathers and mothers, it is legislating against human nature - a totally futile exercise."
Interesting. Utley's son's sexist sense of humor and apparent refusal to accept PC rubbish is something to wonder about and then Utley's own serious opinion is that men and women are the same, but mothers and fathers are not. There's more blah blah blah then about women being fully entitled to give up salaries, careers, etc to go home and look after the kids, drawn from his own experience of exactly that wherein he was required to carry the financial can while she stayed home and did what he says he didn't want to, namely raising the kids.

Then we get to the point:
"So when John Hutton, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, said on Wednesday that hard-up mothers should go out to work, he was saying something rather cruel. He was telling women to do something that a very great many of them do not want to do, and something that he knows is likely to make their children less happy than they are now. His reason for bossing them about in this way struck me as particularly crass and unpleasant."
Now things get much more complicated. On reading Hutton's comment, I was immediately reminded of Norman Tebbit's "on yer bike" line to an earlier generation of largely male jobless under the Thatcher government. It caused great furor at the time, insensitive as it obviously was. Now Labour takes it for the same, but to the other gender whom so many of their co-conspirators claim are to be treated with absolute equality. Well, Hutton might be "cruel", but at least he's consistent - implicitly recognizing that the choice to be a mother comes with at least some responsibilities - which is unusual for a Labourite. But consistency is not really something we can credit to Utley who seems to think that women should get anything they want and not expect to have to pay for it. Don't believe me? Check this out:

"Mothers of Britain: don't you listen to that horrid Mr Hutton! If you want to stay at home with your children, and if that makes you and them happy, then you mustn't feel any obligation to go out to work."

Financial desperation be damned, if you don't want to work, then don't! But if that's what you're going to do, then you'd better make sure there's someone around to pay for it. Enter Dad, who doesn't get any such choice in Utley's world (after all, he didn't), and is expected to pick up the slack. You know, I bet that Mr. Utley would also argue that the Missus has every right to walk out of the home with the kids (or, more likely, kick him out on his lonesome) if she feels like it. Who then picks up the tab? Well, Dad, of course.

Utley's just another example of the complacent conservative picking and choosing from the politically correct menu as it pleases him to shore up his comfortable point of view. As long as he chooses what fits with his wife's choices, he'll stay that way. But I wonder how that point of view might change if he found himself living in a bedsit, paying for an ex-wife to sit in what used to be his home with the kids he can't see, and up against a system which protects her choices to the hilt and accepts his only insofar as she's inclined to let him.

Me? I'm with Hutton insofar as a mother's financial difficulties are a result of her own choices, but I'm with neither Hutton nor Utley when it comes to the invisibility of the father in the lives of his children.

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The matriarchs are coming...!

Is it just me or do female bloggers generally get vastly more comments than male bloggers? Also, are there more female than male bloggers? I would be surprised at a negative answer to either of these questions, but I confess I don't know, nor would I know where to look. I'd like to know though, perhaps the blogosphere is the matriachy's greatest tool yet...

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No sex in California

'Seem's that California is intent on total gender neutrality in its schools. Much of the reaction seems to focus on collisions between the right's "family values" and the left's "gay rights", but what I'd like to know is how on earth they're going to teach sexual education or, for that matter, any biology at all if they're not allowed to use any "sex-specific terms" in their textbooks? I mean, wow...

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Shock news: weapons inspire aggression!

It never ceases to amaze me what "psychologists" are prepared to "research" these days. Here we have the astonishing, positively gob-smacking discovery that if you put a potent symbol of violence and power in a man's hand this causes an increase in testosterone in his saliva and inspires him to put more hot-sauce in a drink for his neighbor. To put it succinctly: give him a gun and he gets aggressive. Who'd've thunk it?

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Last one out, turn off the lights

The other day I reported on Geoffrey Miller's theory as to why we see no aliens out there - intelligence entertains itself to death.  It appears that Slate implicitly agree, claiming that a Playstation 3 is better than marriage.  Will the pleasure principle be the death of us all?  I still think not.  Once "civilization" hurts itself badly enough by rubbing its pleasure centers up against its technology it will find itself having to adopt a more sensible lifestyle in order to survive.  If I'm wrong, there will be no-one around to rub my nose in it anyway, so I might as well be a little optimistic.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Adoption, androids, bad drivers, Angelina Jolie, spawn of the devil, and the Labour party

A German in Paraguay is adopting children by the literal hundreds so they can have his nationality and access to education and social benefits.  One wonders what will happen when the mothers discover the delights of child support.

There is a dark irony in the China Daily reporting on those idiot male drivers in the UK who spend 10 more minutes being lost than their female counterparts before asking for directions.   When the Chinese learn to drive perhaps we can talk, in the mean time they might do well to dwell on exactly how meaningful a survey such as this can possibly be.  'Still, it gives us another excuse to show the world what a ridiculous sex men are.

Also in Asia, the Koreans have built a female "android" which "can be employed as a guide robot at museums and department stores or as an educational model to read books to children''.  I guess Koreans themselves must be too much in demand for much more important tasks so they have to have machines guide them around shops and read to their children.  Apparently, it will be able to move its legs by the end of the year.  They must be truly proud parents.

