Sunday, August 31, 2008

Births Up -- No, Down!: Stats and the Politics of Fertility Anxiety

The Huffington Post
Presumably the rise in the number of childless 40-to-44 year olds is due to a combination of some women and their partners choosing against kids altogether, others hoping for kids but out-waiting their fertility, and still others planning to start soon. Exactly what proportions are unknown. But infertility was the inference made by the reporter who called me asking if the story wasn't evidence that working women were waiting "too late" to start their families.

The hyped-up infertility consciousness (repeated by the media ad infinitum) and the big emphasis on babies and on women's "secret desire" to stay at home with kids long term, in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary, is a sign of another, underlying anxiety among some of us over how many women really don't want to just stay home.

That anxiety helps shape the environment that's putting pressure on women of all ages to have babies NOW, at whatever age--along with the recent highly politicized decreases in access to birth control, especially for younger women. Will it block the exits from the ways of yore? For many, sadly, it may.

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Should Theaters Offer Kid-Free Screenings?

Mark Oakley at Den of Geek says, in no uncertain terms, that it's high time for theaters to start catering to their adult customers by offering no-kids-allowed shows.
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Clearly, the preferable solution would be for parents to (a) be smarter about what movies are okay for kids, and (b) teach their kids to behave properly in public. Short of miraculous improvement in parenting competence, banning kids at later shows, say anything past 8 or 9 p.m., might be a workable solution. Still, that forces adults to pick between staying out late or suffering with someone else's ill-behaved offspring Another choice especially with multiplexes, might be simply designate one screen for child-free shows. Surely there are other possibilities as well.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

US News and World Report: We're Child-Free, Not Childless

We're Child-Free, Not Childless
More American women are choosing not to have children, according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

But the Census Bureau and the mainstream media continue to refer to women without children as "childless" instead of "child-free." Child-free implies women made an affirmative decision not to have children. Childless implies women are infertile and could not have children. As one who made that affirmative decision (I had no children on purpose), I am hereby launching my own personal media campaign to make "child-free" the term of choice, not "childless."

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Children? Who needs them?

Jan Barden on the couples who are happy to live without offspring

We try hard not to resent our childless friends, who, in comparison with us, breeze through their lives flashing more cash, getting more sleep and having more fun and freedom. "Marrakesh next weekend?" they murmur to each other. "Why not?"

They must be so happy. Or are they? Could they just be filling their empty days with conspicuous consumerism to mask an aching loneliness and fear of a solitary old age?

Apparently not. Those who have chosen not to become parents are, on the whole, pretty pleased with their decision. At the extreme end of the scale, some are smug and others are aggressively evangelical. Many prefer the term child-free to childless, which implies, to them, some sort of loss. It's quite the opposite, they insist in large numbers in internet chat rooms.

There's certainly a lot of them around: projections by the Office for National Statistics suggest that, of women born in 1973, 23 per cent - nearly a quarter - will not have had children by the time they hit 45.

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Travellers in favour of child-free flights

Apologies for the long absence - I was preparing for the bar exam.

Survey indicates support for separate section on planes for babies and young children.
An overwhelming majority of air passengers would prefer that people who travel with young children are seated in a different section of the plane, according to a US-based consumer group.

The survey, carried out by, found that 85 per cent of the 10,000 travellers surveyed thought that segregating those travelling with children from other passengers was a good idea, due to their frustration at hyperactive youngsters and crying infants.

Even a large proportion of parents were in support of seating configurations that kept younger travellers separated from the rest of the cabin.

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