Thursday, 31 October 2013

I'm not selfish; you're just an asshole

People love to throw around the word "selfish", especially as it relates to those who haven't followed in the socially-decreed normal footsteps of life as established by the Judeo Christian Conservative Guilt-tripping Mothers' Union (a coalition that I totally just made up, but you know totally exists. Like the Stonecutters). Do you rent? Selfish. Are you single? Selfish! Childless? SELFISH.

A recent Gallup poll study, published yesterday in the Guardian, stated that single people are hurting the US economy because they're not spending as much money as marrieds. See, your mother always told you that life would be better (read: you'd get to buy more stuff) if you just got married already. Of course, the reason married people spend more is because they live in a dual-income household and because, as the article points out, marriage trends indicate that the majority of people don't get married these days unless they're already financially stable, and let's not overlook the absurd amount of bank people make on their actual wedding day. But single people are so damn selfish, and cheap. Just go out there and find someone, anyone, make them marry you and contribute to the economy, dammit. I mean, aren't we all tired of these single people shrugging off their responsibilities to the well being of the state? 

Same goes for the childless assholes, amirite? I was at an event recently, surrounded by a few mothers who were talking about their early experiences with their children. All the usual points were trotted out: What a miracle! I was so tired! Did you scar? I wouldn't let my husband fuck me for almost a year! And then one of them, an Earth Mother type who proudly stated that she breastfed her son until he was almost five, played the oldest mommy card in the book: "The first time I held my child I thought, I've been so selfish all my life. Now I know what it means to be selfless." Because, obvs, all you (us) childless whores will forever and always be selfish.

I'm not sure what it is about birthing a child that automatically makes women feel like they've reached this state of nirvana-like selflessness. You didn't sacrifice yourself to the gods in an attempt to spare your marginalized people from massacre. You had unprotected sex with someone you love, or at least don't hate, and entered this experience (hopefully) willfully and fully aware of what it entailed. Pushing a baby out of your uterus doesn't make you Jesus, it makes you one of billions of women who do it all the fucking time. And yeah, dude, it's super hard and painful, and power to you for doing it. But it doesn't automatically make you selfless. If anything, it may make you even more selfish, since you are driven by a narcissistic desire to create life in your own image. Your entitled mini-mes will get to enjoy the spoils of middle-class fortune while you get to tell your friends that he gets his strong calves from you.

I don't have kids, and I very likely never will. But that doesn't make me selfish. I've comforted friends well into the wee hours, sat by my family in moments of stress and hardship, cared for my brother in the aftermath of an accident, encouraged and supported my boyfriend when things seemed bleak, and spent hours at the emergency vet clinic offering solace to my ailing dog. And I did it all because I wanted to and felt compelled to do so out of sheer, unadulterated love. I don't need to get married or give birth to know that I have the ability to put my own needs aside to help someone else. It's called being human. And to not infuse that kind of action into every aspect and every stage of your life, regardless of your marital or parental or financial status, well, that just makes you plain ol' selfish.

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