Monday, 10 October 2011

Child-free men - well they just need a good talking to!

After making the conscious decision many years ago that I didn't want children, I think I've had all the questions, remarks and insults one can possible get for the past fifteen years or so. Or to those who have never heard the term: child-free or breeder bingo (see figure below).

But in all this, we have to remember men have to contend with breeder bingo too. Whether they 'get it' more or not, I don't know; but the child-free men out there certainly are on the receiving end of it on a regular basis; as my other half will testify.
Women and men also get patronised to by various "Mummy" or "Breeder" articles as I like to think of them. As this kindly web page tells us:

The article starts by flippantly labelling the child-free movement as, I quote: "a new fangled-trend", as if my being this way was a phase I was going through. It also explains how a woman can coerce - sorry - "find out the reasons for his sturdy resistance".

The article basically goes on to basically undermine, patronise and condescend both men and women.
It stereotypes women as something that, I quote, "Want to embrace a crying child" and "Have maternal instincts that unwittingly arise". Well I want a crying child to shut the fuck up and I've never had maternal feelings.
The article also stereo-types men as just insecure boys who are afraid of having children. The article then tells women how to address the issues and that men just need a good talking to.

Whilst insecurities and fear might be the case for some men, the article does not once acknowledge that many men don't actually want children. Not now, not ever. Not because they are "afraid", but because they actually just don't to have children. No, men are all conveniently put into one box and it does not once give a man any credit for thinking for himself and thinking for more than a second about whether ot not to breed.
The article doesn't, at any point ever explain how wrong it is for his partner to coerce him into it. Nor that it's not right for anyone - family, society, friends - to coerce him.

Sadly, there are many articles like this - as are some women - who don't acknowledge that not everyone wants to breed, that not everyone wants to produce another consumer of the world's vastly dwindling resources.

Whilst there are many caring fathers out there, who love being a dad and wanted to be a dad; I also suspect that there are millions of men out there who have caved in to pressure from their partners who have coerced them, or from family and society's expectations, who have had children - and now regret it, or at least if they had their time over again, would not make the same decision.

One other thing that irritated me about this ill-informed article, was that is said how wonderful parenthood was, and if it wasn't, "the childfree movement would have numbered millions of volunteers". Message to the author of the article: we do have millions.

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