November 28, 2014

Study: Wanting Things (Kids?) Makes Us Happier Than Having Them

theofficebabyThis article, Study: Wanting Things Makes Us Happier Than Having Them,

does not mention children specifically, but… should it?

Is the modern desire for children, like our want for other new, shiny things, a result of relentless marketing?

 

The most defensible, obvious answer to both of the questions above is “No”.  Biology, instinct, and the innate need to survive and thrive fuel our animalistic drive to procreate. Hormones propel us to copulate and populate, so chow can one lay the blame for overpopulation at the feet of media and advertising?

 

For starters, in developed countries at least, children no longer have utility beyond fulfilling the (selfish) desires of parents. As many others have reminded us (as in the first story on the following link) children are no longer needed to work the farm or otherwise help support modern families. While children were once a valuable asset, they now appear exclusively on the debit side of a family balance sheet. They are expensive, and the return on capital is not something that can be measured with a calculator. (Nor should it, I promise all the detached, cold calculus leads to something resembling a point.)

 

So how do we modern, western humans place a value on having babies and raising families? Well, this is where one might reflect on what we see in commercials or hear from celebrities. What about the endless celebration of babies on movie and TV, starting with Disney movies? Which life events are repeatedly, FOREVER, packed with the most drama, joy and possibility? How many babies do you think are born to TV characters every year during sweeps week? More importantly, WHY?

 

Money?

 

Babies are big, big business. Since the value of children can no longer be calculated, corporations are compelled to fill us with fantasies of a perfect life dependent upon, or punctuated by, a perfect child. The messages we constantly hear and see tell us that babies are priceless, and they make us happy. So, am I imagining things, or is this possibly the western worlds most effective marketing scheme?

 

Since babies are priceless, there is no ceiling on the amount of money that can/should be spent on them. If you do not spend every earned and borrowed penny on them, you are depriving them, and probably guilty of bad parenting. Your kids probably won’t succeed because you didn’t buy them every possible toy, tool and opportunity. No one is allowed to openly disagree. Parents, especially celebrities, must constantly and publicly repeat the same vague platitudes like “It’s amazing!” or “It’s all about the baby.” or “It gives my life meaning.” If you have 1 child, their birthday better be the best day of your life. (Meaning that it was all down hill from there?) If you have 2, it better be a tie!

 

Biology does not account for these things, does it? So what does? Marketing? Brilliant marketing?

This item is priceless + it is virtually guaranteed by your neighbors and celebrities to make you happy + fear + guilt + insecurity = ?

 

What do you think?

 

The links in the text above provide more links to related stories. And here is one about an actor swimming upstream:

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Childfree Celebrity: Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) of Mad Men

Mad Men

Mad Men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight is the anxiously awaited season six  premier of Mad Men. While the show is always controversial, so are many of the show’s stars. Famously kid free and car free, for environmental reasons, Vincent Kartheiser just got engaged to co-star Alexis Bledel–his mistress on the show. (Big congrats from WNK!)

 

Does that mean we can add Bledel to the childfree celebrity roster? So far no comment from either celebrity regarding their kid or car plans. Like the Mad Men this story could be titled: To Be Continued…

 

 

Not only is Greenie Kartheiser childfree he is also: car-free, meat-free and toilet-free. Is he mad?

Video from msnbc via PopCrunch:

Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel (Photo credit: gdcgraphics)

Childfree Celebrities: Famous Hollywood Edition: Actors and Musicians– Women’s History Month

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Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time for another fun list of childfree celebrities. We could list many famous women who do not have kids but these women have something to say about being childfree and proud!

