On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian
Any time stories by women explaining why they never wanted to have children are re-published on right wing political sites, the commentators, who are naturally, usually conservative, spew all kinds of hatred at the female authors.
Background about me first:
I’m a right winger, a social conservative, do not “hate” children, was ambivalent about having children should I had gotten married (no Mr. Right ever appeared in my life – I was open to having a baby, but only within marriage, but am not one of those women that was just absolutely desperate to have a baby), was a Christian most of my life, and I do not support abortion.
Why all the qualifiers up front?
Because a lot of my fellow conservatives (and Christians) harbor a lot of negative, incredibly obnoxious and insulting stereotypes about child free people.
(I do not strictly classify myself as CF -child free- I am somewhere between CF and Childless, but for purposes of brevity, I tend to refer to myself as CF – at least for the purposes of this post.)
The right wingers who cannot fathom why anyone would not want to have children assume all child free people are liberal, left wing, love Obama, hate babies, support abortion, and are life-long atheistic hedonists.
Some of those types of conservatives get into weird rants about how they resent CF (child free) people because the CF will expect their children to support them one day in their old age – an argument which makes no sense, because single and CF people support families and children by way of their taxes. See: (Link): Every day is Tax Day When You Are Single.
At any rate, there are so many assumptions about child-free people (or even those like me, who fall between “childfree” and “childless” on the spectrum).
Those with children, or who want them, frequently pipe up to say when articles about CF are posted, “Why don’t these CF (child free) people STFU (shut the f-ck up) about this already; who cares?”
Why? Because society (despite declining birth rates and declining marriage rates) still act as though marrying and having kids, or wanting either one, is the norm.
Anyone who does not want marriage or children is regarded as weird, strange, a freak, selfish, or as a loser.
There is definitely a prejudice against people who never marry (even among those who WANTED marriage but just never found the right person) as well as against those who do not have children, or who do not like children.
If you have still not married into your 30s, or older, and are a woman, my God, do you ever get strange looks and nosy, rude, personal inquiries.
People want to know WHY you are not married, even if it’s the first time you’ve met them, and you’ve known them less than five minutes.
People also want to know WHY you don’t have children, or, if you admit to not caring for kids, WHY you don’t like kids.
They will subject you to all manner of cliches, such as, “Oh, but you would make such a great mom,” or “it’s different when it’s your own kid.”
Many people are uncomfortable being around adults past the age of 30 who are not married and who do not have kids, and/or being around adults who are upfront about not wanting either one.
Society should just accept that some people have no desire for marriage or no desire for kids and not judge them for either situation, but it happens all the damn time.
Hence, the emergence of articles by people – and it’s usually WOMEN who write these articles, because WOMEN get hit with the brunt of negative stereotypes and harassment over not being a wife and/or parent in their daily lives, by preachers, friends, bosses, co-workers, parents, neighbors and everyone else – to explain to the idiotic judgmental dolts out there why they are not married or do not have children.
Women should not have to write such articles. Women should not have to write articles or answer questions in face to face encounters with friends, family, and strangers about why they aren’t married yet, or why they don’t want marriage, or why they do not like children and do not want children.
The Child Free write these articles about being CF in the hopes of educating the dolts who don’t get it, so that maybe other CF won’t have to answer the same set of intrusive, assumptive, rude questions about their lives or personal choices again and again.
I also note more than a smidge of hypocrisy when fellow conservatives ask, “Why do the CF go on and on about being CF,” when they themselves publish reams and stacks of blog pages, magazine articles, and air untold numbers of radio shows filled with material bemoaning and pearl-clutching about the demise of traditional marriage, the legalization of homosexual marriage, the increase of age of first marriage (for those who even notice; most conservatives seem blind to this), and so on.
Why is it justified in their minds for social conservatives to opine and complain endlessly about abortion, homosexual marriage, climbing divorce rates and so on, but the moment a CF person publishes “Why I Am CF,” they complain, as if the occasional CF article is giving Child Free status too much attention?
I have not done any hard studies, but I am willing to bet that for every CF article published, where a CF explains why he or she is CF, there are probably one hundred pages by social conservatives and Republicans griping about high abortion rates, high divorce rates, and the legalization of homosexual marriage.
