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  #21  
Old 09-05-2011, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
nycyndie, I find your persistence with this personally offensive. It is not the topic of this thread to discuss whether men *should* be broody, but how those of us who actually *are* can combine that with being poly. You are of course welcome to start a new thread, but please stop hijacking mine.

But in fact, to correct your incorrect and very presumptious assumption: I was taught to believe that by my feminist mother who believed that equality meant men could take an equal role in parenting, and should do so whenever possible, who encouraged by broody tendencies from around age 3 when she first identified them, and with some delight I think.

She was, of course, from a different generation of feminists from those who subsequently sought to exclude men from childcare.
Oh, geez, again with putting words in my mouth. If you choose to feel offended by my engaging in a discussion you started and offering a perspective you perhaps hadn't thought of, then you are being very close-minded. Additionally, you've made assumptions about me that are incorrect.

I never said nor implied that you, or any man, should not have a desire to have children. I never made any assumptions about you personally. Where did you get all that? Every response you've written to my posts makes me wonder if you actually read them or not. Your interpretations are absurdly off-base.

I said it is patriarchal society that teaches us all that a child's paternity is of the utmost importance. Yet you seem to be confusing that with some wacky idea you have that I'm against men taking equal part in childraising... huh? That makes absolutely no sense. I said that children need love to thrive. I didn't say men should not be a part of that. I love seeing men take responsibility and raise their kids. However, the fact that patriarchal culture emphasizes such importance on "carrying on the family line" puts a lot of children in orphanages, and a lot of misguided couples through emotional turmoil as they spend all their money at fertility clinics. You even acknowledged in your first post that the importance you place on having biological offspring is irrational.
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
I am not open to the idea that I am wrong to feel what I feel. I am not open to the suggestion that I should think about what is more important to you, rather than what feels immensely important to me. . . . why do you prefer to tell us what we should want, rather than building from what we do want?
How melodramatic. No one here told you what to feel or think, nor what you should want in your life. We're all just anonymous people on a message board, where you asked for opinions and got them. Taking offense at getting what you asked for is silly -- and rather perplexing, given the fact that you stated: "I'd appreciate any thoughts, theories, ideas, and experiences anyone else has on this." I now realize you didn't actually mean it when you wrote that.

You asked about how to deal with wanting children and raising them in a poly situation. I think it is useful to consider all aspects of the topic. I've seen a few posts here where a unicorn-hunting couple will say, "Our third absolutely cannot get pregnant," which raises the hackles of anyone who supports a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body. And, yes, your inquiry into how to tell a woman who would be allowed to impregnate her raised issues of exerting control over a woman's biology. Your questions also reminded me of a tribal society about which I'd read, the Na, which happens to be polyamorous, who successfully raise their children with an approach that does not emphasize the importance of paternity. The men themselves are not unimportant in that culture, just the role of Father is. I think it's wonderful that children in that society are raised by family without the need for a stern father figure or even husbands. How refreshing that everyone, men included, help raise the children of their families and go to work to support the community, not just the ones they sired! I thought the correlation to a polyamorous family was an apt one and I shared it here as a way to illuminate the issue from a different perspective.

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
What kind of control could you expect to exert over that situation?
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
I am not sure what you meant by "control" - but I am not going to discuss this further with someone who just wants to tell me what they think I should want.
I really cannot fathom how you could possibly misconstrue my genuinely asking how you would be able to control a situation in which you got two partners pregnant, as anything remotely like telling you what you should want. It truly boggles the mind.

Hijacking your thread? No. My contribution to it is quite relevant, which you would see if you stopped reading my posts through your filters of defensiveness, arrogance, and indignation.

.
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-06-2011 at 03:09 AM.
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  #22  
Old 09-05-2011, 08:55 PM
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Does a particular culture exist to serve its people, or do the people exist to serve the culture? The answer to that question determines, for me, whether the culture is oppressive or empowering.
Yeah? So which is more empowering? Being part of an interconnected tribe who have your back, or being a part of a dyad couple who have a 50% chance of divorce, and whose kids then have to deal with the effects of a "broken home?"

Quote:
It is an older world view, certainly. It is not a "just different" view, any more than black slavery could be described as a "just different" way of looking at race. It is an unfair view from the past.
I don't see what is inherently unfair about it. It's worked for millenia, and has survived even Western patriarchal views to this day. Obviously it works quite well in some cultures.

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It does matter to me to know who my children are.
Fine. If you were Na, "your" children would be the ones in the matriarchal tribe.

However, I have had 3 biological kids. I did enjoy the process of conception, pregnancy, birth and lactation, so I am not saying there isn't a thrill in being involved in procreating and raising one's biological children, direct descendants.

