The Feminist Intentional Walk

In baseball, a pitcher will sometimes intentionally walk a strong hitter in order to face a weaker hitter. In the photo, a catcher is signaling for an intentional walk to Barry Bonds, baseball’s greatest hitter over the past 20 years.

In political debates on gender issues, feminists often “intentionally walk” strong opponents in order to deal with weaker ones. The purpose is to avoid arguing with articulate, reasonable advocates and instead get easy wins by counterposing feminist views with those of the loonies, misogynists, conspiracy theorists, homophobes, and others who inhabit the nether regions of the fatherhood movement.

One recent example is feminist Peggy Drexler’s recent Huffington Post column Of Basters And Bias (12/31/07). Drexler, who authored Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men in 2005, is an advocate for Single Motherhood by Choice and lesbian double mothers.

It”s one thing to be respectful of gays and gay parents. It”s quite another to engineer a deceptive study and use it to assert that lesbian families are a better environment in which to raise boys than heterosexual families, as Drexler has done. In Drexler”s world, lesbian families–protected from fathers and their toxic masculinity–are the best environments in which to raise boys. Married heterosexual mothers try their best, but the positive influence these hapless moms try to impart to their children is overwhelmed by that of the malevolent family patriarch.

I have criticized Drexler’s work in several newspaper columns, including Are Boys Really Better off Without Fathers? (San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post Intelligencer & others, 9/6/05), Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05), and Are Single Mothers the ‘New American Family?’ (World Net Daily, 9/28/06).

Drexler is aware of these criticisms. Yet in Of Basters And Bias, as she has done many times, Drexler disparages opponents of Single Motherhood by Choice by quoting a few cranks who wrote nasty letters and blog comments. Instead of quoting and critiquing my arguments or those of other critics such as Maggie Gallagher, she quotes loony gems such as “Go back to Russia where you belong, you commie bitch.”

Well, in the spirit of Russia and commies, it was Lenin who said that the proper way to win a political debate is to counter your opponents’ best arguments, not their worst. Peggy, if you want to make a convincing and intellectually honest argument, you’ll have to deal with real opponents and real arguments. But you won’t. So even though I’m certainly no Barry Bonds, I guess I’ll just shut up and walk to first base…

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