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Why We Hate Childfree Women

Posted by twocents 
Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 01, 2022
Interesting article.


Why We Hate Childfree Women
Their very existence is a threat to our systems of power

“There is nothing more noble or selfless than becoming a mother.”

We all lifted our glasses of sparkling water and toasted the mother-to-be, who stood on the other side of the room, beaming at the hostess who was throwing this little baby shower.

I felt slightly uncomfortable at her words. They seemed a little…much. But I brushed it off as jealousy. After all, I was 30, one of the oldest women there, and I wanted so much to become a mother, too.

Not because I wanted to be noble or selfless, mind you. On the contrary, I thought having kids was going to be a blast. I wanted to have a daughter who could wear all the baby clothes I’d saved from my infancy, who would cuddle with me as a child, and go to marches with me as a teenager.

My desire to be a mother felt entirely selfish to me — and I had no problem with that.

It wasn’t until five years later, realizing that my dreams of becoming a mother were probably not going to come true, that I started thinking about that baby shower toast. I’d heard that sentiment a lot over the years that followed. Apparently, motherhood was an exercise in character building, a moral imperative, maybe even a bid for sainthood.

I knew motherhood was supposed to be difficult, but…Jesus. Where on earth had all this moral gravity come from? Had it been there the entire time and I’d just failed to see it?

And what, I wondered, would become of me if my dreams to have a child never came true? What would that say about me?

IfI, a “childless by circumstance” woman, have struggled with this question, then I can only imagine how it must affect childfree women — those who choose not to become mothers.

You might not realize this, but that demographic is actually quite large. And it’s growing.

According to a new Pew Research Center study, 44% of childless Americans between the ages of 18–49 say it’s unlikely that they will have children, or that they have already decided not to have children. You might be even more surprised to hear that 56% of the people in that group say it’s unlikely they will have children because they simply don’t want to have kids.

With the number of people who are opting out of parenthood growing (this group has increased by 7% since 2018) and declining birth rates, it’s likely that you’ve seen the sudden surge of articles and opinion pieces examining these trends. Each one seems more alarming than the last:

We’re below the replacement rate!
With a lower birth rate, our economy is heading for a crash!
The future of the human species is in peril!
But there’s one more remonstrance that is far, far more troubling to me: the questioning of the moral fiber of the childfree.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider the recent Washington Post op-ed in which columnist Christine Emba expressed her concern about the supposedly nebulous motivations of the childfree demographic in America and the alleged problem that poses for society, as a whole.

Though there is no evidence that falling birth rates are solely attributable to the growing number of people who are choosing not to have children, Emba makes the alarming assertion that that is, in fact, the case.

But let’s be clear that she doesn’t find it a problem for the future of our economy, as is sometimes cited for the reason behind people’s hand-wringing over declining birth rates. Nope. Emba is concerned about the moral implications of this reproductive trend and what it says about the future of the human race.

“…this trend suggests a narrowing lens and a darkening view. The emphasis on our own lives and pleasures as most important suggests something of a lack of interest in the human enterprise as a whole — not just taking part in it, but contributing to it.

A large segment of Americans is not particularly interested in the future. They think that their lives are …not worth interrupting for something as demanding and not immediately rewarding as a baby.”

That seems like surprisingly scathing criticism to so casually lay at the feet of a large and growing group of incredibly diverse (and contributing) members of society who Emba earlier (and ironically) states are increasingly free from “the stigma around not having children.”

Clearly, as evidenced by her own words, she’s wrong at least about that…

It’s not surprising that childfree people — women, in particular — are branded as selfish. Our deeply patriarchal Christian culture has worked hard to equate parenthood with morality. Even a Princeton-educated columnist from a slightly left-leaning media outlet is quick to entrench this narrative, no doubt influenced by her Catholic roots.

In fact, Emba doubles down on the church’s position on reproduction by only citing one other perspective on this topic — that of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, a white Christian man whose “Case for One More Child” is so heavy-handed with its own virtue and so blind to its own privilege that it lands with a clumsy, sententious thud at its conclusion that children are “a life hack that might crack the door of heaven.”

Frankly, I’m less concerned about self-aware people making smart decisions about their lives than I am about the increasing religious pronatalism that is spewing ever more dangerous propaganda into the world. Make no mistake about it: these are the kinds of social trends that influence policy.

If you don’t believe that, then consider the following.

Why are we pondering the reasons behind people who state very simply that they do not want to have kids? Isn’t that an answer in itself?

And doesn’t the act of asking the question in the first place have dangerous implications? Are we getting to the point of having to explain our reproductive decisions to the whole of society if we don’t follow the status quo? Are we going to have to succumb to the systems of power that define what is “moral” and what is not and allow them to make decisions as significant as whether or not to become parents on our behalf?

