By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
In the U.S., we’re all caught up in drama, controversy, glamour, and intrigue. Whether you follow the election season or the Oscar season, things get pretty heated and competitive around here.
I hadn’t thought about the two in the same breath until last year when I recommended a great movie to my parents, a compelling drama that starred one of our most popular leading men. “We don’t support his films,” my father informed me, “because we don’t like his politics.”
What the fruitcake?! Unless we’re talking about some slanted documentary, one has nothing to do with the other. That’s just crazy talk! (Sorry, Dad.) I mean, let’s take this to the (even more) extreme. That’s like choosing a loaf of bread based on the color of its wrapper. Or buying a car based on who has the most entertaining TV commercial. (I’ll take good gas mileage and reliability over 30 seconds of giggles any day.) Or recommending my drycleaner solely because he’s childfree.
And there we have it. I have no idea whether or not my drycleaner is married, has children, or lives with a mannequin dressed like his mother (which, granted, would be psycho). I recommend him because he works miracles for me and he is a genuinely nice guy. I go to movies because they transport me out of my everyday cares, they delight and inspire me. I vote for elected officials because I believe they will do the right things to make our city/country/world a better place.
This in part explains why I’m so sick and tired of having parenthood thrust upon me in political speeches (“Mom-in-Chief”) and celebrity tabloids (“How [Star of New Movie] Got Back Her Pre-Baby Bikini Body!”). I don’t care. For me, it’s less about who you are and more about what you do. When politicians and magazine marketing departments cater only to the parents, they are essentially telling me, one of the childfree people, “Your contributions and concerns aren’t as important.” And that’s not just crazy talk, that’s ignorance at its worst.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.