Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conservative Faith and the Literate Female

An interesting tidbit I learned a few months ago.

When more opportunities become available outside of child rearing, most women delay motherhood and have fewer children. In fact, birth rates are lowest in countries where income is high and women are provided with education. This information provides a clear direction for public policies attempting to decrease population growth rates: improve conditions for women, including increasing access to education, health care, and the job market, and provide them with the information and tools that allow them to regulate their fertility.*

Makes sense, yeah?

Our planet's population is currently inching (though quickly) toward 7 billion people, and scientists disagree on how much more Earth can take. A U.N. report estimates it is around 10.3 billion--though a theoretical estimate is around 20 billion (briefly, this population of humans, however, would likely require the obliteration of other species as we'd need all the photosynthetic plants we could get--couldn't have competition for resources).

That said, the growth rate is projected to slow down rather considerably by 2050--but this may be an indication we are nearing capacity. I won't go into my amateurish overview of what this may or may not mean, but capacity is capacity. I don't want to be squished--besides not handling crowds well, there are health hazards to be aware of as well that we don't currently deal with. And you know, lack of food and resources because too many of us tend to think we're going to last forever.

But you know, money is powerful. Love of money is the root...ok i'll stop.

So perhaps Gordon B. Hinckley wasn't entirely off base when he said this...shit I can't find the quote (help?). But I do remember him saying, some years ago, something to the effect that in the near future, the population growth will not only steady but decline and we cannot allow that to happen. So, you crazy kids, have more babies. You covenanted, after all.

God will not be mocked.

Anyway, I could go on but this is the basic jist. We're growing too fast and using up far too many nonrenewable resources and those who seem the least willing to accept this are the conservative zionists.

(Hi, Glenn Beck)

While there isn't much concern about the growth rates of developed nations as its the underdeveloped nations that struggle hard with their growth rates re: their quality of life (you know, the ones we're preaching abstinence to), I can't help but think of the LDS and other religious groups such as the Quiverfull Movement who are still working hard on multiplying and replenishing the Earth. So, y'know, keep those girls in the kitchen. Keep building huge families. Education is for teh men.

I realize this is hardly the only reason (if one at all) for the patriarchy, and I'm hardly advocating anything by way of controlling family sizes--but the inherent control factor regarding women concerns me greatly. It's like a few of my commenters said: girls should be given choices. Real ones. Not "You have free-agency ladies, but if you don't do what we tell you to God will smite thee and you'll be unhappy forever for not fulfilling your divine role!" And I wonder now, too, if this education thing is part of keeping the rebellious in the house.

Oh god! If they go to school they'll likely stop having so many goddamn kids! Quick! To the batcave!

SO this crap of barefoot and pregnant, keeping teh house clean and dinners prepared and the kids well-groomed and all that other crap is preached day in, day out. All this bullshit about gender roles has been magnified over the past few years. Women who aren't happy at home stay home because that's "their place." They have no choice, not if they value their eternal souls. And it's not just the Mormons who teach this.

I mean, damn. We're multiplying and replenishing a little too well. They have to know that. Give the girls a break.

What do you think?

*Biology: Science for Life With Physiology. 3rd Ed. p. 355


  1. I recall on my mission (Taiwan) that we had an priesthood lesson on the whole "multiplying and replenishing" topic. The teacher made a comment like "The Chinese have already done this, so it doesn't apply to us."
    At the time I was amused and a bit shocked. :-)

  2. No doubt my opinion on this topic will be wildly unpopular. But that's never stopped me before.

    I think it is environmentally (at least) irresponsible to have huge families. And I come from a huge family and would not have been born had my parents adopted my attitude.

    However, nature does have a way of compensating when a species' population gets out of control. For one example, wolves don't conceive hardly ever when their populations exceed environmental sustainability. It does make me wonder if nature will compensate with humans?

  3. @ Cognitive Dissenter -- Nature indeed compensates with things such as disease and starvation. I fear that these things will afflict the third world unless we humans get our population growth down to sustainable levels.

  4. That's just it. We go to these countries, tell 'em to stop having sex, but (as far as I know) stop there. Because that's the answer to everything.

    Not that it's as easy as educating women, making them literate. No. This is a political action as much as it is anything else. Women are oppressed. We govern according to the almighty-fucking-dollar, and it's disgusting.

    And yes, they and the rest of us are in grave danger of paying in just the way Ahab spoke of. We may overshoot our capacity (I think it's highly likely), but a crash will follow.

    I don't want to live (or not live) through that.

    We need to help the least of us.

  5. I like your thinking on this topic, Lisa. We need to help educate women so they have the tools to make their own informed choices when it comes to reproduction. Abstinence-only sex education and other measures that are really oppressive to women must be eliminated in favor of true education.

    Excellent excellent post.

  6. I agree that the growth rate is scary if we want a future for our species. And I also agree that the one bright spot is positive things to improve people's lives (education, health care) are exactly what encourage people to want to have smaller families.