The Chelsea Handler Childless Woman Upset: Other Conservatives Wrongly Conflating Married Motherhood with Womanhood or with Happiness, Meaning, or Purpose
After entertainer Chelsea Handler uploaded (Link): a Tweet with a video of herself listing the numerous ways she enjoys life due to being childless – I didn’t see anything in the video mentioning abortion – a lot of other conservatives jumped to shame and scold Handler for being happy about being childless and publicly expressing that happiness.
Others have said that Handler had two or three abortions in the past. The fact that Handler previously had abortions does not change the substance of my problems with conservative reaction to Handler’s video.
I am pro-life, not pro-choice, so I don’t agree with Handler’s actions to terminate her pregnancies.
However, again, I don’t recall Handler’s “happy to be childless” video advocating abortion or mentioning anything about abortion.
I don’t think her video criticized or shamed women for being mothers or for wanting to be mothers.
The only possible, even remotely “anti motherhood” take away one can get from her video is that mothers – assuming they are good, non-abusive mothers – invest a lot of time in child-rearing, but Handler doesn’t frame it in an anti-motherhood way.
It’s Okay For Women to Be Childless at Any Age and to be Happy About Being Childless, Just Like It’s Okay For Mothers to Be Happy About Being Mothers
Handler was just showing ways she has more free time because she doesn’t have to participate in childcare – which is not the same thing as being “anti-motherhood,” or telling other women they are wrong to be mothers.
It’s perfectly fine for a woman to be single and childless and to be happy about it.
Women can and should find meaning and purpose apart from marriage and motherhood. It’s unhealthy for any person to wrap up all their happiness, meaning, or purpose into one identity, station of life, or role.
If you are a married mother, your children will grow up, move out, and seldom visit you once they’re gone. Your husband may develop dementia, abuse you, or cheat on you, so that you will be without emotional support or you will have to divorce him.
In all these situations, you will be left with yourself, by yourself, and god help you if you never forged purpose, identity, happiness, or meaning apart from a spouse and children.
There’s no reason to criticize or shame an adult, man or woman, for being single and childless and for being happy about it and posting about it.
My fellow conservatives often push motherhood (via podcasts, tweets, magazine articles, church sermons, blog posts, etc) to a loopy, creepy, fevered pitch, about how super awesome, fulfilling, and wonderful motherhood supposedly is – but goodness forbid a childless woman lists or publicizes the ways she’s happy with being childless – and do so without criticizing motherhood or mothers. That’s a huge double standard.
I also didn’t agree with Handler’s mockery of single women who choose to remain virgins until marriage or to remain chaste (I blogged about that (Link): here a few years ago).
Unfortunately, in the midst of criticizing Handler, a lot of conservatives today were conflating “womanhood” to married motherhood.
However, a woman remains a woman regardless if she has a child or is infertile, childless, or childfree, or whether she wants to have children or not.
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