Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An Analysis Of An Argument Against Reproductive Options

The personal is political.

Premise: While most writers state their premise and follow with supporting evidence, Megan McArdle attempts to manipulate her audience to make them receptive to a potentially unacceptable premises. She does this by sharing personal details with the reader to create a bond of trust so they would believe her declaration that elites like them ("ambitious professionals") can't afford to put off childbearing, fear mongering, and appeals to authority, hoping to overcome the common belief that women should have control over their reproductive cycle.


A. Appeals to authority: McArdle presents the views of the elite, knowing that acceptance to the elite tribe demands acquiescence to its dogma.
1.) "the women I know"  
2.) "as friends who have done it freely remark"  
3.)"for most ambitious professionals"
B. Concedes the obvious to convince audience she is fair and balanced (while concern-trolling).

I’m not arguing against egg freezing; it’s obviously a godsend for women with cancer or other conditions that are likely to impair their fertility, and I’m sure that it will help some women to put off having a healthy baby until they can meet the right person. I’m just questioning the idea of egg freezing as career saver. There are a few professions, such as academia or some areas of medicine, where there’s a hard, bright finish line you need to cross before most women want to think about having kids, and in those professions, this obviously makes sense.
Solutions that help woman expand their fertility choices are a great advance. But I worry that in this case, companies may end up encouraging women to make a very different choice from the one they think they’re making.
B. Fear mongering

1.) Companies might be trying to take advantage of you.
There’s some suspicion among women I know that this is supposed to help/force women in technology balance family and career by delaying childbirth -- it’s not a good time in your late 20s and early 30s, so freeze those eggs and have kids when you’re ready.
2.) Businessmen inadvertently might be encouraging women to ultimately become childless.
But I worry that in this case, companies may end up encouraging women to make a very different choice from the one they think they’re making.
3.) You'll never have a baby if you put it off.
What I haven’t seen anyone explain is when, exactly, you’ll be ready. For most people, your 40s and early 50s are your peak earning years -- is that really going to be a good time to meet that special someone, or finally step back to invest some time in having kids? Is all this egg freezing actually going to expand the choices of most of the women who use it, or will it just be an expensive way to choose career over family without realizing that you’re making that choice?
4.) You'll be too old to raise a child.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m already noticing that I have a lot less energy than I used to. It’s not that I can’t get my work done or anything like that. But it used to be that if I had to travel for six days straight and then deliver a 2,500-word essay on the 7th, I could dial up my reserves and power through it -- miserable and cranky, to be sure, but functioning. Then one day, around the time I turned 40, I dialed down for more power and there just ... wasn’t any. My body informed me that it was tired, and my brain would not be doing any more work today, and we were going to sleep whether I liked it or not.  
This is -- as friends who have done it freely remark -- a difficult age to be taking on your first newborn. I can’t even imagine trying the same feat 10 years from now, when my joints will be even creakier and my reserves even more depleted. So I’m skeptical that women who are having trouble combining work and career now will really find it much easier to do within any reasonable time frame.
Conclusion: Megan McArdle uses fear, class identification and concern trolling to manipulate women into bearing children before they are ready, a practice she advocates for everyone else but herself.


Kathy said...

But why? Why on earth does Arglebargle care whether women have babies early or late or not-at-all. (I had a baby girl at 43, who is currently "almost 17". It is quite tiring at times, but worth it.)

cynic said...

"Why on earth does Arglebargle care whether women have babies early or late or not-at-all"

Because she is an incorrigible authoritarian. she has to tell others what they should do. She doesn't really care - she just wants control.

Clever Pseudonym said...

That, and she's a 40-year-old woman and surely all other 40-year-old women need and desire all the same things she does.

Susan of Texas said...

Since McAdle gets paid no matter what she writes, why not give useless advice instead of writing about the stock market or Europe's warning signs? It's a lot easier.