A headline from that bastion of important world news Female First, on the pregnant and spoiled Angelina Jolie caught my attention - the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has had a box of Reese's Pieces shipped out to her in Namibia.  My curiosity piqued, I looked up her bio on IMDB and discovered that this beauty is an interestingly checquered person. 
She was first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award from the UN's Correspondents' Association for her work as a goodwill ambassador with the UNHCR and is an honorary citizen of Cambodia for similar reasons.  She's also peppered with tattoos, likes knives and mortuaries, and is not above domestic violence: "I wouldn't kill him because I love his children and they need a dad. But I would beat him up. I know where all of his sports injuries are. And I'd beat her, too!"  But she has aspirations, she 'is planning to give up her acting career to settle in England with her son Maddox and become a full time mum. She says she wants to "Quit movies, be a great mum to Maddox and join the Parents and Teachers Association".'  Hmmm.  I'm sure she'll be positively ordinary.

I don't know which is worse, trying to ensure that your child is not born on the 6 of June this year or planning to name it after one of the characters in The Exorcist if it is.  Either case has got to be borderline child abuse.

Finally, the Labour party in Wales has egg on its face for its blatantly sexist agenda.  One wonders if they'd be quite so pathetically cap in hand if they'd won the election.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

I have to pay her how much...???

ABC touts the $134,121 pa housewife salary, and fark.com puts it all in perspective...

Some quotes:

"They'd just spend it on makeup and shoes anyway."

"Did you know that 76% of all women are battered? And here I am eating all the PLAIN ones!"

"That's an awful lot to get me a sammich and make me a mud hut."

"Have I come to the right thread to be a mysogynist?"

"A study showed that getting kicked in the nuts is actually more painful than giving birth.

         So, should we kick you in the nuts for 16 hours?"

"Wow... The misogyny in here is stifling.
  Silly, misogyny isn't stifling. Catholic School is stifling. Misogyny is HILARIOUS. "

etc, etc...

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Plugging Glenn Sacks

Glenn Sack's latest newsletter comments on a wide range of things of interest to fathers (and, for that matter, mothers). I was amused by the cartoon which, to my astonishment, appeared in the Albany Times Union and nicely complements the NY Assembly's commitment to democracy, in the words of a member, to a suppporter: "While I have seen many letters in support of this legislation from all around the country, my office has received few letters in opposition." so they blocked it anyway...

There is some good news with the Chicago courts doing the right thing with regard to yet another international child abduction. The article notes that such cases grew by 69% last year.

Glenn also has a good go at parental alienation supporter, Trish Wilson. This children's rights opponent has been spreading her poison for a decade now and quite frequently gets caught distorting or even inventing "the facts". In this case, she so blatantly misrepresented something Glenn said that she was forced into a public retraction. But she went on to unsubscribe from the email list where she had posted her lies because one of the other subscribers was honest enough to pass them on to Glenn. 'Speaks volumes...

Back to the Albany miscarriage of justice, I was particularly struck by a mother's letter to the Assembly who committed the outrage:

"I'm the mother of 3 boys as well as stepmother to 3 more children. When I was 9, my parents divorced. The man I so admired, my dad, was treated so low class that he was unable to have any say at all about his children. Convicted felons had more rights and control over their lives than my dad was afforded when it came to his children.

"My dad was a very active parent before the divorce. So active, that I completely credit him for giving me the tools I needed to make me a good person and the tools to raise my own children. I actively saw my mother literally play act the victim. I guess she thought we wouldn't remember what she did to actively hurt him any way that she could.

It was good to read this for the simple reason that it can be very hard to find adult opinions which speak from the experience of the child. I don't know why this should be so.

Glenn's newsletter is very good, I recommend a subscription.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Game Over; you are out of lives and you forgot to reproduce.

Geoffrey Miller poses a rather Armageddonish scenario resulting from the human animal's penchant for pleasure and entertainment, suggesting the reason why we haven't encountered any real aliens is that we're altogether too fascinated by the fictional ones.  He believes that the more we get our kicks from virtual reality in all its burgeoning forms the less we'll engage in the real world and eventually become unfit and go extinct.  The environmental pressures that produced our desires to succeed, to control, to win out can be our downfall as we seek ever greater stimulation from the artificial versions of these and neglect hard, uncomfortable reality. This could be an inevitable consequence of the evolution of intelligence, hence no aliens.

I guess he has a point, but it wouldn't have bothered me so much if it weren't for this BBC report on a poll indicating that the Brits are putting off having kids in favor of having fun, living comfortably and doing well in their careers, sometimes and increasingly until it's too late.  The reader comments are  interestingly full of indignant childless people and their apologists wailing about the high cost of living and other excuses and an occasional breeder being equally indignant about all these selfish genetic failures as we slide into worldwide overpopulation.  Where will this all end, I wonder..?

The BBC also gives us a piece on philosphical thought experiments.  I found #1 particularly intriguing for its juxtaposition of the ethical questions behind donating months of your life to saving another's, someone of social value presumably much greater than your own.  Is it a duty to which one is bound, or is it something that one might do out of the goodness of one's heart? (I confess it's not really clear to me that there's a difference.) One Judith Thomson says there's no obligation, but it'd be mighty generous of you.  Then she likens it to carrying a baby to term or deciding to abort.  I'd guess that the analogy only goes so far as your consideration of the unborn child as a person with value greater than your own.  Perhaps the same goes for our choice between spawning and raising the next generation and playing a few more video games. Hmmm.

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I found the perfect response to this breathtakingly misandristic and ignorant article in the New York Times pointing out all the horrible ways in which women suffer when men's life expectancy approaches theirs:

Q: Why do men die before their wives?
A: Because they want to.

(Courtesy Stargazer)

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