Daddyhood: How Society Would Act If Men Bore Children
With all of the hullabaloo these days about the accessibility and availability of birth control to women in the United States, I sometimes wonder what would happen if men happened to be the childbearing gender in society.
I certainly think that sexual liberty and sexual rights would not only be something of importance but also something that helped distinguish childbearing rights as something that is optional not mandatory.
But really, what would life be like if men had babies? Would really be like that crazy Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? Or would it really be something of importance. And what about menstruation? Well, I hope to explore that in a humorous and honest way.
No More Menses Madness
When I officially came into adolescence, there was one part about it I knew I would have to face that was not like anything else. Menstruation was something that I had only learned about through my growth and development class in fifth grade but by sixth grade it became a reality.
And unlike a masculine rite of passage, I was confused. I was somewhat happy to know I was normal in this way but also anxious for the years to come of having to avoid wearing light colors, fending off cramps, and trying not to act as I'm "on the rag."
However, I think if this happened to young males I think that the stigma would not only be erased but it would be explained as something that makes you a man. For instance, guys never lament the use and function of their private parts or the transitioning stages of adolescence. In fact, guys having their first pubescent experiences are often lampooned by teen movies such as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
But periods are seen as something as regrettably uncomfortable and something that has to happen. Yet looking from another viewpoint, they help the gauge the health and well-being of women, bring signs of trouble, or cleanse the system. I think if men had periods, this is how they would be seen.
Not only that but pads and tampons would be marketed more like condoms are. Until recently, tampon and pad commercials were about function and protection but fortunately U by Kotex finally took shot at it by making fun of the older guard of commercials.
On the flip side condoms are seen as multi-functional and comfortable while helping protect them from STDs and pregnancies.
Birth Control Wouldn't Be a Debate
I understand both sides of the birth control argument. But I still believe that people will be people. Nobody's going to stop having sex simply because they don't have the right birth control available and people are not going to think about every decision they make sexually before it happens. Birth Control essentially exists to help prevent unwanted pregnancy as well as regulate other issues women face because of hormonal fluctuations such as acne and irregular periods.
However, the key argument of birth control both for and against is for women to have sex without worrying about getting pregnant. Last time I checked women don't need birth control to have sex. However, for one reason or another men are never given the burden of helping to plan and purchase birth control beyond the simple purchase of condoms and other simple prophylactics such as spermicide.
But if women happened to the partner in charge of buying the condoms and men needing the birth control, it would probably be easier. My mom likes to joke they wouldn't need anything inserted, they just would look at a computer screen and it would magically prevent them from getting pregnant.
Either way, I think birth control would be considered as medically viable and important as male enhancement drugs are. Not only that but the government probably would not intervene as much as insurance would readily take on the challenge of footing the bill regardless if employers felt morally or ethically compelled to do so.
Daddy's Work Rights
As things currently stand, working women only get the medically necessary six weeks to recuperate from the ordeal and stress of childbirth. Immediately after they are expected to return to work in order to be paid and to find an alternative way of childcare or otherwise quit the workforce. One would think things would change after women becoming equal with men in terms of populating the workplace, but no there is still the constant struggle for work life balance in many areas.
If men bore children, not only would a policy be implemented sensitive the needs of the parent giving birth there would also be a way for the other paternal party to have much needed bonding time with their child.
What would be interesting to see would be how readily workplaces would adapt to working parents by providing on site nurseries and feeding stations which brings me to another theory, breastfeeding would not be shamed.
Seeing as other animals do this to feed their young, it would be seen as a way that fathers lovingly bond and provide for the nutritional needs of their children.
However, all of this is just speculation. We cannot reverse reality, only improve upon it. But it is obvious that no matter how you think of reproductive issues in the United States, there is something that fundamentally could change so everyone is involved on the same level.