It’s International Childfree Day today.
And although I think we’ve come a long way to be accepted, women who choose to not have kids are not represented in pop culture.
I understand great storylines need conflict. But as a childfree woman trust me I have plenty of drama in my life that is not centered around my uterus.
Just in the past month I’ve had a trip to the outback, come up with a new business plan, organised an international wedding and honeymoon, had work conflict, been let down by a friend and supported by another, my partner started a new job that makes him grin and I had my heart filled by my hilarious nephews. Plenty of storyline fodder there.
And yet – in movies, on TV and in books, when a woman is childfree by choice she’s portrayed as a heartless killer, a workaholic, a sexaholic or a gossipy spinster leaning over a fence.
After wracking my brain, asking friends and diving deeply into the internet, here are a few childfree characters from TV shows that I can come up with:
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So that’s nine childfree characters (hopefully there will be more so please list them in comments because I’m tapped out of ideas).
It seems pretty good, right? That is, until you consult Google and find out there are 2,102,494 TV shows in the world.
So why is it important to have fictional characters who are childfree by choice? Well, fiction is a reflection of society. Fiction has the ability to inspire us, move us, make us learn, makes us change — it matters that we can look to the screen, big or small, and see someone who looks like we do.
It’s important to see yourself in fictional storylines and for others to see childfree stories as normal.
I was struck by this when reading a beautiful story by Mamamia contributor Lola Jennings-Edquist. She said seeing lesbian storylines on TV helped her accept she was gay.
“Before I completely had accepted (my sexuality) within myself, I remember seeing Alex and Marissa on The OC and Naomi and Emily on Skins, and it just helped me,” she wrote.