Women possess a natural maternal instinct. It’s one of the many things that differentiates us from our male counterparts.
In recent years, though, society has attempted to write off this aspect of biology as a social construct, prompting more and more women to turn away from motherhood. The instinct, however, remains.
Worldwide, the fertility rate is steeply declining. Women had an average of 4.7 children in 1950. The global fertility rate had fallen to nearly half of that (2.4) in 2017. A study done by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that the global rate would continue to fall, reaching sub-1.7 by the year 2100. The fertility rate in the United States has also reached an all-time low.
Women Want a Life “Free” of Children
An article for Vogue explores the various reasons why the women of today are avoiding motherhood. One woman stated, “I just wasn’t sure I wanted to give up the life that being childless had afforded me: frequent travel, nice clothes, Sunday mornings sleeping in.” Another woman also reasoned that, though she has long had motherly instincts towards her younger siblings and friends, she’s afforded great freedom by remaining childless. “I do exactly what I want,” she stated. “I have sex with men and women. I’m free in so many ways that I feel are very important and essential to who I am.”
Aside from such “self-preservation” reasons, the article also notes environmental concerns, the financial burden of children, and career goals as causes for the declining fertility rates.
I just wasn’t sure I wanted to give up the life that being childless had afforded me.
But do these explanations mean that women have lost their natural instinct? Absolutely not. Psychologist Dr. Sarah Gundle, interviewed by Vogue, asserted that it’s “almost never the case” that women who don’t want kids don’t like kids. Rather, they’re ignoring the natural pull in favor of the plethora of other choices that have been laid before them.
Feminist Gloria Steinem succinctly vocalized the new age idea regarding motherhood when she said, “Someone said once that not everyone with vocal chords is an opera singer. And not everyone with a womb needs to be a mother.” Women are now being encouraged to cast off the drive towards motherhood in favor of other pursuits, but they are unable to truly rid themselves of this desire. Therefore, feminists are channeling this biological instinct into social justice issues.
Social Justice Already Appeals to Women
Two decades of Pew Research studies show that women are more likely than men to identify as Democrat. In 2016, 57% of women leaned to the left. According to a recent article from The Atlantic, this gender gap “may be a reflection of other schisms in the electorate, like education and geography.” More women than men attend college, and more women than men live in most metro areas throughout the U.S. Both correlate with voting Democrat.
Women tend to favor government programs that aid the elderly, children, and the impoverished.
Psychology Today explored this gap in greater detail, noting that a major contributing factor is social justice issues. Women tend to favor government programs that aid the elderly, children, and the impoverished (which often receive more attention from the left). This is likely due to women’s natural inclination to be more empathetic than men.
Studies have shown that females have a greater ability to understand and relate to others. One study showed that women’s brains actually reacted differently — more empathetically — than men’s brains when viewing others in pain. Evidently, women are already hardwired to care about social justice issues. The suppression of the maternal instinct is simply heightening this interest.
Now, It’s Filling the Mothering Void
Motherhood is appealing to women because it enables women to nurture others, satisfying biological and psychological drives. In a discussion with YouTuber and psychologist Dr. Karlyn Borynsenko, Benjamin Boyce, an investigative journalist, speaks to this idea. Boyce asserts that women do, in fact, have a natural propensity for mothering and that those who don’t fulfill this biological urge with children of their own often turn to social justice.
Boyce argues that social justice actually stimulates the mothering instinct, stating that “if one hasn’t gone through the steps of having a child and raising a child, that circuitry is dormant, but is just waiting to be triggered.” These women turn to marginalized groups and infantilize them so that they can “care for” them. Boyce describes this caring for oppressed groups as a “twisted motherliness.”
Feminists turn to marginalized groups and infantilize them so they can “mother” them.
Essentially, women have a need to foster and protect. Traditionally, this has been geared towards raising a family, but today’s feminists have largely shunned this feminine avenue. Therefore, they have had to turn to other means of mothering. Advocating for racially oppressed groups, the impoverished, illegal immigrants, women in the workplace, and even endangered animal species has become a new form of motherhood.
We’re now living in a world that often chooses to twist or negate science in favor of fulfilling one’s desires. Feminism does this when it encourages women to ignore their biological instinct for motherhood so as to pursue paths of greater “liberation.” Biology can’t be canceled, though, so women have begun to turn to social justice to fill the void of children. It’s also led to a perversion of motherhood: women infantilizing other adults in order to treat them as the children they secretly wish they had. Perhaps following our natural inclinations isn’t about “giving in to the patriarchy” after all.
Being informed is sexy. Get an unbiased news breakdown of everything you need to know in politics, pop-culture, and more in 60 seconds or less.