In my experience as a woman who has chosen the childfree life, there seems to be two very common ways the unconscious bias of moral disgust toward childfree people tends to manifest itself and shape other people’s interactions with me. I’ll do the best I can to explain these dynamics below.
1. The “curious” people
Their implicit bias tends to show up in the way that they enter into the conversation under the guise of taking interest in your decision to not have children — what you will notice though, is that they are often suspiciously and covertly looking to debunk your stance. I feel like most people who are doing this are not aware of its effects on us, or even aware that they are doing this at all.
Right off the bat, this game is rigged against you. You will be playing the role of the ‘convincer’ to someone who does not believe what you are telling them about yourself, yet this is all happening under the pretence of an innocent conversation. They will ask leading questions with an expectation to eventually uncover an inconsistency in your outlook that will confirm their cognitive bias about your choice being either untrue or ill-informed in some way.
They don’t show a genuine interest in building a nuanced understanding of your particular stance as a valid and equivalent perspective, and they certainly aren’t interested in challenging their pre-existing biases. This requires an open-mindedness and vulnerability that most people find uncomfortable. Instead, it seems they keep a detached distance from the contamination of their beliefs coming into close contact with yours, so you have the experience of being looked to as a kind of freaky science experiment.
They proceed to take you down an eerily predictable journey of patronising, over-personal cross-examination and debate (generally unaware that you’ve been here many times before, with many different people) that often ends in a last-ditch effort at conquering your logic by dismissing your stance as merely a girlish phase you will eventually grow out of. Usually, this will look something like, “oh, you’ll change your mind!” Or, “well, you’re still young!” Or, “I see, but when circumstances change-” Or, “I was just like you when I was your age, and then-”. This approach seems to serve…