Monday, May 28, 2007

Coming Soon: Womb Control

Are you a woman of childbearing age? Well, if the right-wingnuts have their way, it seems that not only can you bear children, you may find yourself obliged to.

In the "only moderately right-wing" rag that Maclean's has become this week, we find the cover showing us a slender, young(ish) woman, with a dashed line for the shape her belly would take if she was pregnant. Inside, we find this piece of journalism aimed at the sloping forehead crowd.

Basically, the argument is that population growth by immigration is somehow a bad thing, and we should be producing all the babies we can here at home. (Goodness knows, we can't have all them unruly immigrants overrun the place don'tcha know? - we won't discuss the fact that Canada is a nation of immigrants to bloody well begin with...)

The fear is that if the population doesn't keep growing (or at least sustaining itself) that our national economies will falter in the years to come. I don't buy those arguments entirely - in North America (and much of Europe) we are watching the biggest measurable generation in history, some from ahead of it, some from behind. It has been, by far, the wealthiest, most affluent generation in our history.

The 'Forced Birth' crowd has been trying to make sure that women bear as many children as possible for some time now - their efforts to outlaw abortion, crush sex ed programs and suppress contraceptives have been strident and loud for a very long time.

Now, we find people starting to wonder how to encourage women to become mothers - whether through coercion, propaganda, or outright bribery. Why? Largely because there are fears that our economy will collapse under the weight of the baby boom generation as it ages and retires. While there is some merit to this kind of concern, I think it is profoundly misguided to believe that the world's economies will collapse because of that.

At the extreme end of things, we find arguments like this ending off the argument:

On the other hand, in Germany, which now has the highest proportion of childless women in Europe, the "mommy wars" are just starting to heat up. Recently, a bestselling book called The Eva Principle: For A New Femininity by Eva Herman, a former TV news reporter, fuelled a national controversy by suggesting that women's emancipation was a horrible miscalculation and that men and women would be happier and society would thrive if women would just shut up, stay home and raise the kids.

I'm sorry, but, the argument that making women legal and political equals of men was "a mistake" is fundamentally flawed, and only the most wingnutty of groups would argue otherwise. Given our current Federal Government in this country, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the more obviously brain damaged ideas implemented in law and policy. (Oh wait - they already started their assault on women's rights and equality.

It seems to me that when society quits punishing women for having children (economically), or not having children (morally), then women will make the most appropriate decision. Public pressure either way is offensive and demeaning. Why do we think that women should "get married and have a family", but nudge and wink approvingly at a "confirmed bachelor"?

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Well, as I point out to my mother - if she wanted grandkids, she really ought to have had more kids herself for insurance.

My body. My life. My decision.