According to Daily Mail, Childless Women are Drunk, Lazy, Bitchy, and Weird

When Carol Sarler shares the following info over at the Daily Mail, you might assume that she’d then make an effort to defend the perfectly reasonable right of all women to decide when, if, and how they have children (IF being the operative word here):

Research conducted over six years shows that far from bosses and colleagues always being suspicious of a working mother, the opposite is becoming true: it is the childless woman who is regarded as cold and odd.
As a result, it is these single-track careerists who are increasingly likely to be vilified, refused jobs and denied promotion because many employers believe them to lack what the study calls ‘an essential humanity’.

Instead, this incredibly insensitive and just plain discriminatory writer, does everything in her literary powers to chastise any woman who doesn’t want children:

It’s not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they’ll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time.
It’s not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.
They’re not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they’re there to get out of the house; they’re there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they’re there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else’s feet.

I’m the kind of lady who has known she wanted kids since she was a kid. It’s just something I’ve felt in my bones. But it is exactly because it is such an intuitive, personal feeling that I know it isn’t necessarily, nor should it be, a shared sentiment. Raising children is a huge sacrifice–financially, emotionally, in terms of sleep and autonomy–and one that, yes, a lot of women and men are up for, but it is beyond understandable when folks don’t want to procreate. It actually makes more rational sense in a certain way.
If you love your childless life, and don’t feel the pull to procreate, why in the world would you do it? So you could be a better worker, as Sarler bizarrely suggests? So you can cease your boozing? So you can stop looking for a man (because, ahem, all women are heterosexual and all mothers are married. Wha?!)? So you can stop being such a bitch (this, too, makes perfect sense…childless women, who get eight restful hours of sleep, great sex, and can spend what would have been diaper money on a massage or a great meal are always such bitches!)?
Suffice it to say that this Sarler gal has gotta a lot of hate mail coming her way. And I hope it’s not just from those wacky childless women, but from all of us who champion every woman’s right to choose about children.
Thanks to multiple readers for giving up the heads up.

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60 Comments

  1. Pirate Jenny
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I also object to the idea that you are either:
    a. Healthy = able to have children
    b. Unhealthy = unable to have children
    As someone who had to have a radical hysterectomy I am both pysically healthy and unable to carry a child.
    Never either/or people. Always also/and.

  2. MASHBengal
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I think the two people who made those “Conversations” are going towards the difference between how men and women are treated wen it comes to being childfree or having kids. I used to hear similar conversations among co-workers and classmates at my university. If a woman has kids and is late, she’s a horrible person for not keeping the two seperate and not dedicating her life to her children. If she doesn’t have kids, she’s a horrible person who won’t get along with others and will eat your head off. A man without children are sometimes treated in the same manner. I’ve seen men without children treated better than women without children. I’ve even seen the blame shifted to a woman saying she’s being a bitch by not having his children. But a man with kids and he is late due to a child’s illness, it’s his wife/partner/girlfriend’s fault.

  3. niamhybeag
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    My mam thinks that having kids is one’s duty to God. Imagine her shock when, aged 16, I told her I didn’t want any. But that’s beside the point. Wow, what an incredibly closed-minded article. And it has absolutely no basis in reality. Yes, there are bitchy women that happen to not have children. There are also bitchy women that do have children. Same applies to men with and without children. And married/unmarried. Clue-by-four needed over here!

  4. uberhausfrau
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    can we please not assume that all childfree folks are getting great sleep, great sex/any sex, or have disposible income. or that parents are lacking the above.

