Monday, February 28, 2011

Childless by Choice: the Politics of Difference

Standing Out in a Crowd
Peer pressure to conform follows us throughout our lives. Presuming we survive our teenage years, we can choose to ignore tradition and follow the road less traveled. There is always a certain amount of sacrifice inherent in this decision and the perpetual assumptions of a traditional life will be constant and dog you wherever you go. Whether openly queer, proudly child-free, unabashedly atheist or marxist, these differences create divisions often making it harder to have the kind of conversations with co-workers, people we might encounter on jury duty, and just about everyone outside our circle. This can be more challenging than mainstream folks realize.

A close friend of mine who happens to be a mother felt invalidated by my recent blogging about discrimination against those of us who choose not to reproduce. Both myself and my sister, who is straight, made the decision to not have children an early age. I'm sure that hearing our mother continually harping on how the two of us ruined her life did not encourage us to follow in her footsteps. As a child I remember saying often that I didn't ask to be born and I was totally serious. There is beauty in the world but, in general, I wouldn't wish this life on anyone. It was not out of selfishness that I chose not to reproduce. I was truly motivated in the opposite direction.

Is the purpose of our time on earth to reproduce our species? Perhaps. Even so that doesn't mean everyone should be forced to do it. Do we live for some nebulous future or for the present? Well the inside-the-box thinking tends to lean toward the future. Buddhist thinking emphasizes the present. This starts to touch on that old religious question. Are we waiting for pie in the sky when we die or do we really want to be here now? We hear voices from the "family" contingent all the time. Minority stands must be heard as well! That has to be the reason that god invented the internet!