You’d be forgiven for thinking that, in 2017, women can choose a child-free lifestyle without being thrust under a harsh spotlight. However, as Anastacia points out in a candid new interview, a woman without a child is still seen as something of a taboo by modern society – so much so that people try to ‘explain’ or ‘excuse’ her decision for her.
The singer – who stole our hearts with her eclectic pop stylings in the early 2000s (think I’m Outta Love, Why’d You Lie To Me, and Not That Kind, to name just three of her hits) – was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few years after her career took off. And, when doctors later found that the disease had returned, Anastacia underwent a double mastectomy.
Since then, the musician has campaigned tirelessly for a number of cancer charities, as well as appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and launched a mammoth world tour. She’s been busy, yes – but not too busy to shut down thoughtless and insensitive comments about her reproductive choices.
Speaking on the Bizarre Life podcast, Anastacia admitted that, when she was younger, she did dream about starting a family of her own someday.
“I’m conscious of not having a child at this point in my life,” she said. “When I was younger I wanted, so the word wanted, wanted, wanted, was there until a certain period when I was like, ‘This is not going to happen’. Like, ‘Imagine having a kid right now?’”
Anastacia went on to stress that her decision not to have children is an “actual choice” that she has consciously made, not one which – as many have suggested – was forced upon her due to her breast cancer battle.
“Honey, all this works, don’t get it twisted,” she said firmly. “My parts are working.
“I choose not [to have kids], that’s what I mean. It’s an actual choice. I have to continually make that choice or it could happen.”
She added: “I don’t feel less of a woman by not having a child, I feel more of a woman by empowering myself to do what is right for me and not feel like I want to see me in a baby face.”
Kylie Minogue – who underwent radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and a partial mastectomy during her 2005 battle with breast cancer – has also said that she’s sick of people drawing conclusions about her child-free state.
Explaining that plenty of people have advised her that, in spite of all the fertility issues caused by chemotherapy and her more mature age, she has ‘options’, Minogue said: “Trust me, there’s a point when the next person who says, ‘Well, there are so many options’, you want to scream.”
She continued: “Of course, it’s great there are options. It’s marvellous! But when you’re dealing with all the other stuff and things that you took for granted are taken away from you, it’s like, yes there are options, but…”
The singer didn’t have to finish; her meaning was absolutely implicit – people need to stop with their outrageous, intrusive, and insensitive questions about what should be a deeply personal subject. There are so many reasons why women may not have children; either they don’t want them, or can’t have them, or haven’t found the right person to have them with, or they are putting their career first.
Each reason is a valid as the last, because a woman’s reproductive choices are absolutely her own. We need to stop with the incessant quizzing, comments about the biological clock, and thoughtless attempts to “help” them find a means of starting a family of their own.
More importantly, we need to put an end to this deeply misogynist narrative that suggests a woman’s primary goal in life is to breed; it’s the 21st century now, people. It’s time to change the record already.
Images: Rex Features