Category Archives: Childfree and Prochoice
Recently, and over the course of several posts, a troll told me I was selfish. For what, you might wonder? How is someone who regularly donates money to charity, always helps anyone who asks, participates in volunteering, and serves the US Army in any way selfish? Why, for not wanting to create kids, of course!
I wish I could say that this is a rarity. Just another random, baseless accusation in a long line of others from a certain troll. No. Sadly, the accusation that childfree people are selfish is probably the most common anti-cf cliches right next to the threat “you’ll regret it.” When pressed, however, accusers can rarely identify why not having children is selfish.
How is it selfish to not want kids?
Is it selfish for a woman to consider herself to be a person so much that she values her life over that of a person who does not exist? Is it selfish for a woman to see herself as having worth outside of being a walking incubator? How is it selfish for a woman to spend her life doing what she wants, not harming others, living a good life by her own terms?
How is it not selfish for other people to treat a woman as if she should live their way, or perform the functions that they expect of her, like she’s some piece of breeding machinery? How is it not selfish to expect others to sacrifice their hopes and dreams and time and energy so they can live in a manner that you expect of them? How is it not selfish to expect other people to risk their health and their lives just to make you feel better? How is it not selfish to insist that someone take on a terrific burden even as you have no intention toassist?
How is it selfish to not bring new people into an already overpopulated world? How is it selfish to not breed new children when there are so many who already exist and live in misery, or worse, because no one adopts them? How is it selfish for one person to not find their DNA so much superior to whatever went in to an orphaned or abandoned child? How is it not selfish for a person to see themselves as so important that they need some remnant of themselves to exist beyond their own death? How is it selfish for someone to go and accomplish great things themselves, rather than create new people to pass that burden off on to.
It’s not the childfree who are selfish.
At the conclusion of my Anti-Childfree Clichés series, I thought I was done dealing with combative attitudes towards the choice to be childfree, at least for the time-being.
But no, sadly one angry commenter on my other blog clearly didn’t pay any attention to the point of the series and went on to attack me for challenging someone else’s prejudice.
As with the Anti-Childfree Clichés series, it was a matter that has taken multiple posts to deal with and rather than repost it all here, I’ll simply provide links to the three parts.
- Anti-Childfree: A Challenger Appears Part 1
- Anti-Childfree: A Challenger Appears Part 2
- Anti-Childfree: A Challenger Appears Part 3
Woops! This blog post has moved. You can find it at its new home HERE.
My boyfriend recently returned from a brief trip home. It was a harrowing journey through a blinding storm, but I did finally managed to make it to the airport to pick him up. (Yes, I’m being dramatic, but I was quite delayed.) It was a long, cautiously slow journey back, so we had plenty of time to talk.
One subject that came up, for whatever reason, was the fact that I’m an atheist and that he and his family are Christian. Apart from occasionally engaging the the cosmological argument and insisting that he’s not a monkey, he’s never been one to evangelize to me about his religion, so thankfully, we’ve never had any problem there. Occasionally, he gets on my case for being hostile towards religion, such as when people try to impose their religion into law or medicine, or use it as an excuse to attack human rights or science. In such cases, the way I see it, if people want to hide behind their god while being dicks, their religion is fair game just as any other argument would be. For the most part, he and I try to leave the whole subject of religion alone. We get along very well together as a result.
His parents, on the few occasions I’ve met them, rarely broached the subject with me either. His father barely mentioned god when telling some cute anecdote about my boyfriend giving out candy in church as a kid after a lesson about sharing god’s love. His mother seemed to try to get into a biology debate with me, when I mentioned having an interest in the subject. She tried talking to me about the perfection of natural systems being indicative of a designer. Naturally, I found this to be complete nonsense for many reasons (our systems are far from perfect. If there is a designer, he’s inept,) but for the sake of keeping the peace, didn’t take the bait. If I had, I may have asked her why the lenses of our eyes are in backwards and upside-down, causing all of our nerves to pass through our retina, causing a blind spot, and necessitating that our brains flip the images we see.
But I didn’t. I want these people to like me, after all. Still, it’s troubling that I still hear from my boyfriend that his parents like to talk to him about my absence of faith every now and then. This time, if I remember what my boyfriend said correctly, his father had brought it up to him, once again, that I’m not like them. I don’t know if it’s ever been explained why me being an atheist should be a problem, but of course I’m never present when such conversations take place.
Somehow, despite the fact that BF’s parents know he doesn’t want kids, and that I sure as hell don’t, the question came up of how we’d raise our kids, specifically, what we’d teach them to believe in regards to religion. I think BF’s dad is a nice guy and means well, but I found this to be a very disturbing question. Children will believe just about anything they’re told with an air of authority. Gods, monsters, Santa Clause, whatever. They haven’t the experience necessary to work out what is and isn’t plausible, nor the understanding that adults can be wrong or even lie. For this reason, they’re very vulnerable. I find it downright abusive to exploit their trust by telling them matter-of-factly what to believe without an ounce of supporting evidence. I’d like to think that even if I was still a Christian, I would at least have the sense not to indoctrinate a person that I am supposed to care for.
As to my atheism, you can’t teach atheism. Atheism isn’t a positive believe, it’s merely the rejection of theism. It’s the default position that people are lead away from by other people. At most, I could only teach a kid (let’s call her Hypothetica) to examine all matters for herself, never taking anything at face value or taking anyone at their word, and to reserve judgement until she has collected and analyzed all facts, and be ready to change her conclusions should new evidence necessitate doing so. That’s not atheism, that’s being scientific. That’s being realistic. That’s being honest. That’s being rational.
Despite neither of us wanting kids, my BF and I quickly agreed that hypothetically, should we have kids, the best thing to teach them would simply be to think for themselves and not impose anything upon them. That’s the way it should be, I think.
In a five-part series of posts on my other blog, I wrote at length about my experience with a woman on a favorite site of mine, My OB Said What?!? In the comments section of one post there, I made the off-hand comment that stupid/abusive doctors are one of the many reasons I’ll never have kids. This decision of mine was immediately attacked by a self-described “pro-natalist,” despite the fact that I made it clear that I was only speaking for myself. The exchange between this person and myself makes up the first four parts of the series.
The final part, I’m happy to say, is much more positive. It’s not that I need to be validated, or given permission, but the support and understanding offered by another commenter on that site who’d seen the whole thing was refreshing.
Rather than repost the whole series, I’ll just link to them.