This article from The Frisky has gotten attention, where the writer takes a women’s group to task for putting Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow on a sexiest list:
But Tebow has one major problem in my book: heís openly and loudly very anti-choice, to the tune of taking out an ad during the Super Bowl in order to share his pro-life views with the world. Why, for the love of Ryan Gosling, would a major womanís website feel the need to laud a man like that? I mean, after all, itís not like a womanís right to choose has been in any way compromised this year or anything. Luckily, their other 24 picks are decidedly less lame.
Abortion politics aside from the moment, this is an extraordinarily narrow way to look at it. First, a crush is not a declaration of loyalty to everything about a person. I’ve had crushes on some of the most inappropriate people over the years. It’s daydreaming of a sort. But if we’re going to take this more seriously, Tebow’s position on abortion is part of a much larger picture. He’s a fundamentalist Christian. There are aspects of this that even a liberal can appreciate, like when he entered the BCS national championship game carrying flowers to give to his mother (not a Christian thing, per se, but part of the family-is-all-important-bundle). But there are aspects that (secular) liberals can’t. Abortion is only one of it.
Perhaps the strongest argument against dating someone with different views on abortion than your own are the practical implications. From a man’s perspective: if she gets pregnant, will she abort? Some will hope so, others will hope not. From a woman’s perspective: if I choose to abort, will he be supportive? The asymmetry of this question actually makes the question more important for men than for women. Since, legally speaking, he has to live with whatever her choice is. But for Tebow, and regarding relationships with people like him, it’s at least somewhat off the table unless (a) you don’t want children after you’re married or (b) you would be willing to abort - within the context of marriage - because the timing - or the baby - isn’t right.
I say “after you’re married” because, if Tebow is sincere in his beliefs (and all indications are that he is), there is no sex prior to marriage anyway. The second is a bigger factor. But, again, it’s all part of a bigger picture. Tebow likely has very traditional attitudes towards male-female relations and these are guided by his Christian values. Even if abortion isn’t an issue (say, one of them is infertile), it seems doubtful that this Frisky writer would be on board with the larger context through which Tebow sees marriage.
But practical implications aside, to what extent should we consider the other’s views on this contentious issue? I take a pretty laid back attitude towards such things. I’ve dated everyone from birthers to card-carrying members of the Green Party, from pro-life to having had 3.5* abortions. Perhaps it’s because I don’t fit precisely into a liberal or conservative mold that I don’t have a particular tribe to choose from. So to me, I guess, it almost always comes down to practical implications. Almost, anyway. I would have had a hard time marrying Clancy if she had been an abortion doc. So in that sense, I can understand where the author is coming from, given how strong her views are on the subject.
It doesn’t strike me as reasonable, though, to expect everyone in your gender to share not only your views on abortion, but also to feel so strongly about it as to refrain from crushing or fantasizing about someone with differing views.
On the other hand, Tim Tebow for President does represent an ideological unseriousness (or a right-wing bent from a site where you wouldn’t expect it). I find it bizarre that the Frisky author found the inclusion on the list objectionable rather than the pseudo-endorsement.
* - The .5 is a miscarriage that probably would have been aborted.