Updated: May 24
Almost every relationship I've been in, the man expected me to one day give birth to his child. At 24, I had a guy tell me that he expected me to have his child within the next five years. And that it was practically a deal breaker if I said no. It is within messages like these that lies the ultimate subliminal message to women... "You will be forever alone if you don't have babies."
You want to know the kicker? The reason wasn't because he wanted kids. It was because his parents were getting older... and he wanted to make sure they had enough time to see their grandchildren.
"I had a guy tell me that he expected me to give birth to his child within the next five years. And that it was practically a deal breaker if I said no."
"So you're saying if it weren't for your parents, you wouldn't want to have a child in these next five years?"
"Uhh... not really."
"So what are you going to do when your parents are no longer here, and you're stuck with a kid you didn't even want? Most likely with me stuck at home, raising it while you work?"
His answer? "Umm... I wasn't really thinking that far ahead." (Yeah, ok. Your inability to think things through is a deal breaker.)
Here's the problem. Men are never really thinking that far ahead when it concerns a woman's future aspirations and career goals. It's 2020, and there are still a lot of men out there that expect us to put our dreams on the back burner for the sake of raising their child for them. When it comes to making major life decisions such as bringing new humans into the world, many won't think twice about it. Because many have been conditioned to believe it is in every woman's nature to not only want kids, but to stay home and raise them, too. When I asked him that question, it was evident that not for one second did he imagine himself quitting his job to raise that child in five years. He clearly envisioned having a baby just to make his parents happy, and me putting my life on hold for it. While his work and social life remained basically intact. And this was a guy who called himself a feminist.
"Many have been conditioned to believe it is in every woman's nature to not only want kids, but to stay home and raise them, too."
Why do we still hold women to such out-dated gender norms? Because men fear change. They fear what women would become if we were given more freedom. They like to pretend we've reached gender equality so that we stop fighting for our rights already. But the truth is, we are nowhere near equal and they know it. They are just uncomfortable imagining what true gender equality would mean for them. There's a long standing belief that people in power will trick the masses into believing that what is good for them, is actually bad for them (i.e. freedom). And that what is good for people in power, is also good for the masses (i.e. regulations and control). I believe this is a subconscious tactic that men are still using on women today, whether they are aware of it or not (i.e. having babies and staying home vs. working and making our own money).
As time goes on, we may be able to implement policies involving women's rights and equal pay. But changing men's attitude towards us, however, is not something that can be achieved through policy. As long as men feel threatened by us, they will continue to push our boundaries and make us prescribe to traditional gender roles.
So it is up to us to build our own damn selves up. We have unlimited power that lies within, just waiting to be tapped into. And it is that very power that men have been trying to suppress in us for centuries. They see a power in us that we often don't.
The decision to have no kids is a personal one that has nothing to do with what gender you prescribe to. I am a woman, and I never want to give birth. Every man I've spoken to about this has agreed he also wouldn't want to give birth if given the choice. This is not a selfish decision. There are plenty of children out there in need of homes, and I'd much rather save one of them one day. With or without a man.