By Amy Doolittle
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Carrie L. Lukas, vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women’s Forum, is a master at shuffling work and family. A stay-at-home mother of a 6-month-old girl, Molly, she also is the author of the new book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism,” which examines the hard data behind women and society.
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Mrs. Lukas.
Q: What prompted you to write this book?
A: I’ve had so many conversations with my friends in the last few years about this subject. We realized how important those decisions are that you make in the 10 years after college. You choose your jobs; you’re looking for a potential marriage partner. I really felt like there was bad information out there about it.
The issue that made me write this was I started to look at the fertility issue. That was the area in which I was shocked to see what a disservice the feminist movement has been to women.
In 2001, a group of doctors ran an ad just to make people aware of some of the things that affect fertility. They included smoking, [sexually transmitted diseases], weight and age. No one complained about the first things, but the feminists were incredibly upset about the last one.
The fact is that a lot of women aren’t aware of the facts of fertility. They aren’t aware that it declines after 27. I’ve had friends that were very misled, that are now struggling to get pregnant and thinking, boy, if they had known they were jeopardizing their possibility to have children, they wouldn’t have done that. The feminist groups spend such a great deal of time and energy focusing on reproduction rights, it’s amazing how little was focused on fertility issues.
Q: What if a woman doesn’t want to have children?
A: I think your average 25-year-old feels entitled to have an extended adolescence. I know I felt, boy, kids are going to tie you down. A lot of people feel it’s crazy to marry young and you should enjoy the single life.
But polls have been done that overwhelmingly show that college people see children in their future. In particular, there’s so many stories about how reproduction technologies are helping people have children later and later in life, but people don’t hear how expensive and painful and dangerous those treatments are. A lot of 30-year-olds have this idea that we can freeze eggs and do [in vitro fertilization] in 10 years, no problem. But really, they don’t understand what that means.
Q: The book talks about being politically incorrect about sex, women and marriage. That doesn’t sound like something that’s particularly hard to be these days.
A: I think that’s true. I do think that a lot of these subjects have become really taboo. I think with a lot of work and family issues, there are things you aren’t supposed to bring up.
I think there’s a movement to be talking about implications of casual sex. And people are starting to talk about how important marriage is — but especially where work issues are concerned — it’s often not considered polite to talk about such things.
Q: What negative feedback have you received on the book?
A: There have already been some people that have read the book. Most of the people who I’ve talked to about it are sympathetic to the message of the book.
To a degree, yes, I expect that some people will be upset by what I’ve said, but my hope is that people who read the book will see that we’re just trying to inform people about the choices that they’re making.
Q: In the book you speak about alternatives to normal dating, such as courtship. Those things are easy to suggest, but how do you actually do them in today’s dating environment?
A: I think that it is a real problem for young women that there aren’t good alternatives. You can’t start making guys act right, and I think it’s important to start a conversation and realize what you’re doing. It’s important to see why those old traditions were there and why they held. I never thought through why you weren’t supposed to get serious with one person and the guy was supposed to pick you up. Well, that didn’t just come out of nowhere. There’s actual reasons why these practices evolved, and they had a lot of benefits.
I think that’s the problem that women face today. I think that that’s the kind of thing that parents of young boys should think about, trying to encourage young boys to take initiative and behave like gentlemen, but that’s not much use to those of us who are in our 20s.