Anna North at Jezebel shares with us this charming quote from Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood USA:
Increasingly, the American people are being treated paternalistically by a government, media and public sector elite that stands in direct opposition to our traditional American values.
Using the courts as its instrument, this American elite has emasculated a once independent America.
The “American people” here apparently does not include women who are or may become pregnant, or pro-choicers of any description. “Traditional American values” means women must live and die at the mercy of sperm-meets-egg. The distinction between “the American people,” meaning those who oppose reproductive freedom, and the “American elite,” referring to those who trust women to plan their own families, is useful in parsing the “emasculated” bit.
If masculinity is defined as having a certain relationship to women, specifically as being in control of them, them it makes perfect sense to view reproductive rights as emasculation. The right to effective contraceptives and safe abortion gives women a degree of control over their lives that allows them to approach their relationships with men on their own terms. It helps women finish their education, travel, work as many hours as they need, advance their careers, and put money in savings. It gives women the autonomy to make plans for the future, which may or may not include any particular partner. It means a woman can date, or not, sleep around, or not, and enter a committed relationship, or not. While leaving an abusive relationship tends to be complicated no matter what, it is far more feasible for a woman who isn’t pregnant or caring for a small child. It won’t protect her from rape, but it prevents a rapist from forcing her into motherhood.
Ergo, yes, contraceptives and abortion do reduce men’s ability to keep women under control. If “manhood” means the females are at your mercy and “independence” means you can force them to bear your children, then, yes, birth control is emasculation.
What a harsh, joyless view of life that is, to say a man isn’t really a man unless he gets to push a woman around.
I’m hearing on Twitter right now that the Personhood Initiative is losing in Mississippi. I guess a whole lot of MS men are more secure in their masculinity than the dudes at Personhood USA.