  5. bluewavedruid.livejournal.com
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I’ve covered this on my blog, but I want to bring up a few points here too, with some differnt bits and pieces. Pardon the partial cross-posting folks.
    She doesn’t actually make any valid points as to why child-free women can’t be trusted. Just that we’re “weird”. Ah shit, hon’ we fuckin’ knew that already.
    What really bugs me though – because her stuff is all the same tripe I’ve heard a ton of times before – is the use of the term “distrust”. Somehow I can’t be trusted. Not because I’ve been proven to be unscrupulous or incompetent. I can’t be trusted because I am not using my ovaries and uterus to make babies.
    Oh, hello there Biological Determinism, haven’t seen you in a few weeks, how ya been?
    Ummmm, Martha Stewart has a kid, Oprah Winfrey doesn’t. There goes miss Daily Mail’s theory right there, eh?
    Anyway, like I said, it’s the trust thing that bugs me. I can’t take that. Mother’s never lie? Puh-leeze. Maybe she’s suggesting that we child-free (I’m NOT child-less, ‘cuz I’m not missing a darned thing TYVM) are lying to ourselves about not wanting babies. After all, our ovaries make us want ‘em right? That’s the problem with people like this. We all must want what she wants and anyone who doesn’t is lying to themselves.
    Wait a sec… Did that blasphemin’ harlot just call me a LIAR? Yep. She did. Sorry folks, but I ascribe to a faith that has “The Truth Against the World” as our motto. Calling me a liar is as insulting as it gets.
    But hey, don’t take it from me. After all I can’t be trusted.
    Cheers everyone,
    Blue

  6. ehartsay
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    “Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman’s right to choose all things at all times, there’s one choice I simply cannot understand: the choice of an otherwise sane and healthy woman not to have children.”
    Notice the ‘poisoning the well’ tactic here – your ‘otherwise sane and healthy’ comment clearly states that the choice NOT to have children must be insane and unhealthy as a foregone conclusion. Without actually having PROVED it at all, you present it as a given. Why? If YOU want or like something, assuming that you are sane (and judging from this article that is a BIG assumption), all other sane people must think the same as you? Quite a large logical fallacy here, and were are only on the first paragraph. Not very promising.
    ….

    Yet if she says she hasn’t a shred of maternal feeling in her, moreover, if she says she would prefer to concentrate on her career and that a child would only get in the way of it, then my head might acknowledge her right to do so. But my heart whispers: ‘Lady, you’re weird.’

    So anyone who doesn’t like the same things as you is ‘weird’ by your book? And of course if she is ‘weird’ by YOUR book, she must be objectively really weird and damaged? And you are the one saying that OTHER people are the ones with the problems? Seriously? Archaeology is my life – that doesn’t mean that I need to expect that other people must want to be archaeologists too – and it doesn’t mean that I think that there is anything wrong with them if they don’t. I am confident and happy enough in my own self and path not to need to validate myself by negatively judging those who do not want to follow that path. It is a well known trope that those who are truly happy in what they do, do not feel the need to judge those who do not want the same thing.

    It was welcome news, therefore, to discover this week that I am not alone.

    Because if other people share the same delusion or bigoted idea, that makes it all OK? Would you say the same to those who are racist or homophobic? It is OK, because there are others who feel the same?
    A stereotype being makes it no less bigoted.
    As a result, it is these single-track careerists who are increasingly likely to be vilified, refused jobs and denied promotion because many employers believe them to lack what the study calls ‘an essential humanity’. And I know exactly what they mean.
    I’m sure you do – it is already pretty clear that you can’t look beyond your own choices and lifestyle to allow that others may also be valid.
    And if that touch of ‘essential humanity’ – or its absence – colours such notably tough professions, it’s hardly surprising that employers are starting to notice that the same applies across the spectrum of workplaces.
    *Blinks* wait a minute – where exactly have you proven anything about lack of ‘essential humanity’? Did you drop a whole paragraph? The only mention you made was an idea held by some employers, and now you are trying to pretend that it is an established fact. You are trying to sneak in an unproven claim (a lack of humanity in those who don’t want kids) as a given fact. If you suggest that people who don’t have (or want) kids are less human you had better have something to support such an outrageous and offensive statement. How dare you.
    Of course, we need not be silly about it.
    Nobody wishes to see a female soldier in combat with a six-week-old infant in one arm and a rifle in the other.

