Years ago, a gay friend explained that he thought the word “breeder” as a descriptor of heterosexual men was low-class and offensive. ”The differences between gay and straight men are clear enough without sharp-edged adjectives that help to build walls between us,” he said. Or, something close to that.
The discussion came about because a straight man referred to himself as a “breeder.” He saw nothing wrong with the term.
As I troll the web in search of kindred spirits and spaces where women without children are embraced and acknowledged, I keep tripping across vocabulary that’s new to me, and always thought-provoking.
“Childfree” was the first term that seems to be fairly popular online. My unofficial research leads me to assert that few women like to be pegged as “childless”, though for varying reasons. However, the more I clicked around, I learned to many people, “childfree” is almost a battle cry of those who chose a life without parenthood.
The childfree-by-choice sites that I’ve found welcome men and women, and both are fiercely proud of their decision and their right to define a life that suits them. It’s on these sites that the word “breeder” —and my old friend’s comments — came back to me.
For example: What do you think of Breeder Bingo, a game that’s easy to find at several sites? Google “childfree breeder” and you’ll find blog posts going back years, addressing a perceived and longstanding “war”. All I’m asking is, consider whether language is helping to fuel the fire.