Welcome to Unclassified Woman. Today I’m speaking to Dr Kimya N Dennis in Salem, North Carolina, USA.
How much actual freedom are you willing to give people in their beliefs? Most people fall into the trap of trying to impose their beliefs on others in some way. Liberals, for example, will speak of freedom in many areas of life, but they still hold onto pro-natal opinions about people having children.
My guest today explores with intellect, experience and research the topic of being childfree by choice.
Dr. Kimya N Dennis is a consultant, speaker, community advocate, educator, and researcher who works with organisations and community members in the areas concerning mental health, suicidal self-harm, reproductive freedom, and being childfree by choice.
Between 2013-2016, she conducted the first known study solely related to immediate African diaspora people who identify permanently as childfree by choice. There were 62 respondents, with 59 women and 3 men across the US, Canada, England, Kenya, Sweden and Switzerland.
Dr. Dennis created and teaches the first known college course of its kind: The Childfree, about reproductive freedom and being childfree by choice. Her research and course are featured on sites such as werenothavingababy.com, lauracarroll.com, and thenotmom.com. Dr. Dennis is an associate professor and the creator and coordinator of the Criminal Studies program in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Studies at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“There are people who believe that women exist only to reproduce, so those who are infertile are seen as failures. Those who are childfree by choice are seen as failing on purpose.” – Dr. Kimya N Dennis
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- Kimya’s decision to be permanently childfree, because she never wanted to have a child.
- Why her work addresses cultural variance because being childfree by choice impacts different cultures and communities in different ways.
- Why it is much less common to find black and Hispanic women who are not having children than it is for white women.
- African women are told that if they aren’t reproducing, that they are helping to “ethnically cleanse” their people.
- Why your beliefs are manifested in behaviour when you vote and in the policies you vote for.
- How most liberals are pro-natalists in their views.
- The definition of “childfree by choice”–those who have decided to not have biological or adopted children.
- “Bingos” and what that means.
- The best “bingos”—”Why do you exist?” and “Just have a child anyway, and others will help you take care of it.”
- Why pro-natalism is based on a trap and is used to prove male dominance.
- How to look at being childfree without “pros and cons”.
- How Kimya’s family is accepting and respectful of her decision, even though she is the only daughter in a family of boys.
- Kimya’s work and the way it is reaching across the nations
- Why child-free men are under-represented.
- Some ethnic groups see “childfree” as having a viewpoint that challenges your culture.
- Being childfree shouldn’t feel “lesser than” or like losers, or that their voice doesn’t matter.
- The hurtful comments that are directed at childfree people.
- Why most people have a narrow view and perspective of what love and family look like.
- We say we want freedom and equality, but that must include reproductive freedom for all women.
- How Kimya shows her creative expression and purpose: “I love being able to do what I want and have my own peace every day, doing my community work, working with my students, and living with my life partner.”
- How we can release the taboos connected with not having children and having reproductive choices.
Find out more about Kimya and her work, here.
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