Considering what we’re seeing in the Supreme Court these days, it looks suspiciously like that’s exactly where we are heading.

Let’s conduct another survey, shall we? Instead of researching how many people have chosen not to procreate and why, let’s poll parents and see how many of them decided to have children in order to sustain our economy, to keep the human species going, or to “crack the door to heaven.” What do you think the numbers might be on that one?

Not to be cynical, but I think it’s safe to say that not a single parent in the world had children for any one of these reasons. I think it’s much more likely that they had children because it was expected of them, because it happened accidentally, or for the most selfish reason of all: because they wanted to.

No matter how much my friend at the baby shower would like to believe it, there’s nothing particularly noble or morally consequential to being a parent. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it’s a masterclass in selflessness. But that doesn’t equate to moral brownie points, nor does it make childfree people lazy or selfish in comparison.

Emba’s assertion about childfree people’s “lack of interest in the human enterprise” doesn’t hold water, either. In fact, this is an incredibly careless stereotype that seems shocking to hear roll off the tongue (keyboard, that is) of an Ivy League-educated journalist. Are you really going to tell me that Gloria Steinem, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice, Ashley Judd, Rachel Cargle, and Kamala Harris don’t care about the human enterprise or aren’t contributing members of society? And considering the fact that we can cite endless examples from history of other women who didn’t have children of their own but whose work made a huge impact on the world — Frida Kahlo, Simone de Beauvoir, Harper Lee, Virgina Woolf, Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc, Mother Theresa — can we responsibly presume that the majority of childfree women are simply too self-involved to contribute to society?

And if that’s even remotely true, then why aren’t we equally condemning the selfishness of the parents who had kids not to build their own moral character, but just because they wanted to?

Despite the pervasiveness of the belief that childfree women are selfish, there is no evidence that supports this egregious stereotype, according to psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry. She goes on to say,

“Motherhood has been culturally constructed to be the ‘natural path’ toward happiness and fulfillment, and central to womanhood. This causes women who choose not to have children to experience significant anxiety and mistrust of their own values and preferences.

These fears arise out of a pervasive cultural narrative that women have been taught throughout their lives, throughout generations. The narrative devalues women’s capacity for reason, their self-knowledge, their diverse interests and talents, and their ability for happiness.”

And can we talk about the elephant in the room? With all the lazy, illusory correlations being made between morality and motherhood, can we really pretend that this has nothing to do with female sexuality? As journalist Mary Katharine Tramontana wisely pointed out in the New York Times this spring:

“Perhaps part of this social unacceptability [surrounding childfree women] is that with an admission to never having children comes an underlying acknowledgment that women have sex for pleasure. When many are still threatened by women’s sexual agency, some experts have argued that having sex for fun, rather than reproduction, is an affront to the long political and religious history of policing female sexuality and reproductive rights.”

That goes a long way toward unraveling this dangerous narrative about childfree women.

It’s no wonder that Pope Francis condemned the choice to not reproduce as “selfish” in 2015. Or that journalists like Douthat admonish the childfree for eschewing parenthood over their “mistaken” concern about climate change in a world he claims is “freed from patriarchal demands.” These are “truths” granted the kind of authority only white, Christian, heterosexual, cisgender men can give.

In other words: Beeth neither selfish nor slutty, my lambs. Instead, be fruitful and multiply — so long as you are married. (And no sex for fun. So sayeth Jesus.)

I’m going to tell you a secret, just in case you’re still convinced that childfree people — women, in particular — are selfish monsters. The problems that society is attributing to the childfree community aren’t exactly the problems you think they are.

Is our birth rate falling? Yes. It has been for a while now. Is that a problem for the economy? Yes. And no. There are many outcomes that will arise from this trend, and not all of them are bad. (And that’s not even to mention the very real fact that our current economic system is unsustainable.)

Are we below the replacement rate? Yes. But do we understand what the replacement rate actually means? This is the number of people we must produce in order to sustain the current population. If you look at the effects of the industrial revolution on population growth, as well as the disruption of the midcentury baby boom, or read up on the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, perhaps you will understand why we don’t actually need to worry about not hitting the replacement rate, despite the doomsday predictions the numbers seem to inspire.

There is no actual crisis that we are facing related to our falling birth rate. While it warrants discussion, most of what we hear falls into the “sky is falling” category. We’d do a lot better to keep our eyes on the real crises that face us, like, yes (sorry, Mr. Douthat), climate change and corrupt power systems that perpetuate social injustice.

And here’s the biggest fallacy of all of them: Parents are saving the world while the childfree get to sit this one out.

As I’ve said, you could argue that parents are the selfish ones. That parents are the ones contributing to our environmental problems. That parents are the ones who don’t really care about the future.