This time we celebrate our favorite actresses,

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (Photo credit: aclbraga)

comediennes, TV personalities and musicians:

Oprah Winfrey – Media guru

Dolly Parton – Actress, singer-songwriter

Betty White – Actress

Janeane Garofalo – Comedian, actress and political activist

Eva Mendes – Actress

Tallulah Bankhead – Actress of the stage and screen

Paulette Goddard – Actress and Broadway performer

Stockard Channing – Actress

Sarah Brightman – English classical soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer

Shirley Manson – Scottish singer and actress, lead singer of rock band Garbage

Claudette Colbert – French-born American-based actress

Lauren Hutton – American model and actress

Mary Chapin Carpenter – American folk and country musician and winner of five Grammy Awards

Mary Pickford – Actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daphne Zuniga – Actress

Ginger Rogers – Actress, dancer, and singer

Cameron Diaz – Actress, model

Kathy Griffin –  Comedian, actress “It seems like kids don’t have the rights they need. For example a prison sentence for a child molester is so so incredibly low and yet in a way, kids are running the world (in many ways) it revolves around these kids but I don’t feel like we’re really protecting them. I want to really protect kids. I want to give them rights they need, I don’t want to give them the right to annoy me in a restaurant, I want to give them the right not to get molested.”

Caitlin Moran – British TV Personality  “No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.”

Christine McVie – Singer Fleetwood Mac

Nanci Griffith – Singer, guitarist and songwriter

Bo Derek – Actress, model and animal welfare activist

Bonnie Raitt – American blues singer-songwriter

Jean Arthur – Actress and major film star during the 1930s-40s

Julie Christie – Actress and Academy Award winner, starred in Doctor Zhivago

Lily Tomlin – Actress, comedian and writer

Jaqueline Bisset – Actress

Lara Flint Boyle – Actress

Mae West – Actress and sex symbol

Jean Harlow – Actress and sex symbol

Helen Mirren – Award-winning actress

Marisa Tomei – Actress

Dusty Springfield – British pop singer

Janet Jackson –  Singer, songwriter and actress

Billie Holiday –  American jazz singer and songwriter

Katharine Hepburn –  Actress and winner of four academy awards

Marilyn Monroe – Icon,  actress, singer and model

Liza Minnelli – Actress and singer

Janis Joplin – Singer and songwriter

Stevie Nicks – Singer, member of  Fleetwood Mac

Portia de Rossi – Actress

Bessie Smith – Blues singer of the 1920s and 30s

Debbie Harry – lead singer of Blondie

Pam Grier – Actress

Gloria Gaynor – Singer

Mary Pickford – Actress and co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Bettie Page – Pin-up girl

Ashley Judd – Actress, women’s rights activist “Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”

Zooey Deschanel – On kids from a Marie Claire interview:  “Don’t hold your breath waiting for Deschanel to announce a pregnancy, either. “That’s never been my focus,” she said of having children. “I like kids, and I like being around kids, but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need. I like working. That’s what I like doing. I like to work.”

Ava Gardner – Actress

Greta Garbo – Actress

Ellen Degeneres – Television host, actress and stand-up comedian

Margaret Cho – Actress, comedian, women’s rights activist and LGBT rights activist

Maria Callas – Soprano opera singer

Leah Dunham – Writer, director, actress

Kim Cattrall – Actress

Jo Frost – British nanny and television personality, better known as Supernanny

Julia Child – American chef, tv personality and author.

Rachel Ray – TV Chef

Quite an accomplished list! Did we miss anyone WNKies?

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Childfree Celebrities: Famous Authors Edition – Women’s History Month

Cover of "The Second Sex"

Cover of The Second Sex

As a children’s author I once wrote a post about Dr. Suess and other famous kiddie-lit authors that didn’t have kids.

 

You can read it here.

 

Notable female childfree children’s authors include: Margaret Wise Brown, famous for “Good Night Moon,”  Beatrix Potter of “Peter’s Rabbit” fame, and Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women.”

