Life Without Kids

So I am 27.

Career focused and in a wonderful relationship that allows for this.

Being my age, I also have a lot of friends who are at the point of having kids.

Thanks to Facebook, I get to see all these happy people and their beautiful children, many whom I love.

And shows me what I am missing.

Thank you, Facebook for showing me all the pregnancy pictures, hospital photos, endless baby pictures. Then you have the walking, pooping and sickness statuses.

I can tell my women friends are happy. That is evident in these endless posts since they wouldn’t be doing it if they weren’t happy.

My boyfriend and I have talked about it and we want kids. My boyfriend also wants me to concentrate on becoming the best journalist I can be. So why do I let the endless posts about babies and spit-up make me question that.

It also makes me wonder, can I have both.

I see a future of traveling to interesting places and talking to interesting people.

Can I become the best journalist I can be while also being the best parent I can be. Will my best be enough on either fronts?

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Raise women, not wives

Looking at you, Duggars (except Jana)

So I’ve unfortunately have seen an episode or two of (insert # of kids here) and Counting and I really couldn’t figure out why the show made me so uncomfortable.

It dawned on me during Jessa Duggar’s wedding.

I would never deny anyone the “happiest day of their life” but is that the only thing to look forward to in the Duggar household?

Is this family, which consists of 9 girls, just raising their girls to be wives instead of women? And, as women, is that really the only thing we have to look forward to? Are we that unfulfilled until we belong to a man?

These girls live in their parents house until they marry, moving into their husbands house. Do they not have any sense of independence or freedom to enjoy their lives or make their own decisions? Is it just moving from being one person’s possession to another?

When I saw the article in the October 6th edition of US Weekly (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/19-kids-and-counting-rules-of-romance-inside-the-duggars-world-2014249), I had to give it a read to see if what I got from the TV show was all there is to the Duggars.

While some of their philosophies do carry some ground, the article does hold the traditional female role vibe.

It is the girls who must be careful to not arouse male attention but they are in service of their husbands.

Some quotes from the article:

“The [Duggar] girls agree being alone with guys put them in grave ‘moral danger’.”

“The First Kiss Happens at the Alter: Waiting ensures ‘there’s no regrets,’ Michelle, 48, says. In the meantime, the courting couple can focus on the ‘spiritual and emotional aspects of a relationship’.” (I agree to some extent. There is more to marriage than sex but really? No kissing either? Kissing is fun.)

“Duggar women don’t get headaches. ‘Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love.'” (So we are all sex slaves then?)

“Jessa…shares that no sex before marriage is ‘good motivation’ for a short engagement.”

These people are breeding wives and the public is eating it up. Getting married is the only thing that is expected of the girls and the only aspect of life that the TLC show focuses on. Which led me to Jana Duggar, the apparent black sheep of the family.

After some more digging (which made me feel all dirty), I discovered more about Jana, the oldest daughter, who was rumored to be leaving the show solely because of her lack of air time. OK Magazine had to have a piece dedicated to her life to show that she does other things besides think about boys and dating (sorry Michelle, “courting”) and is actually doing a lot of amazing things (http://okmagazine.com/photos/jana-duggar-cinderella-outcast-19-kids-and-counting/photo/1001134824/).

In the midst of traveling, being a firefighter and a midwife, all while *gasps* remaining single, she is bashed by the media for not following in her younger sisters footsteps.

And in case you didn’t know, her sisters are married with children before turning 25.

www.inquisitr.com/1526486/jana-duggars-single-status-sparks-rumors-about-why-shes-not-behaving-like-her-sisters/

http://www.crushable.com/2014/10/15/entertainment/jana-duggar-not-courting-or-engaged-why-theories-lesbian-19-kids-and-counting/ (yes, this one might be satirical but still pisses me off)

So according to many news agencies, Jana is destined to be the spinster aunt to all those little Duggars her sisters and sister-in-laws are going to breed. Good for her. Jana may be the light in the dismal Duggar tunnel.

