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Apr 20 2006

I Love Babies! Part Two

Should humans reproduce with wild abandon because babies are so cute? Sure, if they want my niece Finn to grow up in a hell-hole.

84 comments

  1. Annie

    Enjoy being a doting aunt with, what did you say, considerable dorkiness? Sadly, Twisty, I think the hell-hole, is imminent. We’re pretty much in it. A whole lot of people really suck, and perhaps more in the terrible things they do to each other than to the rest of the planet. You hang in and do your wonderful spinster aunt part to teach Finn to live responsibly and ethically with others, and she will learn a lot about living that way with the earth and its non-human. And, for the record…she is very cute.

  2. casalina

    Oh, I see how it is. Teh cute for me, but not for thee, eh?

  3. schatze

    I still think puppies are cuter than babies.

  4. saltyC

    And hopefully she will be able shed some of the American-Puritan-guilt-morphed-into-American-Leftist-guilt at being alive and taking up valuable human space so that she can unapologetically enjoy life.

  5. Annie

    BTW, what kind of camera are you using? I have a Fuji Fine Pix, which I LOVE. Whatever you are using…it does a work and you seem to be quite adept with it.

    casalina, I’m hoping that you’re kidding, but if you’re not I wonder if you missed the point.

  6. norbizness

    Or she could move to Dallas and the question of other babies and their connection to living in a hell-hole would become superfluous.

  7. darkymac

    Look out, Bert’s cousin!
    It’s already got fangs.

    Any attempt at careful comment on dog-in-the-manger hogging of finite global resources has been foiled by the overwhelmingly good look of Twisty’s niece.
    Not to mention that bestially mixed metaphor.

    ::retires clucking in abject auntiness::

  8. whyme63

    It’s good to see what is clearly an adorable baby human once in a while. It reaffirms that babies are not my kryptonite. I appreciate that they are cute and all–they just don’t reduce me to gooey puddles of ecstasy.
    Even my own nieces and nephews, whom I adore, could never do that.

    Puppies, however…

  9. Ron Sullivan

    I wonder how human population would be affected if we gave birth to sulky adolescents who only eventually grew into adooooowable babies. Ya hear lots of “I want a baby!” stuff but damn little “I want an adolescent!” I also wonder if it would be useful to get the word out faster that when you have a baby, you’re producing somebody who will feel about you pretty much the way you feel about your mother, no matter how much you think that’s unique and all her fault.

    It’s a great steaming heap more complicated than “guilt” of any stripe, though that’s a convenient enough label when the things/places/organisms you love aren’t being paved to death. Water is necessary and lovely, but you can die of too much of that too.

    I’m sure somebody’s already linked “The Stork” here, right?

  10. ozma

    Damn, that’s one cute baby. Funny how having a baby increased my dread of the plague and starvation you mention below to almost intolerable levels. Yes, I reused the bathwater and then washed my clothes in it for a few weeks after the birth due to freak outs about inevitable water shortages which will cause the deaths of millions. Stupid, but I didn’t know what to do with the newly enhanced terror brought on by motherhood. The juxtaposition of babylove and horror. “Oh baby, you are so sweet. Why must total environmental collapse be so near? Why do we all have to die? Cootchie cootchie coo.” As usual I’m stopped in my tracks by what you say, except I think that if we got rid of capitalism we could buy ourselves some time.

    And I do want an adolescent now–I want the adolescent my toddler’s going to be and yes, she will probably say I’m mediocre to bad as a mother and doubtless she will be right.

    Also, I want to say ‘Viva La Twistylution!’

  11. casalina

    Annie –

    Uh, yeah. Kidding. Should have remembered to include the [/snark] tag.

    I’m firmly in the “puppies are cuter than babies” camp myself.

  12. Hattie

    I also wonder if it would be useful to get the word out faster that when you have a baby, you’re producing somebody who will feel about you pretty much the way you feel about your mother, no matter how much you think that’s unique and all her fault.
    Truer words were never written, Ron.

  13. Nymphalidae

    Would imposing restrictions on the number of children people are allowed to father/mother be a restriction of reproductive freedom? Probably so, unfortunately.

  14. thelmyc

    Saltyc, you say “guilt” I say “sense of responsibility to something in the world other than myself and my own DNA.”

    To-may-to, to-mah-to …

    I’m apparently a bad little girl if I use the word “selfish” to describe any attitude at all in this discussion, but if yizall can think of another word to describe this attitude that one should do whatever the fuck one likes without regard for any consequences, I’d like to hear it.

    If you want to live somewhere where you don’t have to make any allowances for the fact that other people exist, go live on an island. By yourself. I hope you know how to hunt and kill your own food, too. The rest of us are apparently mature enough to be concerned about cleaning up our own messes. Better yet, not making them in the first place.

    If you call that “guilt,” then you’ve got some problems that a humble LMYC can’t help you with.

  15. thelmyc

    Nymphalidae, restrictions are not necessary. Educate the world’s women preferentially, and the problem would take care of itself.

