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Where The Childfree Men At?

March 4, 2012

I’ve been annoyed by the recent smattering of new dads in my area who are strutting around with babies attached to their bodies, dog in hand and grin on face. Mind you, most of these dads are doing this during the weekends like a show of how amazing they are at parenting. I know of the phenomenon of stay at home dads and the shattering of old gender norms. But do men REALLY want to be fathers? And why? I hear theories that women coerce their husbands to become fathers–coaxing them they will love their children when they’re born, and tricking them with pricked condoms and dishonesty about birth control for the truly resistant ones (Be careful, men!). Is it because the media is cracking down on men now to start families–with aggressive marketing on family friendly vehicles with commercials featuring serene dads? Do men feel they will be less insignificant than their childed counterparts if they don’t pass on their genes (in society’s eyes?)

I don’t know the answers to this, because clearly, I’m not a man and my fiancee is a woman. Yet, I’m intrigued that I expect there to be as many (if not more) of childfree men than women, yet their voices are not heard. Men being childless throughout history has been notoriously accepted in society, but of late, it seems the right and social media have taken up to convince and entice men into fatherhood. So where are the childfree men? And their voices?

Another real reason guys choose not to have children? Simply put, they just do not have the desire to raise children. They don’t want parenthood to be the central theme of their lives or their lifestyle. It is time that more of the real deal on childfree guys is talked about, not through a veil of “unconscious want” that women are supposed to help them realize and resolve, likely for their own motives to wanting children. -Laura Carroll

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7 Comments
  1. Another interesting post! In terms of social expectations, I think men generally have an easier deal than women in childless/child-free matters. If they are not fathers, that is understood as pretty unremarkable. (My favourite form of quick research: a search for ‘childless man’ gets 91,100 hits on google while ‘childless woman’ gets 403,000!). And if men are fathers, especially active fathers, they are applauded for it, whereas the idea of an active mother is so assumed as to be redundant.

  2. Thank you Olivia! I think you have answered my question fully =).

  3. I think the childless/free man is largely ignored because everyone thinks they have in infinite amount of time to have kids if they choose to do so later in life. They’re seen as the charmingly irresponsible bachelor who can’t possibly be tied down yet. But with a woman, everyone starts getting panicky when she hits 35 and is childless/free. It’s one of my husband’s pet peeves that everyone thinks it’s no big deal for men to have babies when they’re older. If we’re going to have kids, he definitely doesn’t want to be the old dad who can’t toss the ball around or rough-house as much with the kids, or is looking to retire from work before they’re even out of college, or dies before grandkids come. Men may not have the same fertility time constraints, but they’ve got some age factors too.

  4. We’re around. We’re just not as loud as the female childfree’s because females are the ones most “Persecuted” by today’s standard of having a child.

  5. Dominic DeRose permalink

    I’m a child free male, thanks for letting folks know we exist. I’m 25 and want no children, for he lack of desire to have them as you wrote.

  6. I’ll take a stab at this. Men don’t *feel* empowered to choose childfreedom. The true problem isn’t empowerment or a lack thereof, it’s simply their perception. Making the childfree choice requires taking a stand against society’s script; the anglo-saxon world has done a pretty good job of beating down boys who stand tall and defiant. They just don’t have the courage to say “fuck you — I’m not having kids and that’s final.”

  7. Laura Carroll here, thanks for the quote–And I can say, Childfree guys are out there!
    Here’s one who writes about it http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/childless-by-choice-my-parents-made-me-do-it/

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