Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Poor Men

So this my uncle told us that his girlfriend (accidentally) got pregnant, and the whole family is flipping out. Mostly, they’re saying she did it on purpose, naming her all kinds of foul names, and acting like he’s an innocent victim in all of this.

Now, he is 31 years old. They both have jobs. They have been together for a while. Why the hell are people acting like this is the end of his life and she is a major opportunist for getting pregnant? When I mentioned it takes two to make a baby, I actually heard back “yes, but it is a woman’s responsability to try and prevent it. Men can’t have it in their minds to control themselves”.

The kind of thouhgt that leads to these conclusions is recurrent in my family, but right now it seems way heavier than it should be. I am finding the situation unbearable, I can’t imagine how the girl is dealing with all the hostility towards her. So I turn to you:

Have you ever had to deal with a family reaction like this? How would you try to make it clear to everyone how out of line they are?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Wednesdays at 3pm ET.

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Aretha is a lesbian girl born in Amazon-covered northern Brazil, and currently lives closer to the Atlantic Ocean. She is working on becoming a biologist and her interests include feminism, LGBTQ rights, particularly small soil fungi and anything Anne Hathaway does.


  1. August 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm —

    I wouldn’t try to make it clear to everyone how out of line they are. I would try to make it clear to the woman in question, and your Uncle, that you think the rest of the family is out of line. You are more likely to be able to be a good ally to them, and a comfort within the family. You are VERY unlikely to change the minds of anyone else, but someone else in the family MIGHT follow your lead.

    • August 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm —

      I haven’t been trying to get people to change their minds (can’t, really) as much as I’ve been trying to get them to stop being so hostile. Think whatever you want, but don’t they have enough to deal with already?

      And that…. hasn’t had much effect either, -.-

  2. August 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm —

    For letting up the hostility, you could maybe try:

    – She’s already pregnant, so how is it helpful to be so critical?
    – It’s your uncle’s business, so let him handle it.
    – If she’s getting an abortion, that’s her business. If (as it sounds like) they don’t expect that to happen, they should come to terms with the fact that a child is going to be in the picture that doesn’t deserve to be saddled with this bullshit, regardless of their opinion of the mother.

    As for changing minds:

    – “Opportunism” implies that she’s trying to rope him into… marriage? Child support? If that’s not actually happening yet, why accuse her of something she hasn’t done?
    – Accidents happen. I know a woman who wasn’t ready for her first child, but her birth control failed, probably due to the lingering effects of antibiotics. That doesn’t mean that she was trying to get pregnant.
    – Plenty of men do have sex without reproducing! If your uncle could have done so, then it’s not the case that he “couldn’t help it”. If he was truly incapable of that (*eyeroll*) it’s a wonder he made it to 31 before encountering this situation.

    Tangentially, this is why I wish we had something like “the male pill”. Not because men *don’t* have options, but because every advance in this area makes it harder to maintain a double standard that lays all responsibility on women. (Or I hope/wish it did.)

  3. August 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm —

    I’m pretty much with Benny; the most good you’re likely to be able to do is to reach out to your uncle and his girlfriend and let them know that at least one person in their family is supportive.

    Were I in your shoes, I’d be throwing around comparisons (“So if [another female family member]’s birth control failed, she’d be a [selection of the foul names they’ve been using]? Shit happens; anyone who is old enough to have sex is old enough to take equal responsibility for preventing pregnancy.”)… but I wouldn’t really expect it to do anything. I just get mad and apparently over-optimistic and usually succeed only in getting everyone pissed off at me. >.<

  4. August 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm —

    Aretha, you might have to have “The Talk” with your uncle, where you explain to him where exactly babies come from. It’s the man’s orgasm, not the womans, that can lead to pregnancy. Therefore, it’s his fucking responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t.

  5. August 13, 2012 at 5:14 am —

    WTF is wrong with the people in your family? Also WTF is wrong with your uncle? I can’t imagine people in your family would have that reaction if the expecting couple was thrilled about becoming parents. Why do I suspect your uncle is the one who started the blaming?

  6. August 13, 2012 at 10:58 am —

    god, i’m so sorry you have to deal with these attitudes on such a regular basis 🙁

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