Senior starts off by declaring that we should drop the pretense that a fetus is not a human life: "What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, a foetus is a life by any subjective measure. . . . . Any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life."
Sounds like a Catholic theologian wrote it, doesn't it? But just wait, she's not finished:
"So we are left with a problem. A growing movement in America . . . attempts to decouple feminism from abortion rights, arguing that you can believe in a woman’s right to be empowered without believing in her right to abort." Not possible, she claims. "But you cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control. The single biggest factor in women’s liberation was our newly found ability to impose our will on our
So if a fetus is a human life, and if the central tenet of feminism is that women have the right to destroy that entity in the womb, what's the answer to this dilemma?
I don't know about you, but when it's put in those terms, for me, it's a no-brainer. By common consensus throughout all of history, murder is the most gravely disordered of all human misconduct, and only self-defense can justify it.
Not to Senior. To her, feminist tenets win out over the unborn human's right to live. "As ever, when an issue we thought was black and white becomes more nuanced, the answer lies in choosing the lesser evil," she gushes. "The nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year are the lesser evil, no matter how you define life, or death, for that matter. If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too."
A Catholic publication summed up Senior's view: "The fact that Senior acknowledges the humanity of the unborn child, but disregards it so willingly, is frightening." And her concluding line -- "if you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too" -- is the kind of declaration "one would expect . . . from a radical jihadist, or other violent extremist, not a person with a rational argument to make." (OSV, July 18, 2010 at 17.)
____________________If your view of "women" was formed by reading only the UK major news periodicals, you might think all "women" were like Barbara Ellen, who recently wrote this in the Guardian: "Maybe men generally feel strongly about anonymity [for the presumptively innocent accused of rape], while women feel the opposite. If that is the case, then how should we proceed? Well, that's a no-brainer – the female viewpoint obviously takes precedence, simply because, with rare exceptions, women are the victims of rape." The fact that men, with rare exceptions, are the victims of false rape claims -- the very thing that anonymity seeks to protect against -- is beside the point to Barbara Ellen. She never bothers to consider that fact, much less grapple with it.
____________________Could the insane, despicable views of Antonia Senior and Barbara Ellen be "typical" of women? Are women that hateful, that disdainful of men? If they were, it might just be perfectly reasonable for men to use their superior physical strength to imprison women, impregnate them at will, and prevent them from hurting the unborn that God has ordained them to carry. And I can assure you, some super-genius male scientist would be working on an incubator that could substitute for the womb.
But sorry, I don't buy that these views are anywhere close to being typical of women in general. Relatively few women look at life through a gender lens. Women's views are like men's views -- complex, nuanced, far more gray than black-and-white, often inconsistent and often not well articulated or thought out. But not hateful of an entire gender. The despicable, exaggerated, gynocentric views of Antonia Senior and Barbara Ellen, and any number of others, are intended to garner readership in an era when newspapers are struggling. Controversy sells papers; writing a nuanced piece about the unborn or anonymity doesn't.
I know that many readers of this blog have had terrible experiences with some women. I can't, and won't try to, minimize that. It is irrefutable that men, as a class, face hardships simply for being born male, and that society generally does not recognize, or care about, those hardships. And we also know that a noisy group of women do share the gynocentric views of Antonia Senior and Barbara Ellen; they do hate men, and they do believe in female supremacy.
But the suggestion that those views are typical of women as a class does not comport with my experience or with anything I know. For example, I submit that if you put to a vote the issues important to this blog, the majority of women would support longer sentences for false accusers and anonymity for the presumptively innocent. But the laws are often dictated by persons who are passionately committed to a minority view.
The misandry that men face is far more insidious than "men versus women." The misandry that men face is men versus a society that both women and men have created, a society grounded on chivalry and the disposability of males. Individual women are the beneficiaries of that society, but they, like men, were just born into it. Those women who don't actively or consciously promote it -- which is most women -- shouldn't be blamed for it.