I apologize for my absence, but things have been hectic. I'll do a proper update on my personal life after I settle a few things, but it does seem like the "expat" portion of my screen name is about to be rendered inaccurate.
Next portion requires a trigger warning, so I'll hide it behind a cut. I'll be talking about cyberbullying, rape threats, death threats, and misogyny of the most toxic sort.
( Collapse )
All this exposure to MRAs (Mens Rights Activists… Yeah, IDK) triggered a line of thought that I want to get typed up quickly before going to bed. Remember Greg Fultz, the guy that put up a billboard to shame his ex-girlfriend for getting an abortion? The guy that had his fifteen minutes of fame as a hero for the people who argue that a man contributes half the genetic material, therefore he gets to veto abortions? Yeah, about that argument…
This argument is a very capitalist argument. The analogy here is that a human is like a corporation, and our genetic material is like capital/stock. I'm going to analyze this in three stages. First, I'm going to jump down the rabbit hole and look at the facts within the framework of the argument. Second, I'm going to take a closer look at the genes-as-capital analogy itself. Finally, I'm going to look at the mindset behind the argument.
(I'm assuming the typical twenty-two pairs of autosomes plus one XX/XY pair, i.e. no Down's Syndrome, Klinefelter's Syndrome, etc.)
The argument is basically that the father and mother each contribute half the genetic material, half the capital, if you will, so each has an equal vote and if they can't agree on getting an abortion, they should just let nature run its course, i.e. Mom has the obligation to incubate Dad's baby. But, do they have the same amount of stock in this company?
No. If Dad fathered a boy, he'll have a Y chromosome, with 59 million base pairs, whereas Mom contributed an X chromosome with 153 million base pairs, so Mom has a controlling interest with 94 million more shares than Dad, and can therefore terminate male fetuses at will.* But even with girl babies she has a controlling interest, despite both parents contributing twenty-three chromosomes with equal number of base pairs and genes, because every person's mitochondrial DNA is inherited from Mom, meaning that she has 16 600 more base pairs/shares than Dad even in the event of a girl.
So, even if we accept the framework of the argument, mothers do in fact contribute more genetic capital than fathers, so the father doesn't have veto power. Now, let's look at some of the unintended consequences of this genes-as-stock analogy.
If a father's genetic contribution is reasoned to give him the right to veto an abortion, what right does anybody have to make medical decisions without first consulting one's parents, even as an adult? After all, it's still copies of the parents' genes, and having reached the arbitrary age of majority doesn't change that. Wouldn't the grandparents' collective ownership give them a say, the ability to override the father's veto if three (or just two if both grandmothers, see above) are in agreement that the abortion should continue or that the decision should be the mother's?
This proposed "solution" raises far more questions than it answers. (Pretty typical of MRA proposals, I've found.)
The final implication of this person-as-corporation model that is overlooked by its very proponents — and that it's overlooked is indicative of the economic leanings of its advocates, as this is something no leftist or even centrist would miss — is that it focuses exclusively on the stock/capital and ignores labor altogether. A simple genetic calculus is presented as the yardstick, and Mom's nine-month, round-the-clock labor investment is swept under the rug, not to mention the extremely painful product launch at the end!
We have the usual reactionary technique of using just as much science as is needed to make an argument seem plausible, ignoring inconvenient details and misrepresenting the data — in this case, creating the impression that fathers are due veto due to equal genetic contribution when the reality is that mothers actually contribute more genetic material. We are presented with an argument that looks reasonable only if you give it a cursory glance and don't stop and think about what it's really implying — in this case, that it opens a whole can of worms about who really holds the copyright to Babby's genes. Finally, the argument is only persuasive if you have a reactionary mindset to begin with, as it simply extends free market thinking into biology and child-rearing to selectively create "rights" (privilege, really) for fathers where none is warranted.
* — Yes, I worded it that way on purpose just to freak out the MRAs.