You May Not Be A Real Man(TM)


This billboard was placed in my neighborhood for a few weeks.

Sign shows a man holding a baby with the text "Real Men Love Babies" Heatbeat at 18 days.

Apologies for the crap quality – I took this photo at night, on my cell phone, over my shoulder as the Hubby was driving through an intersection. If for some reason you’re interested in seeing a “better” version, NYCyclist over at Jezebel Groupthink took a photo of the same sign when it was put up in the Bronx.

I used to not see the problem with the “real men” campaigns, especially when they were used for good* instead of evil. I once very proudly sent an anti-homophobia campaign video that used the “real men” message (in this case, a bunch of smiling women holding signs that read “real men don’t discriminate”, etc), to More Than Men in the hope that they would help spread the message. Sasha was kind and patient enough to rip apart the (several) problems with the video, and I haven’t used or endorsed the term “real man” since. I’ve also become more tuned in to when other people do. Like when shitty forced-birth proponents push that shit on their shitty anti-abortion signs.

My husband doesn’t like babies. I have male friends who would rather get a root canal than be in the same room with a toddler or a crying baby for a prolonged amount of time. They all identify as men. And I know lots of men who love babies who are pro-choice and pro-abortion. Oops, must be something wrong with the anti-choice logic there.

Cartoon emoticon with hands on it's face looking shocked

 Religious fundamentalism, illogical? Shocking.

But this isn’t an original message by any means. When I’m clinic escorting, protesters always target male companions (or they may be unwittingly harassing clients, not that the right wing fundies would ever consider that a man could get pregnant – that’d just ‘splode their little brains) with phrases like “Now’s the time for you to stand up and be a man.” “You don’t have to let her do this!” “That’s your baby too!” “God expects more from you, son!” “A real man would stand up for his child – don’t let her murder your baby!”

*deep breath* Give me a second, I have to get the nausea that’s rolling through my stomach under control.

So many things wrong with all of these arguments. The idea of “being a man”, meaning what? That he isn’t currently a man? Should he establish his male dominance and order her to not get an abortion?  “You don’t have to let her do this.” Uh…yeah he does. What’s the alternative – coercion? “That’s your baby, too!” Uh, nope. That’s her body and it’s her decision to make about what to do with the clump o’ cells that’s in her autonomous self. God expects more from you, son.” Expects more from him than…what? Than he does from her? What exactly does God expect him to do, anyway? Are we back to coercion? (Secondary response: Haha! There is no god!)  “Don’t let her murder your baby.” Not a baby, not his property (neither woman nor clump o’ cells), not murder, not his choice.

But yeah…Real MenTM Love Babies. And according to the anti-choice crowd the only way one can be a Real ManTM is to deny your lady-folk their bodily autonomy. So all you non-baby loving, not real men take that. Or something.

**********************

*Good = You know…things that I agreed with.

Comments

  1. Wylann says

    I get what you’re saying, but I’m keeping my ‘Real men don’t need imaginary friends.” bumper sticker. :p

  2. thascius says

    They’re also assuming that any woman going to the clinic is going there to get an abortion. Since most also provide other women’s health services (including prenatal care for women who intend to give birth), and most (depending on state law) can’t provide abortions after the first trimester, it’s likely any woman who’s obviously pregnant isn’t going there for an abortion at all. Not that anti-choicers would be detracted by anything like facts.

  3. says

    On the issue of using “Real Men” as a qualifier for behavior we feel is proper, perhaps “Grown-up” is a better term. It’s inclusive, give the kids something to aspire to, and focuses on changes in behavior, rather than innate characteristics.

  4. Tecolata says

    I pass that awful sign every day walking home from commuter train – don’t know if you are in my neighborhood, they probably have a lot.

    No one could object to a man loving his children (of course, they only show white man/baby). But it’s a helluva stretch to go from there to forbidding a woman to use birth control and forcing her to carry subsequent pregnancies to term. That’s not love. That’s hate.

    Notice they don’t talk about “real men” supporting children?

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