    Assuming that she even WANTS the kid.
    ….But most jobs aren’t like that – and most children don’t stay babies for long.
    So what? Those who REALLY want to have kids will find a way to make it work, except for those hardest jobs. Therefore, those who don’t may NOT really want kids at all. Why is this such a shocking concept? Aside from the fact that YOU really like being a mother, and wanted to do it and were attracted to kids! Not everyone is the same as you. That does not make them wrong, damaged or faulty in some way. You are not the default for all women, and your personality is not the be all and end all for all women..
    They’re not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives;
    And women who don’t have kids are? Going after men is connected to whether or not you are in a committed sexual relationship, not whether you have children. You are conflating SINGLE and childless – these are not the same.
    …and they’re there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else’s feet.
    So, I am not going to work hard because I am only paying my own rent, buying my own food and clothes and medications? If I don’t have kids, I can just live on air? Or does it just matter less if *I* eat and have a place to live?
    Two-thirds of working mothers, a recent survey found, could not provide for the children they love in the manner they would wish if they lost their jobs. So there’s incentive for you.
    And if I lost my job, I couldn’t eat either – is that somehow less important? And I would have LESS access to public help, so I would be in WORSE shape. There is much less of a safety net for people without kids.

    The prioritising that may baffle other people is a cinch for a woman who has spent years juggling a household. Negotiating skills? A request for 10 per cent off an overdue invoice is nothing to a woman who has had to broker a deal on Britain’s Got Talent versus bedtime.

    Because if you don’t have children, you don’t have a household? Are you seriously suggesting that a deal that could affect people’s job security is LESS important than one kid’s bedtime?????

    When it comes to emergencies, if you have run all the way to a clinic with a terrified toddler vomiting down your neck then, trust me, a package delayed in transit is a piece of cake.

    And again, emergencies only count (or exist) if they are baby related?
    And if those are the tangibles, the intangibles – the ‘essential humanity’ – are more important still.
    So? Are you saying that those without children don’t have ‘essential humanity’? Are you only allowed to get to be human after having kids? And does this mean that you don’t think your kids are really fully human yet?

    You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work.

    Actually, you CAN very well be a mother and learn none of those things. Not a GOOD mother, but not all mothers ARE.
    Note the unspoken implication that the women who don’t have kids do NOT have those things. This implies that the ONLY way to knowing something about “selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work” is to have kids. I would love to see you back this up! Why do you have to have kids for any of the above? Yes, you can develop in those areas through kids, but there are countless other ways, not any less important or valid. People are either originally essentially decent in those areas, or they are not. If they are, they do not need to have kids to develop as a person.
    You cannot – surely – be a boss and not value assets such as those in your staff.
    But apparently only in those members of your staff who have a similar personal life to yourself? Or does the ‘good’ boss assume that only the people who have a similar personal life to her could have those good qualities? Funny, that sounds more like a BIGOTED boss to me. Do you have the same views of people who don’t have the same sexual orientation or religion as you?
    …But, more than all the things we want, we actually need our children; they complete us as women, they are our light and our love and our legacy.
    And so all other women need to feel the same? Who made YOU the judge of the entire gender? There is something wrong with me because I am complete as a person myself? Do you tell the lesbians that they are wrong because they don’t need a man to complete them? I have different lights, different lives and different legacies than you. You are not the basis for measuring the lives and interests of other people – you are not the default woman, and you have no basis for telling me what should complete me.

    We feel desperately sorry for those who yearn for children they cannot have; the unwilling barren, if you will. But when we meet a woman who chooses her childlessness in the belief that there is something out there worth more, we smile politely even while – once again – our guts whisper: ‘Lady, you’re weird.’

