There isn't any way to legislate that men must be actively involved in the lives of their children - other than taxing them to contribute monetarily, alimony, etc. If you can describe how legislation could enforce male involvement in their kids lives, I'd like to hear it.-
I think it does come off as rather patronizing when you take women, who I believe are over half the population, and say in effect their needs are just 'extra,' or too expensive for men to be required to deal with financially and as a group sharing any common interest... And I know Louise mentioned child care and I mentioned nurturing (though I meant more generally), but that's really just one part of it. "Fathering" as such (at least in the sense that we traditionally limit it to bread winning) is not the part that I think of first -- perhaps because I managed to grow up without a father
in two very different families over at least eight years, thank you very much?... So please bear with me if I'm still more concerned with a wider range of problems here, than just the exact approach you meant to ask about on that. Though I think many similar arguments could probably be applied to it.
To make a quick rhetorical analogy: There isn't any way to "legislate" that men won't commit sexual assault or rape against a good fraction of women in the society, either. You can even use the same basic structure and say, 'except to throw them in jail afterwards'. Well if this is true for women in the economy, then there instead of "boys just will be boys and they must rape, so give them a break..." For the political economy, it means the same "boys must be boys" and thus there's no possible way men can be convinced to do certain tasks for the good of their society up front -- so "obviously" those are tasks that have to fall to women. Presumably just because they all
traditionally have, and traditionally the economic "answer" has been to force women to work more, marry men of a higher class with more money if they can -- or try to attach themselves to just about any available man, however temporarily and messily, with some means to add some
serious income, otherwise.
suggesting that the only policy of consequence regarding unpaid alimony (and by proxy, broader child support issues?) seems to be , throwing recalcitrant people in jail after the fact. Well, try and seriously focus on that then. What about education in these things that are now relegated to "women's issues" (typically in college), in high school, for everyone, with some serious time? How about a choice of community service instead of jail for some of these men -- in a food bank, or working in textiles, or maybe a nursery if they aren't violent offenders -- doing something that usually gets stuck on women? Who knows, maybe even a mandatory parenting course? And don't
make it a matter of temporarily 'humiliating' the criminal -- say it's a an honorable, fine thing to be doing because it is. "Look, here's how
to change the diaper. Yes, men can do this too and [if necessary!] it's perfectly dashing and macho when they do. You can even say 'grrr' and watch the baby smile if you like." Whatever it takes.
But instead, what actually happens? Many of the people in politics today who use the same kind of arguments you're making about healthcare costs in general, have made a whole "socially conservative" movement centered around precisely, doing nothing of the kind. Keeping women 'in their place.' (You can look at things like marriage and divorce laws, particularly in the South, and now even the "unconsidered" effects of requiring certain ID for women trying to vote after separation or divorce.) Making 'maintaining' or 'defending' women a problem for how men prove themselves in other
parts of society (whether they go to war in Afghanistan, whether they marry and go to work in a "good" industry or not -- that is, if they really have some opportunity to begin with). But not much a question of what they actually do directly for women, and not a question of whether people in general really learn or care about what women themselves face in terms of segregated roles. And when it does come down to people who seem not to care, people who end up in jail, the right has also been keen on making jails more a place of punishment or cheap labor, or perhaps simply corporate hoarding of people (often soon recycled back into the system) than places of reeducation or parole or serious education -- more like they were toward I think the 70's.
When rape happens, they say oh what did she
do to "bring it on" and didn't she enjoy it anyway? Doesn't she know that this is how men are, and what was she doing outside alone after dark? Oh look, she went to a party even! Was it "legitimate"? (For fuck's sake, but people on the right have been known to say this as a public line.) When the question is abortion, oh no women can't do that and we're going to legislate that
When the question is sex education, you have those Texas school boards pushing it practically out of mind -- and they may be a "worst" sort of example, but there I do think much of the country has got itself in a sexually repressive funk of not seriously
working on things like abortion, contraception, or even basic sex ed in high schools. Maybe that has improved more than I know in the last few years, but even if so, I would say women actually need more done. People need serious talk about relationships -- what is consent, and why is it important. Not the bland "no is no" sloganing that no one follows anyway half the time, but real talk about nonverbal cues, the medieval cultural "rules" of traditional Western romance muddling the waters, and what about basically polyamorous trends where people may have multiple lovers or not assign all roles under the sun in the way of care and
sex to just one person? This stuff can be explained at easier levels if people don't treat it like it was esoteric Satanic literature suited only for grad schools. I dare say there is a fair bit of good old boy, Southern Christian conservative moralizing playing a big part in that problem. Often many of the same people actually in
government who are now fawning over the "needs of business" constantly.
