Saturday, January 15, 2005

22 and no husband? Try harder.

David Brooks thinks professional women should have kids sooner rather than later, and writes that "it might make more sense to go to college, make a greater effort to marry early and have children." Brooks suggests some practical ways in which the government might make it easier for women to do this--"means-tested tax credits or tuition credits to stay-at-home parents"--but this idea that individual women need to "make a greater effort to marry early" is more than a bit disturbing. What does this mean exactly--so what if you're not so into that dude you've been unenthusiastically dating for the past couple weeks, just go for it, there's a 70% chance that if you don't, you'll end up childless and full of regrets? (I'm 21 and unmarried, childless, even--yikes! Better get moving on that.)

It's certainly possible that "70 percent of [childless, over-40] women regret that they have no kids." But the information missing here, aside from the role men are supposed to play in all of this, is what percentage of women in the previous generation regretted not having had careers. To claim that childless women feel not just regret but "a profound, soul-encompassing sadness" and that women who do nothing career-wise till 40 will feel somehow fulfilled just doesn't ring true.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, and always think it is hilarious when conservatives--supposedly the government-out-of-your-life crowd--start toying with the idea of social engineering for causes THEY are interested in. Everybody hates being bossed around, but those feelings are all immediately forgotten when they become the boss.