Yet she is the least talked about sister because she isn’t courting, married or pregnant. I guess TLC doesn’t want to send the message that there is more to life than marriage and kids. God forbid the girls want to see the world, have their own apartment or *gasps* not get married but I guess if they do we just won’t talk about it.

Thanks TLC and Duggars, I guess you are not solely the ones to blame. Go Jana.

Fat characters without fat are still characters

Get a better premise

So this post comes from two different things; one, the book/movie Relative Happiness, and two, the Big Girls Do It book series.

In both, the main adjective of these kick ass female characters is that they are fat. Fat is their premise.

This is the thing that the authors choose to define them as a character.

Why is this such a focus?

What if we wrote a “fat” character without acknowledging the fact that they have extra weight or using that to define the character.

What if we wrote a fat character like any other female protagonist in a romcom?

In most romcoms with a skinny protagonist, heartbreak happens because of some personality flaw. In a romcom with a fat protagonist, it is because of her weight.

Here is Relative Happiness’s IMDB summary:

Plus sized and 30 years old, LEXIE IVY is a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sisters wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss, the rough handyman fixing her roof. When Adrian, a handsome and charming guest, arrives and seems to take an interest in Lexie, she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, maybe forever. After a series of hilarious mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3269932/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl)

So let’s try taking out the fact that Lexie is “plus sized”:

Thirty year old LEXIE IVY is a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sisters wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, that’s no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss, the rough handyman fixing her roof. When Adrian, a handsome and charming guest, arrives and seems to take an interest in Lexie, she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, maybe forever. After a series of hilarious mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought.

Does this make Lexie any less of an interesting character? Does the story seem any less believable since it is a “plus sized” woman going through the situation?

Let’s try it with the Big Girls series:

Gorgeous, rock-star guys like Chase Delany don’t go for girls like me. They go for supermodels and actresses, skinny-girls who never eat and spend all day working out. I’m not that girl. So when he locked his fiery brown eyes on me for the first time, I couldn’t quite believe it was really happening to me.

It was the second night I spent with him that I’ll never forget.

A little difficult but insecurity happens whether it is because of weight or personality:

Gorgeous, rock-star guys like Chase Delany don’t go for girls like me. They go for supermodels and actresses. I’m not that girl. So when he locked his fiery brown eyes on me for the first time, I couldn’t quite believe it was really happening to me.

It was the second night I spent with him that I’ll never forget.

Wow, not that hard at all.

Same questions; how does this change the story? How does it change how the audience sees the character?

The reason weight is such a big deal is that we make it a big deal.

What the synopsis of Relative Happiness and Big Girls is really saying is “despite being fat, this character is still awesome.”

What if we just said, “hey, there is this awesome character and she is going through shit.”

What if the audience focused on a strong, confident, amazing character instead of how the character is hideously over weight.

Related Content: Rachel Wiley’s “10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFOTqTicvY

Rebel Wilson & Melissa McCarthy Vow To NOT Lose Weight? http://perezhilton.com/fitperez/2013-12-17-melissa-mccarthy-rebel-wilson-weight-loss-pact#.VJ9g-M8BA

Response to Katelyn Carmen’s Marriage article

We are not all stereotypical Women

In relationships; my own thankfully, forgetting who wears the “pants” is the most freeing thing you can do.

My boyfriend does dishes, I do laundry.

I want to work, he wants to raise the kids.

I want to focus on a career, he supports me in this 100%.

I was unemployed for three months and hated living off just what he was making and not having my own income.

A friend shared this on her Facebook and actually said that it is a “fairly good read”.

http://familyshare.com/marriage/5-ways-you-are-unknowingly-destroying-your-husband-and-killing-your-marriage

This scares me that this woman takes this article into consideration when taking advice on marriage.

In the article, Katelyn Carmen, give women these five “tips” for not destroying their husbands and therefore keeping their marriage “alive”.

1. Living outside of what you can afford

2. Constant negativity

3. Putting everything else first

4. Withholding physical affection

5. Not speaking his language

Even though she says this article is directed towards men as well as women, the language and tones Katelyn Carmen uses directs the blame of faulty marriages solely on women. Every “tip” paints women in such a negative light that the husbands in the scenarios are the wronged party that needs to be in control for a marriage to work.

