Homophobia and Pro-Natalism

(Pro-natalism is being in favor of people having kids, and is often used to describe situations which penalize folks who don’t have kids.)

So, we know that homophobic men get excited by gay porn, which suggests that folks who get all “OMG homosexuality is a choice!” may feel that way cos they’re attracted to members of their own sex and are choosing to go against that. In other words, the people who get the maddest about gay folks often are gay and working hard to deny it — and thus are on some level envious of folks who aren’t making themselves miserable the same way.

I was reading a piece on Bitch Magazine’s website and its ensuing comments, and it suddenly hit me: do the people who get so offended by childfree folks’ intention not to have kids fit a similar paradigm? Are they so offended because they secretly don’t want to have kids, or wish they hadn’t had them, and are envious of people who decide not to have kids in spite of those feelings?

Now, I’ve mostly been lucky and not run across folks personally offended by my decision not to have kids, but I’ve met with plenty of condescension (“oh, you’ll change your mind!”) and confusion (“but… but then why are you getting married?”). I have run across plenty of folks online who are pretty damn offended that the childfree exist and aren’t ashamed of their lack of childbearing urges. I try not to engage them, it’s bad for my blood pressure.

We all know from the kerfluffle around Nebraska’s child abandonment law that not all parents are happy they had kids, but there’s a huge taboo in our culture around admitting it. Hell, lots of anti-abortion propaganda sounds like children are a punishment.

Just an idea to chew on. I know people who desperately want kids, people who love their kids to bits and are happy to put up with the difficulties of parenting, and I totally respect their choice. I’m just kind of intrigued by this line of thinking around the folks who don’t respect mine.

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7 Responses to Homophobia and Pro-Natalism

  1. jilliankay says:

    Most people just tell me “you’ll change your mind” or “you’ll regret it”…same as they told me about not going to prom (yeah, still not regretting *that*). But I can understand that they just can’t relate.

    However, I once jokingly said “oh, I’m doing it for the environment, since the planet is overcrowed.” To which I was *actually* told that many parts of the US are UNDER populated, and I was hurting our school systems. They had read it in a magazine. I changed the subject before my head exploded.

  2. jilliankay says:

    Most people just tell me “you’ll change your mind” or “you’ll regret it”…same as they told me about not going to prom (yeah, still not regretting *that*). But I can understand that they just can’t relate.

    However, I once jokingly said “oh, I’m doing it for the environment, since the planet is overcrowded.” To which I was *actually* told that many parts of the US are UNDER populated, and I was hurting our school systems. They had read it in a magazine. I changed the subject before my head exploded.

  3. Alex Summers says:

    I think you’re on the right track. Someone (Carl Sagan, maybe?) once pointed out (in a completely different context) that people generally don’t get all worked up about things they really are confident about, but rather things that they are trying to pretend they’re confident about. Which is why nobody is on the street-corner yelling to passers-by that the sun will rise tomorrow.

  4. Gopher says:

    wow, I agree with you 100%. I have been told to my face that my decision to have children is selfish, and that if I have the ability to have children, then I must, even if I just give them away to someone who can’t have children.
    It makes sense that these people just want to spread their misery….

  5. Rootietoot says:

    I like the idea that people who are offended by childfree folks are so because they are insecure about their own decision. Mainly because I am NOT offended by childfree people, even though I have 4 of my own,mainly because I know firsthand what kind of difficulties come, and that it’s not a matter of the person with children being ‘stronger’ or ‘better’ or ‘more equipped to deal with it all’, but a matter of the person without the children probably being more sensible. I love my kids to bits and don’t regret it, but there’s a hell of a lot I could have accomplished if I weren’t dealing with 23 years of their drama.

  6. Steve says:

    I would wonder if the converse holds true as well, actually.

    I.e. if I strongly disapprove of people who have 8+ kids for a plurality of reasons, does that secretly mean I want to go forth and multiply and multiply and multiply ..and then multiply some more?

    I’m thinking “No”, though I accept that such cases may exist.. similarly, those who frown upon couples who choose not to have children may have their own perfectly rational reasons for doing so without being insecure about their own choice.

    Your choice is not so uncommon around here, though – I find in general that in the U.S., as well as in southern Europe, there’s a much larger emphasis on having a (big) family, than it does in western/northern Europe.
    ( No idea about eastern Europe. )

    • Ealasaid says:

      Hm, that’s an interesting question. However, I think there’s a difference between strongly disapproving and being personally offended/disturbed on a visceral level, which is the reaction I’m talking about here. :)