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the new ultimate baby accessory is…more babies?

August 7th, 2007     by Thea Lim     Comments

As a follow-up to Stacey May’s post on being childless by choice (apologies for lack of cute puppies in this here post) here’s a Salon.com article about an NPR show on the new trend for the super-rich in America; i.e. having lots of babies!

U.S. “census data confirms that the number of higher-income families having three or more kids has increased by 30 percent in the past 10 years.” Apparently having as many chiddlins as possible has succeeded the yacht as a sign of wealth. Those of you who’ve taken intro to international development will know that usually there are more babies in poorer communities, and less babies in richer communities, so what gives?

The NPR show suggests that the drive to be a Momzilla (scary term) is what happens when high-achieving career women quit their jobs, and then want to be the best at being moms by having the most babies ever! Rebecca Traister in the Salon article deconstructs this idea deftly, and I encourage you to read it. But meanwhile, this sounds like a creepy reproduction of the Toronto/big city trend whereby the more jobs you have, the more busy you are, the more valid you are (and the more likely you are to go bananas).

Something I forgot to say in response to Stacey May’s post: one thing that turns me off motherhood is how much of an accessory babies have become, at least in the contemporary urban landscape. In the Toronto hood where I live, it seems like if you’re a woman over thirty and you don’t have a soy latte in one hand and your offspring in the other, you’re so not cool. Definitely a bizarre and unexpected incarnation of the societal expectation to have kids, now that religion or “traditional family values” don’t drive our social mores.

Hey, maybe I’m terminally unhip, but treating your baby as an accessory, a status symbol, or a canvas on which to display your own self - rather than as a human being in her own right? So uncool.

Tags: body politics, news flash

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