Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jillian on the Hot Seat

Fitness guru Jillian Michaels is in hot water with moms over a recent comment she made in an article in Women's Health Magazine and now she's doing some serious damage control (and from the looks of it, a bit of backpedaling too).

In the article, she commented on her feelings about pregnancy: "I'm going to adopt. I can't handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."

Immediately, the media pounced on her, sensationalizing her comments by stating she wouldn't get pregnant because it would ruin her body. Of course, this sent moms everywhere in a collective hissy-fit. How could she choose a beautiful body over MOTHERHOOD!?? What kind of woman would put her looks and physique above pregnancy and childbirth - the pinacle of womanhood???!!! What a horrible, selfish creature!!!

On and on it went - I saw this story featured on every celebrity/entertainment and morning news show I flipped past. It was the hot topic of the week.

And there in the middle of the uproar is Jillian, steadfastly defending herself and expressing hurt feelings over being misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? Yes. Apparently, when she said, "I can't handle doing that to my body" she didn't mean ruining her body. She meant that she has some serious, deep-seated body issues that make it impossible for her to handle pregnancy. Okay, Jillian, we'll give you a pass because we know you're really getting slammed and you have a lucrative empire to protect, but truth be told, you're not fooling us.

The fact is, pregnancy DOES ruin women's bodies. Sure, the media likes to create sensational frenzies over the beautiful post-baby celebrity bods, but any real woman with two brain cells in her head knows that these women are freak-of-nature exceptions to the rule - privileged women with private chefs, nutritionists, personal trainers, nannies and unlimited access to plastic surgery. The vast majority of women do not look like Halle Berry or Heidi Klum after giving birth. They look like this.

Let's not forget that in Jillian's case, her rockin' physique is her livelihood, so it seems not only forgiveable, but completely reasonable and prudent that she forego wrecking her body with pregnancy and childbirth.

And here's an angle that nobody's taken yet: how about some praise for Jillian for stating that she will adopt - a far more generous and selfless act than bringing another human being into this already-overcrowded world? I find it very telling that no media outlet has touched that part of her quote. Her comment on adoption makes her sound nice, and good, and selfless - in other words, not the vain, selfish, narcissist they want to make her out to be. Nice, good and selfless are boring but vain, selfish narcissism sell lots of magazines.

Our culture is so warped when it comes to celebrity. And it is even more warped when it comes to motherhood, putting both on ridiculously high pedestals that are just begging to be toppled over. It's time we take celebrities AND mothers off their damned pedestals and stop holding celebs accountable as model mothers. Or in Jillian's case, as potential mother.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Say it Loud: Childfree and Proud

Lisa Hymas is childfree and proud of it! In this article, she shares her view of the childfree lifestyle with a special focus on the environmental benefits of our lifestyle.

Say it Loud: I'm Childfree and I'm Proud

Thanks, Lisa, for sending me the link.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Meanderings

Sorry I've been an absentee blogger for awhile...things have just been extra insane in my life recently and I have been having a hard time concentrating on the fun side projects in my life, like this blog.

But I thought I would pop in today and say hello and tell you about a couple of things that happened today that are relevant to Childfreedom.

It is such a beautiful day today - the perfect spring day - so at lunchtime I took a walk through the university campus near my office. Everything was in full bloom and students were everywhere - walking about, sunbathing on lawns and some (as is customary at this university) were standing in the middle of the walkway trying to draw attention to a cause. Today I wished I had had my smart phone with me so I could have videotaped this for the blog. There was a group of college boys wearing feather boas around their necks and waving signs that said, "No More Babies!!!" while yelling out about how we don't need anymore babies! "Has a baby ever wiped YOUR ass?!!" "Babies take up too much space!" "We're sick of baby carriages everywhere!!!", "PRO WOMAN, ANTI BABY!" and so on.

It was obvious that they were just having fun and trying to shock people into laughing at their silliness, but when I walked by, I gave them a thumbs up and smiled at them. Then, a few minutes later, as I walked by them again, I stopped and decided to have some fun with them. I told them (with a serious face) that I was really interested in their cause and asked them about the mission of their organization. The young man I spoke to first kinda giggled (because obviously there is no organization or mission and they're just there to shock people) so after he floundered a little bit, another young man (who was really intent on making this seem like a serious protest), jumped in with a full anti-baby speech (loud enough for those passing by to hear). I told them I was in full support of their cause and rattled off my own list of anti-baby propaganda (focusing on the media, and environmental issues). I could tell within a minute that the fact that someone was taking them seriously (a middle-aged woman no less) was upsetting their apple cart a little bit. They weren't shocking me at all. In fact, I think I was shocking them a little.

Anyway, I guess it says something about me that these are the kinds of things I like to do for fun.

Back at the office after lunch, one of my staff members came into say hello and shoot the breeze. We got to talking about our husbands and she asked me how hubby and I met so I gave her the full story of how I was shopping in a music store and was wearing my guitar pendant and he was wearing a drum cymbal pendant and we commented on each other's necklaces and it was destiny! I happened to have some old photos handy in an on-line album, so I showed them to her - photos of hubby and me when we met (when both of us had big hair), dancing at a blues bar, camping at our favorite state park, photos of us dressed up in sombreros at a Mexican party, etc. The more I talked about hubby, the more my eyes must have been twinkling because she turned to me and said:

I can see why you decided not to have kids. You have everything you need already.

It's so cool when a parent gets the choice to be childfree. It's not that I need the acceptance or understanding, but it just feels so gratifying to be perceived as smart and fortunate for being childfree, instead of as a pitiable, misguided fool (which seems to be how most parents perceive us).

Anyway, this got me thinking about my marriage to hubby and I wondered whether I would still have the same twinkle in my eyes if we were saddled with kids, struggling to make ends meet, arguing over housework and childrearing issues and collapsing into bed exhausted every night. I doubt it. There's enough strain and responsibility in life to rally against without kids, but as a united and undiluted twosome, we somehow manage to stay above the fray.