Friday, May 19, 2006

the importance of both sports and babies to men: Part One

Since conceiving of this blog, I have been pondering a feasible alternative to withholding sex, since that one doesn't seem likely to work for... so many reasons. Something that would make (organized) men finally pay attention and change what they're doing to the world. Sports? I wondered...

I had thought that Sports might be the key, and tried to imagine what might happen if men all over the world were deprived of their favorite ball games-- golf, baseball, soccer, cricket, football, even handball and squash-- until they had made some substantive changes, beginning with stopping this war, but including changing public policies to be more favorable to women, whatever they choose-- to have children or not, to have jobs or not-- and reversing policies that have adversely affected the environment, education, and health, and lowered (or at least made less secure) the standard of living for so many who were once comfortably within the middle class, as well as increasing the standard of living for those at or below the poverty level. Everywhere.

Of course, in the U.S. they would also have to undo those ridiculous tax breaks and cuts that benefit no one, except a very few at the top. If the truth were known, many members of the financial elite also recognize the important, if intangible, benefits to themselves of improving our infrastructures, and ensuring health care and sufficient educational opportunies for everyone without making them incur mountains of debt.

But how would one even go about starting such a revolution? I've been mulling that over for awhile now...

In the meantime, I happen to have read numerous stories from all over the world about declining population rates in many first world countries, and the consternation it has caused politicians of all stripes, as they try everything from improved family leave benefits, tax breaks, the use of a car, and even offers of outright cash... just to convince women to have more children. Apparently, the way to get men (and the few women in power) to sit up and pay attention to what they think you might want (if not what you actually do want) is to withhold your uterus. Or at least to have fewer than the 2.1 children needed to maintain a stable population.

Which raises the question... Shouldn't it be a given that women do not want to produce cannon fodder? Shouldn't that be a no-brainer? Apparently, it is not. In addition to concern about shifting the financial burden of elder care on to a shrinking younger population, politicians also worry about being able to defend their borders with a shrinking pool from which to recruit their militaries.

However, the most interesting aspect, at least to me, of this dynamic population shift is that those nations with a higher level of gender equality also have a higher birth rate. And, conversely (while still among first world nations), where ever there is less gender equality, birth rates are declining more steeply.

Here I had been trying to think up a revolution that would pick up where the sex strike left off, but that would actually succeed where that one did not, resulting in societal changes that would reflect the real needs of real women... only to discover that such a revolution is already happening right before our eyes. To the degree that they are able, women all over the world are choosing, first, whether they will even have any children, and, if yes, only then are they choosing how many.

To be continued...


Blogger Thursday Next said...

well ... hmmm ... I will have to think more about the no children part but as to the no sports part - wouldn't we have to think about depriving the women of their favourite sports as well? Would female fans of men's sports be willing to make the sacrifice for the good of the world and would female athletes be willing to give up their avocations?

Good deep questions Lyssa.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Strada said...

Thanks, Thursday! But, lol, you had almost the opposite reaction from the one I expected.

Then I wondered how heartless it must sound to suggest that women should withhold babies. Actually, I was only reporting on what seems like a growing, if unorganized, trend, and wondering how it could gain some leverage...

1:24 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

I'm just here to stir up trouble! ;-) It's what gets me in trouble at SpecOps on a regular basis, although trouble is in the eye of the beholder.

Seriously though, girls athletics have offered much in the way of helping girls and young women attain a self-esteem and -respect that they might not have otherwise been able to achieve.

Although female fans of male-dominated spectator sports often come in for ridicule and all sorts of stereotypes; their presence is growing as is their knowledge of the game they are spectating, chipping away at the walls of male prejudices in this arena as well. (No pun intended but gratefully accepted.)

Women having control over their reproductive rights is as it should be. But does not having children really hurt men in general? Is it possible that the women who are choosing not to have children are being supported by the men in their lives, who are therefore a part of this trend?

I don't know if GWB and his cronies worry about a declining birth rate. They certainly don't seem to care about the mother's children who are thrown to the IED's in Iraq and Afghanistan. (There was a lot wrong with Michael Moore's movie, but he did get it right that few US leaders have children in the military.)

I worry about women politicians who seem to think they must be "honourary men" and play by the status quo to remain in power. Deep thinking does not seem to be something many politicians do.

How does one effect a revolution that would get the attention of those whose attention needs to be gotten without being dismissed as part of the "lunatic fringe?" Even the historic low approval ratings seem to have little effect on the tenants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

We must keep brainstorming and asking questions because it does and will make a difference, even if we can't see it quite yet.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Strada said...

Yay... discussion!!!

I'm planning to post some more detailed stories about how politicians are dealing with the shortage. It doesn't actually hold together if you talk about individuals, but then utilitarian arguments never do. However, they're only looking at the big picture where we're all numbers, and they realize that as women are having fewer children, there will be fewer workers/taxpayers to support the aging population. For the politicians, it's all about the numbers. For the women, it's all about quality of life. Both for themselves and their children. For men, it's not really about them, except that they are usually the politicians. And the sperm donors. ;~) (In fact, many more women are choosing to have children w/out benefit of marriage or committed partnership with the fathers.)

In the meantime, there are also some important primaries to be featured.

Thank the gods for so many wonderful contributors!

8:04 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Strada said...

...I was still editing!

About men being harmed, apparently there is a significant demographic of men who feel slighted because they do not have the opportunity, as women do, to choose whether to become a parent or not.

And there is another contingent who becomes quite exercised when having children changes the nature of their relationship with their children's mother: the negative effects on her appearance and the decrease in her interest in sex, the fatigue, etc.

We don't really know exactly what men want yet. ;~) And Freud never thought to ask.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

Freud was too busy contemplating his cigars. ;-)

You do realize that you implied that most heinous of words and bane of my very existence, statistics, right?

12:47 PM  

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