 

Here is a list of other famous female writers, authors and journalists who made their mark on the world with their words and not their offspring. It’s quite an impressive club:

 

Elizabeth Gilbert – Author, “Eat Pray Love

 

Marie Colvin – Award-winning American journalist for the British newspaper The Sunday Times

 

Dorothy Parker – American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist

 

Anaïs Nin – Author

 

Melanie Notkin – Founder of SavvyAuntie.com, Author of “Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids” (Morrow/HarperCollins 2011)

 

Rachel Carson – Conservationist and author of  “Silent Spring”

 

The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anita Brookner – British novelist and art historian

 

Amy Tan –  American writer best known for her book “The Joy Luck Club

 

Harper Lee – Author, “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

Marian Keyes – Author

 

Maeve Binchy – Novelist

 

Virginia Woolf – Author

 

Hilary Mantel – Novelist

 

Simone de Beauvoir – Author, “The Second Sex

 

Charlotte Bronte – Author, “Jane Eyre”

 

Edith Wharton – Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist

 

Jane Austen – Author, “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility”

 

Isek Dineson – (pen name Karen Blixen) author of “Out of Africa”

 

Gloria Steinem – American feminist, journalist and political activist

 

WNKies do you know any other women that should be added to this list?

 

 

 

Childfree Celebrities: Artist Edition – Women’s History Month

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussi...

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussion of her works below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So I’m an artist and a woman and I’m a little annoyed that there isn’t an Artist’s History Month. I will celebrate Women’s History Month and bemoan the fact that it’s during crappy mud season, but hey, women are used to getting the shaft. Let’s make a pledge to have Women’s History Month last all year. Let’s celebrate our freedom to make choices and use our voices. We are still questioned about our childfree status and told we can’t “have it all” (which to many means career and children and a happy life). My career, happy marriage, and childfree lifestyle is everything,

 

and my art is my legacy. Here is a list of fabulous female artists (fine arts) who chose to have it all – just not kids! This month I will be including women from other fields who are my childfree (s)heroes!

 

Georgia O’Keeffe – Painter

 

Frida Kahlo – Painter

 

Mary Cassatt – Painter

 

Lee Krasner – Painter

 

Zaha Hadid – Architect “I have not sacrificed my private life. It was not an issue for me. It wasn’t a choice. I don’t think one has to get married. Nor are you obliged to have children if you don’t want them. I didn’t think Oh dear, I can’t have kids – it was never like that, it was not a sacrifice. If I had been with the right person and I’d had kids I’m sure I could have managed”

 

Tracey Emin – Artist. Emin once said that being childless is difficult because “you’re treated like a witch.”

 

Cath Kidson – Designer

 

Coco Chanel – Designer

 

Edith Head – Costume Designer

 

Jessie Wilcox Smith – Illustrator

 

Kate Greenaway – Illustrator

 

Beatrice Wood – Artist

 

Hey WNKers: Can you think of others?

 

My Bestie is Having a Baby: Green Baby Gifts

For the millionth time, just because I don’t want kids doesn’t mean I don’t like kids or don’t support my friends having kids. I have three amazing and perfect godchildren and I’m a children’s author – I need kids!

Still, when my besties started having babies I can’t say I wasn’t worried about things changing – I knew that they would. I’m genuinely excited and nervous about our new roles and how I will fit in. I want to be a loving “auntie” and hope that my childlessness isn’t a cause for concern.

While I’m trying to be a good prenatal buddy, I’m just not sure if I doing it right. Do I ask too many questions about pregnancy? Not enough? Am I offering too much help? Not enough? Is it bad if I still want to talk about reality shows instead of strollers? I’m afraid that I can’t still be myself and admit that I’m little jealous of junior.

But my biggest fear of all is: What if the babies don’t like me?

My solution? Buy the best baby gift! At WNK we promote an environmental agenda and prefer when people decide to have children they consider their carbon footprint by having green babies. In the past I’ve mentioned buying cloth diapers for my favorite green mama. And I just bought a personal website for a Christening gift. Unusual? Yes. Green? Absolutely!

For other green ideas check out environmentally friendly baby products from celebrity eco-parents like Jessica Alba and Soleil Moon Frye: Green gifts.