    But the crushing of women’s souls matters to much to our species as a whole that we will choose extinction over kicking the patriarchy to the curb.

  16. lcgillies

    Auntie, you are so advanced in blaming, yet so Malthusian in economics!

  17. thelmyc

    I also read with some amusement the attitude that people have sex because they want babies. People have sex because it feels good; babies are simply consequences, often unintended and — if we want to drop the rose-colored mommyhood glasses — unwanted for a great proportion of the world’s women.

    People fuck because they are concerned about the next five minutes or five seconds of their lives. When babies result from it, often unplanned, that’s when the talk about celebrating life and hope for the future and all that comes out. It’s not the reason for having babies, it’s the rationalization. The reason for having babies is that orgasms feel nice.

    A lot of people worship at the altar of darwinism without really understanding what it means; they seem to look at it like many people look at the free market, like some sort of machine that automatically spits out an optimized, perfect solution with everything justified to seven significant digits. Don’t work that way. People have sex because it feels good; if babies by themselves were enough of a reason to have sex, it would not have been necessary for mother nature to connect it with one of the most powerful physical sensations in existence. In fact, if it had to be hooked up to something as lovely as an orgasm, that could be a significant indictment on the misery of the process itself. If you have to put that much sugar in the spoon, the medicine must taste pretty shitty by itself.

    Sex feels good but nowdays, its consequences are less than optimal for our survival as a species. Our appetite for fat, salt, and starch was also created to keep us around as a species in a food-poor environment, but that’s also killing us in the modern world.

    Evolution creates many appetites that were once adaptive and are no longer. Our appetite for salt and starch is choking us to death on potato chips no matter how yummy our brains have been hardwired to tell us they are. Our appetite for sex is similarly choking us with people. We’ve got minds and can foresee the consequences of our actions; it’s goddamned past time we started doing it.

  18. Charles

    That baby is cute. However, my 11 month daughter, who just got her first little tooth yesterday and who has an amazing shock of nearly-black hair, is cuter. So there.

  19. Sam

    I missed thelmyc, glad she’s back in fine posting form.

    “People have sex because it feels good; if babies by themselves were enough of a reason to have sex, it would not have been necessary for mother nature to connect it with one of the most powerful physical sensations in existence.”

    I just watched a few seasons of Xena and there was one episode where Callisto says about love, “Love is nature’s trick to get us to reproduce.” The line got me thinking about how no one in their right mind would sit down and make a pro/con list of what having a baby really does to one’s life and still decide to go ahead with having one. Nature makes us irrational and stupid-in-love for a reason, and as the Jewish saying about sex goes, “A stiff prick turns the mind to shit.”

  20. Annie

    I’ll sign up for equal education (I mean, come on, if Finn was a little dude, would we want him under-educated?) or hypothetically even preferential education for women, but I draw the line at the suggestion that some blanket form of population control is appropriate. I was seriously freaked out by a family I knew where the husband was a rank and file patriarch who kept his very pretty little trophy wife continuously pregnant into her 40s even as he demanded that she looked good. I think that was as close as I ever came to hating someone I knew. But I can’t say it was their environmental selfishness that turned my gut green. It was the husband’s sense of entitlement and righteousness that rallied the puke troops in me everytime I saw him. Even so, I shudder to think of any sort of institutional control over reproduction…some guy would run it and ruin the whole damned thing.

  21. Ms Kate

    Breeding does not make you a feminist.

    Not breeding does not make you a feminist.

    Breeding does not make you an environmentalist.

    Not breeding does not make you an environmentalist.

    You may use “feminism” and “environmentalism” to inform your choices. You may weave elaborate post-facto justifications of either choice out of either philosophy, or pass judgement upon those who don’t think as you do based on what you chose or believe (or choose to believe), but it all winds up being bickering bullshit that detracts from the larger issues of environmentalism and feminism IMHO. Patriarchy loves teh holier-than-thou bickering.

    Humans are living organisms and living organisms, as a class, are programmed to reproduce. That doesn’t mean there is no individual variation in the power of that urge or intellectual response to that urge. That doesn’t mean women are meant to spend their lives in reproduction rather than whatever the fuck they want to do.

    Trumpeting your individual breeding or non-breeding decisions as an individual virtue does not make for a sustainability discussion in the face of biology and patriarchy. Empowering women to make those breeding decisions for their own choice and benefit through education and family planning EVEN IF IT MEANS SOME MIGHT (GASP!) CHOSE TO HAVE KIDS will have a hell of a lot more impact on population growth rates on a species level.

  22. Ms Kate

    Breeding does not make you a feminist.

    Not breeding does not make you a feminist.

    Breeding does not make you an environmentalist.

    Not breeding does not make you an environmentalist.

    You may use “feminism” and “environmentalism” to inform your choices. You may use them to get that wonderful ever-pious feel-good glow. You may weave elaborate post-facto justifications of either choice out of either philosophy, or pass judgement upon those who don’t think as you do based on what you chose or believe (or choose to believe), but it all winds up being bickering bullshit that detracts from the larger issues of environmentalism and feminism IMHO. Patriarchy loves teh holier-than-thou bickering.