But since we are all poly here, and you brought up a good point about determining whose kid is whose, genetically, Cindie brought up another type of culture to show another way things can go in non-patriarchal groups. I am sure she didnt mean to say you were "wrong" to feel broody and wanting to raise you own biological kid(s).


Quote:
I am not open to the idea that I am wrong to feel what I feel. I am not open to the suggestion that I should think about what is more important to you, rather than what feels immensely important to me.
I am not sure if you were talking to me or Cindie here. It's a bit disturbing to hear you accuse me or us of telling you your "feelings are wrong," considering how important honoring feelings are in poly culture at large.

Quote:
And if you criticise "dead beat dads" who don't care about their kids (and yes there are too many of them), why are you reluctant to understand what motivates those of us who very much do want to be involved: why do you prefer to tell us what we should want, rather than building from what we do want?
No one is telling you what you should want.

Get a grip, man.
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  #23  
Old 09-07-2011, 03:35 PM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
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.

Quote:
...
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.

First

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.

Second

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.

Thirdly

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.

Fourthly

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?)

Fifthly

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.

Sixthly:

@nycindie

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).


Finally

@ImaginaryIllusion

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
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Last edited by trueRiver; 09-07-2011 at 03:39 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-07-2011, 03:53 PM
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TRiver, you're my age! I was 19 in 1974 as well. You and I are no spring chickens. We are 56 years old.

Quote:
"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."
You want to find a young fertile woman who will live with you and this hypothetical infant you want to raise, to nurture, to cuddle and diaper and bathe and play with. To spend sleepless nights walking the floors with it, to clean up its considerable messes, to deal with its tantrums and various psychological quirks and issues as it grows from a newborn to adulthood.

You are also polyamorous and expect a young mother (somewhere in her 20s or 30s, and therefore much less mature psychologically than you) of your imagined child will also be poly, and have a chance of being impregnated by another man.

May I just say, I am in awe of your energy, hopes and desires in late middle age.
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  #25  
Old 09-07-2011, 04:58 PM
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Sheesh, my post was simply offering another perspective from a different culture. Personally, I like learning about other cultures. You could've just said, "oh, interesting" and moved on, or not responded at all if it wasn't your cup of tea. Instead, you chose to feel offended, became defensive, and claimed that I and others were somehow trying to invalidate your feelings and philosophy on this. Your reaction was way over the top and bordering on childish. Now you are still insisting that I am presuming something about YOU (honestly, you're not that important to me), and you say I am somehow being crass by posting a review of a book about another culture as a way to offer that there are many ways to be polyamorous and raise children. Whatever, man. You are exhausting to the point of irritation. Continue to ramble on and on with your ideas of feminism and androphobia, but next time you ask for "any thoughts, theories, ideas, and experiences anyone else has" on a topic, be prepared for all manner of responses, some of which you won't like. Either that, or be more truthful and ask only for responses that fit into the narrow viewpoint to which you subscribe. Good luck.
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-07-2011 at 06:02 PM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:12 PM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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Yeah, I think you got a wrong impression from this, OP. I don't see any posts saying that the Na's cultural norms are something you should strive for or want for yourself now. Obviously, it wouldn't work very well today because our society is set up differently than theirs.

It just seemed like people were giving you some interesting food for thought.

I want to point out, though, that Na uncles aren't really uncles in the same way people are uncles today. They share a household with their sisters and kids.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:26 PM
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Yeah, I think you got a wrong impression from this, OP. I don't see any posts saying that the Na's cultural norms are something you should strive for or want for yourself now. Obviously, it wouldn't work very well today because our society is set up differently than theirs.

It just seemed like people were giving you some interesting food for thought.

I want to point out, though, that Na uncles aren't really uncles in the same way people are uncles today. They share a household with their sisters and kids.
And by share households, we mean that they are the male figure in the household - they act as "father" to their sister's children because familial ties are martriarchal. Therefore, their children would belong to the mother's family and as such are not considered their sons or daughters, instead their sister's children would essentially be their sons and daughters for purpose of parenting. Thus insuring that they are raising only children who are biologically related to them. It is an interesting culture.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:38 PM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
TRiver, you're my age! I was 19 in 1974 as well. You and I are no spring chickens. We are 56 years old.
good joining of the dots Magdlyn, yes born April 55
Quote:
You want to find a young fertile woman who will live with you and this hypothetical infant you want to raise, to nurture, to cuddle and diaper and bathe and play with. To spend sleepless nights walking the floors with it, to clean up its considerable messes, to deal with its tantrums and various psychological quirks and issues as it grows from a newborn to adulthood.
live together or not, I want that relationship with a baby from very young upwards, yes, always have. I have had several attempts at that, twice with a child I have fathered and others with step children, in several different living patterns (couple, commune, separate homes).

