Yesterday in the column of Caroline Hax - in the Washington Post - a reader of her called her on "jabbing" women who use babies to "incentivize" men to stay with them. Or as the reader put it "incentivize a la baby". Her thought went on the line of "Caroline Hax shouldn't be against women who get pregnant to make men stay with them", and there was something about this being a norm or accepted or "part of a woman's relationship arsenal". The idea that an actual person would actually write that down and send it to a paper amazes me to the point that I'm not really believing it. I mean, would you? People whould REALLY go on defending - maybe even promoting! - catching men through babies? What's next? Defending human trafficking by saying that those people wouldn't have the chance to get a job and traveling around the world otherwise?
However, be the letter real or not, this is a reality and it happens all the time. In the same society where bearing children is considered "the next step in personal evolution" and a "prove of maturity", many women deliberately get pregnant when they can't keep a man by their side, thus forcing them into a relationship by using a child as hostage. This move, so candidly called "incentivize a la baby" forces at least three human beings into a broken, conflictive relationship. It's also quite puzzling how a "move of maturity" is chosen so brazenly instead of other more logical solutions such as "fixing what's going on in the relationship" and even "maturely accept that this isn't going anywhere and let it go". I mean, if the guy wanted to leave you, you can pop a child, and he still won't love you, he will still spend each and every waking hour of his trying to think a way to leave you, and if he can't, he'll at least do everything in his power to spend as little time as possible with you, and will most likely cheat on you.
Bearing a child into a hostage situation, where the child is the bargaining piece in a problem that actually has nothing to do with them, isn't only toxic for the child - who will learn that the world is out there for them to use or it would be used against them - and the couple tried to piece together, but it's also a reflection of the maturity and the values upheld by the woman bearing children for her own petty, selfish purposes - which are not even related to wanting the child, but to use them as leverage against a third person. If she won't think twice about using her own child in such a low manner, what else would she be capable to do? Cheat? Steal? Make scenes? Accuse falsely?
As a feminist - one who believes in equal rights - one wonders about the progress that still must be made, and how the equal rights of men and their protection against the abuse inflicted by women upon them based entirely on gender matters have seen so little advace. Men shouldn't be subjected to the blackmail and manipulation of women, and they should have the means to file a complain against women who are trying to "incentivize them a la baby". As women we have support networks to file complains against men who are trying to force us into a relationship or use our children against us, say by threatening with taking them away from us, harm them or alienate them, but what chaces do men have?
The field of labor is getting leveled, but the field of home hasn't. We are pulling men towards doing chores and taking a more active role in raising children, but duties should also be matched with rights, wouldn't you say? Responsabilities matched also with protection from abuse.
Back in the day parents were very protective of their daughters, because we were more vulnerable, explosed to abuse and exploitation. Today, we should start keeping our eyes open for our sons.