October 8, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
This article appearing as it does in The Guardian, we wouldn’t expect to make a lot of sense or to challenge ideas routinely expressed in The Guardian, but even so, it’s pretty weak tea (The Guardian, 10/2/17). It seeks readers’ sympathies for women (and perhaps a few men) who are “involuntarily” childless. Or not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the author, Stefanie Marsh, is talking about, a fact that I suspect is no accident.
Now, I understand that there are people who genuinely desire having children and, for some legitimate reason, can’t. And some of them are wise enough and moral enough to refuse the blandishments of the “single mothers by choice” crowd who don’t much care about the welfare of children raised without two parents. Those people indeed do have a measure of sympathy from me.
But seriously, “involuntarily” childless? What Marsh and her various interviewees actually mean is that, for whatever reason, the women didn’t reproduce. I know that because virtually anyone, female or male, can obtain a child. Women of course have more options than do men, but, regardless of sex, virtually any responsible adult can have a child. There are literally millions of parentless children throughout the world who truly need to be adopted and the sooner the better. For women, there are sperm banks and for both men and women there’s surrogacy, although the latter is more expensive than a lot of people can afford.
So Marsh’s lead interviewee, Jody Day, calls herself “involuntarily” childless, but isn’t. She has no children for one reason only – she wanted to procreate herself and, for reasons only hinted at, didn’t. The article says she was in her 40s when she ended a “bad, long-term relationship,” but nowhere lets readers in on why she stayed long in a bad relationship. Had she not, perhaps she would have had the child she so desires.
More importantly, it never tells us why she never did the kind, loving, responsible thing – adopting a child who has no parents. Again, there are countless millions of those kids worldwide. Marsh never mentions the fact because to do so would interfere with her narrative of Day and others like her as objects of our sympathy.
That willingness to absolve her interviewees of all responsibility for their actions (or inactions) Marsh extends even to men, surely a first for The Guardian. She mentions a man who wanted to be a father, but maintained a relationship with an older woman who was childless and had no intention of having kids. To his credit, the man doesn’t present himself as a victim of someone else. He weighed his options and decided his adult relationship was more important to him than his desire for a child. In short, he’s not “involuntarily” childless.
Nor does Marsh mention that old bugaboo of women – feminism. That’s not surprising given that The Guardian would never criticize that movement. But the simple fact is that feminism has been campaigning against women having children and valuing motherhood above paid work for many decades now. Likewise, it’s long characterized men as worthless abusers best avoided by women. And of course, according to feminists past and present, the family is the seat of oppression of women.
All that has had its effects on both women and men. If Day and her colleagues don’t have a child, one likely reason is that they’ve absorbed the feminist message on men and families. That led them to bypass opportunities they might otherwise have taken in favor of those less ultimately to their liking.
But The Guardian is nothing if not a cheerleader for everything feminist, including the consistent denigration of men and masculinity. And no article appearing therein is likely to say the obvious – that unhappy, childless women owe at least some of their sad situation to the very culture war enthusiastically participated in by The Guardian.
The simple truth is that women who reach menopause without having given birth can still have a child if they so desire. But, in typical Guardian fashion, the article never mentions the fact, preferring to characterize the women as victims of something unsaid, to (a) providing a solution (adoption) to their problem and (b) giving a home, nurture, love and a good life to a child who desperately needs all four.
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