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Alimony laws restrict men's bodies, Men's Rights Redditors claim. (Of course they do.)

An evil meme that oppresses male bodies
An evil meme that oppresses male bodies

So over in the Men’s Rights subreddit, some of the regulars have declared war on the meme above, attempting to “rebut” it by pointing out the many ways in which men’s bodies are regulated by the state.

Trouble is, they don’t seem to quite grasp what it means to have one’s body regulated by the state.

Their examples of laws regulating men’s bodies include conscription (which does not actually exist in the United States), sodomy laws (which, where they still exist, are no longer enforced), men not having their condoms paid for by insurance, and assorted laws that apply to both men and women, including “every time a man is precluded from smoking marijuana, taking ecstasy, or injecting himself with anabolic steroids for bodybuilding purposes.”

My favorite example, cited by numerous commenters, is alimony.

How exactly is alimony a restriction on men’s bodies? Well, according to the Men’s Rightsers, it’s a restriction on

ghebert001 6 points 18 hours ago (?|?)  The body which produces the labor that earns the money.      permalink     save     parent     report     give gold     reply  [–]S31556926 4 points 18 hours ago (?|?)  "You would've worked anyway." as if that makes forced labor without compensation somehow acceptable. Or that the coercive effects are somehow dismissible.      permalink     save     parent     report     give gold     reply  [–]ghebert001 1 point 7 hours ago (?|?)  Exactly, maybe the guy wants to work a low effort job because he just wants to earn enough money to live a simple life but now he's forced to work 2 or more grueling, high-stress jobs because apparently Muffin is entitled to "the lifestyle that has become accustomed to".


One commenter spelled out the, er, “logic” in more detail:

DulcineaIsAWhore 5 points 18 hours ago* (?|?)  In some cases, if a man refuses to work to earn money to pay child support or alimony, they'll throw him in jail.  So it's basically forced labor.  And at any rate, salary, almost always, is the product of an individual's bodily labor. Pretty much the same thing.

Never mind that alimony, which is rarely awarded, can also go to men. And never mind that by this logic, every single law that’s ever been passed, including laws against embezzlement and jaywalking, could be considered a restriction on someone’s body. Hell, by this standard, parking tickets are an assault on your body because you have to earn the money to pay them.

Then there’s one dude who contends that women’s

“reproductive rights…” have never been limited. They can fuck out an endless supply of babies without a single hindrance. Hell, men are obligated to pay for each and every one of them.

Huh. So women “fuck out babies” with no help from anyone else?

I’m thinking that this fellow might need a refresher course in basic human biology

Also, I’m pretty sure that women as well as men are obligated to shell out money to provide for their own children. I don’t see a lot of young mothers getting showered with free food and diapers when they go to the grocery store.

To their credit, the regulars in Men’s Rights didn’t reward this last fellow with any upvotes.

Interestingly, none of the commenters bothered to track down the source of the claim in the meme. It’s not hard to find. It came from a report by the Guttmacher Institute documenting the number of bills regulating “reproductive health and rights” that were introduced in state legislatures in the first quarter of 2013.  That’s right: there were 694 — not 624 — bills introduced in the first quarter of 2013 alone; 93 of them passed.

By the end of the year, as the Guttmacher Institute noted in a later report:

39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these new provisions, 70 in 22 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. …

This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).

This legislative onslaught has dramatically changed the landscape for women needing abortion. … In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights …  27 states fell into this category by 2013. … The proportion of women living in restrictive states went from 31% to 56% … .

While the overwhelming majority of these new laws restricted reproductive health and rights, there were a few states that bucked the trends:

In sharp contrast to this barrage of abortion restrictions, a handful of states adopted measures designed to expand access to reproductive health services. Most notably, California enacted the first new state law in more than seven years designed to expand access to abortion, and five states adopted measures to expand access to comprehensive sex education, facilitate access to emergency contraception for women who have been sexually assaulted and enable patients’ partners to obtain STI treatment.

You can read the details here. Somehow I doubt that any Men’s Rights Redditors ever will.

111 replies on “Alimony laws restrict men's bodies, Men's Rights Redditors claim. (Of course they do.)”

Also, not everyone cares about the discourses of freedom that you think are so important. Nor are they even essential to feminism. Rights discourses and freedom discourses are only relevant to liberal feminism.

I feel like blackrabbi is the type to enlighten us with how “there is no meaningful difference” between being forced to pay taxes and being forced into slave labor…

Hey shitheel, “the meaningful difference” you seem to be unaware of is this. Regulation of the person regulates interaction between people. Regulation of the person’s body regulates existance. The former regulates things external to the self, the latter regulates the self. The former is required for society to function, the latter is the foundation for oppression.

I love when privileged assholes who have never and likely will never be conscripted try to draw an equivalency between themselves and the very real and current problem of those of us with uteri being denied access to affordable reproductive health care. It’s not a philosophical debate for us, it’s our lives. Fuck you blackrabbi.

Sodomy laws is institutionalized homophobia, you dumbass.

Do you always sound so smug and condescending, or do you put it on special for us?


The meaningful difference is the enforcement criterion. A body regulation is permanent in the case of its enforcement, a regulation of behaviour by law (thou shalt not cross a red light) is dependent on context specific situations – that is, what the law meaningfully regulates as opposed to what it permanently mandates.

You *have* read your Plato, right? And your Aristotle? It’s been kind of an ongoing debate for 2000plus years, and just joining in without grasping the source material is poor form.

Sodomy laws affect women too, dumbass. In the US (before the laws were declared unconstitutional), “sodomy” could include anal sex, oral sex, any same-sex sex, any non-procreative sex act, and in at least one state even included “lascivious cohabitation”.

Also, conscription does not seek to regulate men’s bodies simply because they are men – unlike abortion, which is restricted because it is (almost exclusively) women who seek it.

RE: emilygoddess

“lascivious cohabitation”.


Also, in Texas at least, it seems the sodomy laws were made SPECIFICALLY to prevent queer men from banging. When informed that was discrimination, THEN they added heterosexual sodomy to the penal code. (Source. Make sure not to be drinking anything.)


When my mother was in grad school, she had to pretend to be married to the other grad student because cohabiting was illegal where she was at the time.

Just look at you guys, seriously. It doesn’t matter what gender we are, we should all have control over our bodies. Why is it that, in 2013, there’s so much injustice in the world? Everyone should be allowed to just be themselves and fulfil their hopes and dreams, as long as it’s not harmful others. Why is that so hard? I’ll tell you why: because of chauvinistic assholes who think any particular sex isn’t worthy of having the same rights as the other. Just fuck misandry, fuck misogyny, fuck antifeminism, fuck feminazism, just FUCK ALL THAT SEXIST BULLCRAP. Just get a fucking life, you arrogant egoists.

Sorry, I just had to let it out. I’m really fed up with everything.

Think about that.

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