    Why? What have you proved here? Every single argument you make is flawed and based on unspoken assumptions and leaps in logic. First you say that you feel that someone who does not want the same as you is weird, just because they are not like you and you can’t understand it. Now here you present it as some sort of objective observation. You feel that they are weird because they are not you, and because of that they are weird.
    So three cheers for the employers who are catching on, the ones who don’t want to people their workforces with the cold, the calculating, the sad and the mad. The only question is: what took you so long?
    And here you take it even further – now you feel free to insult me openly. How dare you impose your life on mine?
    Each of the things you say here has not been even remotely openly or honestly addressed, yet alone proven. You have not once clearly discussed women who don’t want kids –instead you talk about mothers and their supposed characteristics. Apparently, that was supposed to imply that women who don’t want kids don’t have any of those characteristics. I guess by implying in a sneaky way you didn’t think that you have to support what you say. Mothers are ‘caring’ and ‘hard working’? Well apparently that is supposed to mean that non-mothers are not? Why? How did you make this point, let alone support it?
    Cold? Where did you get this from? Why is not wanting what you want cold? You have never supported this in anyway. The same for calculating. Again no proof. Sad? According to whom? So now I have to be sad if I don’t have what you do, regardless if I want it or not? And MAD???? Here we really see your bigotry, and crazed narcissism straight out. You honestly think that if someone is not like you and doesn’t want to be like and live your life they must be crazy. If you ask me, THAT is the truly insane point of view.

  7. twincats
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I only drink in moderation and am only occasionally bitchy, but lazy and weird I gotta cop to. Oh, yeah, and selfish, too.
    But I’m a good worker, dammit! Even without kids. I even enjoy my occasional two hour craft clinics with kids that I have to do for my job, so there!
    Besides, being drunk, bitchy, lazy and weird seem like great reasons not to have kids.
    Unless the unhinged writer thinks that having kids will change these traits for good and always…

  8. wyndimarie
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    It is gross and it seems unreal. But I gotta tell ya. As someone who is not having children or getting married – many people really do believe this. So sad but true. Best way to fight this?For the women w/o children to keep showing up and proving them wrong.
    I love the support from the women who have and want children but it doesn’t do anything to counter the actual perception. Keep showing up and keep our voices out there.

  9. Prudence
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Stereotype upon stereotype upon stereotype!! This Daily Mail article was written by an actual woman?? A woman who must have surely faced some of these stereotypes herself? I have so many objections to her idiocy knocking to be let out of my head that I don’t know where to start, plus I’m afraid that I’ll be just as derogatory about someone or other if I try to counter her lame arguments because they are so extreme. Right, OK, take it as read that I think all types of women, whether they are mothers or not, just as capable and hard-working if that’s how they act (obviously there will be workers who are lazy bums, who just happen to be women, the same as there are lazy bums who are men). The gender of the worker cannot dictate their value as a worker. It’s nuts. This woman is nuts. Workers with children are given a lot of flexibility (in the UK) and this slack is often picked up by the childless workers. My husband tends to be sent away more on business than his colleagues who have children, precisely because he doesn’t have children. Whatever she says can be countered by plenty of examples, although I’m sure there are hard-working mothers out there, I’m not doubting that.
    A worker’s ability has nothing to do with gender or parental status.
    I hope someone didn’t pay her for this nonsense?
    I’m stupified…

  10. ehartsay
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Cold? Where did you get this from? Why is not wanting what you want cold? You have never supported this in anyway.

    As best I am able to reconstruct this argument, you are saying that motherhood causes you to be warm and caring, and therefore, you have to be a mother to be warm and caring so then not being a mother means you have to be cold and uncaring. This is full of fallacies.

    I could say that taking care of a big dog makes you warm and caring, but does that mean that people who don’t want a pet, or who prefer cats are cold and uncaring?

    And MAD???? Here we really see your bigotry, and crazed narcissism straight out. You honestly think that if someone is not like you and doesn’t want to be like and live your life they must be crazy. If you ask me, THAT is the truly insane point of view.

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