Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Meet the GINK April 15, 2010

Meet Lisa Hymas. She’s the senior editor at Grist, the online environmental salon, and a self-proclaimed GINK: green inclinations, no kids. Hymas makes a strong case for child-free living, including reducing the impact of over-population on the environment. But even though her manifesto is environmentally-driven, she makes a strong statement about how we childless and child-free women often side-step the conversation about kids. Hymas says:

Parents talk all the time about the delights and challenges of raising kids, to other parents and to all the rest of us, and I don’t begrudge them that. We childfree people rarely discuss in public the upsides and downsides of life without kidsand that’s what needs to change.

I couldn’t agree more. For too long, being childless has been something that shouldn’t be discussed, something we should be embarrassed about, or something that isn’t a topic for polite conversation. We’re sending a message to young women that living child-free isn’t an acceptable option. And we all know that it is.

You can read Lisa Hymas’ GINK manifesto here. Tell us what you think.

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3 Responses to “Meet the GINK”

  1. antonia Says:

    i’m sorry, but people like her get me really angry. while i do not think that everyone needs to breed, i do think that children shape our future society and will take care of the many environmental issues (that have plagued our planet as long as humankind exists!).
    all it takes is to put in the work and raise them to be intelligent, responsible grown-ups with the right values. and to do that is something to be proud of. besides, as a person who’s currently working in child-care, i think that this job is not just marginally more pleasant than housework. i already knew after a few months that it’s probably one of the most important and fulfilling jobs i’ll ever do. talk of responsibility! i’m holding hands while first steps are taken, i help adjusting them to the boundaries of relationships, i help them buid their communication skills, i dry tears, i try to encourage their creative side, i teach them the importance of taking other people’s feelings into consideration and make the right decisions, etc. honestly, if i take a good look around my child-free friends who value their careers over family, i hardly see anyone who’s not in an utterly replaceable position and therefore really makes a dent in what they do. (of course, there’s some exceptions.)

    and i’ve met so many people like this lady over the years that attack me for wanting a child as if i’m personally going to destroy the planet. the problem of overpopulation can only be solved through redistribution of goods. the western society not procreating will not make the third world less populated. besides who will push this lady’s wheelchair in a few years or give her hip surgery? it’s other people’s kids. kids who were raised to be people of value and go on supporting our society.

    i truly think she’s deluding herself. what is she actually doing with the quarter million dollar she avoids spending on a child? she mentions no environmental or kids charity in which she invests all that money. besides, our society is far from kids-friendly. the only people that ever claim the contrary seem to be people without kids. that doesn’t mean children shouldn’t be put into their place and parents shouldn’t be involved in activities without their kids. but that’s all a matter of doing your job as a parent while you’re also trying to keep your relationship in balance. and THAT is something to be really proud of.

    sorry for the rant, but i’m encountering people like her all the time and they’re usually just plain too lazy to invest all that time, money, work in parenting and then try to come up with some smug excuse that parents are the selfish ones. it just gives me the creeps 😦

  2. kathleen guthrie Says:

    Brava!

  3. Jennifer Gill Says:

    I appreciated the GINK manifesto – I don’t consider myself “childfree,” though (since, really, I wanted a child), so some of the things that pushed Antonia’s buttons seemed a little harsh to me too. But I read them more as pain on Lisa Hymas’ part than self-righteousness. I certainly have *never* been “attacked” for wanting a child; it feels much the other way to me, with all the blessed little mommies basking in their utterly fulfilled womanhood, having entered that club that I “just can’t understand until you’re a parent.” Or worse yet, telling me that I could still have kids, or adopt – of course, having no real knowledge of whether that is really true for me.

    Which brings me to the fear I have about sharing this site freely: I don’t want to anger all the parents I interact with. Obviously, the point of the site is not anti-child, but pro-person-who-didn’t-happen-to-procreate. Yet the pervasive “blessed miracle” attitude plus our biological directive makes that feel like a failure, not just an alternate path. Funny that we are no longer such blessed miracles after a few decades unless we’ve made more…


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