Friday, July 16, 2010

'Non-moms' find child-free terminology offensive

'Non-moms' find child-free terminology offensive
"''Childless' has such a depressing connotation,' says Danielle M. Stern, assistant professor at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. 'Some women and couples are actually choosing to be 'childfree.''
. . .
Though it may seem like trivial semantics, Stern says the language used by a society is indicative of its values.

As child-bearing is brimming with gender and family politics issues, couched within larger class concerns, she says it's important to call attention to rhetoric 'so that we can move toward more inclusive language in both policy and popular culture.'

Pamela Tsigdinos, who spent more than a decade trying, unsuccessfully, to conceive with her husband, says the term 'childless' has become a 'legacy reminder of that painful period.'

She finds the jauntier 'childfree' no more respectful, with its implicit message of embracing liberation from a life of parenting — a sentiment often expressed by those who've chosen not to have kids, but rare among those mourning the loss of the family of their dreams.

Parents have similarly taken offence at the modern term's uprising, as 'childfree' bears a negative insinuation that anyone with kids is somehow tethered down in life.

Though Tsigdinos wishes people weren't identified by child rearing at all, 'non-mom' is her trope of choice for now.

Why would the childless and childfree need to use the same term? Childless is an appropriate term for someone who wants to have children, but has not yet, or can't. And they do indeed feel that there is something missing from their life. I'm not sure why the objection to childfree is there. I thought parents admitted that they were tethered down by their kids? I do understand those who have children in their life, but are not parents, preferring childless by choice. So let's each just use whatever term we prefer to refer to ourselves. Or, shun categorization altogether if you prefer.

After all, it is about choice, isn't it?
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