Recently I ran across an interesting idea by blogger Jane Arizona—instead of characterizing those who knew early in life they did not ever want kids as “early articulators,” how about we call them: “Childfree by Orientation.”
Jane Arizona makes a good point that those who know early are not always most aptly described as childfree by “choice.” Why? Because they never really “chose” it; instead it has just felt like who they are. These kinds of people don’t “decide” to be childfree as much as have the “realization” that they are and will remain childfree.
I’ve lamented before about the words we use to describe those who do not want children by choice–how even though it has its own negative connotations, saying child “free” is better than child “less,” and how we are still left with the word “child,” which leaves us being described by what we don’t want, or who we are not, rather than who we are.
To chew on this a bit more, the word “orientation” to describe people who knew early just might work. To me it is certainly better than the verbiage researchers coined and used years ago—the “early articulators.” In addition to just sounding cold and forcibly scientific, the word “articulator” has not made a lot of sense to me.
What is an articulator? Someone who articulates. But articulates what? Definitions mostly have to do with our speech or giving “clarity or distinction” to something. Ok, using “early articulator” could reflect that we made it clear and distinct that we did not ever want kids early in life, but boy could the characterization be, well, more articulate!
I like the descriptor you see in early research–“early deciders.” But Jane Arizona is taking it further with the idea that early deciders really didn’t “choose” at all. She refers to the days when society referred to the “gay lifestyle,” and how being gay had been labeled as “sexual preference,” how now it’s a “sexual orientation” –a “huge, meaningful shift.”
You can argue that for early deciders, it is not a decision about lifestyle or preference either. It is about orientation because it feels more like it is about our wiring.
Me–as an early decider, I like the idea. Instead of CBC for the early birds, would it be more accurate to describe ourselves as “CBOs?” Would it be a meaningful shift in descriptor language for these types of childfree people?
What do you think?