It was recently confirmed that more women than ever are choosing not to have children. And, yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that, considering we’re now living in the 21st century, women’s reproductive choices would be respected – after all, there are all sorts of reasons why people may choose to hold off or opt out of parenting altogether
Sadly, however, many child-free women still find themselves under a harsh spotlight. Questions like “why haven’t you had kids yet?” and “when you have kids, do you think you’ll quit your job?” rain down from every direction. More infuriating still are those people who refuse to accept your anti-spawning status, reminding you that “your biological clock is ticking”, and “you’ll change your mind one day”.
It’s outrageous, and intrusive, and tiresome. And Imgur user marlboroprincess, who has been married for three years, has finally had enough.
Read more: Adele praises ‘bravery’ of child-free women
Tired of nosy relatives and general busybodies asking her deeply personal questions about her reproductive status, she decided to teach them all a lesson with a mysterious baby bump photo.
“My husband and I have been married for three years and everyone is bugging us about having a baby,” she captioned the shot, using a tape measure to document the progress of her blossoming bump.
However not all is as it appears. Check it out:
“Close enough, right?”
Of course it wasn’t a baby bump under her stylish striped top; instead, it was her gorgeous new puppy, Leelu.
Unsurprisingly, the image has gone down a storm on social media, with hundreds of women praising marlboroprincess’ ballsy move – and sharing their own experiences of being shamed for their child-free status.
“The social pressure to have a baby is real,” said one.
Another added: “My mother in law asks me constantly when we're going to have kids. I feel like screaming ‘We've been trying for 3 f**cking years’ every time.”
“I'm child free and f**king happy,” revealed one commenter. “NO ONE is going to question my reproductive choices with any success.”
While marlboroprincess attempted to channel the Dalai Llama’s teachings (‘laughter is the best revenge’) in her post, other women in the public eye have spoken up to address this issue in a more serious fashion.
Read more: “So, when are you going to have kids?”
Earlier this year, Jennifer Aniston penned a blistering op-ed about sexist stereotyping in the media – particularly focusing on the stigma attached to so many women in the public eye, whether they’re single, divorced, or living a child-free lifestyle.
She later told Marie Claire that she was sick of being ‘shamed’ for her choices, saying: “I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.”
The moral of this story?
We need to stop asking women if they want to have kids, because a) it’s none of our business, and b) we’ve accepted this ambivalence about children from men for centuries. Not to accept the same from women is just pure sexism.
Or, to put it in the words of renowned feminist Gloria Steinem: “Everybody with a womb doesn’t have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal chords has to be an opera singer.”