A few months ago, I wrote a bit about selfishness and included an anecdote about a relative who said it was “selfish” for two women we know to have chosen not to have children. He’s a pretty extreme example of head-up-ass syndrome, but the general theme of childlessness equating to selfishness pisses me off. Even people who are expressing a desire to remain childless (at least for the time being) are inclined to say “I think I’m just too selfish to have children right now”.
Since the responsibilities of child-rearing fall disproportionately onto the shoulders of women, and since the status/identity of an individual woman is affected much more greatly by motherhood/lack thereof, and since people are perfectly inclined to pressure and analyze women’s lifestyle choices far more than men’s, this kind of dialogue fits in to the “how to sustain a patriarchy” handbook. That’s not obvious to everybody, which is why it’s nice to see an article like this one, which turns around and argues that liberal feminist working woman mindsets, which lead to decisions to remain childless are…not selfish enough. Because now, these women have neglected to account for the fact that they will have no one to care for them in their old age, they haven’t planned ahead like a good grasshopper should, and now nobody’s going to visit them in the nursing home.
There’s a lot more to say about that article in itself, but mostly I just want to highlight the way the mainstream will argue out of both sides of its mouth, as long as the basic point is that a certain *kind* of woman, family and relationship is the best kind and will make everybody happier in the long run.