Thursday, July 01, 2010

McArdle and Normalizing Children

Megan McArdle is back from her honeymoon and worrying about normalizing children: human interventions to adjust the height, and other characteristics, of our children.  As a very tall woman, she tentatively plumps for normalizing:
"If I were presented with a virtually riskless way to let my daughters buy clothing off the rack, and blend into the classroom a little better?  Frankly, no child of mine is ever going to have a brilliant athletic future in front of her.  So why not?  I'm pretty sure she could fight the patriarchy just as easily without a 35 inch inseam."
I'm bugged by the middle sentence and would have commented but I come late to the party so I'll post here instead:
  • she does not allow for the genetics her daughter will receive from her husband.  He may be a total klutz, but maybe not.
  • even if neither parent contributes much in the way of coordination, I'm reading the sentence, perhaps wrongly, as saying Ms McArdle looks down on athletics, at least as it pertains to her and hers. I'm hearing in it an echo of the attitude I get from some older relatives of mine: I'm no good on computers and technical type stuff.  That drives me up the wall. Now if they'd say: the world is full of wondrous things and my time on the planet is limited, so I choose not to invest the time needed to learn the ins and outs of Windows and the Internet--that I could understand.  
  • so I guess I'd wish McArdle to say: while I'm not good at athletics, I'll try to keep my daughter's eyes open to athletics, just as I keep them open to a possible career in nuclear physics.

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