Why This Systematic Devaluation of the Childless and Childfree Needs To Stop
Come on, media, stop with your pile-on of the childfree and childless! You’ve made your jibes. Now move on.
Last week an article titled “Should we tax the childless?” was published in The Times. It went viral and initiated debates across the world. I particularly enjoyed the 2-hour radio call-in hosted by Sangita Myska on LBC.
This week an article titled “Childfree travelers should be banned from going on holiday this summer” was published in The Telegraph.
Yes, the headings are clickbait. But the substance of both articles is dangerous and worrying.
Pronatalism at its best!
Many read the titles and go about their day with a refreshed view that people without children are a scourge on society — these articles fuel hate.
People without children are a marginalized group. They are already the target of ridicule, criticism, demonizing, and oppression. This pervasive attack occurs whether they are childless or childfree. Yes, semantics matter, and there is a difference.
Childless refers to people who want children, but circumstances have prevented them from having children.
Childfree refers to people who intentionally choose not to have children.
Think about it; no journalist would get away with those articles if the subject were about any other minority group. Just substitute the terms “childless” and “childfree” with any other word referring to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age, and you will recognize the obscenity.
So why is it acceptable to speak of people without children in this manner? Clue — it’s not!
Not only is it insulting and suppressive to people without children. But it encourages a divide between parents and non-parents. It reinforces the power hierarchy that is very much in existence globally. This system places people without children at the bottom of this hierarchy. It sends the message that people without children are worthless and irrelevant.