Birth control pills arranged in a smiley face with a speech bubble saying “yay!”
Birth control pills arranged in a smiley face with a speech bubble saying “yay!”
Yay for birth control

A few days ago, an article appeared in my news feed titled, “Next Person to Say They’re ‘Childfree’ Gets a Time-Out.” Meghan Daum, a writer who several years ago published an anthology of essays about writers choosing not to have children, was “calling for an immediate ban” on the word “childfree.” She argues that the stigma around not having children no longer exists. Given this development, those of us who choose to be childless shouldn’t “gloat,” about this decision, which is apparently something using the word does.

The irony of my anger over the article is that I don’t actually use the word childfree. I’m perfectly fine calling myself childless. Children aren’t something I want, thus I don’t consider the “less” part of childless upsetting, and I don’t particularly care what other people infer from the word. What I’m angry about is the audacity of someone snarkily demanding how people should describe their reproductive choices. …

Extreme expectations mean extreme stress for the teenagers trying to graduate from California’s elite schools. What’s life like inside a pressure cooker? Just ask the kids who are living it.

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Illustrations by Jao San Pedro

Adults have many opinions about teenagers, and for the most part they’re negative. Teenagers are unpredictable and mean, we say, or they’re lazy and entitled, or they’re self-involved, selfie-taking, Snapchat-addicted narcissists who don’t understand how easy they have it.

It’s easy to forget how challenging being a teenager can be, how the world seems ready to foist adult responsibilities onto you without offering any adult freedom in return. And our clichéd view of teenage angst makes it easy to dismiss the struggles that people go through as they move from youth to adulthood, easy to make the assumption that every feeling of stress or strain is merely the result of an unfortunate combination of hormones and melodrama.

But in the affluent, high-achieving communities crowded around Silicon Valley, there is one aspect of teenagers’ lives that parents treat with the utmost seriousness: their child’s acceptance to an elite (preferably Ivy League) university. …

Someone asked, “Who was your first Harvey Weinstein?” now that his name is synonymous with sexual predator. Every woman who heard the question had to stop and think because it has happened for so long, so often, in so many different ways.

It happens early for most of us, the subtle ways we’re told that we don’t really have autonomy over our bodies. It begins with the husband of one of your mother’s friends, who pats your butt whenever no one is looking. This seems wrong, but in a way you don’t know how to articulate. So you don’t. …

My job didn’t just give me purpose: It showed me what purpose looked like.

By Katie MacBride

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It wasn’t just a job. That’s what the people who tried so hard to pull me out of my angst didn’t realize.

When I started working at the Library I was just a few months out of rehab, sober, and no idea who the fuck I was. I didn’t have a long term goal: I needed to pay rent and figure out if and how I was going to put my life back together.


Katie MacBride

writer, associate editor of @anxymag. @msmacb

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