This originally appeared on MichaelKaufman.com. Republished here with permission.
There are concerted efforts by the extremists who now run the Republican Party to push through draconian laws in the United States that not only make abortions unavailable under any circumstances but put huge barriers to women obtaining safe and effective forms of contraception.
In recent days, both the Republican presidential primaries, hearings in the U.S. Congress, and programs on Fox “News” have featured a parade of men stepping up to the microphone to tell women how to run their bodies.
There are those who wonder why men should be in charge of organizing women’s reproductive doings. But there are at least five strong reasons why this should be so:
1.) Father knows best. Enough said.
2) It’s tradition (and Lord knows, we don’t have enough good old traditions anymore.) Take the Pope. The Pope has long told half a billion Catholic women that having abortions or using birth control is a mortal sin. Now, it’s true that most of these women don’t listen to him (otherwise, there’d now be five billion Catholic women on the planet.) But at least the Pope tries.
3) Men really, really, really want to have control over life and death. Come on, cut us some slack here, girls. It’s always been tough on guys. I mean, you females pull off the ultimate magic trick in the universe. Feminist philosopher Mary O’Brien speculated that patriarchy emerged 8,000 or so years ago as a way for men to control women’s reproduction. That’s a lot of work for guys! You know, setting up a whole system of laws, beliefs, social structures, and religions, then forcing women into submission, and then going to war to conquer other groups of men. Shouldn’t men get a reward for all that hard work? Like controlling women for another 8,000 years?
4) Women shouldn’t have the right to control their own bodies and reproduction because they can’t be trusted to know what’s best for themselves. How do we know that? Because most women think they should have the right to choose to have an abortion if they wish and, overwhelmingly, that they should have the right to safe and effective forms of birth control. And since I, as a man, say they shouldn’t have that right, then, obviously, women don’t know what’s best for themselves. (Google “circular argument” if this point doesn’t make sense to you.)
5) Men are so much smarter than women. (Just look at the towering figures running for the Republican presidential nomination.) Men are more rational. (Just watch the crowd at Hooters or at any sports event.) Men are closer to God. (Just ask all those Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu fundamentalist guys who kill those people they disagree with.)
Michael Kaufman is a writer and speaker focused on engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and end violence against women. He has worked in 45 countries and is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign. His latest books are The Guys Guide to Feminism and the novel The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars. Twitter: @GenderEQ, and website: www.michaelkaufman.com.