The Concept of the Biological Clock is More Sexist than Scientific

by Parent Co. May 11, 2016

Women in many times and places have felt pressure to bear children. But the idea of the biological clock is a recent invention. It first appeared in the late 1970s. “The Clock Is Ticking for the Career Woman,” the Washington Post declared, on the front page of its Metro Section, on 16 March 1978. The author, Richard Cohen, could not have realised just how inescapable his theme would become. The story of the biological clock is a story about science and sexism. It illustrates the ways that assumptions about gender can shape the priorities for scientific research, and scientific discoveries can be deployed to serve sexist ends. We are used to thinking about metaphors like “the biological clock” as if they were not metaphors at all, but simply neutral descriptions of facts about the human body. Yet, if we examine where the term came from, and how it came to be used, it becomes clear that the idea of the biological clock has as much to do with culture as with nature. And its cultural role was to counteract the effects of women’s liberation. The role of the biological clock has been to make it seem only natural – indeed inevitable – that the burdens of reproducing the world fall almost entirely on women. There are moral as well as practical implications to this idea: if you do not plan your life just right, you deserve to end up desperate and alone.
Source: The foul reign of the biological clock | Moira Weigel | Society | The Guardian



Parent Co.

Author



Also in Conversations

The Best Predictor of Success, According to Science

by Parent Co. May 10, 2021

We want to set children up on a path towards success later in life. What contributes to a person’s success in the long-term?

Continue Reading

drawing of a person on the forest covered with snow
7 Picture Books That Help Kids Cope With Tragedy

by Jennifer Garry May 10, 2021

These books deal with topics like fear, loss, and separation anxiety in subtle ways, but can serve as great conversation starters.

Continue Reading

How to Talk About Sex: Early, Often, and in Small Doses

by Pam Moore May 10, 2021

We are sexual beings from the moment we are born. So, why is it so hard for so many parents to talk to our kids about sex and sexuality?

Continue Reading