At the risk of opening up another “You hate children!” can of worms* here, I feel the need to respond to this vomitrocious piece in the San Francisco Chronicle that reads like a piece of Rovian agent provacateur propaganda designed to make the childfree look as bad as possible.
When you showed me your freezer filled with a three months’ supply of stockpiled breast milk, I had to turn and confirm you were the same girl who would jump into the mosh pit and hold her own with misogynist skinheads. And when you were ecstatic over the 10th pink baby outfit, I had to squint to see the same girl who would gyrate until 3 a.m. and then make out with bad boys on the sides of cars in the gritty twilight.
When we were both in our early 20s, you were my best friend. Now in our 30s, I’ve moved to the Bay Area and we speak only a few times a year. Most of those conversations seem to be consumed with your new baby, some function of toilet training or how your husband seems to do nothing around the house.
Here’s the problem with this entire piece, in a nutshell: Miss Elisa Gonzalez Clark is in her 30s and is mad at her friend for not being exactly the same as she was more than 10 years ago.
Actually, I should say Mrs. Gonzalez Clark, since as Amanda points out, despite all her denunciations of her friends’ conventionality in getting married and having kids and not being so punk rawk anymore, she herself got hitched and took her husband’s name on top of it.
I mean, taking your husband’s name? That’s soooo Guy Lombardo, Punk Princess. Though I doubt Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians would stoop so low as to rationalize their choice by snotting at their friends this way:
I was never a big believer in marriage and procreation. No one was more surprised than I was when I became engaged six months after a first date. Then you and my other leg-shackled pals asked me, “So, when are you having kids?”
“What? We just got engaged!” I said. And unlike you guys, we didn’t have to get married.
Sweetie, own your choices. For crap’s sake.
Rebecca Traister also commented on this piece, pointing out that there was a germ of an idea that Gonzalez Clark completely fucked up because of her posturing and bile:
The most poignant point Gonzalez Clark makes, to my mind, is about her impulse to cry when her friend tells her that she is going to go through with an unplanned pregnancy because, without kids, she “didn’t feel complete as a woman.” “You were always complete to me,” writes Gonzalez Clark. “You were always so confident, smart, bright and such a great friend.”. . .
OK. I completely agree with what I think might be Gonzalez Clark’s larger ideas about how the fetishization of motherhood — the idea that women only reach their highest potential as mothers, that they are incomplete as women or humans without children, and that once they have them their lives must revolve around only them — is dangerous and regressive and worth bitching mightily about. The country does seem dangerously ensnarled in a backlash cult of mommy madness that values the lives of children over the lives of mothers, and has unnecessarily professionalized the job of child-rearing to the point where women must sacrifice everything else in their world in order to do it right.
The problem here, as I see it, is that Gonzalez Clark doesn’t serve her point well by being so goddamn fucking immature about the fact that her friends’ lives have taken different turns than hers in the past decade. Decade! And she doesn’t serve the rest of us — you know, the ones who are fighting against the idea that motherhood is the only way for a woman to be considered a woman, that being single and childfree is to be a child oneself — very well, either, with her whining about dirty diapers being the reason her friends don’t want to endlessly reminisce about flirting with Johnny Depp and making out with guys up against cars.
I mean, for fuck’s sake. I’m 38 myself. I’m not the same girl I was when I was in my early 20s, for the simple reason that I’m not a goddamned girl anymore.
* Like, really. Anyone whining that all the childfree hate children or are Just! Like! Antisemites! or hate the elderly and disabled or want to eliminate school funding or are awful, awful people will be thrown in the wolverine pen along with the people who misuse “A Modest Proposal.” I’m warning you.