Reporting Back: February 2011 On-the-Ground Question

Last month’s On-the-Ground question was: What stories/wisdom do you have about finding childfree people to date? Check out what people said:

Here is the March question: Think across all kinds of media – television, film, print and digital, even radio- What, in your opinion, is the most powerful example of how the media promotes, even glorifies pregnancy and parenthood? Give me your views!

9 thoughts on “Reporting Back: February 2011 On-the-Ground Question

  1. Regarding your question about whether or not to date someone with kids:

    Because I’m still in my twenties, I say no to kids period. Firstly, there are still a lot of men in their late twenties and early thirties who aren’t dads and secondly, if a man near my age has kids, the kids are probably still very young which therefore puts me in a sort of stepmom position (whether I like it or not). Plus, if something happens to the mother of his kids, who’s going to end up with custody? So much for being childfree…

    However, if I’m still single ten years from now, I think I’d be more willing to date a dad, depending on the age of the kids. I imagine it’s harder to find single men in their late 30’s and early 40’s who aren’t dads. Maybe some childfree, single, middle-aged women have no problem still saying “no kids period,” but I think that would be too picky for me. If the man is a dad, the kids might be older anyway. So if God forbid we do get custody, I won’t have to play stepmom for more than a few years!

    1. Christine, I like your logic that as you get older to be open to a single guy who already has kids could work — for me it would be as long as the kids were out of the house! ~L

  2. in Australia the media loves anything to do with politics and families. It’s all about giving aussie families a “fair go”. Newspapers and online media pick up on this more so than other ways.

    National and international role models such as Angelina, Nicole and recently Natalie Portman feature big here as well. Pregnancy is out there in Hollywood and something to show off. Think about when Demi posed naked with her bump. Suddenly it was cool to show your belly and nude portraits of my friends holding their newborns adorned their walls. My 6 month pregnant friend turned up to dinner in a tight black short lycra dress and heels. (She did look stunning and it was very daring for the time). Most magazines here will scream from the stand when any celebrity gets pregnant. The TV does less damage here as such, and usually only features parenting on reality lifestyle shows and current affairs programs. The emphasis on parenting is pretty strong in these shows, and if there is a bit of a sob story to get the emotions going and tears = all the better! (My friend works in production here for one of the TV stations and it is her job to interview and try to find people who cry easily to make the story better).

    From your last months question, I am not comfortable going out with a man that has already had kids. I found that I was always second to them and felt I deserved more. Also, depending on the age of the kids, they can eventually be a wedge between you and your partner, as some of my friends found out (the hard way). I like my men all to myself.

    1. Hi Heather, I find it interesting that hollywood feature the pregnant women and then how fast “they get their bodies back” after they have the baby. Perfect “pg” and then got to get the “perfect” body back. Feels like continued objectificaiton of women combined with exhaltation of motherhood. Then there are the stars like Nicole I think who have done the surrogate thing. I have wondered if she and others do it because they don’t want their body to go through pregnancy so that they don’t have to go through trying to get the perfect body back after pregnancy…

  3. I’ve only tried dating a ready made dad once, and it was mainly because the mother had not allowed him to see the kid for months… At first I thought it was that the mother was being a b*** about it, but later realized she had a good reason keeping the dad at a distance so… Not very good experiences there! However, I do think he would have wanted more kids eventually anyway so not a good plan.

    The non-child-friendly hobbies is a good idea! Ideally that should be something that takes over the home as well, like boas or collecting automatic guns. 😀 (Not really in favor of them, but it reminds me of a crush who did collect guns and had a pin on one stating ‘children first’… Obviously the pin was sold in support for children, but it certainly gave it a whole new meaning where it was eventually pinned! But… the fellow is a father now and I would imagine a change of attitude has taken place. :p)

  4. Re: finding childfree folks to date–I found my boyfriend via dating site OkCupid.com, where I clearly stated in my profile I did not want kids, ever, and yes, I was sure… so wanting or having kids was a dealbreaker. I suppose I put a bigger emphasis on it because I had previously gone through a break-up with a boyfriend of 5 years over the kid thing, which was not fun. I was determined not to go through that again… luckily current BF couldn’t care one way or the other about kids, and says he doesn’t care whether we do or don’t as long as he has me. 🙂

    Re: the media, maybe I’m just sensitive to it since childfree is the unpopular (or at least, less highlighted) route, but it feels like everything in the media is geared toward praising people for getting pregnant/giving birth, or making all of their content child-friendly, or honing in on the sanctity of (implied nuclear) family. We cheer when a celebrity is pregnant, immediately declaring their life a success (see: constant pity party thrown at Jennifer Aniston for the opposite); there’s a constant outcry of “Oh, no! You can’t say that on TV! The children!”; shows about uber-fertile women, teenage mothers, pageant kids as young as 9 months (seriously!!!); the news loves to do the impending doom voice with, “What is going on over here, and what does it mean for your family?”

    1. Jenn, I am glad you had good luck with OKCupid. I received numerous responses saying folks had trouble with that site, did not like, etc. But seems people’s experience may be more mixed–good to know!

  5. This issue never goes away! I’m nearly 60, a widow and have found it’s near impossible to date a man 60+ who doesn’t have grown kids…. Which might not be so bad, except NOW they have grandkids and guess what? They are as absorbed with the grandkids as they were with their kids. Unfortunately some of them are actually raising grandkids when their kids abandoned the children. Jeez. I am fairly sure I won’t ever get involved with these grand-dad geezers, just too much baggage. That said though, I LOVE my life now–alone and truly free (no income worries). I’m a widow of five years, and trust me, I have NO regrets about not having kids/grandkids now.

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