Kim Cattrall is right: Giving birth isn’t the only way to motherhood
The large-scale derision of Cattrall’s maternal-ness also lays bare how resentful many still feel toward a 59-year-old woman who opted out of motherhood proper. Childless women are very often still cruelly judged. Some of Cattrall’s critics trotted out this old chestnut: parents are inherently selfless while the childless are selfish – you can’t co-opt the experience without putting in the grind. It’s a common sentiment about non-parents: that they’re irresponsible and carefree layabouts with tons of free time, a life to begrudge.
“We are so often perceived as cold, selfish, unfulfilled, feckless, sad, blasé about our fertility and too choosy for our own good,” Melanie Notkin wrote in her 2014 book Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness.
Notkin founded SavvyAuntie.com to celebrate“PANKs” – that’s Professional Aunts No Kids. According to Notkin, 23 million Americans are PANKs, women “who have a special bond” with the nieces, nephews and godchildren in their lives (Cattrall would certainly qualify). Wrote Notkin: “That a demographic so large is so misunderstood or cast aside as less-than or completely unsavvy about children is not only unproductive but also hurts women, the children they love and the parents who can often use a helping hand.”
More than anything, the attack on Cattrall reveals just how badly parents and non-parents are still set up as adversaries, a dynamic that benefits no one.
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