Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Some further thoughts on maternal instinct

Suppose, just for a minute, that the link I suggested yesterday between BPA and human maternal instinct is real, and that the decline in maternal behaviors in our culture springs from a drug-induced behavior/attitude.

This presents some interesting issues looking both backward and forward in history.

Of necessity, we see things through the lens of our own experience and emotions. So when the feminists rewrote history in the 80s and 90s, they looked back at generations and generations of women and said, "I would feel totally trapped in their situation; they must have felt totally trapped." And they rewrote history to prove that--focusing a great deal on prostitutes, interestingly enough. Suddenly we found that for all of history, men were oppressing women, the home and hearth were societal prisons that women were all too happy to escape, and feminine fashion was instantly seen as demeaning and imposed on us (ignoring the fact that women, culturally and historically, made their own clothes and responded--and respond--more to the social pressure from other WOMEN). Empowerment became the buzzword, and it meant power to escape the role of women, not power to make our lives joyfully what we felt inclined them to be.

But what if human maternal instinct--the pre-BPA version--drove women to WANT all those things the feminists have said were  imposed on us.

What if we look back, and see generations of women who stayed home, had lots of babies, and were devoted to a single husband for their whole lives not because society MADE them, but because they WANTED that.

Realistically, the generation that was exposed to BPA in the womb grew up not wanting that, and they changed it instantly. Why would they assume that our mothers in history couldn't also have effected a radical change if they were so intensely discontent? Historically, women have been strong. They worked the factories when they needed to during WWII. They ran farms and ranches by themselves while their men were gone. They raised children, wrote a LOT (much of which we don't even remember was written--did you know some of the most popular novelists of the 19th century were women? The feminists roundly reject their books because the women did not live lifestyles and promote behaviors they approve of--instead focusing on the radical women whose writings were not as valued when they were written--women like Virginia Wolf and George Sands. I found a book in a family history library of the 100 most influential people in the 19th Century, published in 1906 or something like that--first decade of the 20th century. There was a good showing of women in the book--and none of them are known for anything now except Queen Victoria, and she is vilified!), ran whole countries while raising a dozen children, promoted the rights of women--their rights to stay home, to have  safe place to have babies, to have a man who stayed with them their whole lives to provide for them and love them and give them companionship.

When a way of life--like stay-at-home  mothering--spontaneously develops in EVERY culture in the history of the world--even cultures that have zero contact with each other--how can the feminists claim that the women hated it?

Not to say there isn't oppression out there. There is, and it's horrible and should be fought against as much as possible.

But some of the oppression is coming from the feminists as well as from the men.

Suppose women historically had a strong strong maternal instinct. How would they behave? What would they want? Hard to know when that instinct has been wiped out in America, and then made unpopular to boot!

If we look at animals, though, we might get some idea. Cats, for example, actively seek out a cozy, private, protected place to bear and raise their offspring. Doves look for a mate that will stay by their side their whole life. Black widows look for a mate that provides substantial nutrition for the pregnancy.  Okay, so animals might not be the same as us, partly because their offspring have different needs.

Human offspring need a high level of care for about 30 years (or more. Maybe the rest of their lives?), and a REALLY intense amount of care for 20. Women are made to produce a new baby every two years or so (some less, some more), and are built to bear up to 20 babies, but that is the extreme end of the spectrum. Most of us are physiologically capable of bearing far fewer than that (but far more than we do), and emotionally capable of fewer than we are physically capable of (but who knows how that would be different if we emotionally had a strong maternal instinct?). Still, more than 2.

So, assuming then that our instincts and our physiobiology match up nicely, I would guess that the human maternal instinct would drive a woman to seek out a single, healthy mate that is capable of producing healthy offspring. I suspect, since raising a child is a significant, intense, and long-lasting work, she would seek a life partner, not a sperm donor. Because raising children is hard, whole-day work, I assume her instinct would cause her to seek a partner who would be willing to help with this work, but also one that would be willing to support her financially and physically (providing house and food) so that she could focus on the work at hand: making and raising babies. Likewise, because of the intensity and difficulty of raising a person for 30 years, it seems reasonable that women would seek the companionship and wisdom of other, older women--the maternal instinct, it seems, would drive women to connect with their mothers and daughters and granddaughters to share the wisdom and knowledge necessary to bring the next generations. So the women would not seek to live in isolation, but in community (family groups like elephants and some apes, or colonies like ants).  It would also drive women have more, rather than fewer, babies and to treat them in ways that would help them grow and develop. It's a significant commitment, but a functioning instinct would give women the abilities to handle that commitment.

What I'm saying is that perhaps women have raised children--many children--and lived in intact traditional nuclear families as stay at home moms not because society forced them to but because they WANTED to--because the maternal instinct that ought to drive us to reproduce and give our offspring the best chance to grow and reproduce themselves (what all animals are supposed to have) would have created just the kind of families that the feminists have active and successfully torn apart. We look at animals who know where to go to spawn, or how long before they should throw their young out of the nest, or how to juggle sibling monkey rivalry....why is it wrong to assume that women had just as strong, just as specific instincts for human children, and that the traditional family is the natural expression of our biology and instinct, not something men have imposed on women for their sexual gratification (cuz really, feminists, why would men choose the  nuclear family for sexual gratification-- you'd only think that if you never lived in a nuclear family!).

So, looking at now and forward, and still assuming that the decline in maternal instinct is a drug-driven abnormality...doesn't that make current social and political trends scary? I mean, they are supporting an abnormal, anti-biology-based, drug-induced state and imposing it on us, against our biology, instead of supporting what humans instinctively want.

And--here's the thing that concerns me--if we get rid of the drugs, and humans, like the frogs in the atrazine study, return to our normal biological state within a generation, what have we done to our daughters? We've then raised them to think their natural biological instincts are evil and wrong, we've set up social and political structures that make it nearly impossible for them to become fulfilled, happy women, and we've set up a culture that will prevent them doing and feeling and being what they quite literally were born to do. Further, we've raised a generation of mothers who won't know how to handle daughters with maternal instincts--a set up for a lot of emotional abuse (which the feminists, unfortunately, are extremely skilled at and embrace as part of their culture--the whole "everything is political" and "have a voice" mantras in practical expression are VERY disrespectful of differences and VERY emotionally and verbally abusive). Not to mention the fact that, with the last generation of women who HAD a natural maternal instinct now dieing out, who is there to teach the women how to be mothers? Who is there to teach the girls the skills they need to complement their instincts?

Fortunately, there are still women out there--lots of them--who chose to embrace womanhood anyway. And there are those with strong maternal instincts who were not as susceptible to the chemical contaminants in our lives. (Even in the frog study, only a percentage of the frogs changed--there had to be a genetic susceptibility for it to affect them).

But it is a cultural crisis in the making, for sure.

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