Viewing entries tagged
contraception

The Childfree Life

The Childfree Life

Do we have an obligation to reproduce or is it okay to not want kids?

                   The choice to live your life childfree is still surprisingly taboo, even given the modern propensity for contraception and increasing reproductive freedom.  It’s got to be said, there is a clear distinction between being childless and childfree.  Whilst the former would like to have children but cannot, be it due to infertility or illness or whatever, this issue is one that deals primarily with the latter – the childfree, those who are able but choose not to procreate.  The choice to not have children often shocks people and the proclamation is, more often than not, met with insidious comments like “there must be something wrong with you,” “that’s just selfish,” “you were a child once,” and worse “you’ll change your mind when you get older/meet the right man/your biological clock starts ticking”.  It’s surprising, primarily, because in an age when we pride ourselves on freedom and choice, we still ultimately put an obligation on reproduction. 

 The ‘unnaturalness’ of it all

 As anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy points out, women are associated with the ideals of nurturing and child-rearing and so, when a woman decides that she wants to remain childfree – or worse, declares that motherhood was a mistake after the fact – they are seen as unnatural[1], as though something is wrong with them.  Jessica Valenti argues that all women are separated into two distinct categories: mothers and non-mothers[2] and in this way, parenthood defines us.  Not whether we are or are going to be good parents of course, just whether or not we are parents – and the idea that we will be, and that we want to be, is still seen as our ‘default setting’. 

Improving the Male Condom

Improving the Male Condom

Last November, 812 creative minds set out to improve one of the most important tools in sexual health, the male condom. Their work was in response to a contest sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that wanted to encourage new innovations to make the condom more functional, comfortable, and more likely to be used. The foundation chose 11 winners, out of the over 800 participants, who were awarded with $100,000 to further develop their idea. The idea that shows the most promise after this development will receive another $1 million to continue work on their product.

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