March 2002 Commentary

March 2002 Commentary

No Kids? Whatcha waiting For?
I was raised that you get married and THEN have kids. I am African American and I have been asked in the past 'no kids'? Frankly, I was insulted by the bewildered looks I even had one or two people say "well you don't look like you have kids", what is that supposed to mean?!.

Anyway I do think there is a cultural aspect to it. I think in the black community women are strongly defined by having kids in many instances. Even if you aren't married at least if you have kids you are more normal.

I grew up in a two parent household my parents are still married to each other. It is deeply ingrained in me that having a partner in pregnancy and child rearing is very important. I feel I would be cheating my child out of some of the things I had growing up if I were not in the married state.*Gayle*

I guess I'm fortunate because I've never been approached as to why I didn't have kids. Hmm I wonder as well is this new attitude about women cultural or societal?*Rebecca*

Morals have changed and society expects all of its members to live according to the accepted norm. Children should not be brought into this world to satisfy the expectations of a group of people but to perpetuate the population. It's just immoral to objectify raising children as something everyone must do to fit in.*Ingrid*

I read the response from other Asian women on the subject and felt like a leper. I've been asked numerous times by Asian men why I didn't have any children. I don't understand the question to be honest with you. I'm single and men are asking me why my home only has a cat and not children?*Tonie Van*

I'm Arabic from a traditional family. Although I'm the first American generation in my family I was raised to not be sexually active unless married. No birthing of children without a father.

Yes I've been asked by another woman of Arabic, decent didn't I want children? The difference between she and I, her family has been in the United States for four generations so she wasn't raised as strictly as myself. She's an unmarried mother by choice.

I respect her choice but it's not for me.I believe it has everything to do with the environment you and your acquaintances were raised which determines if you will be asked about children in your unmarried state.*41,Saida*

I was born in India but raised in Canada. It's an disgrace when I'm asked why I don't have any children by people I'm aware knows I'm unmarried. I'm single but I do set standards for my life. If I wanted children that bad I would be married. It's awful when society think parenthood is a lowly responsibility therefore everyone should be one.*48,Julie*

An Asexual Story

My answer to the comments made in the February newsletter.*Michael Bell*
If the author had been named as "Michelle Bell, Leather Spinster" would these writers have said this? No! They might have said "Interesting, but not my idea of asexuality" and that would be fair enough, but they wouldn't have come out with allegations that this is really a sexual story.

They have not read the story as it stood, they couldn't set aside their knowledge of the gender of the writer. In effect they say it was "fake" beyond the sense in which any fiction is fake. Would you say that Shakespeare's plays "Julius Ceasar" and "McBeth" were fake because Shakespeare was not a 1st century BC Roman or a 10th century Scot? Of course not! Shakespeare used his imagination.

My imaginative leap was less, it was within my own life: I remember what it was like to be a little boy before my sexuality developed, I always wanted to be loved and as the loneliness of adult life bit I wanted to be cuddled. It is "the innocence of childhood", we've all known it, I have simply extended that to adult women.

For me it is an "alternative future" such as you sometimes get in science fiction stories, for example where the writer imagines what the world would be like if Germany and Japan had won the second world war. But a reader doesn't need to know all this, a reader only needs to read what's written.

What does Reece mean by "overly fond"? How can you be too fond of a good fellow creature? What she seems to suggest is being WRONGLY fond, by which she means SEXUALLY fond, but I have imagined a world where there is no sexuality of ANY kind and therefore there is no fear of it to hold people back as there is in this world around us. The people of this world have selected themselves and there is selective breeding for this trait, but my writing has not been skilled enough to persuade Reece of it.

These ladies see themselves as asexual, but the assumptions of the sexual society around them have soaked into them unnoticed in the same way as the knowledge of how to speak your mother tongue soaks into you unnoticed. It takes a huge imaginative effort to see how things would be different if there really was no sex urge, rather than a sex urge which was held back for whatever reason.

Felicia takes the opposite point of view:-
>>Where is it written an asexual story has to constantly try to convince the reader its characters are asexual as if it's an impossible stretch of the imagination. Not placing any direct focus on sex give the story some credence. Instead authors should opt to expose how the character thrive ,inspite, of not encouraging the sexual attention being directed at them and not because of it. Being ever so careful as to not turn the characters into repressed nymphs or lesbians bursting with caged energy. Felicia <

I feel that this is thought-through praise and a fair point of view. Felicia has understood what I have tried to do, write a story involving a full range of emotions including love (unlike Sherlock Holmes stories which are primarily showcases for Holmes's intellect) where sex plays no part, and she has liked it somewhat, even if I haven't quite pulled it off. Felicia doesn't see this story as an attack on asexuality.

In any piece of fiction writing the writer has to give some space and effort to setting the scene. For example, when Ed McBain writes one of his 87th precinct novels, it is obviously going to be that well-known genre, the "New York cop" story, but even so McBain has to take space and effort to set the scene for his story. For such a very different setting more space and effort have to be given to establishing the setting and for exploring how an asexual society might look and feel while developing the story. Even as I wrote it I wondered if I had got the balance right and if Felicia feels I got it wrong, I respect that judgement.