Saturday, October 17, 2015

Childless and Childfree Women Find Common Ground

National Journal
In­spired by pas­sion­ate con­ver­sa­tions on her web­site, Wright has cre­ated an off­line out­let for child­less (wo­men who either can­not or do not have chil­dren but want to) and child­free wo­men (wo­men who do not want chil­dren) in the form of the re­cent Not­Mom Sum­mit in Clev­e­land, Ohio. The sum­mit was the first large-scale con­fer­ence ded­ic­ated to wo­men who, by choice or by chance, do not have chil­dren. . . . Wright be­lieves that both camps de­serve to have both the phys­ic­al and vir­tu­al spaces to es­tab­lish vis­ib­il­ity, es­pe­cially at a time when the so­ci­et­al pres­sure to be­come a moth­er is felt so acutely by all wo­men—both straight and gay—thanks to the cul­tur­al fet­ish­iz­ing of moth­er­hood (through celebrit­ies, through the In­ter­net, through the eco­nomy of mak­ing moth­er­hood an ar­tis­an­al, and luc­rat­ive, hobby). She and her key­note speak­ers, Melanie Notkin (who is speak­ing on be­half of child­less wo­men) and Meghan Daum (rep­res­ent­ing child­free wo­men), at­trib­ute the pres­sure to be­come a moth­er to the 21st cen­tury un­der­stand­ing of fem­in­ism and, par­tic­u­larly, to the false ideal of “hav­ing it all.” “‘Hav­ing it all,’ is the most iron­ic meme of the last few dec­ades, in that it be­came pop­u­lar be­cause it was the cradle of a book by Helen Gur­ley Brown, who did not have chil­dren,” Notkin re­marked in an in­ter­view with Quartz, re­fer­ring to the former Cos­mo­pol­it­an ed­it­or-in-chief’s best­seller Hav­ing It All, pub­lished in 1982.
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