Monday, July 26, 2010

Plan B

Earlier this year, I happened upon a (negative) review of Jennifer Lopez’s movie The Back-up Plan (site, imdb). The plot didn’t surprise me in the least. Artificial insemination is a hot topic for any social medium targeting aging single women. As a younger member of that demographic, I can sympathize with their frustration over the lack of options in the marriage market and the sense of panic when their biological clocks begin “ticking.” It’s no wonder that women will pay a pretty penny for a chance at motherhood, even if it’s unsupported by a father.

What comes to mind is an interesting parallel with a biblical warning of God’s judgment against Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 2-4:1). The prophecy tells of the miserable conditions that the people later suffered: famine, oppression, loss of wealth, defeat in battle, etc.  Assuming that the standard interpretation of Isaiah 4:1 is correct, the passage portrays single women desperate to have children to secure their position in society. What I noticed is that they were willing to forego all the other expected benefits of marriage (love, financial support, fidelity, etc.), in effect putting up with a man who’s unwilling to commit to a relationship and can’t be relied upon for child support. What mattered was removing the shame of childlessness. Although women today might not be suffering the extreme hardships experienced in ancient times, I see a similar desperation expressed and a similar solution pursued.