    Humans are living organisms and living organisms, as a class, are programmed to reproduce. Deal. That doesn’t mean there is no individual variation in the power of that urge or intellectual response to that urge. That doesn’t mean every woman has to spend her life in constant reproductive activity because God said so, rather than whatever the fuck she wants to spend her time doing. It just means that, as a species, we are going to breed.

    Trumpeting your individual breeding or non-breeding decisions as an individual virtue does not make for a sustainability discussion in the face of biology and patriarchy. Empowering women to make those breeding decisions for their own choice and benefit through education and family planning EVEN IF IT MEANS SOME MIGHT (GASP!) CHOSE TO HAVE KIDS will have a hell of a lot more impact on population growth rates on a species level.

  23. Annie

    By the by, either I’m a Darwinian anomaly, or the sex because it feels good theory is wanting for a bit more research.

    I had sex to have a baby, and when she came along I pretty muched stopped having sex because I don’t like it all that much. I don’t like the primal feeling of it. Hunting and fishing, as finnsmotel noted, is another story with me. I enjoy it…even if I don’t think we stopped doing it in a scientifically evolutionary way, we stopped doing it because we’re rampant, raging capitalists who like a good meal and clean hands.

    Now, I have been inscribed so viciously and thoroughly by the patriarchy (my genetic patriarch included) that it doesn’t surprise me much to find that sex has always been kind of “I can take it or leave it” territory for me. I’m also near menopause, so now I REALLY don’t care about sex. Still, I don’t feel guilty for bringing my baby to leach off the planet, so much as I feel guilty for bringing my baby into a world where people treat each other like crap!

  24. Charles

    Ms Kate, I couldn’t agree more. My incredibly smart strong wonderful cute (should I could go on?) baby daughter isn’t biological, but we get almost angry if someone tries to pat us on the back for adopting children. That decision doesn’t prove anything about us other than we wanted children.

  25. stekatz

    Dang that Stork thing is just the funniest film short ever – and this being said by a breeder.

    I’m linking that thing on my blog because all of those people so expertly photoshopped into the film I’m pretty sure are my neighbors. If you don’t mind my shameless self promotion, you can read for yourself at http://mutha_load.livejournal.com.

    Off to go link that now.

    Yes, I second (or third or fourth by now) the motion that puppies quite nicely fullfill a mothering jones.

  26. Pony

    “I’m also near menopause, so now I REALLY don’t care about sex.”

    Just so the young ‘uns here don’t think this is a given with menopause. It isn’t.

    : )

  27. Brooklynite

    no one in their right mind would sit down and make a pro/con list of what having a baby really does to one’s life and still decide to go ahead with having one

    Hogwash.

  28. Annie

    I got a puppy when I was hankering for another youngin’ and it worked out great!

  29. Sam

    You know, I thought about putting the qualifier “almost no one”, but then I remembered a factoid about how in the USA the majority of births (around 60% if memory serves) result from “unplanned” pregnancies as opposed to planned ones and I decided to leave “almost” out. I don’t know what other countries look like regarding planned versus unplanned births, but the number of unplanned births being as high as it is in the USA where birth control— while never perfect —is more available than in most of Earth’s countries is fascinating to me.

  30. Sam

    Not sure why I put unplanned in scare quotes up there, maybe due to the sensitve nature of the topic, but please disregard them.

  31. kathy a

    kudos to ms. kate. the essence of the patriarchy is the attitude that there is one right answer, and *I* know the answer, and “you should do it my way.” all the better if it ends in a personal fistfight about values.

    [does anyone remember the old saturday night live routine, where jane curtain would give a news report/opinion, and her co-anchor always began his response with "jane, you miserable slut..."? that there is the patriarchy.]

    in my opinion, almost every person on the planet — given education, basic sustenance, a little soul, and the freedom to make choices — will try to find some reasonable balance between what they personally want and need, and the larger good of communities and the environment. and those choices will come out differently for different people.

    the thing is, there needs to be some level of equity and respect for the whole thing to work. where exxon’s CEO is making almost half a billion, and there are moms trying not to let their kids starve, and it is the moms who are excoriated because folks think they aren’t working hard enough — something just isn’t right.

    twisty, that is one heck of a fine baby! the most under-rated role in a family is that of the “cool aunt.”

    ron, you are so right. i’m happy to offer my sulky adolescents as exhibits A and B, although sometimes they surprise me. they were very cute babies! my theory is that nature ropes you in when they are bitty, just so you don’t toss them out on the freeway when they wake up one day with a decade-long bout of the nasties. [the alternate and more popular theory is that i'm just stupid. so i'm going with what works for me.]

  32. teffie-phd

    Seems like not having babies can be bringing on the patriarchy too. There was discussion all about it on CBC’s The Current this morning. And the debate over national daycare in Canada seems to be one example that proves the point. There are all kinds of anti-feminist mom-bots who think that women should stay home with their babies and that no one needs childcare.

