This is an excellent post. I would like to add, though, that much of the offense taken from the anti-baby comments stems from the same and similar fears that you outline as causing women to make those comments. The woman having a baby doesn't want to be defined just by her baby-making abilities any more than a woman who is not now and never will have a baby.


There's also a difference between saying, "Good God NO, I'm not pregnant. All I need right now is a screaming infant on my hands," and saying, "Jesus, you're pregnant? Why on earth did you go and do that? I don't ever want to have children." In the former, you're invoking your own preferences, and probably hyperbolizing (is that even a verb?) a little. In the latter, you're imposing you're critisizing the other woman for making choices that differ from yours.

Though I don't know what kind of criticism this woman was hearing (I've heard both), it seems to me kind of silly to be offended by the first kind (it's not really even criticism), but totally normal to be put off by the second kind.


You're right about women being judged in the workforce for having babies. My peers (all male) have pictures of their kids around their office space. Not me. I rarely admit to anyone at work that I even have a child.


What starfoxy said--and when you make the "god no!" comments, you're not-so-subtly putting down women who do have kids. Which may please the male colleagues who don't like to be told to do their share, but isn't exactly the best thing for the sisterhood.

The Happy Feminist

I agree Mythago. Now that I have thought about it, I am going to stay away from those kinds of comments.

Douglas, Friend of Osho

I think starfoxy and Mythago have a point Happy Feminist, but it sounds to me as if you made an off-the-cuff comment. I'm a deliriously happy father who was a SAHD for years and I didn't find much to take umbrage over. Sometimes the little buggers are creatures. You've a long way to go before you reach Amanda Marcotte's level of vitriol towards children and parents.


I'm a deliriously happy father

Correct: you're a man, not a woman in a male-dominated profession.

Douglas, Friend of Osho

That's right, mythago. I'm a seven-dollar-an-hour-plus-tips room service waiter, whose boss, by the way, is a woman. The general manager is a man, if that assuages you any.

The Happy Feminist

Thanks for your comment Douglas! I don't think that mythago needs to be assuaged. Being a man, even a man with a female boss, does not mean that your are situated in quite the same way as a woman in a male dominated profession. Because you are a man, you are not likely to be judged adversely merely for becoming a parent. SAHDs face prejudices as well that may be as or even more severe as what working mothers face, but these prejudices are not the same as what we're dealing with here. You are not judged adversely unless and until you decide to stay home with your kids, whereas professional women tend to be viewed as possibly less dedicated professionals because they MIGHT have kids, and they are automatically viewed with even more suspicion vis-a-vis their professional dedication once they DO have kids. Thus, it is less likely that you would feel as touchy about child-related comments.

The Happy Feminist

And by the way Douglas, I think you SAHDs are definitely part of the solution to the problems I outline in my post!

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