Gave up on the idea of the child being fathered by me in 2000 when got involved with single parent and ended up doing lots of the childcare, did more of the school stuff (seeing stepdaughter in special school events, etc) than mum, figured that at my age then and with no offers in sight having a step d was best I was likely
to get. We never lived together, but we had keys to each other's places and I would do the school run and give step d her tea at either place depending.

Then after four years of telling me she never wants a second child, she gets broody, can we...

Plans for my daughter, before she was conceived, were that we would share childcare roughly equally but as soon as weaning was over that childcare would be split between our separate homes. Promises were made, and forgotten as soon as she was pregnant and decided to cut me off from step d and to do everything possible to prevent me seeing the then unborn child.

So bear with me please if I seem reluctant to look at arrangements where men are encouraged to be involved in childcare if that involvement is mediated through a maternal veto.

And that was not the first time for me either - I been cut off from other people's children with whim I have bonded before, and was not allowed to do much of the childcare for my son, who is somewhat older, and that again involved a serious breach of. my trust.

The Na arrangement would be more stable in that sense, and had I been born in that culture I am likely to have done better there than I have here. In that theoretical sense nycindie is right: but it does not give me any practical help for coping with this society. Applied to this society the denial of the father role simply adds one more reason to 'justify' the overridning importance of the mother, a view pushed by patriarchy and by too many feminists, in an odd alliance.

Quote:
You are also polyamorous and *expect* a young mother ...
no, not expect (my emphasis there). I'd say hope rather than expect... and poly or mono, I have been in both in the past and if someone wanted a child with me now, almost everything would be negotiable, except i'd want to really believe I was going to get a fair chance to do the childcare this time. I've wanted to do that for 53 years, which takes me back to the birth of my brother, and seeing mum with him and knowing this was what I wanted when I grew up, and being encouraged by her to believe it is possible, and not realising till much later that our society does not want men who want that.

So I figure my best two remaining hopes are broody career women (mono/poly/whateveer) who are looking for a guy who is up for doing lotsa childcare, or some polytangle with similar needs for several kids...

Quote:
May I just say, I am in awe of your energy, hopes and desires in late middle age.
why, thank you

but except when I look in the mirror, I don't feel older than I did in 1985, more cynical perhaps, but no older inside.... and 'late middle age' is clearly right by the calendar but has no connection with how I see myself.

Interestingly, in Woman on the Edge of Time (feminist utopia, mid 70s, Marge Piercy) it is the elderly who do much of the care of the very young, because their sleep patterns match. I can identify with that - I would do better now with a teething baby than I would have at 26, because I rarely sleep through the night now, usually awake for a while in the early hours.
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  #29  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
Gave up on the idea of the child being fathered by me in 2000 when got involved with single parent and ended up doing lots of the childcare...
Then after four years of telling me she never wants a second child, she gets broody, can we... [get pregnant]

...Promises were made, and forgotten as soon as she was pregnant and decided to cut me off from step d and to do everything possible to prevent me seeing the then unborn child.
How is it possible that your role as biological father was so ignored that you lost even partial custody? I can see you feel very wounded by that. I don't understand. What went so wrong, and how could you prevent that in future?

Quote:
So I figure my best two remaining hopes are broody career women (mono/poly/whatever) who are looking for a guy who is up for doing lotsa childcare, or some polytangle with similar needs for several kids...
Keeping in mind that you are 56 and with a cultural life expectancy of 70ish, if you met a woman tomorrow and she got pregnant on your first date, you'd be ailing or dead by the time the kid was in her mid teens... hm.


Quote:
Interestingly, in Woman on the Edge of Time (feminist utopia, mid 70s, Marge Piercy) it is the elderly who do much of the care of the very young, because their sleep patterns match. I can identify with that - I would do better now with a teething baby than I would have at 26, because I rarely sleep through the night now, usually awake for a while in the early hours.
Ach. It's hard enough being up several times a night when one is in their 20s and 30s, healthy, vital and strong. Personally I work as a nanny, and am usually exhausted after 4 or 5 hours caring for the infant twin boys, and their 5 year old sister. Never mind being up several times a night for feeding and soothing... Hence my "awe."
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:53 PM
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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".
I'm not sure if that's completely true.
I think motherhood is define by both genes and pregnancy. In your case what you want is the genes. There are women who are perfectly content to have the pregnancy without the genes (with IVF), others to have the genes without the pregnancy (surrogate mother) and yet others to have none (adopting).
Because men don't have pregnancy to begin with, all 3 are at the same level, but for women it might be different. It's quite possible that for many of them, it's the pregnancy experience that matters, more than the genes themselves.
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