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The Forum > Article Comments > The fertility debate: Speaking up for the 'Gorgeous Men' > Comments

The fertility debate: Speaking up for the 'Gorgeous Men' : Comments

By Leslie Cannold, published 9/2/2005

Leslie Cannold argues that our low fertility rate is a cause for concern for both men and women.

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How to take this article seriously? Serious question as so many similar articles are being churned out.

The author wrote a book titled ” What, No Baby: why women have lost the freedom to mother and how they can get it back”

Why wasn’t the book titled “What, No Baby: why men have lost the freedom to father and how they can get it back”

Or maybe “What, No Baby: why women and men have lost the freedom to be parents and how they can get it back”

The fact is that she only wrote a book about mothers, and so the rest of the article becomes suspect to say the least. Label me sexist or misogynistic, but I don’t think gender bias “gorgeous”, as a lot of harm can come from it.
Posted by Timkins, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 11:14:54 AM
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Putting aside the fact that Cannold is speaking from a solely female perspective, she has made an excellent point about how workplaces view levels of 'committment' by staff.

As she says "the handful of men who really do swear off breakfast meetings, leave at 5:00 to pick up at crčche and refuse to work weekends find themselves in the same career cul de sac as working mothers". Many times over the years I have seen & heard precisely these types of messages delivered to both men & women at work.

The message is made quite clear that any person who rebels & does not toe the line - in terms of working unpaid overtime, being available out of hours (e.g. for 6 am breakfast meetings), and working weekends - is off the 'career track'. This is not just about women, men who choose to take some time out for a life are also penalised.

It is about time we (i.e. men & women) stopped whingeing about each other, all got together & started working to change the ideas and practices in the workplace that are unfriendly to any kind of external life.
Posted by geekgirl2, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 5:55:56 PM
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Hear, hear Leslie!
Posted by oceangrrl, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 6:55:43 PM
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Fertility is a national issue, yet also a private issue between two (or sometimes more individuals) it is not limited to women. As such I must say that Men's Australian Network was one of very few ( if not the only men's group) to repsond to the assisted reproductive technolgy senate inquiry.

We do need a society that values time with partners and offspring irrespective of the sex of the partners.

Having worked in a Melbourne CBD law firm i am very aware of the hours employees are "expected" to work.

The Legal sector is definetly a sector that would benefit from greater workplace flexibility and perhaps Steve Bracks plans for part-time Magistrates will go someway to breaking the glass ceiling in this profession.
Posted by guy faulk, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 7:21:48 PM
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I would agree geekgirl2, that fathers and men are being exploited by industry, with some of the longest hours now being worked by males in the western world, and some of the highest rates of un-paid overtime also. I think that government has also been turning a blind eye to this for some time.

However, the days of an author writing an article that considers one gender only are now numbered (or they should be), as this type of gender bias in the media can indirectly create social problems in the first place.

Social science has been highly gender biased in the past, to the extent that the AIFS now has to go back to “basics” so as to research fathers, who have been so much overlooked in the past.

See…http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/papers/smyth5.html

Social science has been of minimal use in helping to solve a number of social issues that have now become large social problems.

Similarly, this article does not help much to solve social problems either. It is not just an article that looks at an issue from the female perspective only; there are sections of the article that are quite gender biased and would constitute grounds for complaint to the author’s University.

For example the author states:- “there is little question that men’s desire and decisions impact significantly on whether women who desire children actually wind up mothers. The truth is men can derail women’s maternity plans by failing to partner, failing to prove themselves good father material or simply refusing to have the kids that they promised their spouse years earlier they would want “one day”.”

This set of statements creates a negative perception of males, but if these statements were true, then this would be equally true:- “there is little question that women’s desire and decisions impact significantly on whether men who desire children actually wind up fathers. The truth is women can derail men’s paternity plans by failing to partner, failing to prove themselves good mother material or simply refusing to have the kids that they promised their spouse years earlier they would want “one day”.”

The author did not make the second set of “true” statements, thereby creating a biased negative perception of males. This type of biased writing has been identified as occuring very frequently within feminist literature and feminist courses, and was fully identified by Christine Stolba in her essay “Lying in a Room of One’s Own – How Women’s Studies Textbooks Miseducate Students”

at... http://www.iwf.org/pdf/roomononesown.pdf

The three most common elements of bias identified by Christine Stolba were:-

Errors of Fact
Errors of Interpretation.
Sins of Omission.

By leaving out the second set of "true" statements in this article, Leslie Cannold carries out “Sins of Ommission”, and thereby creates negative bias against fathers.

It is ironic that Leslie Cannold works in a Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at a University.

Or perhaps it is not that ironic, judging by the article at
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12190959%5E7583,00.html
Posted by Timkins, Wednesday, 9 February 2005 8:00:45 PM
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I have to be honest and say that I found this article disappointingly balanced, leaving me with very little to be angry about ;-)

Even though some subconscious male-bashing creeps in (as Mr Timkins rightly points out), it is good to see that some (no-doubt painful) effort has been taken by the author to include us poor maligned males in some serious consideration. Well done, Leslie.

Now the criticism – it is not the fault of employers that economic efficiency and workplace flexibility, are not necessarily consistent. Dr Leslie Cannold fails to consider other practical solutions such as tax reform, casual and part time employment, the roles of extended family, and community infrastructure.

For whatever reason, women seem intent on destroying some of the very structures that best support them - “the gorgeous men” Leslie talks about are an endangered species, for they are starting to recognise where decades of women’s studies are taking them. A place where fatherhood holds little value and is totally dependant on the whims of motherhood.

If “women are entitled to resent the high costs Australian society demands of those who have children”, then men, are doubly so entitled. Whether the cost is counted in dollars, or health and life expectancy, men lose out. Men are not naturally or predominantly primary care providers to their children, but they are generally, primary breadwinners. For that privilege, they pay higher taxes, spend less time with their children, and lose them when a marriage breaks up. That’s some serious cost
Posted by Seeker, Thursday, 10 February 2005 12:29:55 AM
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