    Though some discussion of the paradox that feminists need to have more children to ensure adequate patriarchy blaming would be nice.

    I’m more middle-of-the-road about my own breeding and am very aware that doing so did impose all kinds of new patriarchal dogmas on me (some days I feel like a big Monty-Python foot of “mommy in patriarchy” is stepping on me). But I’m also (somewhat) optimistic that there can be motherhood outside of patriarchy (I don’t subscribe to the patriarchy/matrix idea). And that my biology does not need to be transformed in order for my liberation to happen. It’s the social relations which cover my biological capabilites which needs to be changed. And frankly the road to reproduction outside of biology (reproductive technologies)as it now stands reaks of patriarchy.

  33. B. Dagger Lee

    Ms. Kate, I was so totally with you–I’ve always been a sucker for parallel construction– until you said it again. Then my mind started to wander.

    But wait, is the double post just, just, just more parallel construction? Actually, now I think it’s genius!

    Speaking of genius, where is Sunya Harjis? I was perusing the archives, trying to get a handle on Twisty’s obstrepolemics and, I say, that Sunya Harjis gives me joy, in a careening, anarchic, no-holds-barred kind of way. Where is she?

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  34. Joanna

    Actually, I did get pregnant accidentally and then made a pro and con list about having the baby or having an abortion. Twice. Different pros and cons, different outcomes.

  35. Brooklynite

    You know, I thought about putting the qualifier “almost no one”, but then I remembered a factoid about how in the USA the majority of births (around 60% if memory serves) result from “unplanned” pregnancies as opposed to planned ones and I decided to leave “almost” out.

    According to the most reliable-looking study I found in a quick Google, about half of all pregnancies in the US in 1994 were unplanned, and about half of those ended in abortion.

    But I’m not sure how you get from even a 60% unplanned pregnancy rate to “no one in their right mind would sit down and make a pro/con list of what having a baby really does to one’s life and still decide to go ahead with having one.”

  36. Deborah

    Finn is way, way the cutest little girl.

    My sister-in-law just had a baby last week, so I vote him the cutest little boy. ;)

  37. Sam

    It was hypergbole, Brooklynite. I’m sure that 100% of mothers were not fooled into pregnancy by lovey dovey emotions that made them reckless (and the fallibility of birth control must be mentioned when speaking of unplanned pregnancies), but the point was really that the induced loopiness of sexual emotions is an interesting phenomena that plays into risktaking. The larger point made by the lmyc was there are many risks of sex outside pregnancy humans take because sex feels damn good and short term feelings more often than not overcome reasoning for the long term outcomes, and not infrequently that outcome is bringing another living being into the world.

    Having a body with sexual desires and remembering my own thoughts and behaviors over crushes and boyfriends through the years, I think there’s something to be said for the stupid-in-love feelings surrounding sexual desire disrupting rational thought. Everyone I’ve asked has admitted to at least once (usually more than once) crushing on a person who in hindsight had no sexual interest in them whatsoever, but at the time they were absolutely convinced every glance, every word uttered by that person was a signal of reciprocation for the sexual interest they felt. Love/sexual desire has made me more blind to more things that in retrospect seem painfully obvious than any other emotion I’ve experienced, more than anger, embarrassment, or fear.

  38. Sam

    Hyperbole. It’s Typo Thursday for me today.

  39. Pony

    I’m really sorry that some people I know are not going to be having children. I think they should, because frankly, I think they have genes which should be passed on. It seems to me it the brightest and most talented, and those who have a social conscience, who choose not to. Yes, Nurture plays a role. But more and more, I think genetics has it.

  40. thelmyc

    It doesn’t make sense to me to say that bright people with talent and social conscience should do something with their lives which will severely interfere with their ability to manifest their brightness, talent, and social conscience. Rearing kids is a shitload of work and for everyone except the media Supermom, it means putting off a LOT of stuff.

    I love it when people imply that I’m obviously so bright and motivated and have accomplished a lot inmy life, so I should have a baby and severely limit my ability to achieve anything else.

    And please do not get started on how “I can so achieve and have a baby.” BABIES ARE HARD WORK. So are children. If you are honest with yourself, your ability to take classes, teach, work, etc. is severely limited when you’ve got a tiny human running around with no handles and no off-switch for whom you are responsible 24/7.

    And while the rearing of kids could be made a shitload better supported if the patriarchy were kicked to the curb, but there are also aspects of childrearing that will never, ever be easy. The patriarchy is not to blame for (all of) the expense, the sleepless nights that will guarantee that you cannot stay awake in a night class, or the exhaustion. The patriarchy is not to blame for your kid having a shitfit tantrum when you try to feed him or her brussel sprouts.

