Monday 28 November 2011

Fifteen Impossible Things To Believe Before Breakfast

(updated from the original Tangent essay published in Cerebus #265, April 2001)

Fifteen Impossible Things To Believe Before Breakfast That Make You A Good Feminist:
  1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.
  2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.
  3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.
  4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.
  5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.
  6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.
  7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.
  8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.
  9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.
  10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.
  11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.
  12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.
  13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.
  14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.
  15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


Anonymous said...

If you're going to attribute these sayings to feminists, you have to cite some feminist leaders who've said them.

Anonymous said...

How about you look it up yourself. If Sim had to start citing insane feminist rhetoric his list would be endless, since there is just so much of it.

Having said that, I'll leave you some choice quotes from your beloved feminist 'leaders' -

Eldergawd555 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My 2 cents on a couple of your points Dave:

1. It is totally unfair and unjust to men to have to be the sole providers of income for the family. It is also unfair that men don't get to spend that time with the child. Some people prefer to provide, some prefer to be provided for. And some prefer to be with a person they can switch with.

2. It does make sense when it increases the household economy, and household spending. An increment of household economy increases the entire economy, effectively doubling production, employment, and taxes available, even when the lower income partner earns half of what the higher income partner does.

5. Agree, but with a different perspective - there does not exist such a thing as an equal relation. A relation can only be entered on an equal footing, and often enough it is. It will only appear equal while the general direction can be agreed upon (equally beneficial, or equally optimistic). Some people prefer to drive, some prefer to have a driver. And some prefer to be with a person they can trust enough to switch with.

Thank you for exploring the themes.

Stephen Zeppo said...

While some of these statements are oversimplified, much of this is spot on... and all of this is fair grounds for debate in the public square.

Unknown said...

Dave, your comics are great, but this is not cool.

It's not misogyny per se, but it is delusional, because none of it actually represents feminism - it would be impossible to find any feminist who actually advocated the positions that the writer rails against. It is always the responsibility of the writer to fairly and fully cite sources, without which this is merely a rant that smacks of a sexually frustrated person with some kind of faith or religion based pseudo-morality. It's also a bunch of straw-men.

I won't get into the ugliness which is the ultimate upshot of this twisted opinion, an opinion which I believe you are fully entitled to, but one which I hope never again achieves the type of power that it has possessed in some of the ugliest moments of the 20th century.

Cerebus Rules

Andrew said...

These are straw-man arguments. Each advances an invalid or unsupported premise. For instance, why is a marriage one car, and not two cars? Why must efficiency be more important in a marriage than fairness? The argument is made by front-loading un-examined presumptions. It's worth pointing out that every commercial jet plane you and I have ever flown on has two pilots and two sets of controls, precisely because that arrangement is safer and more efficient. I also recall learning to drive in a car with two sets of brakes and gas pedals (albeit only one wheel). The woman who was my instructor was highly proficient at taking over the controls when she needed to. So, in fact, I can easily imagine a car with two steering wheels and two sets of pedals, where drivers take turns. In my experience of marriage, you take turns "driving" by discussing an arrangement for dividing the labor. It's not rocket science and it's not scary.

I offer this as one example. Each of these arguments can be similarly taken apart. Let's try the very first. Replace the word "mother" with "father". Isn't it equally true? But of course when we use the word "father" we assume a working father may rely on a stay-at-home mother. The opposite assumption is neither made nor invited. So the actual premise of impossible thing 1. is that there are two working parents, neither of whom will raise the child full-time. Then we would ask if this is better for the child -- but that is a fact-specific question which cannot be reduced to a general principal. If the parents cannot earn a lot of money and they both must work to maintain a home, then day care could be the better option than homelessness. If the parents are abusive, it is good if a licensed day car center can be responsible for the child and eventually play some role in uncovering the abuse. In other cases, where parents simply pursue their careers out of lack of interest in their child, that's obviously worse for the child...but that hardly describes the only possible scenario.

Always examine the premise of a question or an argument. What is assumed but not explicitly assumed? How does the question intend to trap the reader in a false or unnecessary premise?

Anonymous said...

You are better than this.

Anonymous said...


Regarding the marriage is a car analogy, it makes sense because Dave seems to be talking about decisions within a married couple. If the man and woman have different ideas about something, one of them will have the final say, and someone won't get what he/she wants.

Regarding the other comment you made, the assumption seems to be that feminists think that having strangers raise your children is the same or even better than doing it yourself. This seems to be a reasonable observation. It also seems to be reasonable for Dave to imply that a child's real mother or father will love him or her more, simply from the relationship. Strangers may do a good job, but they lack this close parent-child relationship; this element makes it a fact that 'raised by strangers' is not equal to 'raised by parents'. Reversing the sexes therefore raises no problems. A working father who delegates the raising of his children to others is not equal to one who doe it himself.

It might also be a reasonable observation that prices are now higher for everything partly because there are so many double income families; in other words household incomes are higher so prices in the market may reflect that. The higher amount of double income families is partly because feminism aimed to get women not only working, but making the same money.

I think Dave's points are reasonable. I think his way of argument here does expose the double-mindedness that one can encounter in feminism.

Here's another example of double mindedness. I'm a male elementary school teacher. I think we make up about 20% of the workforce. It's female dominated. Have you ever heard a feminist, who are supposedly about equality of representation, try to address this inequality? When you think that the answer is either no or almost never (compared to the far more frequent 50-50 calls for parliamentary representation, for example) one may well start to think that feminists aren't really interested in equality, as they often say they are.

Tony Dunlop said...

So I've decided to read Tangent - from start to finish - for thje first time. (I studiously avoided it when first published, thinking Dave had said all that really needed to be said in Reads.) In Part 2, I came across this:
"I received a letter from a very famous and very talented gay graphic novelist (so far as I know there is only one gay graphic novelist so the first two guesses don't count)"
and I thought: Howard Cruse? Tim Barela? Craig Russell? Eric Shanower? "Only one," huh?