Peg Tittle @ptittle ?active 1 year, 10 months ago
I’ve just finished Christopher Taffen’s “What Happened to Tom” – it’s an allegory of forced pregnancy, and billed as a horror story. Indeed. Also billed as a must-read for every man – and I’d add, every woman who doesn’t think access to contraception and abortion is a BIG DEAL.
On Dropping a Child in order to Catch a Ball
So about this guy in Taiwan who drops his child in order to catch a foul ball at a baseball game…
I don’t know whether to be more appalled at the man’s action or at the media’s framing of it.
Am I appalled that we condition our males to value sports over parenting? That they’d rather catch a ball than take care of a child? No. I myself would rather catch a ball than look after a kid. Which is why I didn’t make or adopt any. The appalling thing is that a father would rather catch a ball than take care of his child.
(Yes, of course, it would be as appalling if it were a mother. But I can’t resist suggesting that if it had been a woman who had dropped her child in order to catch a ball, they’d be hauling her ass into court, taking her kid away, and sterilizing her.)
Why do sports have such a hold over men? Is it the competition and the possibility of winning? And is that so bloody attractive because that’s the way we raise our boys? Or is it simply because they’re hardwired to compete? Either way, if their upbringing or their testosterone (or whatever) makes them choose catching a ball over holding on to a child, something’s seriously wrong.
Or is our obsession with sports an indication that we are so very desperate to be heroic? Have our daily lives become so bereft of significance? (And why is that?) And has the mere catching of a ball become a heroic act? What does that say about us?
Or is it just that men will reach out to catch a ball, even if it means putting a child at risk, because like many animals, their attention is captured by anything that moves. Which is a good thing if you’re a Neanderthal hunting for your next meal, but—we’re not. Neanderthals hunting for our next meal. So does this mean that contemporary men are unable to suppress their primitive brain? If so, we shouldn’t let them—run the world, for starters.
Men, if this (dropping a child in order to catch a ball) isn’t a wake up call to question and reject your conditioning and/or to recognize and resist your biochemistry, what is??
And then there is the commentators’ response. Laughter, first of all. A child is dropped, and they laugh.
And they laugh in a “boys will be boys” way. Men, don’t you find it insulting? To have your irresponsible, immature behavior accepted as inevitable?
Or they laugh because, hey, just goes to show that men aren’t cut out to look after kids; best leave it to the women. Oh please. (Like they can never seem to do a good job of cleaning the house either. And yet the car gleams.)
Then there are the giggling comments about his wife’s “death stare” and how he’s gonna get it now. What is he, twelve? Apparently. And what’s his wife, his mom? Apparently he needs one. Still. (If I were a man, I’d be enraged at this implication that I am to be scolded.)
And then, there are the endless snickers about how “he’s going to be in the dog house” or “sleeping on the couch”. A child is dropped, and the big concern is that he won’t have sex for a while. What is wrong with you people?? (And that whole marital dynamic—if he’s good, he gets sex; if he’s bad, he doesn’t—that’s okay with all of you?)
Where are the men who are wincing at all of this? Where are the men who would confront this guy and tell him to grow the fuck up?
Truthfully, and unflatteringly, I’m not surprised. (Men, are you not ashamed that we’re not surprised? Not surprised you would put a child at risk in order to catch a ball, not surprised at the depth of your irresponsibility, at your ‘me-first’ behavior, at your priorities…) I expect shit like this in the States and Canada. But it happened in Taiwan. And the Taiwanese commentators giggled and snickered just like the American commentators. (In fact, the similarity was chilling.) Could it be that the gender role conditioning that is so prevalent here is damn near universal? A scarey thought. Or is that universality evidence that it’s not a matter of nurture, but of nature (testosterone, the Y chromosome, the primitive brain, whatever).
Either way, the conclusion has to be that men are universally children. Or idiots. (Or both.)
author of Shit that Pisses Me Off