Here are my responses to Carmen’s so-called “tips”.

Number 1: Carmen paints women as shallow, materialistic airheads who can’t wrap their heads around the fact that their family needs food and shelter.

“Yes, you may not have enough to buy that Kate Spade bag you’ve had your eyes on for months, but your husband will love and appreciate the fact that you honor him and are grateful for what he provides.”

Thank you for not taking into account the women who work hard themselves to make money for their family.

Thanks for saying that only men think about the needs of their family before personal pleasures. Yeah, thanks for all that Carmen.

Number 2: Negativity is draining you say?

Carmen paints an ugly picture of women:

“As soon as your husband walks through the door,” she writes, “you launch into action and dump every negative and angry thought that’s crossed your mind throughout the day.”

Thanks, Carmen, for perpetuating the stereotype of the nagging wife who rags on her husband all the time.

This is the same advice women in the 1950s were given by their mothers and women’s magazines. Keep whatever is bothering you inside where it doesn’t “bother” anybody. Thanks for keeping up the age old tradition of keeping women silent.

The problem with burying your problems with your husband is if you can’t tell him about the small problems because you don’t want to burden him, how do you expect to trust him with the big stuff?

Number 3: So as soon as you put that ring on, you cease to be anything other than a wife and, later on, a mother?

“When your children, mom, best friends, talents, or career in front of your husband, you send a clear message to him that he is unimportant.”

This statement does ring true to some extent but I’ve seen many women destroy themselves by focusing on their relationship with their partners 100% the time instead of balancing their marriage with relationships between friends, family and careers.

You need other things in your life than just your partner. Sometimes you need to put those things before your marriage and your partner should trust that you are doing that for an important reason.

Number 4: So what I learned from this one is that sex is a weapon to use against your husband.

“Even though you might not always be in the mood, it’s worth it to give in (when you can) and spend that time bonding.”

The word “with-holding” holds a tone of malicious intent. When the mood isn’t there or there are other reasons for not wanting to give affection to a partner, everyone should have a right to say no.

Carmen says, “It is a great blessing to be wanted and needed by a loving, romantic husband,” so be grateful ladies that your men want you and if you don’t give him affection when he wants it, you’re obviously a bad wife. Again, this is a matter of trust. If you aren’t in the mood, your partner should respect that and understand that they aren’t the root of it.

Number 5: So we’re not supposed to push our own problems onto our husbands, but we’re not supposed to be open and clear about our problems. You have some clarity issues here, Carmen.

“Women love to drop hints. (I think it’s part of our DNA.) But men just don’t get them. (I think that is a part of their DNA.)”

Not how DNA works, Carmen. We are shown a marriage about the marriages around us; parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. If you see this behaviour in other relationships, those traits will come through in your own marriage.

“If he asks you what’s wrong, don’t respond with “nothing” and then expect him to read your mind and emotions. Be open about how you really feel.”

But Carmen, you just said we shouldn’t burden men with our trivial everyday problems. Bit of a contradiction there, don’t you think if we are supposed to bury things anyway and NOT telling our husbands anything about our problems.

Now Carmen does have this disclaimer at the beginning of the piece: “as a caveat, please understand that although this article is directed toward women, it applies to men as well”.

Something Carmen should learn about writing: you don’t need the disclaimer if the language of your piece actually supports what you are trying to claim.

You can’t just say Mein Kaumf applies to all races of people and that disclaimer makes it so.

How about some gender neutral language. Instead of focusing on the language of “wives do this” and “husbands do that”, how about referring to partner language. In a relationship, there usually is a spender and a saver but that doesn’t mean the wife is always the spender and the husband the saver. Say that instead of such a black and white picture. The fact that you are putting the blame on women for destroyed marriages is quite evident, even with the disclaimer. Thanks for that, Carmen.

Your article just made me realize how good I have it in my own relationship with a loving partner who sees my as an equal.