I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole slew of “protect us from the women” bills before the state legislature, everything from “presumption of joint custody” to “manditory DNA testing before a birth certificate is signed.” And I still remain somewhat baffled by all this because nothing is stopping men now from doing these things. You can right now petition the court for joint custody. You can right now demand a DNA test before you agree to be placed on a birth certificate. You can right now terminate your parental rights and let some other guy (who may even be the biological father) adopt your children.
So why do there need to be laws?
It would seem like the answer might be “Because most men don’t do these things and they should.” But, most men don’t do these things and most men don’t need to. Most men are actually raising kids that are theirs. And so forth. So the “and they should” part isn’t really true. Most men don’t need the State to force this stuff. In fact, almost all men don’t need the State to force this stuff, if they’re willing to push the issue.
And that’s what I’m hung up on–you can do all this stuff now, if you’re willing to make some effort.
Now, some guys do get dicked over by the system. But none of this legislation seems to me to actually be geniuinely helpful to the truly dicked over. Even Campfield’s legislation that gets men out of paying child support on kids that aren’t biologically theirs only seems to take effect if there’s some other man already in the picture willing to support the child. So, it does nothing for the guy who’s been lied to if there’s no other guy to step up.
So, if this isn’t about helping the truly dicked over, one wonders, “What is it for?”
And, frankly, I think it’s for codifying male privilege. Yes, I’m doing that crazy feminist talk again. But what I mean is that some guys seem to have this idea that they get to move through life with things magically happening to their benefit. It doesn’t matter that they make unwise choices about who they get into relationships with, it will never come back to bite them in the butt. It doesn’t matter that they don’t bother to make an effort to secure their rights to their children, their children will always be available to them. Etc. Etc. Etc. The world is theirs to glide through.
And this legislation all seems designed to preserve that illusion. You can continue to make no real effort. You don’t have to get to know the women you sleep with in order to figure out if they’re lying, scheming gold-diggers who are sleeping with your best friend behind your back, because, if they are, the State will catch them. You don’t have to say to your lawyer or stand up in front of a judge and say “I want joint custody of my kids” because the State will smooth the way for you. You don’t have to say to your wife “I don’t trust you and I refuse to let you put my name on that birth certificate until I have some genetic proof that kid is mine,” because the State will just treat all women like liars.
The truth is that this model of manhood treats men like they’re emotionally stunted idiots who need the State to preserve their manhood. You would think that most men, especially most conservative men, would find this kind of legislation insulting–like you aren’t man enough to step up and do what needs to be done. But I think that men in our society get conditioned from the time they’re very young to believe that they and other men are emotionally stunted idiots who must always get their way but who can’t be seen actually working or struggling at making their way in the world, lest they be seen as losers and pussies. Rather than being seen as losers or pussies who express needs and get them filled, they need the State to move behind the scenes to make this stuff happen for them so that they can have it without seeming to exert any effort.
It’s a strange situation, where men must be constantly presumed to be manly above all else, in a cool and effortless way, able to bring things together for themselves while they are treated like feral children.
Someday, I hope, this is rightfully seen as the insult it is.