Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gender Neutrality

I can’t speak for all men, obviously. Nevertheless, I do feel confident stating that if it were the responsibility of males to carry offspring, Homo Sapiens would have died out long ago.
Maybe we could be convinced to have one child apiece. In the same way you can often talk a male into doing anything stupid, so could an initial pregnancy be attempted. “Ah, it can’t be that bad. You guys are all wimps. I can handle the pain, you bunch of whiners.” That’s the kind of attitude that compels our breed to engage in hazing and peeing on electric fences. We’re tough enough to take it. We’re men.
I call “bullshit” to that. We could take it once, sure, because once labour starts it is a “no turning back” type of situation. But to go through that whole process a second time? I scoff at the very idea. If each man has one child, we die out pretty fast, our numbers cut in more than half each generation. That is precisely what would happen if it were up to us to keep the species going. “No way are you doing that to me again” would become our motto.
Sure, there would be a portion of males that would relish the agony. They would look forward to the blood, the pain, the gore. They would laugh during the crowning (a deceptively delicate name for it, by the way).These lunatics would constantly be looking to get knocked up, just so they could experience the whole thing time and time again. But for every such masochist there would be two (or three or ten) who would see pregnancy as nine months of discomfort followed by hours of pain followed by two years of poop followed by forty years of waiting for every phone call to be the cops informing you that your darling has been arrested. Is that a good bargain?
Perhaps pregnancy would become a rite of manhood. Certainly males love to invent such rituals, particularly if they are unpleasant. “You call yourself a man? A real man—I mean a REAL man—doesn’t flinch during labour. Hell, my last kid, I pushed ‘er out sideways and never even grunted. Now that’s a REAL man.”
These testosterone-fueled primates would breed like rabbits while the rest of sensible folks would see our genetic lines die off. Eventually all men would crave and relish pregnancy. They would invent a whole morality centered around the joy of child-bearing and eventually you wouldn’t be allowed to say a single bad word about the process without being shunned. Soon even the suggestion that modern science or medication could ease the process would be considered a taboo subject. The more “natural” the childbirth, the better the parent, the happier the child.
That sounds about how things stand right now. I guess evolution figures out a way to make life carry on no matter what. Tricky old evolution: even passing the ball to men won’t stop you.

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