When I came of age in the 60's and 70's, one of the big issues of the day was overpopulation. It was a subject that took on new relevance with the advent of reliable birth control such as the pill. And it spun off into an idea that was radical at the time: having children was a choice not an obligation.
At the same time as the pill came on the scene, there were other factors at work such as the growing Feminist movement that also served to show women had more choices than staying home and popping out babies. Even though the idea of equality for women was not a new idea, it finally reached the mainstream in the 60's after JFK appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman of President's Commission on the Status of Women. Much of what we consider "women's issues" now, such as equality in the workplace, maternity leave, etc came from the studies conducted by the commission.
With this new awareness of women as more than baby machines it was inevitable that large numbers of us realized we could do more with our lives and leave behind a more powerful legacy of work, art, literature, music and contributions to the sciences if we remained child-free. A book that influenced many to remain child-free was Ellen Peck's The Baby Trap. She presented a powerful argument that used real world examples to show not everyone needed to breed to live and enjoy a fruitful life.
As I grew up and matured into an adult woman I had many examples of successful and child-free women to show me this was a valid choice in a world faced with hunger and wars brought on by overpopulation. The images of starvation in places like Ethiopia really affected me and a lot of people my age. We saw the devastation and accepted our role in it and knew our contributions, although small, would be large ones if more people believed as we did.
Many of us chose not to bring children into a world always at war and running out of precious resources. It allowed us to move forward and learn to create a legacy that came from our hearts and minds instead of from our physical bodies. And for the most part the rest of the population was okay with this. They considered it strange, eccentric at times, but completely and totally our choice.
One of my reasons for opening up a Cafepress store that is devoted completely to the child-free by choice is because this tolerance for "our choice" has changed in the last few years. There's almost this rage at those of us who made this choice, as if we are somehow defective or threatening to those who choose to breed. I've had less hatred directed toward my left of radical politics and my Atheism than I've had directed at me because I actively promote a child-free lifestyle.
I consider this hatred as stemming from the Entitlement Movement that believes having babies somehow gives one special powers over the rest of the population. These special powers translate into such things as forcing adults to watch only kid-oriented television, movies, and have access only to child-safe entertainment and lifestyles. The old-fashioned idea of parenting being something that took place in the home has fallen down the pit of letting the government, the schools, and the churches raise children instead of the parents. The Entitlement Movement never learned about off switches, v-chips, filtering software, or adults only, and those of us who choose a child-free lifestyle have to suffer for their ignorance and inflated sense of me-me-me.
My child-free by choice store is one way to bring the choice back to life and out of the hands of the entitlement bunch. I have a range of designs that include options such as overpopulation, anti-war philosophies, and yes, some that the breeders by choice will consider mean and insulting. The reason for those is that parents sometimes fail to get the idea that not everyone wants to interact with their children, not everyone thinks it's okay to let children run over every one's right to existence, and it draws on the old-fashioned idea that you had them so you raise them.
I will be adding designs on a more frequent basis now that it is it's own store instead of a section in Ursine Logic, and I'll also be adding cat and dog designs as many child-free humans devote a lot of time to making sure our furry companions have a good life. For those who think the child-free are selfish, just check out how many of us do support causes that deal with poverty, hunger, the environment, and saving innocent furry creatures that others have abandoned to a life of misery and death before you drop words like "selfish" so casually.
And if you have a favorite design idea or phrase you'd like to see on a t-shirt or other item, do drop me a line and I'll put it together for you because it's time we work together to save what's left of this planet's precious resources.
My email is ursinelogic at gmail dot com. Hate mail will be posted with a link to your email, and threats will be forwarded to law enforcement. On no other topic have I been forced to post that warning, which tells you how rabid breeders can get when their world view is threatened.