It is five o’clock on a January morning in 2014 and I’m driving a pickup truck on the Grand Central Parkway. My pregnant wife is in the passenger’s seat. It’s dark and the roads are nearly deserted.
“In a few hours we’re going to be parents,” I tell her. “Isn’t that crazy?” She agrees.
This week our older girls, fraternal twins, will turn five. That’s a half decade of parenting in the can. We have three now, the youngest will be three in June, sharing a birthday with one of her uncles.
Having kids is a definite turning point in everyone’s life, and it brings a kind of happiness that is hard to achieve in other places. But it’s not panacea where unicorns and rainbows to replace the regular sturm und drang of life. All the same stresses and difficulties are there, and now they are there with new mouths to feed and diapers to change. Kids won’t turn you into a better person. You’ll still be an angry curmudgeon if you were one before their birth. But as miserable as your life may get from that point onward, your children will be a consistent reason to be happy, even when they are throwing up on you.
I am extremely fortunate that I went into parenthood with a very wide support network, a steady paycheck and a happy marriage. Not everyone has that. When I was born my parents were half the age I was when I had kids. Neither one had a college degree at the time. I started out way ahead; I have no excuses if my kids become serial killers.
Luckily, our kids are great and continue to inspire us to be better people. I see how bright they are and how they enjoy learning and I want them to never stop loving life or the pursuit of knowledge. Despite the many stresses and strains; my wife and I enjoy our molding, shaping and unconditionally loving these impressionable young lives. It’s an awesome responsibility but also one of unlimited potential.
I vowed not to be the kind of parent that gauged someone’s worth by whether or not they reproduced – I faced enough of that before I had children.
“So do you have a family?” someone asked me at a business reception years before I met my wife. They meant to ask if I was married and had kids, but the question seemed like they were checking to see if I had hatched out of an egg. Well I was raised by wolves and since I’m not biologically wolf I can’t track down the pack that raised me by my sense of smell, so no I guess. —was how I should have answered, but I mumbled a simple ‘no’ and noted I wasn’t married and changed the subject.
And while my kids are crushing life, we must refuse to put their accomplishments in place of our own. No one outside a tight circle of family and friends care how awesome your kids are, and having children is no excuse to fall on your face in every other aspect of life. No slacking.
This weekend we’ll be hosting a kids’ birthday party for the twins with pizza, cake and animals. It will be a big, tiring, stressful day but one that will have a happy ending because we get to spend it with our children.
Five years have gone by fast. Wish us luck on the next fifteen.
It’s time for the few men who call themselves feminists to stop.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support the rights of women. It means the feminist label isn’t meant for us. Asking a man to call himself a feminist is like asking a woman to wear an athletic cup. It’s just not meant to be.
Furthermore, the men who are claiming to be feminists are either acting out of fear of being labeled sexist or are trying to get laid. Either way they are full of shit.
I think you’d find it hard to paint me as a woman-hating ogre. I have a wife and two daughters and my last three bosses at work have been women. I have no problem working with women and I would fight to the death to make sure my baby girls are treated fairly.
But feminism as practiced today demands an illogical accounting of the genders in the world and assumes what is dictated by nature is actually the result of some patriarchal conspiracy. And it assumes men and women are equal in all things, which is false. If men and women were equal in all things, I’d be able to breastfeed my two girls, and I can’t.
The adoption of the tem “feminist” by men is by design awkward and one-sided. It’s a label not meant for men to ever use and asking men to identify as such belies the supposed egalitarian intent of the feminist movement as it exists today. We are told feminism means treating men and women equally. Women who believe in treating men and women equally don’t call themselves “masculists.” That would be ridiculous. And so are men who call themselves feminists.
We have to acknowledge that there are differences between the genders that will dictate how each is treated in society. That’s not sexism, that’s reality.
If I were to walk into a women’s restroom, the women in there would not welcome me as an equal being. They would tell me in no uncertain terms that I was in the wrong place. (Although now the idea of “gender neutral bathrooms” are supposed to be catching on. It may be a trend on some college campuses, but females will put a stop to that quickly if it ever picks up steam in the real world).
Treating men and women equally under the law might make sense to a certain degree, but then again, the law will run face-first into scientific reality. Should I be entitled to the same amount of parental leave as my wife? No. Women can feed babies with their own bodies. Men can only do that if they have vampire children. There are legitimate functions in society where gender differences have to be acknowledged in some way and this has often run afoul of the contemporary feminist movement.
Feminism as practiced today has shed its heritage of fighting for suffrage and has instead joined the tired fray of identity politics. What this needless war between the sexes has given us is a certain segment of the female population who mistake rudeness for assertiveness and then pull the gender card when they get called on it. It’s also produced a large number of men who are afraid to be called sexist or else have a confused notion of what women want. In reality, women want strong men.
The men who identify as feminists are a parade of either self-emasculating depressives or fast-talking pickup artists.
Believe me, the men who are playing the feminist card are trying to get laid. For the most part it won’t work, and the men who tout themselves as male feminists do so because they are in some way shy or awkward around women and they think that perhaps appearing in this activist posture will get them some positive attention from women. That is mostly doomed to failure because men and women don’t choose their mates by their political stances. Even the most outwardly feminist straight woman still wants a man with a level of self-confidence that would often preclude him adopting the feminist label.
But the men who call themselves feminists and are successful with women treat those women like dog shit. I have had acquaintances who were adamant about declaring their feminist politics publicly but then spoke in the most vulgar terms about their conquests of women when there were no women present.
One way or another, all male feminists are frauds. I will gladly fight for the rights of women. But I can’t be a feminist, because I am a man.