The Today Show Does Childfree Guys

There have been a number of segments on national TV on women not having children by choice, and childfree married couples, but this is the first…

I’ve seen on childfree guys only. The Today Show did a piece about a guy who had vasectomy in his twenties.  I first posted the link on my facebook page, and there was some good rile, (including childfreedom blogger Daisy Duke) so thought I’d chew further here.

The doctor interviewed on the segment said that he is seeing more single men electing to have vasectomies.  Do you think this is they case? Why or why not?

The sex therapist says as you consider the decision not to have children, one needs to look at the possibility that the lack of desire has to do with wounds from the past, or “baggage” we are still carrying.  The decision should not come from a place of fear or anxiety, she says.

Fair enough. But it would have been more accurate to say the same is true for those who think they want children.  It can work the other way–like asking oneself, Does my desire stem from wounds from the past? Do I want a child to help me heal those wounds from the past? Do I want to be a parent so I can parent the way I always wanted to be parented?

And I don’t know about you, I haven’t met one parent who would say they never had an ounce of fear or anxiety about having kids. It seems like these feelings are just part of it at one point or another.

While of course it is great to get this kind of air time, I was left feeling that it portrayed a guy making this choice as still a real fish out of water, and one who will face consequences, like ending life with legacy angst, ending family lines, and potentially losing a great woman to marry. It could have done  a lot more to present what this choice is bringing, will bring to his life (rather than “cost” him) and how he wants to live it.

What would have made this segment better and reflect the reality of what is going on out there?

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13 thoughts on “The Today Show Does Childfree Guys

  1. This was such a stupid and insulting segment.

    I did not like the bingos thrown at this guy such as “What if you change your mind?”, “What about your legacy and family name? (like there are no family names which end because only girls were born?)”, and “What kind of baggage did you have as a child to reach this ‘wrong’ decision?”

    Many men are childfree without getting vasectomies. Why did this segment waste so much time on the vasectomy end of this? That is why we have condoms.

    The segment should have focused on all the negative things this guy will be avoiding by being chidlfree (i.e. dirty diapers, worsened finances, increased noise), as well as all the positive things this guy will achieve (ie. peace and quiet, freedom, more money) by being childfree.

    This segment still makes us childfree out to be weird and abnormal. But I was glad to hear him say that he doesn’t hate children, another false stereotype of the childfree.

    I wish they would interview ME for a segment like this. I would be able to boast about all the negative things I AVOID as well as all the positive things I have achieved, starting with being able to retire 2 years ago at the age of 45 (and miss out on dealing with all the awful aspects of the 7 northeast USA snowstorms in the last month). I would also call the interviewers out on any bingos they throw at us.

    I want to be able to baost about all the great things about being childfree the same way the childed boast about their kids every chance they get.

    1. Deegee, I definitely thought of you while watching this–indeed they should hve interviewed You! More than just one guy would have been great too…

  2. It would have been a better segment had the sex therapist not let her own bias influence the discussion. She came across as someone who disapproved of this decision. I could be wrong about that, of course, but it doesn’t seem professional to assume that people who make non-traditional choices need counselling.

  3. I agree completely with you guys–I just can’t believe that they actually suggested that he should seek therapy. He is obviously happy, but because he doesn’t desire what most people think they want, he should be treated? I’m not at all surprised that he was only allowed to defend himself, but not allowed to share all of the many positive points of being childfree; it would offend many of their viewers. Then there is the classic “of course he does like children”, just to prove that he’s not completely defective. I don’t understand why so many people are threatened by someone making this choice; I guess they are bothered by someone choosing not to follow the herd.

  4. If only we young, childfree people could bump into each other more often. As a single woman, I WISH I could find a (cute 😉 ) 30 year old man with a vasectomy!

  5. Jacinda said:”I’m not at all surprised that he was only allowed to defend himself, but not allowed to share all of the many positive points of being childfree; it would offend many of their viewers.”

    EXACTLY! Most working adults in this country are on the job or on their way out of the door when the TODAY show airs. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the majority of their viewership is SAHMs. Despite the fact that Toby living his life as he sees fit has NO BEARING on these women’s choices the show has to play it safe and kowtow to their [primary] audience. They have to focus on the “down” side of being childfree because if they presented the pros as well as the “cons” of being childfree their [primary] audience may feel invalidated, which could lead to lower ratings and fewer companies paying to run their ads during the TODAY show because they don’t like how being associated with a show that “hates families” or somesuch nonsense will affect their bottom line.

    The only nice thing I can say about the interview is that Toby handled himself with grace and dignity. If nothing else this interview has shown an CF individual for what he and most other CF people are – NORMAL FOLK.

    1. mtuni22–I agree–the show knows their audience, and doing this kind of piece is “new” so I think asking the kind of questions that the cf might consider bingos are questions those unfamiliar with this choice will ask. So you start there. I do want to see more exposure and hopefully over time it can be presenting more accurately….including asking the question what are the reasons Parents Have children? It’s one of my goals! ~L

  6. Why did they ask a sex therapist for her opinion? That seems like an odd choice of “expert.” I thought it was interesting that she said the choice not to have children shouldn’t come from a place of anxiety. It seems like a lot of people have kids because they are worried about not being loved, having someone to care for them in old age, etc. Toby thought about his choice for years. Some people don’t think about having kids at all, they just have them.

    1. Molly Agreed, The “sex” part of the therapist expert does seem odd. My guess is that that is the therapist who gave them the answer they wanted for the slant of the story..an implication that if you think you don’t want them you really have to look hard at your past, etc. to make sure you aren’t saying no for the wrong reasons. What cf get riled about and rightfully so, is the same advice shoud go to people who want to be parents. Like realizing that having a baby will not solve their issues re self-worth, or won’t guarantee loved ones are around when they are old, etc. Looking at the deeper reasons why should be what we all do for such a big lifestyle decision, not just those who say “no” to parenthood! But we cf already know that…if only more parents would too.

  7. I thought it was pretty obnoxious that they tried to make it look like the guy didn’t know what he wanted. Sheesh.

    Oh, and if I were a single childfree guy, I would DEFINITELY get a vasectomy. Too many women are willing to “oops” a guy into fatherhood. Better to make sure it doesn’t happen.

  8. I would love to see a follow-up story on Toby (as long as he agrees and the media doesn’t destroy his privacy). I’m guessing he will get a lot of positive attention as well as negative attention. I bet he has already become much more popular with the ladies. I would not be surprised if he’s been inundated with love letters and even a few marriage proposals as a result of the _Today_ piece.

  9. Belated P.S.

    What I thought was fascinating about the segment was that there’s an assumption that if Toby were a little older and/or already had children, it would be perfectly sensible for him to get a vasectomy. The piece actually implied that getting a vasectomy after being a father is quite understandable but that Toby was getting one “too young” somehow. Now, what does it say about parenthood that getting fixed afterwards is perfectly understandable??

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