Just a quick thought tonight (if that’s even possible for me).
I’ve just read an “article” about a woman named Vicky Pattison. Apparently she’s famous for being on Geordie Shore (now do you see why “article” has the quotation marks around it? I know it’s not hard hitting news guys, but bear with me). Which is fine, good for her. She’s clearly making doing her thing work for her and I don’t begrudge her that.
Vicky has found love with The One (I’m sorry, I don’t know his name. I skimmed some parts of the article, sue me.), and they’ve been throwing wedding plans around the joint like confetti, which is lovely for them. Weddings and celebrating and legally attaching yourself to someone you adore so you can annoy the shit out of each other for the rest of your lives are beautiful things. They’re right up there on my list of Favourite Things About Life.
Naturally, because they’re making wedding plans, the next step people jump to pestering them about is: “So when are you going to start a family?” Even though they haven’t made it down the aisle yet.
I personally think questions like this are a bit rude. I can understand that there’s generally a socially accepted progression of relationships, where you meet someone, you fall in love, you decide you like them enough to want them to hang around for the rest of your life, and you get married. Once you’re married, a lot of people like to pop out smaller, blended versions of themselves (like that photo merging app that was big a few years ago, only with genetics instead of pixels and junk, and much less horrifying). Sometimes, people even pop out the mini-humans before the wedding. Some people pop out the tiny-people and raise them in a single parent household.
Sometimes, probably more often then we’re aware, couples desperately want a baby but are struggling with infertility – and your “So when are you starting a family?” question is probably like having broken glass shoved into their ears.
I’m getting to a point, I promise.
It seems that Vicky’s response was not only shocking and appalling, but a direct offense to thousands of people across the globe.
“I’m not prepared to carry something for nine months, which would ruin my body, steal my career and destroy my vagina. Kids get on my tits. After all that, what if it turns out to be a little prick and I don’t even like it?”
First of all, the phrase “get on my tits” is one of my new favourites and I’ll be using that quite often in the near future, thanks.
Secondly, it seems that she’s being semi-crucified for having a uterus, ovaries and a vagina, but no real desire to have children. A cursory glance through the comments section of the article on Facebook showed women declaring, “What a selfish bitch. She doesn’t deserve kids anyway!”, “Spoiled brat. Your body isn’t ruined by a baby.” and, “What’s more important, making money or making life?” Rabble, rabble, rabble. I think one woman pointed out that the child would only be a “little prick” if she raised it to be that way – I know for a fact that my parents raised my brother and I right. As adults go, we’re pretty good people. I also know for a fact that some days when we were growing up, we were just downright little pricks. No child is an angel all the time. Even the exceptionally good ones.
Look – I know the way Vicky worded her response came across quite blunt and probably a bit insensitive. Clearly, she should have responded with a girlish laugh, a coy smile, and said demurely, “Oh no, I don’t believe children are for me at this point in time, but thank you so very much for inquiring of our plans.” (yes, with a lovely little toffee accent) and society would have been satisfied. But in case you hadn’t noticed, she’s known for being on Geordie Shore. What else would you expect in a response from her?
It’s not as though she said she hates all children with a burning passion and wants them all dead or detained. She just acknowledged, very frankly, that having children is not something she wants.
We don’t know the reasons behind her reaching this decision. It could just be as straight forward as she claims – she doesn’t really like kids and she doesn’t want any. Or she could have trauma in her past that led to this choice. She may know she has problems with fertility, or that she carries a genetic disease and doesn’t want to risk passing that on to any children.
I would think bringing a baby into the world when you’re pretty bloody adamant that you don’t want one just because society demands it, and then resenting that baby for the rest of their lives and potentially damaging the kid is more selfish than choosing not to have one at all.
Some women just don’t have that maternal drive within them. It doesn’t mean they’re defunct or insane. When you consider that we are in an age where women are encouraged to further their education, chase careers, build and achieve dreams and goals, and be equal to our male counterparts in these areas, it doesn’t seem so unusual to come across a few of them who have no interest in producing offspring. There’s no law to say that you have to want children just because you’ve got a vagina.
Vicky’s body is probably a huge part of her career – she works in entertainment. And even though I personally don’t believe a woman’s body is ruined by childbirth, I know it’s rare that it goes back to being exactly the same as it was before you incubated and spawned a tiny human. And that is a big deal to some women. A big deal.
Once the tiny human has been born, they’re really bloody time consuming. I would even go so far as to say completely time consuming. All your time is theirs now. All of it. They are your lord and master and you exist only to fulfil their every whim (but you first need to figure out what that whim is). At least for the first few years, anyway. So yeah, her career would definitely be impacted by that.
Plenty of women choose to focus on their career before having children, if they choose to have children. I’m sure they’re met with some resistance when they divulge this information, or internal scoffs such as, “She’ll change her mind one day, or regret it.”
Some of them may too, in their own time. The only difference between Vicky choosing her career in reality TV and another woman choosing a career in law is the profession they’re focusing on.
Thankfully, there were some comments in the thread too that read, “It’s her body, it’s her choice.”, “How does her deciding not to have a family impact on you, exactly?” and “Hey, it’s not what I would have chosen, but if it works for her, then good luck to her.” so my faith in both humanity and the female populace wasn’t totally lost.
I think this bothers me so much, partially because it’s so unnecessary and uncalled for, but also because of the time we are living in. Now is a time when women have achieved so much around the globe, but are still struggling to be heard in their quest for equality, where women are concerned about their futures, and the futures of their daughters, because of political climates and the economy, where we still have to consider and “take precautions against” acts like sexual harassment and rape, instead of taking for granted that our personal space and safety will be acknowledged and respected. Women band together behind writers like Constance Hall, who preaches that all women are Queens, and that we should support and love one another, no matter what, because it takes a village, and we are all in this together, and we echo her words back to her because they strike a chord. We feel like we belong somewhere and that we are stronger together. And then as soon as we are out of the glorious light spread by such solidarity and honesty, where the Goddess Constance cannot see us, and confronted with views that differ to our own, from a fellow woman, she is pounced on, torn apart and consumed by vitriol and judgement. How are we supposed to continue ascending when we’re so determined to tear each other down at every chance we get?
And ultimately, how does her uterus staying empty directly affect the rest of us anyway?
My Dad taught me a good rule of thumb when it comes to sharing opinions on other people – If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, you probably shouldn’t say it behind their back. This was before the time of Internet forums, but I do think it applies there as well. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t plaster it all over the internet where they could probably see it anyway.
Ultimately, if someone else’s decision on what to do with their body and their life doesn’t directly impact on you and yours – maybe you should just mind your own business.
So much for a quick thought, eh?