Monday, October 12, 2015

Lingering ‘mandate’ for motherhood

The decision by some women to opt out of having children is highlighted this week in Utne Reader’s “Uplifter” eNewsletter. Melanie Holmes addresses the lingering social “mandate” that all women must have, or at least want, children.

Holmes acknowledges that men, as well, decide not to have children, but argues that women face greater pressure and condemnation from society.

“There are still widely-held assumptions that all women desire motherhood—or that they ‘should’ desire it—and those women who do not want motherhood are viewed as selfish or dysfunctional.”

Holmes urges society to update the “scripts” that are used to speak to females about their lives: for example, by saying “If” instead of “When you have children.”

Holmes’ book, The Female Assumption: The Impact on Women’s Lives when Motherhood is Viewed as a Mandate, was released in September 2014 through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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