Ever since a blogger by the name of Amy Glass wrote a post called ‘I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry,’ the internet has been buzzing with responses and judgement. If you haven’t read the post, Amy essentially equates feminism with forgoing marriage and children in order to travel, build a career, and do your own thing. And her sanctimonious post has made the rest of us (who don’t want to get married or have children) public targets for criticism and judgement.
Because we know that Amy Glass truly speaks for ALL of us.
The decisions to enter into marriage and parenthood are extremely personal choices that should be free of judgment. However, my choice to pass on marriage and children has left me vulnerable to countless judgments and assumptions.
I am living in sin. I am devoid of any ability to fully commit to one person. I am too afraid to enter into marriage. And I am selfish for not procreating.
In actuality, I do believe in commitment, but I do not believe you need a paper to validate it. I encourage those who desire marriage to enjoy the celebration of their love in a ceremony and reception. I will even attend and wish you well, but that path is just not for me.
Now, being selfish for choosing not to have children is a concept that honestly baffles me. Aren’t both choices selfish?
I decided not to have children because I want a little bit more freedom in my life. I have various goals that I am striving towards and an incurable case of wanderlust making a childless life the best option for me. And yes, that is a choice I have made selfishly in order to create the life that I want to live.
But isn’t choosing to have children a selfish choice, as well? Don’t people decide to have children because they want to be parents? They want a family. And they want to develop a lifetime of memories with their spouse and children. Just like I am selfishly creating a life that is suitable for me and my desires, they are selfishly creating theirs. And that’s alright; we must do what makes us happy.
However, according to Sarah Larson, who wrote I Think People Without Kids Have Empty Lives And I’m Not Sorry About It in response to Amy Glass, I am also living a life devoid of meaning. While she doesn’t think that people are “bad or wrong for not having kids,” she does feel “tremendously sad for them.”
Great. So now I’m selfish, going to hell, and my life is worth pitying.
Apparently, I am missing out on the “unique experience of getting to learn so much about what it means to be human, what it means to love, what it means to truly commit to someone, and the incredibly liberating, tragically indescribable perspective that comes from creating another person.”
Basically, if I become a parent, I will learn the secret of life and humanity.
Sarah believes we can still be happy without children because we are so “adaptable” as humans. Well, Sarah, we can still be happy without children (if we chose this) because we are living the lives that we want. We do not need your pity or assumptions about the lack of greatness in our lives. Just as you do not need ours. It’s dangerous to assume that what one person perceives as “living a great life” is identical to someone else’s perception of greatness. We all have different desires, needs, and perceptions.
Amy Glass only serves to add to the extremely fallible assumptions surrounding this topic by judging women who choose to be wives and mothers. She maintains that it is no big feat or accomplishment because “anybody can do it.” Actually, there are LGBT people all over the world who are fighting for their right to celebrate their love by entering into the union of marriage. And there are countless couples visiting fertility clinics and adoption agencies in order to fulfill their dreams of being parents. So no, not everybody can do it.
Feminism is about women’s rights. We have the right to choose what path is best for us without having to endure pressure and judgment. You have the right to choose marriage, procreation, or both. And I have the right not to. This shouldn’t make us enemies attempting to slash the validity of each other’s lives through the harshness of words. Instead of vilifying each other, we should be celebrating our ability to fashion a life that we are happy and proud to live. We should encourage each other and respect the difficulty and greatness in both lifestyles.
Have any of you chosen to forgo marriage, children, or both? What experiences have you encountered?