Childless vs. childfree

Apparently I’m a wanna-be “breeder troll,” at least according to the Selfish Heathens site, which is firmly devoted to nonparenting. In fact, parents aka breeder trolls are strongly urged to stay away. If they even lurk at the site, they will be summarily deleted. The Satanic imagery and strong language scare the heck out of a mommy-lookalike such as myself.

I learned about the Selfish Heathens from a blog entry by Canadian Writer Jonathan Kay who started a flame war with his piece about bringing children to restaurants. One commenter threatened to throw ice water into the faces of Kay and his “broodsow” if they ever met in a restaurant. Luckily they will probably never meet in person.

I often hear mothers referred to as breeders, as if they were cats who went into heat and turned out one litter after another with no regard to overpopulation or to the way their kids are annoying little brats. But then again, others talk about children being the biggest blessing of their lives, that raising them is the most important thing one can do, far more important than any other occupation. Many who can’t conceive spend thousands of dollars on painful medical procedures trying to unite one egg and sperm successfully into a baby. When the effort fails, they come away heartbroken.

Why is there such an undercurrent of anger between parents and nonparents? Must we split into separate societies, those with children and those without? Why can’t we just accept each other’s choices and move on?

For a view completely opposite to the Selfish Heathens, but just as hip, check out Tiffany Lee Brown’s new blog, She includes some wonderful articles, a fascinating performance art project in progress, and heartfelt journal entries about her struggle with her husband’s preference to not have children and her own late-arriving desire to be a mother.

What do you think? Why is there so much animosity on this issue?

3 thoughts on “Childless vs. childfree

  1. sue — thanks for namechecking me and my blog! i think it’s a total red herring to assume that there are two warring, oppositional factions in the world: happy, intentional mothers and blissfully childfree women. with a little empathy and creative insight, it’s easy to imagine that perhaps not everyone falls into these two extreme categories. stepmoms, foster parents, women who are on the fence about whether to reproduce, women who at age 27 are totally anti-child but who may find their feelings softening a decade later, moms who have second thoughts about having stifled their careers in order to have kids… we’re all in this TOGETHER.we ALL suffer from being lumped into some category or being associated with some crappy feminine archetype we’ve inherited from centuries of patriarchal dominance. the world told us for centuries that our job as women was to be: 1) an obedient daughter and virtuous, virginal maiden; 2) an obedient wife who pleases her husband and brings him an heir; 3) a holy and beautiful mother; and then things trickle off a little. After you’ve brought the heirs up, society doesn’t necessarily have that much use for you. You can be a delightful old crone, one of the few other remaining archetypes. If you fail to preserve your virtue, you can also be a whore.that’s the sort of mentality which gets us thinking that there are only Mothers and Notmothers, and the two shall never meet, agree, or help each other. i am not living in a society where my family members will stone me to death if i am raped, which still happens in many cultures. i live in the US. we’re still trying to figure it out, and we still make 70 cents to every $1 a man makes, but we can be moms, stepmoms, happy childfree women, occasionally regretful childfree women, miserably childless women, successful career women, artists, nuns, sexually active women, married, single, partnered, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered — any combination of these things. it’s a rich and delightful mix. reducing ourselves to just “Childfree by Choice” and “Moms” and “wannabe breeder trolls” is yet another way of limiting our possibilities. let’s give each other — and ourselves — a break. the world, and our psyches, are much more complex than that.sorry to rant!tiffany


  2. The reason Selfish Heathens and other similar sites exist is that childfree people need a place to rant, not against all parents, but against a group of parents that do a poor job parenting. The most frequent example that come to mind is parents who don’t teach manners to their children and let them run wild in public places, most commonly restaurants and disrupt the meal of other patrons. Therefore they are called BNP (breeder not parent), because their job as a parent seems to have only given birth, and not undertaking the long tough process of raising a child to adulthood to be an active independant member of society. Of course, there are also raves for PNB, parents not breeders, who do a tremendous job. The problem is there are more and more parents who give up and let their children become monsters, thus prompting fed up cf people to set up sites like this.


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