The Chicago Tribune recently ran an editorial titled The ‘Brat Ban’ that tracked the spread of childfree activities nationwide: “Adult swim. Theaters that have separate kids and no-kids screenings of the same movie. Quiet cars on the train. And yes, kid-free restaurants.”
The writer’s conclusion leaned toward being glad that people who prefer childfree settings now have options, but stressed that it ain’t all a day at the beach for the parents, either. From a quick surf of the web, several newspapers also ran the editorial, which was syndicated by McClatchy-Tribune.
Here’s my problem. The Trib uses the Pew Research Center “1 in 5” stat from 2010 to back up its claim that the Brat Ban is “gaining momentum.” Here’s the offending paragraph:
“The no-kids-allowed movement, aka the Brat Ban, is gaining momentum, driven by quiet-seeking adults who want to prohibit children from everything from concerts to public transportation to Facebook. Demographics tell the story: The U.S. has more empty-nesters and more childless couples than ever before. One in five women choose not to have children.”
The Pew study declares that 1 in 5 American women will “end her childbearing years without having borne a child.” That’s the way statisticians are, you know. Clear facts and honest numbers. It’s not Pew that claims to know WHY 1 in 5 women are childfree.
As the childfree-by-choice crowd gets louder, lazy journalists will repeat the Tribune’s error, also assuming that if 1 in 5 women don’t have kids, they must be part of this freaky new movement that chooses a childfree life. Oooh, let’s send a camera crew over there!
It’s an important distinction. Women who couldn’t afford in vitro fertilization, or weren’t healthy enough to carry a baby to term are just 2 of many exceptions to the you-must-have-chosen-it assumption.
Damn. Can it really be that women without children by circumstance or happenstance are shifting from being the odd one out in a world of Moms to being lumped into a group of NotMoms that doesn’t reflect us either?