You remember Susan Patton. Once upon a time she wrote a letter to the Daily Princetonian—student newspaper at the school where one of her sons was attending and where her other son had graduated. In it she suggested that young coeds spend their dating time looking for a husband, not a hookup.
She explained, cogently, that women of college age were in the strongest position and had the best selection of prospective mates. The older a woman gets the more the dating pool dries up. Why wouldn't young women use their time on campus to find the best husbands?
Obviously, the long knives came out. The feminist furies were unleashed. They denounced Patton as a reactionary misogynist. They believed that Patton wanted to undo all of their good work and relegate female Princetonians to wifedom and motherhood. The horror of it all.
For feminists what mattered was career. If you did not hear it clearly enough, the word is CAREER. Everything else must take second place to CAREER. Women must establish themselves in their careers, the policy insists, and postpone marriage and family… to say nothing of motherhood.
If men can do it, women must be able to do it too.
This is why feminists are so concerned about avoiding pregnancy and childbirth. It’s not about reproductive health. They want to create conditions which will allow women to walk away from the consequences of copulation as easily as men can. You see, anatomy and biology make it that women’s bodies gestate human children. A man can walk away and shirk his responsibility. A woman cannot… or, at least, she cannot do so quite as easily.
We can’t have that.
By the logic of feminism, motherhood is a curse. Note how well the feminists have changed the meaning of the word “curse” in this context. It’s a curse because motherhood, in and of itself, is a detriment to women’s career advancement.
We can’t have that.
Somehow or other, it does not cross the feminist mind that many mothers want to spend more time with their children and are willing to sacrifice some measure of career advancement in order to be good mothers.
We can’t have that, either.
In the feminist mind women exercise their freedom to choose when they have abortions. They are not allowed to exercise their freedom to choose by marrying young or by taking time off from work to care for their children.
Now, Patton has written a screed about modern motherhood. With the help of technology, labor saving devices, social services and undocumented immigrant labor today’s modern woman need not feel tied down by motherhood. She will be liberated from the whole process.
I did not say it yesterday when I posted about Sheryl Sandberg’s newly found concern for single mothers, but I suspected that what really happened to Sandberg when her husband died is that she discovered what it was to be a mother.
Be that as it may, Patton’s column was a bit too snarky to write about on Mother’s Day, but, since that day has come and gone, I offer her comments for your consideration.
Patton points out that if a woman has worked long enough and hard enough on her career, she might have allowed her biological clock to wind down. Thus, she might only be able to have babies through the use of donor eggs. Nowadays, we are regaled with stories about women who get pregnant when they are 50.
Alternatively, she might choose to freeze her eggs.
These processes might make a liberated career woman more competitive with other younger women for the men she desires, because they will allow the man to have offspring.
If the prospect of finding a man is too daunting, a modern liberated woman can solve the problem by repairing to her local sperm band, the better to purchase the magical elixir that will turn egg into embryo.
And then there is the problem of gestation. Because, don’t you know it, men do not gestate infants, so if only women do, that can only mean that God is sexist. A modern woman can solve the problem by hiring a gestational carrier, a woman who will, for a fee, carry her child for her. Since she does not want the inconvenience of pregnancy and certainly does not want to give birth, gestational carriers are just the thing.
Patton does not mention how much this is all costing, but trust me, you are already well into five figures.
Since the liberated woman wants to have as little as possible to do with caring for an infant, she will naturally hire a baby nurse. In that way she will avoid the indignity of performing so many tasks that do not enhance her career advancement. She will not have to get up for middle-of-the-night feedings. She will not have to change diapers. After all, men don’t have to do it, why should she?
A woman who does not want to breast feed her baby can hire a wet nurse. In the old days, it used to be de rigueur for many women of a certain class. Happily, for today’s liberated women, the custom coming back.
As for bringing up your children, you will naturally want to delegate the task to a full time nanny. If you have followed Patton’s plan scrupulously, you will not have a husband lurking in the wings ready to pounce on your nubile young nanny. You will not have to feel that your nanny’s care for your children is going to make her more attractive to your husband and make you look like a negligent mother.
As soon as you child is old enough, you will further save yourself from the time and effort required to bring him or her up… by sending him or her off to boarding school. Why not? You don't really want to deal with a teenager, do you? Boarding schools are great places to make contacts with the right kinds of people and to prepare oneself for success in the world.
And then of course, he or she will be well prepared for college… hopefully one that is out of town, a safe distance from home.
Your child is now 18 and ready to matriculate at a fine university, far away from home. Undergraduate years are so packed with classes, studying, extracurricular activities, and socializing, you’ll hardly ever even hear from your child, except when the tuition bill is due for payment or they need money for books, or that Spring Break trip. Congratulations on a job well done.
By now, you are well into six figures… if you are lucky.