Cisgender Women Are Allowed to Not Want Children
Please keep your intrusive comments to yourself
As a journalist, I realize that everything has nuance. Nothing can be understood from just one single perspective. This leads me to my potentially controversial opinion that while having children is a gift, it is also a burden that many of us do not want to have. And women are tired of being shamed for knowing ourselves well enough to understand what types of lives we want to lead.
Twenty-one-year-old Anna from New York expressed her frustrations with being a second-generation Italian-American and being surrounded by the idea of family over everything. "I mentioned [not wanting kids] to my mom's cousins, and she said 'no don't say that.'" Anna felt like replying, "don't say what....my feelings?"
From the moment I was born, I was placed in a pink, fluffy box and immediately began learning my roles, my limitations, and what I am meant to enjoy. When we think about young girls' toys, a common theme arises. Baby dolls, kitchen sets, and strollers line the shelves of every toy store in America. Throughout the decades, these dolls have become more life-like; some of them can "cry" and toddlers have to "change their diaper."
Perhaps this is just kids having fun, but to my knowledge, these toys that involve "playing house" are not marketed towards boys. It also begs the question, are little girls asking for baby dolls and kitchen sets, or is it just expected that they should start playing with them, and thus learn their role? These lessons are the earliest form of socialization that we all receive.
I spoke to twenty-one year old Miranda on Twitter and she finds the tradition of teaching girls of what they HAVE to do in life is utterly disturbing and asserts that "very little independence is being installed in the brains of children."
If we all agree that these toys are beneficial in the long-run for building healthy families, we should start marketing these toys to all children and teach them equally about the importance of child-rearing and housekeeping. But we do not, and young women, like me, tend to keep our mouths shut about being a little uncertain about choosing motherhood, as to avoid the social repercussions.
I have been on the fence about being a mom since high school. I am now twenty-seven, and I am still told that I will change my mind and that I am not capable of making such a "bold" decision yet. People seem to find absolutely no issue with these comments that are frequently very rude and sexist. However, I know that if I were to flip the script and ask a woman who had children at twenty-one if she regrets the decision, it would be disrespectful.
I would never speak these words to anyone because I understand how it would make them feel. So I find it confusing when I hear that I am naive, heartless, or less of a woman, for understanding that children are a 24/7 responsibility that I'm not yet sure I can handle.
Ultimately, I do not care that young girls enjoy playing "mom," and that boys are not expected to. What we as cisgender women take issue with the most is the implication that we cannot make decisions for ourselves. We do NOT exist on this earth to be nothing besides caretakers. Motherhood is a magnificent journey to take, but like everything else, it is not for everyone. Accept this fact, and let's all allow each other to take different paths.