Friday, September 10, 2010

AOL presents face-off on "childlessness"

AOL struck a nerve ending Thursday night with an “AOL Original” faceoff on a site called “Lemondrop”. The lead article, by Maressa Brown, is “Do Moms Make Better Employees? I, a ‘Childless Woman’, Think Not”, link here. She refers to a “Daily Mail” article in Britain, by Carol Sarler, “Why bosses are right to distrust women who don’t want children … by a VERY outspoken mother (and ex-boss)” link (website url) here. The latter article talks about a concept called “essential humanity”. True, she seems to be going after “healthy” young women who can have children. I think many women would feel disturbed by the idea that employers or anyone else in “power” has the ability to demand “submission”.

Brown says the British article stirred a lot of discussion among her own friends and coworkers, most of whom she says found the tone offensive, and finally asks “What does motherhood have to do with the judgment of an employee’s worth?”

It strikes me that men face the same darts being thrown at them, especially gay men. There is a vocal minority in our culture today, loosely called the “natural family” movement, whose writings imply that parenthood and intergenerational responsibility or “generativity” are moral responsibilities of everyone, even more so in this age of sustainability concerns. This ties back to the “demographic winter” argument, and the writings of Allan Carlson, Paul Mero, and Phillip Longman. It even comes across as an attack on hyperindividualism, and the whole “it’s not about you” concept of Rev. Rick Warren.

I wonder if the mommy blogs (like Dooce) have taken this issue up. I haven’t looked, but maybe I will later.

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