Check out the first two installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series:
“You know, I want to have children. I really want to have children.”
“Of course you do. And you will have children at a time when your life is set up for it.”
This simple two-line conversation between pregnant Jessa and supportive Hannah in the hours leading up to Jessa’s “abortion party” illustrates the number one struggle young women face: To birth, or not to birth. It is an ironic struggle given the fact that women have classically been worshiped for their fertility and typified, first and foremost, as mothers. In the case of Girls, the irony is furthered by the fact that Jessa sought out girlfriends over her own mother for counsel and care in the face of an unexpected pregnancy. (“Unplanned” is so gauche; even the most unintentional sex has guaranteed biological consequences.)
Jessa’s mother isn’t the only absentee parent on Girls. Shoshanna turns to her aunt for advice, and Marnie’s mother is a cougar who’d rather “just be friends.” Hannah’s mother takes the cake in bad parenting. Cutting her grown daughter off financially sounds like a smart act of a wise and caring parent until, of course, the conversation devolves into mother referring to her daughter as “a major f*cking player,” and justifying the financial break as a way for her to afford a lake house: “I’ve worked hard, I want to sit by a f*cking lake!”
Which returns us to the heart of Hannah’s response to Jessa’s innate need to have children: It’s all about money, or, rather, the stability that comes from money, which for most modern women translates into having a professional career, the definition of which is devoid of child-rearing. Have we entered a new era of child sacrifice? Has career-worship become an idol inspiring generations of women to sacrifice parenthood? Or is the idea of a “career” a fresh veneer that has been slapped onto an age-old pagan mentality?