Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion
River~~, your thread is in the General Discussions area, and as such is open for discussion, which may meander from the subject on occasion....
Fair comment, my mistake then. Let's go wtih the matrilineal discussion, and I will start a separate thread on my personal stuff, later, if I still want to.
NYC's example of the Na provides a matriarchal example for comparison, and an alternative view of how the broody need for men to raise children who are genetically related to them can be fulfilled, and with a greater degree of certainty than trying to figure out paternity.
No, for several reasons.
I disagree with your description about what is being suggested, and it shows little understanding of the feelings that broody women and men actually experience. No broody woman would accept being an auntie as anything other than a second best for being a mother, yet men are regularly asked to accept that being an uncle is "as good as". That is what is fundamentally sexist in the suggestion. (Or reverse sexist, if you think that makes it different)
I accept that there are possibly or probably *some* men who would find being an uncle as good as or even better than being a father, and it would be good if our society made those options more available, and more recognisable to those men who would be attracted to the idea. (And the Auntie role, too). But that is not the same as telling other men that they "should" want that too, or that they "should" be willing to read whole books published from a perspective of a culture that totally denies the existence of fatherhood as a separate role.
That would be like using an anthropological study of the ancient hebrews to "prove" to aspiring women priests that their vocation could be considered irrelevant.
In the past, I agreee, being an uncle was the second most reliable relationship a man vould ever have with a child (the closest reliable relationship was that of being the much older brother of a much younger maternal sibling).
Things have changed in this respect with reliable paternity testing. Just as fertility control changed the position of women, so too the advent of reliable DNA based paternity tests could change things for men and fatherhood. I think we should take full advantage of technology in both situations (fertility control and knowing parentage).
To apply pre-DNA solutions to questions of fatherhood is as inappropriate, in my view, as to continue to apply pre-pill standards of sexual behaviour to 21st C women and men.
To go back to the matri-lineal standards is to go back further in history than even the evangelicals want: they only want to go back to the bronze age, the pro-matrilineal feminists want to go back maybe twice as far as that. No, the solution to our modern morality does not lie in the past, as they had different knowledge about what they were facing, and a much smaller range of practical solutions to the human problems they faced.
New light for today, not old light from some formerly revered goddess or god.
Yes, I was brought up in a patriarchal society, and that was only partly tempered by the influence of my feminist mother (who was one of a traditional mono pair of parents, and left with more than an equal share of the childcare, and raised her sons to expect to do differently when our turn came). What is odd is that since I arrived at University at age 19, in 1974, it has been other feminists much more than any part of the patriarchal system who have tried to stop that happening. (Unless you are going to take the Foucault line that feminists are ineviatble part of patriarchy anyway).
You see, patriarchy does not teach men to want to do half or more than half of the childcare. That need, whjich I find deep within me, came either from the real me who existed before I was born (*), or was put there deliberately by my feminist mum. Either way (for I do not know how to tell those two apart) the desire is something I have chosen to accept as a part of my identity, and I am not up for people being political about how I should change it. Any more than bi people should ever have had to defend themselves from the RadFem dykelib types.
And then there is the need to know and to care for the children I have fathered. I feel this genuinely. I can compare, having at different times had a step child, and had an uncle-type relationship to the polybrother of my son, and now being in a situation where I have a hardly-known five year old daughter from a failed mono relationship. It is a fact that being the father of my two natural children makes a difference to me that I fell to be important. That difference too is not up for political attack.
Both these differences I can trace back to my earliest memories, around age three. At that time, with the sexist arrangements for childcare in force in the late fifties, those ideas (if they did not have the zen "true River" origin) came to me from a feminist, not directly from patriarchy.
My political analysis is that there are a huge number of feminisms
. Some feminisms include an intolerable proportion of androphobia, some don't. (In the same way we can say that in the era addressed by the B in GLB thread
there were bi-phobic feminists and those who were not bi-phobic.
I don't intend to stop challenging androphobia, just because it is understandable does not make it morally or politically acceptable, nor does understanding why it arises excuse it when it does.
So given that I carelessly made my initial post in this area of the forum (and, fair comment that was totally my mistake, I no longer blame anyone else for responding to what I said), these feelings either come from a strand of femininsm that repudiates all forms of biological determinism beyond which reproductive apparatus we have, or it comes from the real me, and men do naturally have feelings towards the children they father.
If these feelings were put on my by a feminist for political reasons, and I am now being criticised by other feminists for doing what my prime carer and first example taught me, then what you ladies (and other genders) are doing is playing political football with my head and with my feelings and I want it to stop. I am a human being too, and not a willing object to be kicked around like this.
That is a personal point, and therefore a political one too (as the personal is political, OK?)
I have these feelings which I acknowledge as being within me, and which I own as part of my identity, feelings of wanting to care for the children of whom I am the natural father.
I also have these feelings, which I acknowledge as being within me, and which I own as part of my identity, of wanting to achieve that by responsible adult negotiation with future partners as equals.
I also have these feelings, which I acknowledge as exisitng within me, yet which in contrast to the above two kinds of feelings
I do not take as being part of my identity, feelings I want to overcome or at least rise above, of feeling like I "need" to take control in order to have my other feelings even acknowledged. This is the fundamental confusion I was trying to describe in my original post. As a Quaker, as a poly, as an ally-of-the-sort-of-feminism-my-mum-represented-to-me, as a political egalitarian, and for many other good reasons, I do want to root out from myself the controlling approach to problem solving. That was why Derbylicious's contributions were so welcome.
That is not the same as welcoming intrusive suggestions that what I want is not important, or should not be important, or that I am missing the point of my own desires.
I found your approach to this presumptive, as I have already said. It is a crass mistake to claim that any patriarchal influence is suggesting to men that we want to do 50%+ of the childcare. Had I been saying I want to know who my children are so I can take them to McDonalds for two hours once a month, then your claim would be plausible: that is what the system (at least in England) tells Dads is reasonable contact.
In my first post I had said "I am broody: I want to have children, I want to be part of my children's upbringing, and it is irrationally important to me to know that some/all of the children I am bringing up are related to me genetically."
What I meant was that I am accepting this desire as part of me in a way that transcends rational choice. In the past, women have used that word to allude to their own experience of being broody, and certainly it gels within me.
Therefore to attempt to give me rational reasons for changing that choice seemed to me, and still seems to me, to be going directly against what I had already thought I'd said is a beyond-rational fact of my being.
Perhaps by the inclusion of that word "irrationally" you thought I was inviting help to overcome the feelings? Some killer argument that would make them change? (ImaginaryIllusion's post helped me to see that this is how you took it, and while I was considering my reply, you have confirmed this).
As that is how you understood me then I guess I got what I asked for (but not what I meant
to ask for).
Thanks for your intervention. You guessed correctly, I think, that i had not grasped the implications of where I had chosen for my original post.
(*) a zen idea, that I sometimes believe, and sometimes seems beyond possibility