Of course nothing says you care like a signed book by your favorite kid’s author.

Hey WNKs what is your favorite baby gift?

 

 

Photo Essay?: Childfree Celebrities

Celebrities

Celebrities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you recognize these faces? Can you tell who’s missing, based on previous Why No Kids stories about childless or child-free celebrities? Are there any celebrities without kids missing? Do you recognize anyone who has recently had a baby?

Related articles

 

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Dr. Seuss: “Celebrity No Kids” Funny Follow Up

Cover of "Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read ...

Cover via Amazon

WNK readers were amazed to learn that the guy who wrote the most notable kid’s books of all time, Dr. Seuss, never had kids of his own.

We recently stumbled upon a funny blog post from our friends at “I Kid You Not” waxing in Seussian rhyme about the argument to be or not to be child free:

(From www.choosingkidfree.wordpress.com)

“Except in this version, Sam-I-Am is a chick named Mindy Sue who believes everyone should procreate and green eggs and ham are the little buggers themselves.

I’m Mindy Sue.

That Mindy Sue.
That Mindy Sue.
I do not like that Mindy Sue.

Don’t you want a kid or two?

I do not want one, Mindy Sue.
I do not want a kid or two.

Do you want one in a year?

I do not want one in a year.
I’d rather shove glass up my rear.
I’m happy being childfree.
Now take a hike and let me be.

But don’t you like kids when you fly
Even though they scream and cry?

I do not like them on a plane.
I do not like them on a train.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.

Don’t you like them where you eat?
Don’t you think they’re cute and sweet?

Not where I eat.
Not at the beach.
Not at the park.
Not on an ark.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.

Do you like them at the store?
I’m sure you would if they were yours.

I do not like them at the store.
I don’t want kids.
But wait! There’s more:
I do not like them where I eat.
I do not like them at the beach.
I do not like them on a plane.
I do not like them on a train.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them ANYWHERE.

But every little girl and boy
Is a precious gift, a joy!

Holy balls, give me a break
I just don’t think kids are so great.
I like to fly and eat in peace.
Now please go take a flying leap.

  • http://whynokids.com/uncategorized/dr-suess-didnt-have-kids/
  • http://americanvision.org/975/dr-seuss-had-no-children-of-his-own/

No Kids for Fiona Apple

Former teen prodigy singer-songwriter Fiona Apple doesn’t want kids, still she carries around a curious tome: Raising Happiness,

10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Perhaps it’s to deal with the parentalization

Tidal (album)

Tidal (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

she experienced in her own childhood.

“When it comes to parenting, Fiona confesses that, “No, I’ve never wanted kids. But I do read about parenting a lot. For some reason it’s very interesting to me – I think because I’m just big on self-parenting. But I read this thing in a nautical book about how when ropes get frayed you’d use the whipping cords to fix the ends. The whole thing of the whipping cords is that, if I did have kids, I could either teach them how to stay out of trouble — or how to get out of trouble, which I think is more important. Because no matter how well prepared you are in life, you’re gonna fall down a hole, and if you can fix the frayed ends of things, then you’re better off.”

Apple’s new album, “The Idler Wheel…” is another critical masterpiece. Maybe she is the mother of a beautiful baby after all.

Hey WNKers, do you occasionally peruse parenting books?

You’ll Change Your Mind: Why No Kids? Celebrity Edition

One of the comments that the childfree just love to hear is, “You’ll change your mind!”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 05:  Actress Port...

Here’s a gallery of celebrities from our friends at mommyish.com  that are still rocking the childfree lifestyle.

The list includes the childfree celebrity “all stars” Cameron Diaz, Simon Cowell, Jennifer Aniston, and

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi with a funny quip about why they don’t have kids:

“We thought about it. We love to be around children after they’ve been fed and bathed. But we ultimately decided that we don’t want children of our own. There is far too much glass in our house.”