Challenging Gender Stigma: Why Woman Isn't Synonymous With 'Mother'

Challenging Gender Stigma: Why Woman Isn't Synonymous With 'Mother'

It's time to question why exactly there is such a strong social stigma against women adopting children, or not having children at all.

“So, how many kids do you want when you grow up?” “What do you want to name your children?” Questions like these are not uncommon to come up in conversation with friends. However, having children has become such a tradition, and this has created a stigma against women who don’t want to have children, or don’t want to birth their own children.

Adoption has been something that has, in the past, been seemingly restricted to women who want children, but are not able to have their own — usually related to medical issues. But why does adoption have to be restricted to this? Yes, going through adoption can be a long and difficult process, but many women are willing to go through this. And, if anything, pregnancy is probably an even longer and even more difficult process. There are so many children in this world who don’t have parents and would otherwise grow up their entire lives without parents. In a 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, it was found that at least 500,000 women were seeking to adopt at that current time, and the numbers of women taking concrete steps towards adoption are increasing each year.

So, is it selfish to only want your own children? No; plenty of people in this world want to be able to birth their own children with the same genetic inheritance to pass down to the next generation. Many argue that they would love their child no matter what, but what they don’t consider is that even if someone were to adopt, that adopted child becomes their own, and they will love that adopted child no matter what as well. Adoption is a viable option for those who cannot conceive, but why can’t adoption be for all? Regardless, there should not be a stigma against mothers who adopt children, or even choose not to have children, regardless of if this is because of medical reasons or not.

Well, why is there such a strong social stigma against not having children of your own? Whenever you see someone with adopted children, the first thoughts that come to your head are pity, perhaps a, “oh, she must not be able to have children, how sad.” Yet, almost half the US population of women choose not to have kids. According to the US Census Bureau Population Survey of 2014, 47.6% of women between 15 and 44 have never had children.

It seems as though one of the biggest hesitations against adopting is the idea that your genes are not passed on. Perhaps this stems from our human social tendencies of a fear of death, fear of end, and fear of being alone.

On the other hand, women who choose not to have children at all, otherwise known as childfree, biological or adopted, are seen as cold-hearted, in a way. Does this stem from a traditional belief that all women are motherly and nurturing? We have come so far in fighting for change in gender roles and the singular idea of the woman as the nurturing, caring being who belongs at home, yet women who choose to put their careers first before children are still stigmatized.

Many men often choose not to have children until they are older — even in their 40s, when the peak age for women is in their upper 20s. These men who choose to not marry or have children until they are older are seen as independent, career-driven, smart, and successful entrepreneurs, driven by their passion. Yet, women who choose to put their careers first are seen as selfish women who are bound to be “cat ladies” in the future. Why can’t career-driven women be seen in the same light, as independent and successful? Why are women still expected to put their own careers and lives on hold to have children at a particular time and age? In addition, why does having children mean having to settle down?

So, why is it okay for men to be “selfish” but not for women? This strong link between women today and this old mother stigma leads us to be so stuck in this backwards idea that we cannot move onto a new way of thinking — that women can be independent, career-driven women. That women can have the choice to adopt children. That women can have the choice to not have children at all, and not seen in a negative light. It’s 2016, and it baffles me that this way of thinking still isn’t universal.

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Apocalypse not Armageddon

Why Humanity Needs To Seek An Apocalypse, And Completely Reject Any Notion Of Armageddon

When civilizations teeters on the brink of change, typically the breakdown of complex society; beliefs in the “end of the world”, end times prophecies from religions, and other notions of the world as one knows it ceasing to exist grow popular amongst segments of society. This phenomenon has been witnessed throughout history, with a famous account being within the fall of the Western Roman civilization. What became Christianity had elements of some of these end times mentalities that are still present in the religion to this day. One can observe, particularly in the Western world where Christianity is most prominent, a notion that as western civilization faces the challenges of its own in a contradiction; so the appearance that the world is ending is both merited and irrational.

