"Motherhood: Who Needs It?" An Evaluation

1313 words - 5 pages

While motherhood is not the stereotypical home making occupation that it was in the 1970's, it is still one of the most important roles women play in this country. In "Motherhood: Who Needs It?" Betty Rollin openly expresses her negative opinion of motherhood. Throughout the essay Rollin elaborates on many reasons why motherhood is overrated in America. Rollin says that, "The notion that the maternal wish and the activity of mothering are instinctive or biologically predestined is baloney." She first touches on the subject of motherhood as a science. "Women have childbearing equipment. To choose not to use the equipment is no more blocking what is instinctive than it is for a man who, muscles or no, chooses not to be a weight lifter." Rollin then refers to God as the cause of the "motherhood problem". "... the word of God that got the ball rolling with 'Be fruitful and multiply,' a practical suggestion, since the only people around then were Adam and Eve." Rollin quotes psychologists and doctors who support her theories, not ones who do not. She says that most mothers are unhappy, but do not admit it. Rollin rambles on throughout the essay telling how the motherhood myth is affecting the children and their mothers. She manipulates statistics to make them reflect her theory and does not give both sides of the argument. This essay while being outdated is full of fallacies and one-sided information influenced by the authors' social points of view, which misinform the reader.Rollin refers to an experiment using baby ducks as support for her thesis. "...baby ducks who lovingly follow their mothers seemed, in the mother's absence, to just as lovingly follow wooden ducks or even vacuum cleaners." This may be true but wooden ducks and vacuum cleaners cannot teach baby ducks how to swim, and how to survive. The previous is an example of a misleading analogy and hypostatization, which uses abstract concepts as concrete authorities using scientific experiments. The example is irrelevant and does not apply to Rollin's thesis.Contraception based on religion is mentioned a few times in the essay. Rollin talks of St. Augustine, who she calls a "super moralist", and how he changed motherhood forever when he said, "Intercourse, even with one's legitimate wife, is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented." Rollin then goes on to blame this belief and the Catholic Church for women not wanting to use contraception and preventing birth. Rollin is no pastor and she has no experience in religion so who is she to say what St. Augustine and the Catholic Church meant? She then says, "One could partake in the sinful pleasure, but feel vindicated by the ensuing birth." Rollin believes that sex is cleaned up by motherhood. Today, "most young people begin having sex in their mid-to-late teens, about 8 years before they marry. Teenage women's contraceptive use at first intercourse rose from 48% to 65% during the 1980s, almost entirely because of a...

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