Category Archives: Sexism

Guest Post: Mummy Martyrs

Juliewashere88′s note: This is a guest post by the wonderful and talented Rayne, writer of the blog Insufferable Intolerance, published here and here with permission from the original author.

For further reading on this topic, see JWH88′s post, Childfree = Selfish?

 

Childfree maybe selfish but at least we aren’t insecure

(Note: I’m Australian and write in British Standard English – there are less typo’s than you think).

I had a troll come onto my blog recently and post this gem:

“Don’t pretend you’re childfree for any other reason than selfishness. You want time for yourself. You want money for yourself. It’s all about you. I don’t care that you are childfree. It’s your choice. Just don’t pretend that it’s not about self-absorption. Also acting like your pets are the greatest is just as annoying as bragging parents.”

The age-old “Childfree people are selfish” line, the bane of the childfree individuals existence.

Over the years I’ve asked numerous parents exactly how are childfree people selfish? And to no-one’s surprise, they haven’t been able to give me an answer. So unfortunately I don’t have any insights into what the statement means to a parent when they throw it at us but I can give you an insight into what it means to a childfree person.

Parent martyrdom.

When a parent says “Childfree people are selfish” all I hear is “Parenthood made me selfless and self-sacrificing! I’m such a great person. That must mean childfree people are selfish because they don’t want to give up anything for anyone”.

I will concede and agreed, yes I am selfish – I don’t want to give up my lifestyle. My partner doesn’t want to give up her lifestyle for a half-formed dependent human being. Our purpose in life is to be happy with each other and to live our lives according to how we want. We don’t want to live according to the life script that others think that we should. Our happiness to us means saving money by not having to spend money on children, we can spend money on Playstation games, books, restaurants, books, holidays, clothing and books. We are able to sleep at night and go wherever, whenever we want. As a consequence of our rebellion against the life-script; we get individuals constantly attempting to police our lives.

So yes I am incredibly selfish but why parents attempt to use that as a weapon against the childfree is beyond me. Those same weapon wielding parents forget that being a parent is a choice; you chose to be a parent and live with the consequences of that – you don’t get to play the selfless martyr card. Remember you chose to A) not have an abortion and B) not to give the child away. You chose to put yourself in the position of sleepless nights, limited travel and debt.

Parenthood is as much of a choice as being childfree is. We’ve elected to not raise children meaning we’ve rejected the massive responsibility that comes with raising a completely dependent human to ensure its survival. While I concede and admit my decision has degree of selfishness (and disinterest in children), it also has a large degree of maturity attached to it. I don’t want the responsibility of a child so I’ve elected not to do something that would make me miserable and ultimately make the child miserable because I am miserable. Childfree take precautions not to get pregnant or get someone pregnant, we use birth control (or in my case lesbianism) and get vasectomies. We’ve thought a lot about our decisions and came to a conclusion. Yes we are selfish but it comes from a place of maturity, honesty and courage – honesty with ourselves and society at large and the courage to rebel against the imposed life-script and do what we want with our lives rather than living in the safety of a nuclear family where we will never be questioned. I would also argue that bringing a child into the world but not looking after it or using the child as a weapon in a custody battle or using it as a way to get things – is quite selfish on the part of the parent.

Thinking about it over the years, the best I can come up with is that the line “Childfree are selfish” is yet another vain attempt for parents to convince themselves that their decision was a good decision and that despite all the difficulties that childrearing brings – it’s still the greatest thing they’ve ever done. It’s nothing more than a validation tactic. Let me just say that if you need to justify your decisions that badly to reassure yourself that what you are doing is right – you probably didn’t make a good choice.

Numerous parents over the years have attempted to validate their life choices via the steaming pile of emotional blackmail that is the “Childfree are selfish, you don’t want to be selfish do you?” line and the fun breeder bingos we’ve all grown to loathe and despise. In my experience there are two types of parents – those who bingo and those who don’t when presented with your childfree status.

