People have been telling me this since I was 16. And now that I'm...ahem, not 16 and nowhere close, people still me give me that knee-jerk response. First of all, here's what I've noticed about that the people who say this to me:
- They're usually women. Men almost never say this to me. Not even the gay ones. In fact, whenever I tell a guy I don't want any kids, his eyes usually light up.
- They're usually women who have kids. My female friends, female colleagues, female strangers/acquaintance who don't have children are often less likely to automatically tell me I will some day change my mind about not wanting kids. Chances are, they've made a similar decision, or are struggling with a similar decision.
- They're usually women who have kids and are miserable. Say what you want to, but happy, childless, single bitches with careers, bars, and vacation spots they love aren't spewing this shit to me. And the women who are moms who very much love being moms and are dedicated are mostly likely to tell me, "If you don't want kids, don't have them. They're a lot of work" - that's a real woman looking out and thinking about the kids, even the unborn ones.
- They're usually women who have kids and are miserable because they either did it for a man, or to appease friends, family, and society overall. I'm sorry; I don't need a man's presence and/or approval to validate my existence. I'm not getting knocked up to keep some dude around - to hell with that. This is 2011, people. Furthermore, I'm strong enough to bear other people's disappointment. They're not the ones who will carry, give birth to, and raise the child. Therefore, they're input is ultimately irrelevant.
- Sometimes, they're just bossy older Africans. Both men and women from previous generations still spout that "woman's duty/wife and mother" propaganda to which I do not co-sign. I don't take it personally when they do this; just because I still respect my elders doesn't mean I have to do everything they say.
- It's sickeningly condescending. Good intentions be damned; it's not cute. A grown woman saying she doesn't want kids is not your cue to immediately contradict her and tell her she doesn't know what she wants...when she just stated what she didn't want.
- You're basically saying you know her better than she knows herself. You don't. That's why the best therapists use the Socratic Method in supportive intervention. That's why journaling is so therapeutic. A woman's answers to her life lie within herself, and no one else.
- It's the infamous female selective hearing. A man says he doesn't want you or he doesn't believe in monogamy, but for some reason, you hear, "I may change my mind for you." A fellow woman says she doesn't want kids, and you hear, "But I may change my mind, so I can be just like you."
- It's flat-out insulting. A woman says she doesn't want any kids, and you tell her she'll change her mind. You're basically saying she's supposed to want children, so there must be something wrong with her because she currently doesn't. But it's okay, once she changes her mind and falls in line, she'll be back to normal.
This right here is a part of what I'm talking about, except this time it's coming from the men. It's one of those articles which portrays the educational, occupational, and financial growth of women as having severe drawbacks. Meanwhile, a commenter on there knocks it out of the park with this:
"How is it that women are the emotionally and financially stable ones and are yet at a disadvantage somehow? This does not make sense at all. What if roles are just shifting? Men are earning fewer and fewer college degrees, fewer and fewer honors degrees, and the advanced degrees are going to more women than ever. Maybe men can now be the ones to stay home while women provide. Maybe we could call the whole notion of masculinity=sex=emotionally stunted equation into question."
Definition of a Woman