Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kids or No Kids?

Moran's account of giving birth to her first child is absolutely terrifying. I'm not sure if she ended up in a hospital with an incompetent staff, or whether this is standard at NHS hospitals in Britain. Let's just say that when you read it, you want to make sure that you completely vet your hospital staff before the big day.

However, once the horrors of childbirth are over, Moran enjoys being a parent. Although she does compare it to being in a perpetual state of war, she gets much joy out of her two children. She also finds that having kids has made her an amazing multitasker who is afraid of nothing and who has developed incredible time management skills.

She does point out the tremendous pressure that society puts on women to have children. Whenever she interviews a female celebrity, in addition to asking them about their clothes, she ismalso expected to ask them about their kids, or if they are childless, whether they want kids, and when they plan to have them. Moran once again ties this to sexism:

"Part of this feeling that women can only become powerful elders in society when they have, I suspect, linked to the fact that women aren't valued when they actually do get old: essentially, the peak of your respectability and wisdom is seen to coming in the years you're still fertile, holding down a family, and increasingly, a job at the same time. By the time you hit 55 you're being fired from the BBC and getting sniped at for being wrinkly." (p. 235)

Since a menopausal-aged woman can no longer have children, society views them as useless and therefore as extraneous.

Childless men, however, are not viewed as useless or extraneous:

"No one has ever claimed for a minute that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer and crippled by it. Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Newton, Faraday, Plato, Aquinas, Beethoven, Handel, Kant, Hume, Jesus. They all seem to have managed quite well" (p. 238)

Or if at least not quite well, they led creative and productive lives. In fact, looking at some of the names on this list, it was probably a good thing that these men remained childless.

Moran calls for women to freely admit that they choose to be childless, and for other women and society in general not to view childless women as useless failures. With the increasing number of single women in society and the choice of many to live alone, childlessness may become the new norm in First World Countries.

1 comment:

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