Those who bingo you (and bingo they will) seem to be quite insecure about their status as a parent. If they weren’t insecure about their choices – why would they need validation via bingoing and attempting to convince the world around them to make the choices they made? These types of parents don’t care whether being a parent would make you happy as long as you make the same choice they did. My favourite childfree anecdote is when I was attending university; I had this conversation with a pregnant friend of a sibling:

Them: So when are you going to have kids?
Me: I’m not.
Them: Why not? Don’t you like them?
Me: I don’t want them because I’m not interested in raising children.
Them: It’s all worth it in the end! It’ll be different once you have your own.
Me: That implies that either I need to get pregnant which I don’t plan on doing since I’m gay or fork out money to foster or adopt which I don’t want to do. Even if I did want them which I don’t, I’m a poor university student with no money and I’m not in a position to raise a child.
Them: You can just drop out of university and get government money

You heard it first here readers “You can just drop out of university and get government money” I can just drop my career plans in order to appease a random woman and validate her decision to keep an unplanned child. There’s nothing more that annoys me than someone attempting to police my life according to their thoughts as to what I should do with it. Whose life is it again?

On a side note: I really do hate when parents go “It’ll be different when you have your own”, this implies I need to acquire a child, which first implies I need to make the decision to acquire a child. The best I can come up for as an explanation to the above statement is that those who say this believe you’ll be acquiring a child without thinking about it or that a child will just suddenly appear in your life one day much like herpes (both never ever leave). This statement should be amended to “It’ll be different when you have your own when you have an unplanned pregnancy”, even then this statement is pointless because it implies that everyone who has an unplanned pregnancy needs or should keep the child.

Have these people never heard of adoption or abortion? I highly doubt it. The above statement implies that adoption or abortion as a valid choice never entered their minds because those types of people are so wrapped up in the life-script that they can’t see any other way.

And that is why child-freedom freaks them out.

-Rayne

 

About the authour: Rayne is a constantly hungry, bruise-prone atheist goth bibliophile living with a black cat with a fetish for eating iPhone cords if she’s left alone for too long. Rayne blogs on a variety of issues including atheism, religion, being childfree, gay & lesbian issues, feminism and general queerness while drinking peppermint tea and listening to metal. Rayne is Australian who writes in British Standard English who gets confused for an American who makes a lot more typo’s than she actually does.

Rayne currently has a few projects going on at her blog Insufferable Intolerance:

The Self Harm Experiences Project: Insufferable Intolerance is a looking for submissions from individuals who have had experiences relating to self-harm/self-injury/eating disorders/depression/anxiety/mental health issues.

The Atheist Coming Out Project: is looking for submissions from individuals who have come out or need help in coming out or coming to terms with losing faith, questioning their faith or having de-converted to atheism.

The Childfree Experiences Project: is looking for submissions from childfree by choice individuals about their experiences coming out childfree.

The Abortion Stories Collection: has been created to help combat stigma and decrease the taboo of a women’s right to choose to have an abortion.

The Queer Outreach Project: is looking for submissions from queer individuals whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, pansexual, asexual, genderqueer to submit coming out stories.

The purposes of the projects (posted under pseudo-names if requested) is to create a network of stories and individuals for those who need to know that they aren’t alone and may be need some support in a safe environment.

Feel free to send you submissions to the following email address: rayne@insufferableintolerance.com

You can follow Rayne on her TwitterTumblr or Facebook

Blacklist: Walk On Women Sponsors

The “Walk For Life” is anything but. This demonstration/fundraiser is an anti-choice attack on women’s rights, health, and our very lives. The money raised benefits Life Network, which is an organization that attacks reproductive justice and funds FAKE CLINICS to deceive and endanger women. They’re a sick organization with a lot of blood on their hands, with the nerve to call themselves “pro-life.”

Colorado Springs will be the site of this misogynistic spectacle on June the second. It’s 2012 and people can still get away with blatant bigotry and people act like there’s nothing wrong. Not only is this event allowed and with no notable opposition, at least to my knowledge, but local businesses are openly supporting this attack on women without care.

Well, I care, and so should you. Please share this list and don’t do business with those who would oppose reproductive healthcare, STD prevention and treatment, accurate sexual education, contraception, and abortion care – all of which are necessary for healthy men, women, and children.

