Saturday, June 27, 2009

Childless is not a synonym for weird

It's intolerable that women's careers are still hobbled by assumptions based on their fertility
A new book by Dr Caroline Gatrell, based on several years of research on women in employment, found some bosses consider those who choose not to have kids to be cold and odd, and refuse to promote them, since their deficiency of maternal instinct is seen as tantamount to a lack of "essential humanity".
. . .
Motherhood is a huge part of female identity and any woman who doesn't experience it, for whatever reason, has to find meaning and self-definition in different ways. Work is one important area for childless women to find fulfilment and to contribute to society, and employers should recognise what they have to offer, not seek to punish them for being outside the maternal mainstream. Being childless means what it says: a lack of children, not a lack of ability, a lack of empathy or a lack of humanity.
Another piece not worth equal billing has nonetheless drawn the attention of the childfree:
It's not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they'll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time.

It's not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.

They're not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they're there to get out of the house; they're there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they're there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else's feet.
This is both sad and humorous. Is she under the impression that the stork still brings babies? It is the only way one can so completely conflate singledom and childlessness. The "author" neglects the possibility that colleagues without children are married. After 13+ years with my husband, I can assure you I spend exactly zero time competing for male attention. I also have never had a hangover, let alone at the office; it is that kind of preparedness that enabled me to never accidentally get pregnant, you see.

And unless "on the razz" means "on the couch, reading" it isn't very likely that was my night. I do love that I have the freedom to go out, but lack of children also means that I can balance such nights with a good nights' rest the day before and after so as not to have it affect my work.

My commentary is useless anyway. Add up the idea that a harried morning shoving Froot Loops in a cranky toddler makes you more ready to work upon arrival and the nonsensical "bitchiness" comment (I happen to be bitchy, but that is just a coincidence, most of my childfree friends are quite pleasant) and you see that her comments are not worth dissecting rationally. All you can really do is sit back and laugh at the sad stereotypes she has constructed to deal with her own workplace insecurities.

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