Here are a few pages about being Child Free by CF on Time
(notice in the comment section under such articles how hateful and prejudiced many married- with- children people are towards child free people – they are some of the most judgmental bastards; they make me feel embarrassed to be a Republican and social conservative):
Let’s start with the facts: I’m 41. I’ve been happily married for 16 years. My reproductive organs are in good working order. Yet, I don’t have children — nor do I want them. And my intention is to keep things that way.
This should not seem that radical. But 52 years after the advent of the birth control pill, and more than a century after the word “feminism” was first coined, a woman’s decision not to have children remains fraught.
It is also very public, relentlessly scrutinized by psychologists, politicians, statisticians and the media, who gather to discuss what it may mean — for women, for the funding of Social Security, for Western civilization as we know it.
This past winter, a pair of Newsweek writers — of the dude persuasion — went on a gloom-and-tirade about declining birth rates and the self-involved young adults that are causing them. The Daily Mirror in the U.K. recently ran a story titled, (Link): “Women are not freaks just because they don’t want children.”
…The idea that women don’t have babies because they are “selfish” is not only reductive, in so many cases, it is simply incorrect. My husband and I chose not to have children for myriad reasons. I’d say selfishness is not among them.
First and foremost, neither of us was ever keen on the kid thing. I’ve never felt a desire to get pregnant or give birth. If I have a biological clock, it’s on mute.
As for my husband: I once asked him to hold a six-month-old that had been left in our care. He held the infant in the same awkward way that one holds a clutch of deadly mold spores.
…Yet, over the course of our marriage, we’ve been peppered with the kid question — from distant uncles, hair dressers, bartenders, bosses, the postman and even the neighbor lady: Don’t you have kids? When are you going to have kids? Early on, I learned that the worst thing I could do was to give an honest answer. Saying “I don’t want kids” simply set me up as a challenge to be surmounted. I’ve spent BBQs and cocktail parties fending off some inquisitor who made it their mission to convince me to reproduce.
In my twenties, I got around this by telling people that I simply wasn’t ready to have a baby. But now that I’m in my 40s, I can’t use that excuse — and so the entreaties cascade in. It’s now or never.
You’re not getting any younger. Aren’t you afraid you’ll regret the decision? That’s kind of selfish, don’t you think? Needless to say, the questions are generally directed at me — not at my husband.
The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.
The decision to have a child or not is a private one, but it takes place, in America, in a culture that often equates womanhood with motherhood.
Any national discussion about the struggle to reconcile womanhood with modernity tends to begin and end with one subject: parenting. If you’re a woman who’s not in the mommy trenches, more often than not you’re excluded from the discussion. But being sidelined doesn’t exempt childless women from being scolded.
The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last has made the case in his controversial book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting that the selfishness of the childless American endangers our economic future by reducing the number of consumers and taxpayers. With fertility treatment widely available, not to mention adoption, even clinically infertile women have more options than ever to become mothers, which increases the possibility that any woman who doesn’t will be judged for her choice.
Even so, women who choose not to become mothers are finding new paths of acceptance. As their ranks rise, so do positive attitudes about leading a life in which having it all doesn’t mean having a baby.
(Link): Federalist Magazine Staff Annoyed that Other Outlets Publish the Down Side of Motherhood and Are Requesting Sunny Motherhood Propaganda Pieces – As If Conservatives Haven’t Pushed for Motherhood Enough? The Mind Boggles
(Link): Critique of Federalist Editorial “There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right by Elle Reynolds” – Do Federalist Magazine Members Realize There Are Single, Childless Conservative Women?
(Link): The Child Free City
(Link): Totally Obnoxious Parent: Childless Couple Who Donates to Childrens Charities Lambasted by Snotty Adult Sister for Not Showering Her Kids with Christmas Presents – Parents Who Discriminate Against the Childless or Childfree
(Link): Homosexual Father Arrested for Raping His Nine Year Old Son, Filming it For Perverted Friends, Lets Friend Rape His Kid, Resulting in Kid Getting STD – Parenthood Does Not Make People More Godly or Mature