Clementine Ford published this very interesting piece a couple of days ago. It differed wildly in tone from her usual offerings of “men are whiny little man-babies” and “ironic misandry“; it was almost reasonable. She couldn’t resist putting women on the Cross and inviting the reader to admire how beautiful her martyrdom of pregnancy and childrearing is, but the difference in tone gave me pause.
What angle is this asshole trying to work?
Unless she repudiated the whole “women are justified in hating men because REASONS” schtick, the article didn’t make sense. Then I remembered her 2016 literary masterpiece, “Fight Like a Girl” and it brought the article into context.
She is inviting men to engage in unpaid labor. Which is supposedly terrible for women. Let’s enjoy it together with excerpts from her book.
There are a lot of cliches and sayings that get thrown around following the birth of a baby, but none are so apt as this one: it takes a village to raise a child. And hoo boy, do we really need that village. But you know who we really need in that village? More men.
Fascinating: From Clementine’s book “Fight Like a Girl”:
Do men really need to be acknowledged for doing the right thing? Do they even realise they’re taking credit for work that women have performed more tirelessly and with greater risk to their health and wellbeing? Do men need to be revered and admired, their egos stroked with the palms of a thousand tired hands?
If women are so tireless and such risk-takers, why does their Feminist village require men at all?
I’m not suggesting this imbalance of care is men’s fault. There are lots of reasons men are hesitant to offer this kind of support, and chief among them is the fear of being seen as a threat to the safety of children. Some families choose not to involve external men as caregivers because of these reasons. I can’t direct them to do otherwise, but I do think it poses a wasted opportunity to diversify the way we perceive childcare in our communities.
Ultimately, I invite men to be a part of my child’s village because I think there’s value to be had both for men in recognising their role in this village and for children in seeing men in this role.
I don’t want my son to think the people he can turn to for help are Daddy and a million other women.
I do these things not to inconvenience men in particular or because I assume my child and I are so important that we can just demand attention and time from strangers. I do it because child-rearing is hard and it does require support and outside help at times, but this help is typically just absorbed by women as more of the daily unpaid labour we perform invisibly for the benefit of others.
Fascinating. From Clementine’s book, “Fight Like a Girl”:
The thrill of supporting a man with our bodies, our children and our unpaid labour is not only supposed to make us happy but is offered as some kind of vital ingredient in the world’s evolution. It’s why absurd, insulting platitudes are thrown around to appease us, platitudes like ‘behind every great man there is a woman’.
Insulting platitudes like “it takes a village to raise a child”? In the case of men, it takes a village to raise a child you didn’t sire? That a woman didn’t deem you worthy of breeding, but she does deem you worthy of doing some “unpaid labour” on her behalf with her spawn?
Nope. Rearing another man’s child does not make me happy. I do not care how vital it is to the village or evolution. I am not appeased by “it takes a village.”
Not my kid; not my problem.
I do it because I am invested in creating a more empathetic community, and empathy involves helping other people when they need it. I do it because men are just as capable of caregiving for children as women are, but they are rarely called on to assist in the care of children outside their own immediate families.
Fascinating. From Clementine’s book, “Fight Like a Girl”:
I know now why that is. It’s because women do the work. We always have. It is usually done without complaint or protestation, because most girls are conditioned from birth to accept that unpaid domestic labour is our natural responsibility.
So, women do things “without complaint or protestation” (what is this mythical creature, a woman who does not complain? A cryptozoological being) and that just gets Clementine’s dander all the way up. But men should just “help other people when they need it”, regardless of the imposition on a man’s time, goals, or desire, (i.e. be a utility) because that’s “empathy” (translation: Something Clementine prefers).
I repeat: Not my kid; not my problem.
And I do it because I want my child to see value in extending that empathy and care to people beyond himself. I want him to consider the gentle care of children to be as much a masculine trait as it is a feminine one.
As his awareness of the world grows at a rate faster than his own fortitude or independence, I don’t want him to think that the people he can turn to for help are Daddy and a million other women. We can shape the villages we live in. This is how I’m shaping mine.
Fascinating. From Clementine’s book “Fight Like a Girl”:
Secondly, we have to start being okay with saying that. I know it’s difficult, but men aren’t children or dogs. They don’t get a cookie because they did the right thing. Not giving them a reward is not the same as swearing at them or throwing a bucket of shit at their head, even though some of them might act as if it is. We have to resist the urge to respond to basic decency by treating it as if it’s some kind of enormously magnanimous gesture. It isn’t. There shouldn’t be anything astonishing about a man who doesn’t degrade women, hurt them or treat them as somehow less than him. As Rita O’Grady says, that’s as it should be. You don’t get a fucking ribbon just for turning up to a morning tea, especially not when women’s reward for doing so much more than that is to gratefully scoop up the crumbs you leave behind.
Patriarchy Acts. Rape Culture Teaches. Sexism Wants.
The Devil Is A Liar.
Feminism is religion done wrong. If you’re going to make a moral argument, you have to provide some incentive for making a good moral decision over a bad one other than “I, Clementine Ford, shall be ever so cross with you if you do something I don’t like.” If you are going to ascribe metaphysical evil to men (all men benefit from the Patriarchy!) then you have to offer them something for doing good, whether it’s eternal paradise, 72 virgins, resurrection, Nirvana, prosperity, a pat on the head, etc.
Despite what Feminists think, men are just as human as women and almost all humans respond to incentives. Feminists don’t want to offer incentives. Clementine Ford is openly contemptuous of the idea of incentivizing Feminism, except with “insulting platitudes” or loud shrieking when a man does Feminism in the “wrong” way (as if there were a right way).
I don’t think I’ll be joining your Feminist village. It appears that the only payment for men’s labor to women and children is the business end of a stick.