The PJ Tatler

Why Our 'Barefoot and Pregnant' Women Are Better Writers

Amanda Marcotte — a writer with two books and years of professional freelance writing — opened her post at Slate yesterday with this:

Watching an artifice that was painstakingly constructed over a period of decades crumble in a week is really a rare treat in politics, so it’s really important to take time to enjoy this week, which will be known as the week when social conservative claims to be interested in “fetuses” or “religious liberty” or anything but indulging an obsessive desire to control sex collapsed in a heap. It’s almost as if the artifice were constructed out of pick-up sticks, and Obama pulled out the stick holding up the entire structure with his neat little compromise that allows women to get contraception coverage even if they work for a religiously-affiliated institution that refuses to cover it.


Note Marcotte’s epic run-on sentence. See the lazy word repetition: “artifice” and “constructed” appear twice. “Week” appears three times in the first sentence.

Sarah Seltzer and Lauren Kelley — associate editors at Alternet — begin their piece, “4 States Where Right-Wingers Are Promoting Shocking Measures to Keep Women Barefoot and Pregnant”:

It’s been an exhausting few weeks for reproductive rights supporters. Most recently, we’ve been treated to a new round of a battle over birth control, as the debate over whether employees at religiously affiliated institutions should be required to receive insurance that covers birth control without a co-payment — a right employees of all other U.S. companies will have under the Obama administration’s new healthcare law — rages on in Washington.

And here’s how Seltzer and Kelley’s editor should have rewritten their opening paragraph:

The past few weeks’ activism has exhausted reproductive rights supporters. Most recently, we began the fight in a new battle over contraception. The debate rages on in Washington: will employees at religiously-affiliated institutions receive insurance covering birth control without a co-payment, a right of employees at all other U.S. companies under the Obama administration’s new healthcare law?


Are there any talented female writers for progressive publications? Politics and terrible ideas aside, who writes well? Katha Pollitt at The Nation is the only one who immediately comes to mind. Molly Ivins could craft some cutting prose but she died in 2007. Where is the new generation to replace them?

You won’t find them.

I submit a hypothesis for debate: among female writers how well a woman writes correlates with how much she values life. The will to create beautiful art or elegant prose is just a different manifestation of the sex drive. (Hence why writers and artists will sometimes refer to their creations as their children.)

Think of a piece of writing as a child. It’s no coincidence that those most hostile to motherhood produce mangled, awkward prose aborted from their heads. Compare their words to the polished, vibrant voices of Belladonna Rogers, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, or our new, very talented Washington D.C. editor Bridget Johnson. (See also the writing of the conservative new media women I mentioned in this article two weeks ago.) Women who are most in touch with their innate abilities to nurture children, a spouse, and animals are also most capable of nurturing elegant writing and their own literary talents.


Am I wrong?

Related: Cassy Fiano’s Choosing Life and Beating the Odds: Accepting Down Syndrome… “Ninety percent of babies with the diagnosis end up aborted. But that wasn’t an option for me.”

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