Just like Anderson Cooper this week, I also feel compelled to come out of the closet and highlight a very obvious fact about myself: I am child-free, never ever wanted to have kids, and I embrace these choices openly, with pride. Our culture often treats those who have no desire to be parents as abnormal, and there is still not much societal support for deciding to not increase our planet’s rapidly expanding population.
However, millions more people are now deciding to embrace the child-free lifestyle. In Grist two years ago Lisa Hymas celebrated the many joys and advantages of not being a parent, detailing the myriad of motivations for her choice. Hymas raised important issues of environmental sustainability, as well as the greater economic and individual freedom having no children brings. In her GINK Manifesto she explained:
“I come here before you today to make the same proclamation—with a twist. I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all.
Making the green choice too often feels like a sacrifice or a hassle or an expense. In this case, it feels like a luxurious indulgence that just so happens to cost a lot less for me and weigh a lot less on the carbon-bloated atmosphere.
I call myself a GINK: green inclinations, no kids.”
Choosing to Say No to Parenthood
Another great website, GINKthink, published a thoughtful response to a recent Atlantic cover story: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, which describes how a wealthy professor chooses to quit her fancy Washington job to spend more time with here children. The blog reframes the assumption that having “it all” is supposed to mean having kids, and asks the more relevant question: Forget whether you can have it all; do you really even want it all?
Challenging our society’s entrenched gender expectations, GINKthink offers this advice for women who are not convinced that parenthood must be a part of their future:
“…Instead of just asking ,’Can I have it all?,’ start by asking, ‘Do I actually even want it all?’ And step it back even further: ‘What does ‘it all’ mean for me?’ In my own case, having it all, having what I most want in life, means, among other things, having a satisfying career and not having kids.
I’m certainly not alone: There’s a small but burgeoning childfree contingent. And if we as a society talked openly about childfree life as a potential positive choice, our ranks might swell dramatically. But too many people still don’t even consider it as a serious option. Isn’t it time for women to feel free to choose any reproductive path, just as we’re free to pursue any career path?”
image via Grist