Memes and Genes in Conflict in Modern Child-Rearing
Women who have lots of children have less memetic influence, while women who are career-oriented have more memetic influence, but less genetic.
Let us suppose that women who have many chidren are far too busy to have much social life, and spend most of their time with their partners and family. The few other people they do see are likely to be other mothers with young children who already share at least some of their child-rearing memes. The more children they have the mor eyears they will spend this way. They will, therefore, have little time for spreading their own memes, including the ones concerned with family values and the pleasures of having lots of children.
On the other hand, women who have onlyh one or two children, or none at all, are far more likely to have jobs outside the home, to have an exciting social life, to use e-mail, to write books and papers and articles, to become politicians or broadcasters, or do any number of other things that will spread their memes, including the memes for birth control and the pleasures of a small family. These are the women whose pictures appear in the media, whose succss inspires others, and who provide role models for other women to copy.
There is a battle going on here -- a battle between memes and genes to take controle over the machinery of replication -- in this case a woman's body and mind. Any one person has only so much time and energy in their lifetime. They can divide it as they choose but they cannot have lots of children and devote maximal time and effort to spreading memes. This particular battle is played out largely in the lives of women and is becoming ever more important as women take a more prominent role in modern meme-driven society. My argument is simply this -- the women who devote more time to memes and less to genes are the more visible ones, and therefore the ones most likely to be copied. In the process, they are effectively encouraging more women to desert gene-spreading in favour of meme-spreading
Two examples of memes overriding the reproductive imperative of genes. Homosexuality genes survive because of religious taboos, while the genetic need to reproduce is overridden by the professional woman meme.
The focus of gossip magazines on pregnant celebrites somewhat detracts from Susan Blackmore's argument that career-women more effectively spread their professional memes than pregnant women are at spreading motherhood genes.