6 Jul 2009, Comments (14)

What, no baby?

Author: Helen

Continuing the unrelenting pressure on women who might be having a few happy moments surfing the news and forgetting about their manifold duties to society, the AGE had a link yesterday to yet another “Panic! Ladies women still oblivious to the biological clock!!1!” article in the sidebar. This stuff is becoming manic. The article title is Are you Leaving it too Late?, but the text appearing in the tab when you click on it is “Don’t Delay Motherhood Experts Warn”, and the link text on the main page is “Ladies, are you leaving it too late?” OK, we get it, we get it! We’re all totally irresponsible – that can be the only explanation!

Does anyone else find the continued use of the word “Ladies” incredibly irritating and insulting? Please, Fairfax, cut it out already.

The gist of the article is that women are, of course, stchoopid. And uneducated about reproduction. Yes, that can be the only explanation for the failure of Australia’s women to produce more white, blue eyed babies like the one in the illustration!

That, and of course, their schtoopid insistence that they can “have it all”: AKA, actually use the education that they excel in to take on a job, earn money, gain independence and earn some super for their old age. Silly “ladies”! Everyone knows that we pay lip service to how women can do anything, but if you try to, you know, apply your qualifications, you’re trying to have it all and you shouldn’t be allowed to have a family. After all, how many men who work at jobs have families? Don’t answer that!

If you’d like an intelligent analysis of why most women don’t consider themselves ready for childbirth until their late thirties or later, try Leslie Cannold’s What, no Baby?, which focuses on the structural social barriers to childbearing.

while the percentage of women choosing childlessness or suffering infertility has remained relatively steady over the past few decades, the number of women who are circumstantially childless is rising at an astronomical rate. It is the phenomenal rise in circumstantial childlessness, not the childlessness that women choose, that explains a good chunk of the downward spiral of fertility rates across the developed world.
There is no question that women should be in charge of decisions about their bodies and their lives. Choices about motherhood – the whether and the when – are unquestionably theirs, and theirs alone, to make. But in order to be free, really free, to make a choice, people need a range of external supports.

And instead of putting the microscope again and again on these irresponsible having-it-all “Ladies”, perhaps these Essential Baby writers could find time to examine the currently fashionable figure of the cute, lovable eternal man-child, to whom the responsibility of family life are anathema and whose extended adolescence continues into his late thirties, if not forties. I don’t see any “Silly dudez refusing to breed” articles, do you?

Comments (14)

  • As an unmarried, barren woman of a certain age, I think I am outside The Age’s demographic. The new look Sunday Age mag 8 days ago was a horror. Now we have a ban on buying it. Ladies? Do you think they’ve been over influenced by “Mad Men”?

    Yup with you on the silly dudez refusing the breed, about time they got the story straight!

  • Amanda says:

    That story’s been there forever — at least on the SMH site. I first read it a month ago, but then Helen I don’t have children so perhaps I have more free time than you to notice these things. 😉

    It’s annoying it won’t go away — at least stupid news stories generally disappear off the front page and everywhere else in quick order. But not this one! There it is every time I scroll down to Travel or Sport. Although it appears to be “Wedding of the Week”‘s turn today.

  • caffeineadddict says:

    Hmm and then there are the other environmental factors like the projected increase in childcare costs and the postponement of parental leave until 2011. One could go one forever….I remember watching a David and Kim segment on it and thinking it was like a sex ed lesson ( in the sense of how patronizing the female doctor (?) was being). I think at the heart of it all is a really deep phobia of menopause, and linked to that really ageist notions of which bodies have any social worth. Pretty disgusting stuff

  • KeoLin says:

    What I want to know, is what happens if you are childless because you haven’t met a man yet who you want to have children with and are “above the average age” for popping out a few kidlets! Do I just go down to the pub tonight, find some half decent drunk fellow and go for it? Articles like that, tend to make me think, the writer is that half decent drunk fellow 😉

  • jose says:

    I agree that the tone of the article is simplistic and possibly insulting. And that Age magazine was horrible, and definitely insulting.

    Fairfax’s treatment of the readers in this way is in no way restricted to discussion of things they associate only with the wimminz. They treat all of their readers like moronic stereotypes! I so wish we had a Guardian here.

  • Helen says:

    Apologies to all of you who were stuck in moderation while I was off not being on the internetz!

  • blossom says:

    Dear Journalists etc., I dont want to be called a lady. The word “lady” is a moral judment whilst “woman” is a biological fact, thank you very much.

  • Helen says:

    Amanda, I wonder if the Essential Baby articles appear in the sidebar according to how popular they are in their forum? (Life’s too short to go and read the EB forum! ) Or is it an editorial decision? Surely they can find some other topics that people with little’uns will want to read about.

    And Jose, I wonder if something like the Guardian and the Independent will spring up for us? New Matilda and Crikey aren’t too bad, but not really comparable.

  • blossom says:

    I dont want to be called a lady, that’s a moral judgement. Call me a woman, that’s a biological fact.

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    Christ on a bike! Leaving aside the insulting tenor of an article like that (and I’d agree we shouldn’t), encouraging / bullying people into breeding in an already over-populated world is just flat-out irresponsible.

  • “Do I just go down to the pub tonight, find some half decent drunk fellow and go for it?”

    Why not? It’s worked for most of Australia

  • Angie says:

    I have children and I am offended by that article.

  • Helen says:

    Angie, that means you have an unfortunate condition known as “empathy”, which means you are able to detect unfairness to people who may not be like yourself or at the same life stage as yourself. This means that you are unlikely to have a lucrative career as a popular pundit in the MSM press, and if you want to make a comment on a News Ltd blog it probably won’t get through moderation.

    I suggest an empathectomy by a reputable practicioner.

    FX yes, I guess that was basically what I did 🙂 (If any MRAs are reading, please withhold your rage, the decent drunk fellow and I didn’t pop out any sprogs until some years later)

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