    Having babies could be better supported, but it will never be easy. If Pony’s friends are supposedly bright and talented, then they should go manifest that brightness and talent instead of having kids purely to manifest their brightness and talent in the next generation, where those kids will have kids to manifest their brightness and talent, and so on. If we’re all so bright and talented, then someone’s gonna have to put their goddamned foot down and act on it. Some of those people will choose to do so unencumbered by kids.

  41. thelmyc

    I shudder to think
    of any sort of institutional control over reproduction…some guy
    would run it and ruin the whole damned thing.

    Ain’t that the fucking truth …

    That’s the problem with humans, and with the patriarchy. Any solutions to the problems that it’s caused are likely to be soaked through with the philosophy that caused the fucking problems in the first place.

  42. Sam

    There’s a post awaiting approval where that dang letter ‘g’ that lives between the letters ‘r’ and ‘b’ on my keyboard snuck into the word hyperbole. It has other stuff in it too, as you’ll see eventually, just didn’t want you to think what’s visible now was the totality of my reply.

  43. Brooklynite

    If Pony’s friends are supposedly bright and talented, then they should go manifest that brightness and talent instead of having kids purely to manifest their brightness and talent in the next generation, where those kids will have kids to manifest their brightness and talent, and so on. If we’re all so bright and talented, then someone’s gonna have to put their goddamned foot down and act on it. Some of those people will choose to do so unencumbered by kids.

    Absolutely.

    But let me toss in another complication. Part of the reason I wanted kids was my suspicion that being a parent would teach me things I’d never learn otherwise, things that’d be useful to me in my other relationships and in my work. And so far, that suspicion is being borne out.

    Which is not to say that people with kids are brighter and more talented than people without, or that a person needs to be a parent to be complete, or that there aren’t other routes to the kinds of knowledge and experience that I’m gaining from parenthood. But in my own life, I find my daughter to be an asset to my work and my efforts at social action.

    Yes, she’s an encumbrance as well. But she’s not just an encumbrance.

  44. Pony

    I said “people I know”. You extrrapolate that to “Pony’s friends”. Then somehow, my musing about brilliant and talent people with a social conscience deciding not to have children becomes a statment saying “purely to manifest” their brightness and talent.

    Then, someone quotes your misattribution.

    You do make your point. Brilliance isn’t everything.

  45. Ms Kate

    There is most certainly a patriarchy-soaked flip side of fertility control. For professional women, they are expected to control their fertility if they want to play with the men, even though men can breed and never have to face any consequences.

    Put simply: women get pregnant, so, if they want to work, they’d better damn well not. Or, if they do, they have to choose between unemployment or unreasonable job demands of the patriarchy.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a chorus of pseudofeminists ever willing to support that view. I say “pseudo” because the expectations of women are not the same as the expectations put on men.

    Check out this Patriarch wanna-be: http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=135423

  46. Pony

    This is *kind* of related to this thread, in that it’s about the godbags and their lack of logic on, of all things, sex:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

  47. Pony

    Whoops. It’s headed Sex and Guns. You can still get it with the other link. Good stuff.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/04/sex_and_guns.php

  48. thelmyc

    “Love is nature’s trick to get us
    to reproduce.”

    I don’t know if I’d to that far. I think orgasms are nature’s trick to get us to reproduce, but they are well disjoint from love. I think love is ideally what results from the intersection of close friendship and fucking. If you’re very, very lucky. There is definitely a chemical component to it though, especially in the early stages. I don’t think ANYONE should get married less than two years into ANY relationship. Let that burst of hormone-assisted OCD burn down before you start making plans for the next 40 years of your life.

    And Brooklynite, I don’t doubt that kids can teach you a lot. Parenthood seems to be like what Bill Cosby said about cocaine — it intensifies whatever you already are. If you have the potential to be a really thoughtful, mindful person, then parenthood will crank that up to 11. If you’re a cretinous asshole, parenthood will also crank that up to 11.

    I do think that it runs an inherent risk of making one willing to flush the entire planet down the crapper for short-term gain, though. Parents might throw themselves in front of a truck to save their kid, but if they are honest with themselves, they would also be entuirely willing to shove someone ELSE in front of that truck to save their kid, too. Parenthood can … narrow your focus, to put it mildly, even if a wide focus is more appropriate.

  49. thelmyc

    I think orgasms are nature’s
    trick to get us to reproduce, but they are well disjoint from
    love.

    Also, interestingly, orgasms are also almost totally disjoint from reproduction for women, if you want to be precise. Unless you practice some pretty esoteric forms of bodily control (possible, but little known), the male orgasm is irrevocably tied to fertility because it involves the ejection of sperm in all cases (again, abrring familiarity with some very esoteric practices).

    The female orgasm however, hasn’t got shit to do with fertilization — no matter what some rightwing dickheads who imagine otherwise may think.

  50. Pony

    “Also, interestingly, orgasms are also almost totally disjoint from reproduction for women,”

    Uhhh. Female orgasms do have something to do with conception, which I think is part of reproduction. The uterus moves forward and dips down to (pardon the highly medical terminology) swoop up the sperm during orgasm. Or not, if there isn’t any sperm there to swoop up.

