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Society must move away from expecting women to have children

More women in our society are making the choice to not have children, and subsequently it’s becoming a less taboo thing to discuss. There are many people out there that either don’t want kids or respect others’ decisions to not have kids.

However, this was not the case when Chelsea Handler, an American comedian, had a segment on The Daily Show where she discussed not wanting to have kids. The response to her video was outrageous and quite frankly disgusting. 

Tucker Carlson decided to dedicate a whole segment of his show to responding to this video. 

“[Handler is an] aging, deeply unlikeable woman who never had kids,” Carlson said. 

Where there is one man belittling a woman’s right to make her own decisions, there is another to make it even worse. His guest Jesse Kelly, a right-wing radio host, described what he thought of Handler on live television. 

“[Her] womb resembles a dried-up tumbleweed blowing down an old western town,” Kelly said. “[Her] Valentine’s date for the 10th year in a row is a 10-year-old copy of ‘Magic Mike’ and a half-full bottle of Xanax, and you’re trying to pretend like you’re happy, but you’re not happy.”

There is a lot wrong with both of these men’s statements and it’s obvious that they are both extremely misogynistic. Just because Handler is a woman who decided to not have kids does not automatically make her unhappy and unikeable. 

It’s a problem that these men are saying this at all, even more so that they are given a platform on live television to say it. This only further perpetuates the negative stereotypes towards women that choose not to have children.

Kelly also states his opinion on Carlson’s show of feminists like Handler. 

“[They have been] lied to by their society forever that you could be a girl boss and you can do anything a man can do, which everyone who’s ever seen a woman back up a vehicle knows that’s not true,” Kelly said. 

Responding to this quote on WNYC radio, Amy Blackstone, professor of sociology at UMaine, says that yes, women have been lied to, but not in the way Jesse says. 

“The lies that women have been told forever are that our place is in the home only and that maternal instinct is something that’s natural, that motherhood is our destiny,” Blackstone said. 

Although the environment surrounding a woman’s role in society and their choice not to have children has been improved, there is still much to be done. Based on declining birth rates across the country, it is apparent that more people are choosing not to have children for various reasons, all of which are valid.

The expectation for many women in our society is that they will have children and build a family, and when that expectation is broken, it’s often thought that there is something wrong with them. These expectations often come from a woman’s own family, and these expectations are hard to live up to. 

It is important to continue to talk about and address these issues because there will always be men like Carlson and Kelly that enjoy criticizing women for attention. Choosing to not have children is a choice that makes sense for many people. It is their choice to make, not anyone else’s. 

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