Womb watching is a favourite activity for those interested in whether a woman of a certain age is interested in having children.
And that appears to be everybody, since at some point in their lives most women will be asked about the “maternal clock” that is allegedly a roaring, all-encompassing noise in the ear of any woman in possession of a womb.
Women are asked if they want to have children and judged as missing something, as being selfish or "careerist" (apparently that is an insult) if they make the perfectly valid decision that having children is simply not for them. It’s not for everybody, after-all.
Womb watching is a particularly vigorous sport among those interested in the lives of celebrities. Famous women are constantly asked in interviews whether they want to have children, when their male counterparts – who not only earn more and get to stay in the 'love interest' game for much longer – never are.
As actress Zoey Deschanel said in response to the question of whether having children is on her priority list,
"I'm not going to answer that question. I'm not mad at you for asking that question, but I've said it before: I don't think people ask men those questions,” Deschanel told Marie Claire in September.
A perennial favourite to be asked about her thoughts on children is Jennifer Aniston, who for a long time was pitied by the press for being single after the end of her marriage to Brad Pitt. Now that Aniston is engaged to she’s had enough of the judgement of child-free status.
"I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering—dogs, friends, friends' children,"she said.
"This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don't want to be a mother, and how selfish that is."
Asked whether the accusations roll off her back after hearing them for so long, Aniston was firm,
"No. Even saying it gets me a little tight in my throat."
It’s not the first time that Aniston has spoken about how she is so often thought of being less than for not being a mother. She told Carson Daly on his show in August,
"I don't have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done, and … if they're not checked, then I've failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth and my value as a woman."
We can imagine there’s a lot of women with nosy family members, friends and colleagues sending Jennifer Aniston a fist bump her way.
Click through for some more thoughts on choosing to be childless.
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