  51. Brooklynite

    It can narrow your focus, Thelmnyc, but it can also widen it.

    My daughter was born with developmental dysplasia of the hips, a condition that’s usually not serious if caught early and properly treated, but which can require casts, surgery, even hip replacement if it’s not dealt with in the first weeks after birth.

    My wife and I have good health insurance and a great pediatrician. She discovered the dysplasia in Casey’s first examination. She sent us to a specialist who saw us immediately and put Casey in a therapeutic harness the same day.

    When I was driving back from the hospital that afternoon, with a two-day-old baby with messed up hips in the backseat, my overwhelming feeling was one of anger — anger about all the kids who don’t get the care Casey got, and anger on behalf of those kids’ parents. I’d always been in favor of universal health care, but as a generally healthy guy, I’d never felt the issue so viscerally before.

    And of course, as the father of a daughter, I’ve got a new relationship to feminism now, too.

  52. thelmyc

    The uterus moves forward
    and dips down to (pardon the highly medical terminology) swoop up
    the sperm during orgasm.

    The uterus may give such sperm-sipping a try, but if the number of pregnancies that result from bad sex or rape are any indication, it doesn’t need to and isn’t doing a very good job of it when it does. Whereas, for most men, ejaculation and orgasm are so completely linked that we’re talking minus-epsilon for cases where it’s not.

  53. robin

    Ditto to Pony’s #25.

    or so I’ve heard… :-)

  54. thelmyc

    It’s also worth noting that a woman can orgasm just fine during the infertile periods of her cycle. However we may interpret a few statistically insignificant twitches, the fact remains — orgasm and fertility have damned near nothing to do with one another for females. Otherwise the fistula hospitals in Africa wouldn’t even need to exist.

  55. Pony

    I agree. It doesn’t need to.

    But as for “…a few statistically insignificant twitches,”

    Speak for yourself.

  56. Annie

    On one level I suppose I could blame my decision to become a mother on the patriarchy. In my family, the women wouldn’t validate you unless you married and had at least one child…and of course there was always the hitch that if you only had one you were pretty much of a lightweight, but if you had more than 2 you were “always” pregnant. Women in my family are classic shamers and blamers of other women, even their own. But I blame that on the patriarchy and move on because I actually really love being a mother. Sometimes I suck at it, probably more than I know, but it’s really the most cool part of my life. I could drive myself nuts day in an day out being pissed off at the patriarchy every second of the day, but the one place the patriarchy can’t score on me in total is in raw love. I’m just into it hangin’ with my kid, listening to her, learning from her. She’s great…better than me for sure. And so at the end of the day if my focus is narrowed…so be it, and I won’t be ashamed of it, especially not in front of other women, because that’s the last stronghold. I’m not going to allow the patriarchy or the anger and frustration they pour into all of us by way of the Matrix, to shame me, guilt me, or imprison me. I proudly love and live for my kid with reckless abandon.

  57. thelmyc

    Speak for yourself.

    So you have numbers that show that pregnancy is statistically affected by the twitching of the uterus? In significant numbers? I’d be very interested to see them.

    And I suppose these numbers indicate that the twitching of the uterus affects fertility and ovulation in something approaching the same numbers that the male orgasm affects the male production of sperm and injection of it into the female body?

    I have a really hard time believing that you misread that by accident.

    I’ll be clearer: The female orgasm has NO SIGNIFICANT STATISTICAL EFFET ON REPRODUCTION in anything approaching the way that the male orgasm affects reproduction. In the case of the male orgasm in a healthy male subject, barring esoteric practices, it will be accompanied by an attempt at fertilization every single time. Deviations from this approach minus-epsilon values. In the case of the female orgasm, attempts at coupling that to fertility approach plus-epsilon values. Clear enough?
    *shakes head* I can only conclude that you will go to enormous lengths to misinterpret a iblunt, obvious statement if you’re in the mood to pick a fight. Not my problem.

  58. AntipodeanKate

    Thelmyc, I mostly agree with everything you say. I wasn’t trying to censure you or whatever. So I apologise for inadvertantly suggesting you are a bad feminist or whatever, it certainly wasn’t my intention. If we can’t discuss things about which we may disagree here, where can we?

    By that I mean here as in a safe-ish space for feminists, without crazy people popping up saying “but economic growth depends on more babies! And don’t you worry about the environment, plagues, and so forth, because the ingenuity of Man will fix everything!”

    And dear Twisty, I never suggested you or anyone else hated babies. (I hoe no-one thinks I did.)

    Ok then I feel better now.

    I agree with what Ms Kate said too.

    As an aside, apparently it was a common belief in Victorian England that women could not conceive without orgasm and so if a woman conceived from a rape it wasn’t ergo, rape.

