Wishing Daughters Ill

I’m not sure Bryan’s adding much to his initial posts. Most importantly, he still seems to avoid my main point: children are costly to women in terms of education, career, income, status, and happiness, and most likely devastating to a teenager. I simply don’t see that these points have been addressed. Bryan basically keeps insisting on asking whether you, the parent, would rather your daughter produce a grandchild as a teen or produce none at all. Given everything we know about how teen motherhood tends to limit girls’ life prospects, and how ceterus paribus childlessness will leave her as well off or better, Bryan’s insistence that he’d rather risk the ruin of his daughter’s potential than have her go childless strikes me as perverse. I simply can’t make any sense of it.

Bryan says, “I think that a lot of parents would share my preference if they calmed down and weighed the alternatives.” Maybe. But why? AGAIN the evidence I cited, which Bryan ignores, is that she will be less well educated, poorer, lower status, and less happy. What kind of person wants this for his or her daughter? The only way I can make sense of this is to imagine Bryan thinking that a woman’s life is in some sense deeply incomplete without having reproduced, so just about any cost must be worth it. Bryan, please tell me that’s not it!

One might think powerful, gifted women like Ayn Rand, Camille Paglia, Simone de Beauvoir, Jessye Norman, Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, Katherine Hepburn, Dorothy Parker, Condoleeza Rice, etc., etc. might, in some respect or other, be good role models for girls. But since nothing could be worse than not ever having a baby, I suppose Britney Spears’ idiot little sister outshines them all!

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