7 July 2009

Refusing to Multiply: motherhood or career

The comment below was my response to the article by Leonard Stern, editorial pages editor, Ottawa Citizen, July 3, 20, 2009. He was questioning how to get Canada's citizens to choose parenthood. He says, "The brutal truth is this: The only sure-fire way to ensure women have lots of children is to deny them sexual equality. (Needless to say, this is an approach I’d oppose.)"

My online comment, July 6, 2009:
You mean other than surrogate motherhood? If it's not for money - for profit - what would be the motivation for today's generation of women? I hope that doesn't sound too cynical. But why would women want to give up the respect, the financial gain, the independence, and legitimate additions to their resume rather than provide the service of childbearing within marriage? Bearing and raising children as part of marriage is not enough in today's world to enable women to have their caring, problem-solving, planning, analytical, social, and community involvement skills recognized. Take a look at my website: http://samcpherson.homestead.com/StoryofMyLife.html . So, either start paying what it's worth [for women to give birth], or give mothers the respect they deserve.

Added May 2, 2012

Lately there has been controversy about birth control, and who is responsible for paying for it – the women using it, or their employers and colleges, through their medical insurance plans. Some see the obstinance of some colleges and insurance companies a strategy to get women back into the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

But is it simply that working women are expected to be responsible for paying for their own oral contraceptive, seeing as they have the money to do so; and college girls, well, it isn’t a necessity for them, is it? Yes, of course, the girls and women can come up with all sorts of reasons why it shouldn’t be their responsibility, for instance, they argue that sometimes, the pill is used for non-reproductive purposes, which they then expand into a general reason why all girls having sex and not wanting to get pregnant should have it paid for too.

But is the difficult of having contraception covered a ploy to have more women pregnant, doing their duty, so to speak, to reproduce another generation. That’s what the article “Refusing to multiply’ is suggesting, that women are reluctant to give up their power and their freedom at work to have children. Yet no one is stopping women from obtaining the pill for purposes of contraception. It isn’t a 50s style argument. It’s just that the women are expected to pay for it themselves out of their pay.

This seems as much to do with sex itself as the issue of contraception. Sandra Fluke received an apology (see Rush Limbaugh apologizes, Mar 3, 2012) after being called a slut, but the fact that this idea was expressed at all is an indication of how the use of contraception can be viewed - not in terms of preventing pregnancy but in terms of having sex not for the purpose of procreation.

A rather odd article in Macleans, ‘You can’t mandate marriage,’ discusses the idea of promoting marriage, but concludes that ‘love’ cannot be mandated, a rather old-fashioned idea by today’s standards, whereby women still appear to want the best mate possible to ensure their own success, if not a good provider for their family.

In ‘Why was I shamed over contraception?’ not all the issues come through, though I suspect that young women, who today often have a great deal of belief in their rights, might feel they don’t need to hear the negative side of taking the morning-after pill, not even the first time they use it.

Finally, to end where I started, I would say that the problem of women not wanting to become mothers, or not even wanting to be married, can’t be resolved if these ways of life aren’t attractive to them, and aren’t rewarding, either financially or for their own self-fulfillment. The state – and society - can try to make it so that women need marriage, and need to have children, but haven’t we already tried that?

If the decision-makers of the families or the workplace – or of feminism or men’s rights groups - lean towards becoming dictators in order to get their own way, not recognizing that not all women are the same, then discord will continue. Until these groups recognize that getting one’s rights usually means that someone else’s are being trampled on, women will continue to demand theirs and make all other women submit to their decision-making, at the expense of society and the future of society.

Birth-Control Pill Helped Boost Women's Wages, New Study Shows
By Stephanie Pappas
Huffington Post
Mar 29, 2012

Refusing to multiply
By Leonard Stern
Ottawa Citizen
July 3, 2009
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/Refusing+multiply/1757284/story.html link not available

Rush Limbaugh apologizes to law student over contraception
Philip Elliott Associated Press
Star online
Mar 3, 2012

You can’t mandate marriage, even if it’s good for society
By the editors
Macleans magazine
Oct 11, 2011

Why was I shamed over contraception?
By Lisa Priest
Globe and Mail
Mar 18, 2012

Links updated May 3, 2012

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