  59. Annie

    On one level I suppose I could blame my decision to become a mother on the patriarchy. In my family, the women wouldn’t validate you unless you married and had at least one child…and of course there was always the hitch that if you only had one you were pretty much of a lightweight, but if you had more than 2 you were “always” pregnant. Women in my family are classic shamers and blamers of other women, even their own. But I blame that on the patriarchy and move on because I actually really love being a mother. Sometimes I stink at it, probably more than I know, but it’s really the most cool part of my life. I could drive myself nuts day in an day out being pissed off at the patriarchy every second of the day, but the one place the patriarchy can’t score on me in total is in raw love. I’m just into it hangin’ with my kid, listening to her, learning from her. She’s great…better than me for sure. And so at the end of the day if my focus is narrowed…so be it, and I won’t be ashamed of it, especially not in front of other women, because that’s the last stronghold. I’m not going to allow the patriarchy or the anger and frustration they pour into all of us by way of the Matrix, to shame me, guilt me, or imprison me. I proudly love and live for my kid with reckless abandon.

  60. AntipodeanKate

    Oh dear, sorry about the typos, cringe cringe. I am not wearing my glasses yet as I just logged on after breakfast for a quick spot of Twistiography.

  61. Annie

    Well, I have a response stuck in “time out” but the gist of it is that being a mother is something I refuse to defend for any reason. It’s true, my focus is narrowed…so be it. If I let one drop of guilt or shame in on this for me…then I think I might have found the definition of a “bad feminist.” I’m generally loathe to make a statement like this because there are always potholes of miscommunication or poorly applied theory, but I’m throwing this out anyway: I don’t think a woman is a “bad feminist” for her assertions…even if those assertions are pointin’ at sisters. I think a bad feminist is one who lets other feminists tell her she’s bad and believes it.

  62. Pony

    Annie for a wonderful validation of motherhood for THOSE WHO CHOOSE IT go here:

    http://grannyvibe.blogspot.com/
    How I squandered my youth
    By Liz

  63. bitchphd

    That is one hell of a cute baby.

  64. bitchphd

    Re. orgasm–

    Women’s orgasms are *totally* related to reproduction. Just like men, if we didn’t find sex pleasurable, we wouldn’t bother to do it. And hence, we wouldn’t reproduce. (Except, obviously, by rape–but if women were completely uninterested in sex, we could all form utopian women-only communities and just post armed guards at the gates.)

  65. Ron Sullivan

    Um, Dr. Bitch, honey, what does being in a women-only community, utopian or otherwise, have to do with being uninterested in sex?

    Well, I confess I’ve found utopias to be a bit of a bringdown, but only so far. I wouldn’t call it a trend without more fact-checking.

  66. scratchy888

    Not nearly as cute as a baby rhinoceros or a baby alligator!

  67. Pony

    Sam. I do completely agree with you. Well said.

    I’m sure happy for these goldmine threads when I can’t sleep.

  68. Ms Kate

    But Bitch, she used the magic words “Statistically Significant”. We are supposed to bow down and submit. Especially us near-PhD statstics types who know what it really means and doesn’t mean. Bad voodoo! Run.

    I think I’ll hit “blame” instead.

  69. finnsmotel

    I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to add to the din about orgasms and reproduction and whatnot.

    Annie sez:

    “By the by, either I’m a Darwinian anomaly, or the sex because it feels good theory is wanting for a bit more research.”

    I sez:

    The beauty of evolutionary theory is that it doesn’t attempt to tell why something happens. We get hung up on trying to marry evolutionary theory with higher purpose and since the latter doesn’t exist, it’s easy to see how it gets tangled up.

    Here’s a loose interpretation of evolutionary theory w/re to sex:

    There is no reason why we have orgasms. Does it make reproduction more successful? Maybe. But, I’d wager a dollar to a donut that there was a time when we didn’t experience it quite the same way as we do now. Then, at some point in our history, some mutant freak had the first modern orgasm… and that person got real, real excited about it, I’m sure and went around having as much sex as possible. So, even more folks were born that had orgasms.

    It was a mutation that made reproduction more likely.

    We’re still living with it and goodness knows it’s probably caused us more trouble than good. But, I, for one, am happy to have it in my life. Just gotta manage it.

    Likewise, with the fishing and hunting… I’m a catch and release guy. I might keep a trophy if I ever caught anything that big. And with hunting, well, we’re smart enough to manage populations of other creatures and hunting (some call it harvesting) amongst those populations seems healthy enough, to me. Heck, it’s gotta be better for the soul than eating chicken mcnuggets, right?!

    Sorry I waited til the last to exclaim that little Finn is a wonderful example of our species. She’s got a pretty great name, too!! ;-)

    -finn

  70. saltyC

    Who was it a few years ago.. a woman scientist (not sure which science or whether it was ‘soft’ or ‘hard’)

    that wrote that orgasms aren’t inherently so amazing… just a spasm really, but it’s our culture that makes us think it’s astoundingly joyous. I agree totally, they’re kinda overrated.

  71. Pony

    saltyc: Speak for yourself. She said smiling.

  72. Ron Sullivan

    You want cute? Baby snakes. Baby western hog-nosed snakes especially. I know one; she has a face like a little bitty persian slipper, with a raccoon mask and so much attitude she eats her mice sideways.

