December 20, 2014

Celebrities, WiNKs, Taboos and The Childfree Apology

Rosie O'Donnell at the premiere of I Am Becaus...

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Many childfree celebrities keep their choices to themselves. Perhaps they’d rather let the press and public wonder about their sexuality than risk offending the mommy constituency? Others admit their choice apologetically. “I love kids but….”, begins the required apology. Even Chaz Bono and his girlfriend didn’t dare say they don’t want babies. For Becoming Chaz they filmed every day of a difficult decision and taboo sexual transition, but when Rosie O’Donnell asked them about kids, they responded sheepishly, of course, apologizing for even thinking about staying childfree.

Wow. Even gay and transgender couples have to do this dance these days? O’Donnell, mother of many, didn’t push them or suggest they might end up regretful or lonely. She said that her advice to anyone who has any doubt is not to have children. Don’t do it. Something like that. Refreshing? Surprising? To me at least.

So when Roseanne Barr said, “Don’t have babies. Don’t get married and have kids. Have a larger life than that.” on national TV, I was among the many, including her own children, who found it shocking. Not because of the content of her message. Not because I doubted her sanity, but because it isn’t something mothers say. Is it something mothers are allowed to even think in our society? Is a mother that fantasizes about what her life without children could have been or could be committing an unspeakable sin against her family and community? Yes. It seems. Because we know it happens, yet no one is articulating what they think.

And when a mother DOES speak out against mothering like Roseanne did on Roseanne’s Nuts? Is she inviting the hatred and judgment hoisted on Casey Anthony? (Also guilty of not wanting kids at the very, very least.) No. But she’s entering taboo territory, a place where people overreact and use the word “crazy”. Roseanne was bold. Because these are words that mothers aren’t allowed to speak. “Don’t have kids” or “I wish I didn’t have kids” are somehow heard as “I wish they weren’t alive” or “I hate children”. It seems. What do you think?

From where I stand, men are given much more room than Rosanne and other women to vent, admit, complain or translate their desire for silence and freedom and fresh air into advice or comedy. (See Louis C.K., Doug Stanhope, Aziz Ansari, Jason Jones and Drew Magary video links below.) Mothers seem to police themselves, vigilantly. I wonder if their own fleeting fantasies, and resulting guilt, might cause moms to judge women like Chelsea Handler and Roseanne Barr quickly and often harshly?

I also wonder if the same taboos, caution, guilt or misperceptions keep our families from acknowledging this site or our friends from clicking a little button that says “like”, even though much of the content, contributed by teachers and mentors, is about parenting, the environment, economics and psychology.

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2 Videos: Childfree Chelsea Handler

For those of you that saw our previous FB post of childfree Chelsea Handler and asked for more, we borrowed this one from Alvaro and our friends on “Happily Childfree“.

Ms. Handler is one of the few female comics (that I know of) with the balls to twist her own taboo baby bashing into thought provoking and funny. Louis C.K.’s “Kids Suck” rants are touching and funny and Aziz Ansari’s take is hilarious too, but the first is a parent and neither would seem to risk the wrath of mommies like a female comic does when she says

“I could have been a mother too okay, three times, but I made the right decisions.”

What do you think? Do you have examples of other women doing this kind of comedy?

Here’s Chelsea Handler’s interview that we posted on Facebook in May:

I’m not sure if the interview occurred before or after the Laugh Factory routine.

1) Video: Aziz Ansari Is Afraid of Babies

2) Kids Suck?: Deadpan and Deadspin Daddies are FUNNY

3) Video: Amy Poehler’s Tip For Traveling With Children

4) Video Vasectomy Shocker: A Survivor’s Tale of Survival

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Video: Aziz Ansari Is Afraid of Babies

 

Aziz’s Friends: “Aziz! You’re not going to believe it! I just had a baby!”

 

Aziz: “Hahahahaha! That sucks! Oh man, you’re going to have to take care of that thing for18 years and make sure it doesn’t murder anyone! I’ll talk to you later. I’m going to go do literally anything I want.”

And if you want to keep laughing or prefer conversation staring comedy from daddies, have a look at Louis C.k. and Drew Magary on WNK here.

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Kids Suck?: Deadpan and Deadspin Daddies are FUNNY

This one is for the football fans and any parents or childfree readers that appreciate the role comedy can play in lightening a mood or dissolving taboos.

Louis C.K. says “Kids Suck”

and Deadspin.com‘s Drew Magary suggests “It’s Okay To Love Your TV More Than Your Children”

“Let’s just get this out of the way: Of course I love the television more than my own children. That TV cost a mere $700. I spend that much on diapers every fucking year. It has a functional mute button, which means I do not have to hear it if I don’t want to. The people who appear on the TV set are far more articulate than my 1-year-old, and thus more interesting to listen to (unless the people in question are Chris Berman and Steve Young). The TV takes up less space and doesn’t leave toys and bits of cake all over the goddamn place.”

They might be kidding or just pandering, but from my seat, it is clear that they make us laugh by shining a light on things that everyone thinks (sometimes?), but few are saying. That and just plain good story telling. And even if you aren’t laughing after reading and watching, maybe you’ll agree that these daddies are helping future parents and those who may one day choose not to breed by sharing their thoughts, experiences, honesty and hyperbole. We know having kids aint easy, and what better way to give us all permission to say so than through comedy? The only question is, are these things mommies can get away with saying. (If you know of any moms that are, please share them with us.)

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