It’s your choice, but…

No true choice without alternatives

One of our team members wrote a piece entitled Childfree: It’s your choice but… for, a South African-based blog ‘for women, by women’. In the article Tracy argues that

until both reproduction and non-reproduction are seen as legitimate choices, then no choice is freely made.

This is largely due to pronatalist ideas about parenthood that cause everyone to believe that they should have children and makes childfreedom a non-choice. Tracy highlights, using Facebook responses to The Childfree Choice study to illustrate, how these beliefs simultaneously glorify having children and disparage ‘non-parenthood’. In order to rethink our pronatalist assumptions  7 alternative key assumptions are highlighted in The Baby Matrix (by Laura Carroll) that could lead us to post-pronatalist view of parenthood. These include:

 (1) Our biological capacities allow us to make parenthood a choice, rather than being driven by the so-called ‘instinct’ to procreate.; (2) It is just as normal to not want children as it is to want them; (3) People marry for happiness and fulfillment, as opposed to simply for procreative purposes; (4) Parenthood is a privileged right, which means that there are parallel responsibilities; (5) Decisions on having children put one’s obligation to the planet first; (6) Parenthood is one path to purpose and fulfillment in life, and one that might not work for everyone; (7) Finding support in one’s old-age is one’s own responsibility, and one shouldn’t expect one’s offspring to fulfill this role 

Go and check out the article on FeministsSA and see what you think, here’s the link:

Also, if you’re childfree, please share your perspectives in our ‘Comments and Questions’ section; we’d love to hear your views!

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2 Responses to It’s your choice, but…

  1. This post reminds me of the beginning of The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone:

    “Sex class is so deep as to be invisible. Or it may appear as a superficial inequality, one that can be solved by merely a few reforms, or perhaps by the full integration of women into the labour force. But the reaction of the common man, woman, and child – ‘That? Why you can’t change that! You must be out of your mind!’ – is the closest to the truth. We are talking about something every bit as deep as that. This gut reaction – the assumption that, even when they don’t know it, feminists are talking about changing a fundamental biological condition – is an honest one. That so profound a change cannot be easily fitted into traditional categories of thought, e.g., ‘political’, is not because these categories do not apply but because they are not big enough: radical feminism bursts through them. If there were another word more all-embracing than revolution – we would use it.

    Until a certain level of evolution had been reached and technology had achieved its present sophistication, to question fundamental biological conditions was insanity. Why should a woman give up her precious seat in the cattle car for a bloody struggle she could not hope to win? But, for the first time in some countries, the preconditions for feminist revolution exist – indeed, the situation is beginning to demand such a revolution.”

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