Tags: biological clock

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?

4 Apr 2005, Comments (0)

To HRT or not to HRT

Author: Helen

Martin Flanagan writes on the Paul Hester suicide.

Great. I love Martin Flanagan and always read his articles.

Hester was 46. The years approaching 50 are solemn ones for a man. No doubt they are for a woman too, but women have the huge biological clock of menopause driving their mid-life direction. For men it’s more cerebral or, rather, less obviously physical.


Well, I suppose I was being unduly optimistic but I had this idea that menopause was merely one aspect of the ageing process and I had no idea that it should “drive my mid-life direction”. What the…?

If Hamlet had been a woman, maybe he (she) wouldn’t have bothered with all that angsty existential stuff, but just pottered about muttering “To HRT or Not to HRT?!”

And the “obviously physical” bit, well, I’ve read my D H Lawrence, I know we’re just earthy creatures. We don’t have this truck with the cerebral stuff.

Big questions form in the head. What have you done with your life? The answer can easily look like not very much. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? If the answer is that you have to go even harder, how do you find your second wind?

Nup. Never occurred to me, at 47, to think about any Big Questions, like am I content with what I’ve done with my life, or any of those Big Issues like the environment, government, water issues and the like. Never lain awake at night fearing death. No, I’m sorry but my uterus is a FULL TIME JOB.

Can a revival of the “do women have souls” debate be far behind, I wonder? Perhaps it should be “do newspaper columnists have any brains?”

Terry Lane’s had a bout of uncharacteristic silliness, too. I could see this one coming, though, because while Terry is a tiger on economic rationalism , privatisation and the politics that goes with them, he’s kind of untutored on feminism and a bit terrified of (and insulting towards) the whole thing.

Why educate Rugby and AFL footballers on sexual behaviour? Why single them out, he wonders? Why not golfers and lawn bowls players? Well, perhaps because we have plenty of evidence of sexual assaults by Rugby and AFL players (and not by golfers or lawn bowlers) and we have a fair idea of the psychology and social dynamic behind their behaviour.

And, one wonders, did anyone in caucus have the testicles to stand up to the witch-hunters and say: “Now look here. Why are we proposing a niceness education program for the footballers? Has anyone thought of educating the girls to take some responsibility for themselves?”

And then he goes on to quote Camille Paglia. A “feminist”. Excuse me while I splutter coffee.

Now Terry is the bloke who published an essay about sitting on the tram, or train, and musing about how uncomfortable he feels about the way those ber-loody feminists are making all the women see men as potential rapists. (The essay has been taken down, so I’m describing this from memory. Lane’s website has become a bit of a placeholder, devoid of content, so it’s no longer possible to find his older stuff, and he doesn’t keep an archive.)

It’s actually the other way around. It’s people who constantly harp on the “responsibility” of women for their own sexual assault– the “don’t go through the car park in a miniskirt” idea– who see all men as potential rapists. Why else would they deem it necessary to be on guard against all men at all times by limiting their personal freedom of movement and dress code?

People can’t have it both ways. Either men are uncontrollable, in which case women should be defensive at all times, or they are able to control themselves – as Danny Blay points out here. Which idea do you think is less insulting to men?