    Rurality has some darling baby spiders on her blog today, too. Ah, Spring.

  73. Ron Sullivan

    Oh hell, I blew the link.

    Rurality, I hope.

    Here, for cut-n-paste, in case I blew it again:

    http://www.rurality.blogspot.com/

    By the way, I’m in Pony’s camp vis-a-vis orgasms. I sure like ‘em. But I think that “twitch” referred to the cervical dip maneuver, not the whole orgasm thing.

    “Cervical dip.” Now I’m going to have to find some poor sap to apply that epithet to. Quick, before it becomes a diet aid.

  74. thelmyc

    What, did someone pour stupid int he water today?

    When a man orgasms, his body is making EVERY BEST EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW HUMAN BEING. His body ejects what your mother may have told you were called “babymakers.” Okay?

    When a woman orgasms, she might not even be fertile at that time.

    Or else do you think that all those little girls in the fistula hospital with the vaginas torn open ogasmed while having sex?

    THE FEMALE ORGASM IS NOT NEEDED FOR THERE TO BE A BABY. How more obvious can this be? It makes it more pleasant, it makes the act more appetizing, it might have a little downward-dipping motion involved with the uterus, but no way in hell does it influence an individual woman’s chancse of getting pregnant in anything approaching the numbers in which the male orgasm attempts, with every single occurrence, to create a baby right then and there.
    I’m not impressed with someone’s little ol’ Ph. D. in “statistics” if they can’t understand this. Fucking hell, someone must have sprayed a stupid virus around. Jesus. Fucking READ first.

  75. Hideous

    Since when do women have to find sex enjoyable in order to have it? Men are in control of the world’s pussy. And I just read something somewhere that surveyed “third world” women and found that only something like 25% of them “enjoy” sex. Does that mean only 25% of “third world” women are having sex? I’m too sure! The other 75% are too busy pursuing doctorates and running corporations, right?

  76. Pony

    Ron you do make me smile, laugh and just plain feel better about life, in all your posts which are so life-affirming.

    Yes I think mine dips. Twirls. Does the lambada and takes a run down the river valley to come back to hit the finish line tape in a flourish.

    And the reason I keep saying so, it that young women still think menopause means the end of life as we know it.

    The last bastion. Well or one of them. So I was being tongue in cheek. And smiling, here.

    I hate using smiley icons though. You’ll just have to understand, I’ve a dry sense of humour. Look for oblique not insult.

  77. finnsmotel

    “When a man orgasms, his body is making EVERY BEST EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW HUMAN BEING.”

    Bah.

    Our bodies aren’t “trying” to do anything. It’s all one giant happy accident that happens to result in procreation.

    Trying is something humans do and we anthropomorphize our bodily functions with phrases like “trying.”

    All things move from areas of greater concentration to areas of lesser concentration. That’s it.

  78. Pony

    Oh and I might add: what could be more perverse to the godbags cause than a post-menopausal woman rocking her orgasms. No chances of fertility here whatsoever.

  79. bitchphd

    My point is that people have sex *in pursuit of orgasm*. Without that incentive, people would do other things. Admittedly, the *achievement* of orgasm isn’t necessary for a woman to conceive (although, in point of fact, it isn’t necessary for a man to cause a pregnancy, either). But I get tired of the argument that women’s orgasms are irrelevant to conception.

    65: My point, admittedly hyperbolic, was that if women weren’t interested in sex, then there’d be no incentive for us to *have* sex (unless we actively wanted to reproduce–but the species would have died out long before we figured out the mechanism for that). Someone upthread had said that rape would still exist, which is true: but if one weren’t driven by the desire to meet men specifically (as opposed to people, more generally, for non-sexual reasons) and the risk of rape were fairly high, there’d be no real strong reason not to just ban men from women’s communities, since *all* our emotional, physical, intellectual, etc. needs could be met by other women, absent any desire for sex (with men).

  80. Ron Sullivan

    Heh, let me throw more marbles into the Rube Goldberg machine here. People who, OK, women* who don’t ever have orgasms still get horny. Hm. Juicy.

    *Men too, for all I know. Haven’t heard much about this exact thing from men.

    And other reasons for having sex besides it feels good to do it. Like, it feels like you gotta do it, which is different. But wanting to do it anytime, and having it feel good enough to do it again, yeah, probably has something to od wiht human fertility. OTOH, it probably has more to do with human social structure and mores — to be fertile, we’d only have to do it at fertile times. And it wouldn’t have to feel so good, to either sex. It would just have to be urgent.

  81. Branjor

    Male orgasms are not necessary for reproduction. Ejaculation of sperm without orgasm occurs. A little secret I learned from a man.

  82. Pony

    Branjor: It’s one of the complaints of men who take drugs for hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

  83. Branjor

    Pony: It also occurs naturally, minus any drugs.

  84. Pony

    Yes. I should have said: And it’s also…

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