Lysol and Tollhouse cookie commercials are losing their ability to pressure women to have children, since it's becoming quite obvious that childless women can enjoy disinfecting their marinara sauced counters and getting blazed with a bucket of cookie dough, too. The results of a new study published in the October issue of The Journal of Marriage and Family suggest that, while, women who choose to remain childfree in today's groovy world of contraception feel more pressure to reproduce than other women without children, they aren't distressed about their placid lifestyle of going to weekend matinees, drinking at their leisure, and watching premium cable, probably because doing all of those things = wonderful.
Study author Julia McQuillan, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist, explained that, though motherhood in the United States was all knotted up with adult femininity, women have little to absolutely no qualms about choosing not to be mothers (women who didn't have children because of fertility issues were, unsurprisingly, significantly more distressed about being childless). Said McQuillan:
Motherhood is so highly connected with adult femininity in the United States that many women feel that they need to be mothers. Yet we also found that there are women who have low or no distress about not being mothers, even if their friends and family want them to have children.
In order to figure out that childless-by-choice women weren't melting into puddles of unused genetic material in their well-appointed and mercifully clean homes, McQuillan and her colleagues surveyed 1,200 American women without children about their reasons for staying baby-free. Among some of the most common reasons women had for forgoing motherhood were a simple desire not to have kids, financial concerns, education or career demands, or the absence of a suitable partner. It was only when women themselves viewed motherhood as important that pressure from family, friends, or the child-hungry media caused them any distress.
Interestingly, the study found that religious women experienced less pressure from media images to have children, whereas their irreligious (let's just say faithlessly pagan) counterparts were more susceptible to saccharine commercials for tear-free shampoo. Women who chose to remain childfree, however, have the last laugh — they have the most $$$$ of all the women in the study, probably because they're not using it to feed the insidious infant paraphernalia industry.
‘Childfree' Women Feel Little Distress, Study Finds [LiveScience]
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