But the truth is, there are no villains here.

Most humans (with or without children) care about the future — our survival depends upon us having an eye toward tomorrow. Most humans (with or without children) care about each other, as well. Again, that’s part of our biology as social beings whose chances of survival are increased by forging strong communal bonds.

But hey, it’s okay if you’ve fallen for this nonsense in the past. It’s okay if, until now, you suspected that childfree people were parasites who should be voted off the island (except for Oprah, of course).

That’s the magic of propaganda. Just like a toast at an idyllic baby shower, it all sounds so romantic, so logical, so morally refined. Of course having babies is noble and unselfish! Of course choosing not to is narcissistic and immature.

But the truth is, little scares this world as much as a childfree woman. She does what she wants with her body. She knows her own mind. She is her own authority.

No wonder we have it out for her…

Yael Wolfe

two cents ¢¢


people (especially women) do not give ONE DAMN about what they inflict on children and I defy anyone to prove me wrong

Dysfunctional relationships almost always have a child. The more dysfunctional, the more children.

The selfish wants of adults outweigh the needs of the child.

Some mistakes cannot be fixed, but some mistakes can be 'fixed'.

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. Leo J. Burke

Adoption agencies have strict criteria (usually). Breeders, whose combined IQ's would barely hit triple digits, have none.
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 01, 2022
Everyone is selfish. Some people choose to bring life into this world before they've worked all their shit out and for the wrong reasons, so they pass on a legacy of shit. Anyone who points a finger at the child-free and calls them selfish is passing on this legacy of shit. Those people are assholes not because they are selfish but because they are destroying the lives of those they chose to bring into this world.
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 02, 2022
People seem to think that any woman who chooses not to breed is selfish, but the issue is their definition of selfish is doing absolutely anything whatsoever for yourself. Men don't seem to be held to this standard, I guess because it's acceptable for them to fuck off and act like 12-year-olds well into middle age or something? But women are expected to be lifelong givers - give everything, want nothing, otherwise they are selfish.

So yes, a woman willingly choosing to shirk the responsibility of parenthood it seen as the epitome of selfishness. Doesn't matter what her reasons are - whether physical, mental, financial, marital or any combination of those - no babbies = selfish bitch. But who precisely is the woman harming by not having kids she clearly doesn't want? Politicians, perhaps, who will be denied a future voter, or the military having one less potential person to send to get killed. Selfishness is when you do shit without thinking of how it will impact others because there is a presumed impact on others. If your choice only affects you, there is no selfishness.

I believe you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of someone else, and for many people of any gender, self-care is a full time job by itself. Whether you're nursing health conditions or you're just an introvert who needs a lot of down time to recharge, you cannot be a provider if you are not providing for yourself, and being a parent often means neglecting your own needs to cater to a screaming asshole all the time. But so many women just have it ingrained in their heads that they must sacrifice any and all happiness and freedom to become mommies or else people might think badly of them, never sitting down and asking themselves what it is they themselves really want. They get so brainwashed that they think having kids is what they really want, but if breakingmom is any indication of how Moos really feel, it really seems like reproducing is not the lifelong dream of many women. Then it's after they are bullshitted into breeding that they realize what they want, but by then it's too late and they can't have it for at least 20-25 years.

People hate CF women because we saw through the bullshit before ruining our lives and that's not how it's supposed to go. You're supposed to ruin your life first with kids you're tricked into thinking you want, and then spend the rest of your best/healthiest years yearning for things you can't have and by the time the kids are out of the house, you can finally be "selfish" and pursue your own dreams if you're not dead, too old or too sick to do so.

It's like watching morons play carny games and blowing hundreds of dollars on trying to win some cheap piece of shit because they're made to feel like winning that prize is the ultimate achievement. If they finally do win, the prize is horrifically underwhelming. CFers figured out long ago the game was a scam and just didn't bother with it, instead watching idiots waste their time and money on a fruitless, unfulfilling endeavor.
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 03, 2022
refreshing and excellent article and comments!
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 03, 2022
That was an excellent article indeed.
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 04, 2022
Society hates people, especially women, who think for themselves instead of following the herd.
Re: Why We Hate Childfree Women
August 04, 2022
yurble, hence the moo appellation. prick their little bubble of delusion and they stand out in their fields and low and bellow in phony outrage displays.

two cents ¢¢


people (especially women) do not give ONE DAMN about what they inflict on children and I defy anyone to prove me wrong

Dysfunctional relationships almost always have a child. The more dysfunctional, the more children.

The selfish wants of adults outweigh the needs of the child.

Some mistakes cannot be fixed, but some mistakes can be 'fixed'.

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. Leo J. Burke

Adoption agencies have strict criteria (usually). Breeders, whose combined IQ's would barely hit triple digits, have none.
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