Some quotes from Kathleen Parker’s book, extracted for today’s Sunday Times:
While women have been cast as victims, martyrs, mystics or saints, men have quietly retreated into their caves, the better to muffle emotions that fluctuate between hilarity (are these bitches crazy or what?) and rage (yes, they are and they’ve got our kids).
(Note: this is meant to be a defence of men! Yes, from the one depicting men as misogynist cave-dwellers.)
In popular culture, rare is the man portrayed as wise, strong and noble.
Ha! Parker is living in an alternate reality, right? Because men are never, ever portrayed as wise, strong or noble.
The exemplar of the modern male is the hairless, metrosexualised man and decorator boys who turn heter-osexual slobs into perfumed ponies. All of which is fine as long as we can dwell happily in the Kingdom of Starbucks, munching our biscotti and debating whether nature or nurture determines gender identity. But in the dangerous world in which we really live, it might be nice to have a few guys around who aren’t trying to juggle pedicures and highlights.
Men have been domesticated to within an inch of their lives, attending Lamaze classes, counting contractions, bottling expressed breast milk for midnight feedings – I expect men to start lactating before I finish this sentence – yet they are treated most unfairly in the areas of reproduction and parenting.
Even The Times couldn’t quite stomach all this – its ‘mummy blogger’ points out this is a total contradiction – on the one hand Parker says men are being marginalised from family life; on the other ridicules and berates men who actually take an interest.
Legally, women hold the cards. If a woman gets pregnant, she can abort – even without her husband’s consent. If she chooses to have the child, she gets a baby and the man gets an invoice. Unarguably, a man should support his offspring, but by that same logic shouldn’t he have a say in whether his child is born or aborted?
Yep, then we get to the really nasty stuff: men should be able to force women to continue a pregnancy against our will. Later in the piece, she waxes nostalgic for a time when women were ashamed to be single mums. She confirms and supports the idea as “natural” that men do not think of women as human beings:
That is because a woman is perceived as just another mother, while a man is Man. From their mothers, boys basically want to hear variations on two phrases: “I love you” and “Do you want those fried or scrambled?”