Sunday, December 18, 2016

Silent Culture War: Exposing Discrimination Against Childfree People — Op-Ed (SCREENSHOTS)

Silent Culture
Not as much news as a curated collection of Reddit posts. I found the Indonesian one particularly intersting, and it certainly checked out.
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Thursday, December 08, 2016

New Studies - Parents Have Higher Highs and Lower Lows

Are people without kids happier? Studies offer mixed picture
The Princeton-Stony Brook study -- which involved an examination of a survey of 1.8 million Americans, including parents between the ages of 34 and 46, conducted by Gallup from 2008 through 2012 -- did find one difference between parents and the childless: Parents tend to experience more highs and lows. "They have higher highs. They have more joy in their lives, but also they have more stress and negative emotions as well," said Stone.
I'm always a little skeptical of these studies. Whenever people self report something, especially something as subjective as happiness, how reliable is the data? This would be especially suspect if something in the study tipped off the participants to the fact that they were studying this topic. Some parents have an agenda to convince the world that parenting is both the hardest job in the world and the most rewarding - an agenda that might eclipse any inward reflection. The presence of this type of parent could mar the results. Even if they didn't realize what was being studied, the mentality might be pervasive.

And as I have mentioned before, we're not good in general at gauging our own happiness. We tend to remember the Kodak moments and the rest gets fuzzy.Dr. Daniel Gilbert explors this in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

Yet all this aside, on some level this just feels true. I've definitely had this conversation with childfree people. And while there are childfree people I know who chase the highs and lows - people who own businesses, have more dramatic relationships, or just have that kind of life for whatever reason - it isn't built into our lives. I live a life without a lot of those lows, without that kind of stress. And I suppose the trade-off is not experiencing the comiserate highs.

Of course, childfree people can have a great deal of happiness. We find joy in our friends and family, in our careers, in our pets, in our passions. Parents have those things too, and some will say it isn't the same. Or that they had that life before, and it doesn't compare. Maybe they're right. Who can tell? It's hard to put ourselves in anothers' shoes, and childfree people may feel a particular way about a spouse or career that a parent couldn't understand. A way that tells them they could never, ever, cut back on time with their husband, or time pursuing their passion, to have kids. Not all of us, but it does raise the possibility that you can never really compare feelings.

Ah, well. Even if they do have higher, highs, I would take this option all over again. I'm just not interested in an emotional roller coaster. I have enough joy in my life that it would never be worth buying a bit more with stress, worry, and all those other costs.

But at the end of the day, it is pointless to compare happiness. A lot of women would be miserable without children, and many most) of us would be miserable with them. Perhaps even immune to that joy. Trading places just isn't an option. It's all just an intellectual exercise. At the end of the day we all just have to make the best choice we can for ourselves, then find as much happiness as you can within those choices.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

It Wasn't Our Imagination

Crying Babies in Various Cultures
Apparently, some cultures are surprised at how much caucasian babies cry. As someonebwho lives in an immigrant neighborhood, this confirms what I thought I was experiencing. It always seems so loud when I go to the Upper East Side!
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Saturday, March 19, 2016

We've placed motherhood on such a high pedestal we've forgotten the huge pros of being a child-free woman

Voices | The Independent

"In the advertising world, our vision of womanhood is barely more diverse, with the ‘Busy Working Mum’ a keen creative cliché.  ‘Housewife With Kids’ is an equally popular trope, ignoring the fact that in the 1950 working mums were the minority, and today over 70 per cent of women with children also have a career. The idea of a woman as a full-time mum is becoming increasingly redundant. 

Then, of course, there’s the political favourite: the ‘hardworking family’, just doing the best for their offspring. So what happens when you don’t fit into this paradigm? What happens when you become the Not-Mum? 

In the US elections as reported by New York magazine, single unmarried women are set to wield the most decisive influence on the run for the White House. They accounted for 23 per cent of the voting electorate in 2012, and some 40 per cent of the African American electorate."
In 2015 the Not Mum Summit was the first landmark meeting of an organisation founded by Karen Malone Wright to promote and protect the rights of those women choosing not to have children.  

Interesting!  While childfree is slowly gaining awareness as an acceptable, normal choice, this is something fairly new.  Childless women (and next, childless men) as our own demographic, our own voice, and our own agenda.  Now, getting us to agree on what our needs actually are. . . that could be a challenge.

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How I Learned Being Childfree Was A Part of My Identity


An author realized she was feeling shame, not indecision, over being childfree. Here's how she came to terms with it.

But what if it’s not really a choice for everyone? What if some of us are simply born this way? . . . I say this not to make an argument for what some might call a “lifestyle choice,” as if it were akin to moving to Portland, but to clarify that childfree is part of my identity, a filter through which I make sense of my place in the world. This might explain why telling people about my husband’s vasectomy has felt a bit like coming out. (Incidentally, I've often wondered if my feeling of apathy toward babies at all mirrors that of non-heterosexuals watching a hetero-normative sex scene, i.e. “meh.") The fact is that childfree is not recognized as an identity — the kind of born-this-way mentality that sexual orientation and gender identity rightfully command. I can’t list how many times I’ve said in my 20s and early 30s that I don’t want children only to have it dismissed with the wave of a hand and a quick, “You might change your mind.”
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