Friday, May 12, 2006

12 year old babies

Inspiration for this post is
I note how the girl 'fell pregnant', rather than 'got pregnant' (in the headline at least).

It's structure vs agency in that the blame in the article is laid at the door of a lack of education provided by the local authorities (structure), rather than the girl herself or her parents (agency).

Can we blame a girl for 'enjoying being pregnant', when as a society we still encourage it as 'the point' for women? In her head I expect she's fulfilled her socially-constructed role.

My evidence is: We give 4-year old girls little baby-buggies to push along. And 'self-wetting' dolls to put in them. And little 'cook for the family' sets from Tomy. In this way girls are socially conditioned to see their role as having babies.

Boys get WWF wrestling dolls (man they were so cool, PILEDRIVVERRRRRRtakethatSidtheSnake) and machine-guns. They are socially conditioned to become homicidal maniacs.

And as adults, there's all the TV programmes about 'what, you're 35 and haven't had babies yet??' and the female glossy mags..

Our society (and almost all societies) is structured to encourage, promote and condition women to have kids. There are tax benefits and paid time off work. Women may be free to take or leave it, but the structural compulsion remains.

I worry about democracy. If we stick with one person one vote, yet it's only the stupid people that have babies while the smart people have many less (which is the case) - what kind of a society are we headed towards?

I'm not suggesting we control/influence population growth (though I forsee things going that way). I suggest we need a system better than democracy - or rather an evolution of it.


Anonymous said...

Hasn't it always been the case that the uneducated masses have more kids? And isn't it just possible that some of these unwashed youths might pay attention at school (fit teacher etc.) and maybe even go on to work in a chemist =)

Mach said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for opportunities for people to improve their position by e.g. working up to the dizzy heights of working in a chemist. My concern is that 12 year olds don't make great parents and reduce the chances of successful children. Something must be pretty wrong with our culture/society if these things keep happening?