And when it comes to funding much of anything that appears to help urban, particularly Black but now also often, Latino areas where the government has basically been pulling out education, child care, police, firefighters, city lighting, and heaven knows what else... It's the same people now generally on the right, the ones who are "pro business," the ones who care if we "can afford" any proposal to help the people in general -- and particularly the ones in these very areas who need it most, who are often caught saying "Oh, how dare they feel so entitled... Oh, are they "abusing" what few sustenance programs they currently have left with all the restrictions and humiliations we've already imposed upon those... Oh, aren't they just lazy. And how dare they have had children in the first place. Why in the world, in this place where we have long insisted there can be no abortion and we have supported companies that do not go in for things like supporting contraception, do they have so many kids... On and on and on.
You're describing some very relevant problems, but not providing any solutions.
Solutions would be, deal with all that. But I think it's very telling that, in the US, the political wing that opposes those things is largely the same one that keeps using the arguments you use about the "untenable" expense of women for healthcare, as if it were something that existed in a vacuum. As if society had never been sticking women at large with all sorts of hidden expenses and insisting they grin and bear it, cause after all they are given less money at work and more unpaid work at home and men are busy laughing about what sluts they must be and who is getting "raped" today whether it's at a frat party (where only women who "deserve" it supposedly go) or metaphorically as in, oh who can I beat up in the oh-so-masculinist business world to prove I am "more manly" today and thus "dominate the market, because we all know someone has to. That's capitalism, right?"
You should understand, if it isn't really obvious by now, that when you come along saying women are just more expensive and they should have to shoulder that -- I find it near impossible to believe that you don't think about how society "should" be... Well, in some ways much like the Tea Party you claim not to have so much in common with. 'Can't do it any other way... Better get out, leave it alone.' You
don't quite recommend that
, but it's the sort of conclusion they
draw while showcasing almost the same supporting materials. And then you do very positively
go on about how business needs to be saved first in order to (supposedly) save everyone else, but that's more or less what is left if the Tea Party has its way with things... like health care. (All these "mainstream" Republicans have not put up with the Tea Party this long because they have simply nothing
in common, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.) If we just toss ACA, if we don't try to improve now, then what's left are the big companies having their way. You may say they are anyway, but saying we can't afford whole classes of people covering stuff here, there, who knows how often... Leads to the same place.
Many men are simply opting out of stable relationships, because they're realizing that the government is moving towards fulfilling their role in a way. If you father a kid when you're 18, what's the point in taking care of your kid and girlfriend, if the government already has very clear cut protocol in place in providing them healthcare, food, etc.
You may not say this, but there are people who are very happy to take just what you said, with as little context or direction as it has, and use that to go on about this being terrible because well, men might just feel
left out. Never mind that what they'd then be cut loose from, is patently unequal. Decay of traditional family and all that. But it already has
pretty much decayed. We're not going back there, not in an economy anything
like this. And it wasn't an egalitarian system anyway, so why want to? Unless you believe the only
way to economic stability is blatant chauvinism.
But I believe you're actually talking about communities where in fact, when two parents are
working, it's still very difficult for them to pay all the bills -- if they can, at all. And part of that
problem is that the same government that your argument seems
to also suggest, maybe should just stay out of healthcare (though you say elsewhere you
believe otherwise -- others who enjoy this sort of line clearly want the government to just get out of considering it) refuses to have a "minimum" wage consistent with the rising cost of living. Part of that is also that the same government, often driven by people who claim to care about "jobs" but really even more, about "business" and "deficit cutting" have been yanking services out of those communities any way they can get away with, for decades.
Actually, many women are opting out of (at least hetero, monogamous "traditional") relationships because the men
just don't get it. I heard Black men moaning about how the "bitches" in their communities didn't want them, but all ran for the White boys, a good few times on the train in Atlanta -- but I also heard it's a trend in sociology. So yes, we get Black women unsatisfied with Black men -- now is that because they're just "frigid bitches"? Or could it be, it because they live under policies where the society has conspired to give Black men (especially) few opportunities to make real money, still more opportunities to be detained by police often with no good reason (odds of simply being detained walking around or driving over nothing in the way of evidence), and a bunch of incentive to be niche criminal (drug market) or for some, to act more like gangsta misogynist asses (either just on the face of it to "look tough", or actually so -- but that can mean adopting an image that doesn't coexist with other options)?