It is undeniable that the social constructed institutions and mechanisms of society, not just in the West but globally, are failing to deal with their own contradictions in terms of economics, politics, religious strife, social discontent, etc. These factors all play a part in the destabilizing of society and the undoing of complex systems of civilization that make up modern life. Added to this, the mechanisms that are breaking down have been for centuries contributing to the slow ecological suicide of anthropocentrism. This philosophical mentality that humanity first and foremost has the right to do whatever humanity wishes with planet, its resources, and the other lifeforms harboring within the biosphere; which has accumulated into the literal breakdown of the massive complex systems of nature. The contradictions of global civilization are creating the circumstances in which the entire biosphere risks collapsing. This indeed would lead to the end of complex human society and possibly the species as a whole. The skies may not rain fire, demons may not rise from the depths of the underworld; but for all intents and purposes, it is likely the closest humanity will come to a self induced Armageddon, short of a global nuclear war.

But this is where an interesting linguistic focus creates distinctly different ideas. Many attribute the idea of Armageddon with the idea of the Apocalypse; but this is largely a mistake from centuries of translation. Apocalypse is rooted in a Greek terminology that essentially means “revealing“, an awakening of perception to reveal the greater truth of reality. Where Armageddon is a distinct idea built around Christian end times mentality; Apocalypse does not imply the end of anything. It does not imply that the world is ending, society is falling apart, civilization is destabilizing; arguably quite the opposite.

The Apocalypse, as a concept, is a moment that offers change in either direction of positive or negative repercussions. The reaction to the revealing of perception and the awakening of what the human species could evolve into leaves us all with the recognition that humanity does not have to die off; we do not have to let civilization collapse. Apocalypse occurred in the past once before, the transitioning of the European dark ages to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. This transitional period allowed a completely new perception of existence for human life to be built out of the knowledge gained from the expanded perception. And considering events like the bubonic plague and other mass deaths occurred during this timeframe, where massive portions of the worlds population died off in a short period of time; the possibility of European civilization collapsing beyond repair was a real possibility. But as we reflect back today, the apocalyptic unfolding of this era proved not to be a breakdown of complexity, but an expanded and energized growth and evolution on scales unseen in Europe for centuries, not since the days of antiquity before the fall of Rome.

So as we humans deal with the stress of balancing civilization in a manner that can prevent complex structures from buckling under the weight of modern life; we must also learn to grow and strengthen the bonds of society and the connection shared between all members the human species. The threat of Armageddon we face is on a global scale; no longer will one region fall into dark ages as others continue on. Twenty First century global civilization means that we are all in this complex situation together. We must therefore recognize that a willful and deliberate Apocalypse is the needed alternative to awaken the minds of the human race in order to create the conscious awareness that we require for survival.

Cover Image Credit: Mystic Investigations

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What Mississippians Don't Know About The Alarming New Gun Bill

House Bill 1083 is pending approval in the Senate..

House Bill 1083 is pending approval in the Senate, passing in the Mississippi House by an overwhelming 80-29 vote. It is an amendment to a law created in 2011 allowing for the carrying of firearms on public property by obtainment of an enhanced concealed carry permit.

The permit can be issued after the completion of an 8-hour practicum and a live-fire range session with a DPS-approved instructor. The amendment closes loopholes, voids restrictions, and eliminates certain fees for permit-holders who want to carry a concealed weapon.

Many public spaces were previously not required under state authority to adopt its rules, including statutes on active courtrooms. This bill would be a motion to deregulate any ban on guns, including “gun-free zones” or “illegal-to-carry” settings. This could also impact highly-sensitive and densely populated areas like schools, university campuses, and other institutes of learning.

This NRA-backed legislation is a deceptive bill that will provoke several unintended consequences, including steep declines in tourism rates and a weakening of the vacation industry in Mississippi.

Colleges will be adversely affected in terms of fan attendance and crowd support at games, recruitment of out-of-state students, and large-scale boycotts of collegiate events and proceedings. This chips away at the influence of law enforcement and will gradually weaken their ability to enforce local and state policies.

HB 1083 stems from an agreement between Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson and NRA gun-sales benefactors. A strong bond exists between the interest group and Gipson’s political posturing. Pro-gun and NRA-sponsored bills such as HB 786 and HB 314 are represented by Andy Gipson. He has submitted to rich campaign contributors like the NRA for years.

George Washington said, “Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”

The NRA have acquired leverage with politicians and their voting records through bribes, payouts, and other surreptitious means. They have given millions to politicians to block gun-control laws and keep silent on polling data like how a majority of Americans want background checks. Unless boundaries are drawn against the NRA, pro-gun bills like 1083 are funneled through our politics, and limitations that could prevent future gun crime are rejected.

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