Here is a list of proud, corporate sponsors of this battle in the ongoing war against women:

Andrew Wommack Ministries  Academy Women's HealthcareFocus on the Family

Also listed were:

Big Air JumpersChick-fil-A, New Geneva Theological SeminaryRoss Electric,ServiceMaster of Colorado SpringsStarbucks, Well Groomed Ground Maintenance

Drive-By Thoughts: What Feminism DOESN’T Mean

No, contrary to popular belief (of mothers,) feminism does NOT mean worshiping the mother-goddess or giving women who breed special privilege above everyone else. It just doesn’t! You do not get to just call yourself feminist, then declare everyone who doesn’t let you have your way at all times anti-feminist. Feminism means equality, not special treatment just for you/whatever group you happen to belong to. Deal with it.

Drive-By Thoughts: Fantasy Vs. Reality

No one’s feelings are ever more important than the truth.

What About Him?

I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but something I’ve read recently brought this back to mind. Something like a year ago, I was on a pro-choice, feminist (there’s no such thing as an anti-choice feminist) blog. I forget why it came up, but I remember mentioning that I was planning on getting sterilized. It was then that I was reminded that not all pro-choice people actually are, but many are only pro-choice to the extent that it is still assumed that every woman will and must eventually have children at some point. For it was in a response to my comment where I received one of the weirdest bingos I’ve ever heard in my life. I have yet to be able to locate the post in question, my comment, or the comment of the bingoer. So, here I can only paraphrase what was said.

“You shouldn’t get sterilized. Maybe you don’t want kids, but what if one of your gay friends needs a surrogate?”

Even after all this time, I’m still just astounded by this particular bingo, and not because it’s sensible or convincing at all, far from it. Whereas other, more common bingos are stupid in predictable ways, this one takes a completely different, yet none-the-less ridiculous , approach to reducing me to a mere person-factory, rather than an actual person.

Well, this person first assumes that I have gay, male friends, which it just so happens that I do, not that this person would have had any way of knowing that. The following assumption is that my gay male friends would, first, want children, and, second, view their female friends as vending machine wombs for such a purpose. Not only am I expect to actually consider such a person as a friend at all, but I, as a woman, a friend to gay males, should agree that I am, indeed, a vending machine, and keep myself open for business just in case. The sexism on display is astounding, and especially so when coming from the keyboard of someone who claimed the title of “feminist” who, evidently, didn’t see the glaring problem with his/her words. That is just sad.

I am no stranger to vending-machine-type bingos. I remember that the first time I spoke with an OB/GYN about getting a tubal ligation, he made a point of asking about my partners. I write “partners” plural because he wanted to speak both about my actual boyfriend, as well as a hypothetical “Mr. Right” who could not have been my boyfriend. I was insulted that any man, real or imaginary, should even be considered at all when it came to my body. Yet, I was asked if I was married, then, when the answer was “no,” if I had a boyfriend, “yes.” “And how does he feel about this?” As it just so happened, by boyfriend doesn’t want children either, not that it matters, as it isn’t his decision what I do. Then the OB/GYN asked “What if you meet the right guy, and he wants kids?” As if someone who wanted kids could ever qualify as “the right guy” for me in the first place.

In these bingos, it’s always what he (whoever such a “he” might be) wants that matters most, and I’m a silly girl for not considering him first. The presumption was that what a man, any man, real or not, wants to do with my body is always more important to consider than what I want with my own body. Worse still, this argument is handed to me smugly, as if I really should agree with such a sexist denial and dismissal of my own autonomy. It’s bad enough when this bingo is offered with the man being a hypothetical partner of mine, but now I’m even expected by the bingo first mentioned to find even a hypothetical man who is only even a friend to have more right to my body than I have myself. As a woman, I am to view what I want for myself as less important than what any man wants to do with me, even in the case of men who aren’t even real.

What an awful, misogynistic world.

Edit: My boyfriend read and shared this post. When he and I discussed it, we talked about how to accompanied me to an appointment with another OB/GYN (not the one spoken about in this post.) He was expecting this doctor to ask him what he thought about me getting a tubal ligation. He supports my decision, but would have firmly told the doctor, had he been asked, that what I do is entirely my own business not his (my boyfriend’s.) Happily, this doctor never did asked and was the one who ultimately provided the tubal ligation procedure for me. 

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