Negative attitudes toward women without children

anothersmith

Senior Member
English, U.S.
I'm a woman in my late 40s without children. In my country, this does not generate much of a reaction. Every now and then someone from the U.S. will be surprised to learn that I don't have children, but they never interrogate me about it. I have therefore been surprised, several times, to find someone from another culture reacting with a sense of shock (sometimes even outrage) upon learning that I don't have children and interrogating me about why I do not have children -- which I consider to be an intensely private matter.

I'm wondering if women from other cultures who do not have children by this age encounter this kind of reaction.
 
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In my culture the reaction is more like thinking to oneself "poor woman, she doesn't have children, she is sooo unlucky". Usually though, unless you are very close to her, you do not comment as it's considered rude and insensitive since the woman is assumed to want children but for some reason could not have any (she was devorced or widowed before she had any, she was never married, she is physically unable or her husband is physically unable).
     

    jinti

    Senior Member
    I used to teach English as a Second Language here in New York City, so I came into contact with many people from all over the world. It was very common to have conversations like this:

    Student: Do you have children?
    Jinti: No, I don't have any.
    Student: What??? Why not? Don't you like kids?

    I didn't appreciate the questioning, but I never felt it was scorn on their parts. Just no point of reference for being in one's thirties and not having kids. It was outside their experience, so they felt free to ask about it.... (I wish they had felt a little less free, but hey, cultural differences.... ;))
     

    Antpax

    Senior Member
    Spanish Spain
    Hi,

    I think, here in Spain a woman without children will not produce surprise, nowadays, but in the past, not a far away past actually, it would, or would have produced comments similar as Mahaodeh mentioned.

    Cheers.

    Ant
     
    I'm a woman in my late 40s without children. In my country, this does not generate much of a reaction. Every now and then someone from the U.S. will be surprised to learn that I don't have children, but they never interrogate me about it. I have therefore been surprised, several times, to find someone from another culture reacting with a sense of shock (sometimes even outrage) upon learning that I don't have children and interrogating me about why I do not have children -- which I consider to be an intensely private matter.

    I'm wondering if women from other cultures who do not have children by this age encounter this kind of reaction.
    Well actually it depends on your marital status. If the woman is married people shall wonder why she does not have kids yet, but that's just it. If the woman is not married noone shall wonder if she has kids or not.
     

    dya

    New Member
    algeria;kabily
    hi everybody
    in our culture, we ask a lot of similar questions and we want to know why this or that women hasn't children;and in general the hasbent can easly divorced his wife if she can't have childrens or she has only girls.
    but i think that these questions are very indiscret and it is the matter of only a women and childrens are gifts from our god.
    :)
     

    Bilma

    Senior Member
    USA
    Spanish Mexico
    Dya,
    The husband can divorce the woman if she only has girls?? Really?? If they only knew they (men) are the ones who determine the sex of the baby!!!
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    I think, here in Spain a woman without children will not produce surprise, nowadays, but in the past, not a far away past actually, it would, or would have produced comments similar as Mahaodeh mentioned.
    Yes, you're right, Antpax. But the comments would only be made if the woman in question was married...
    There is a saying here: "a marriage without children is like a garden without flowers". A marriage which did not produce children was seen not as an oddity (that, too) but as a failure. A failure on the woman's part: it was assumed she was the one who could not have children. The husband's fertility, of course, was never questioned.
     

    Antpax

    Senior Member
    Spanish Spain
    Yes, you're right, Antpax. But the comments would only be made if the woman in question was married...
    There is a saying here: "a marriage without children is like a garden without flowers". A marriage which did not produce children was seen not as an oddity (that, too) but as a failure. A failure on the woman's part: it was assumed she was the one who could not have children. The husband's fertility, of course, was never questioned.
    Yes, you have made a good point.:thumbsup:

    And also we have to said that if the woman was not married it could be even worse, because the word "solterona" is far away from being a positive one.

    Cheers.

    Ant
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    Dya,
    The husband can divorce the woman if she only has girls?? Really??
    Well, that happened in Europe quite a lot. Kings, dukes, lords, counts and the like could divorce their wives if they did not produce a male heir. I think Henry VIII was a little bit obsessed with the idea... but we're already off topic.
     

    dya

    New Member
    algeria;kabily
    bilma,alexacohen
    it is realy that until nowdays unluckily,there is men who don' t believe that they are the unique responsable of the sex of the baby,they make there wives guilty.
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    alexacohen
    it is realy that until nowdays unluckily,there is men who don' t believe that they are the unique responsable of the sex of the baby,they make there wives guilty.
    Don't you worry, Dya.
    It has been common in Spain for a very long time to always blame the wife if she had no babies or only female babies.
    So we understand.
    But we should be getting back on topic, really.
    Cheers.
     

    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    In Spain the "scorn" (if any) for women/men not having children is overshadowed for the scorn for women/men having 4 or more children.
     
    In Poland, if you are married or in a steady relationship (ie as married) and reach certain age, probably early 30's, but that would vary depending on the size of a place and educational leve of the group, people would be interested why not and might make more or less polite enquiries. It would also often be assumed, unless you have an obvious, very demanding career, that if you don't have childern it's because you (or your partner) couldn't.

    In the UK it would be considred very rude to ask, you could only ask close friends. Which doesn't mane people wouldn't speculate :)
     
    In Spain the "scorn" (if any) for women/men not having children is overshadowed for the scorn for women/men having 4 or more children.
    I would say that it's the same in Poland. A mulitichildren family (rodzina wielodzietna) is a social status equivalent of the British single parent household : the poorest, and although theoretically we know some are OK, generally considered underclass unless clearly proved otherwise.
     

    Mate

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Moderator's note: Please keep the discussion focused on the main question:

    Scorn toward women who don't have children?

    Mateamargo
    CD forum Moderator
     

    Joca

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I'm wondering if women from other cultures who do not have children by this age encounter this kind of reaction.
    I find scorn to be too strong a feeling in this case. I would think rather in terms of compassion or pity or even amazement.

    Recently I met a man in his early forties and when I asked him about his family, he told me that his wife and he had decided not to have children at all. I was rather surprised at hearing him say so, because I can't see much sense in a marriage where you deliberately choose not to have kids. Of course I was too polite to try to convince him otherwise (that is not my business). Also because he was very adamant about it, and even admitted that kids would disturb their professional careers. What else could I say anyway after this sincere admission?

    That is to say in addition that couples (and in particular married women) who claim to have chosen to have no kids can be met with some kind of disbelief, as if they were trying to mask their impossibility of bearing children with some rational argument about the disadvantages of having them. So, in a certain way, these couples/women can be thought of as hypocrites, which is unfair in many cases.
     

    toolmanUF

    Member
    St. Petersburg, Florida, USA (English)
    I find scorn to be too strong a feeling in this case. I would think rather in terms of compassion or pity or even amazement.

    Recently I met a man in his early forties and when I asked him about his family, he told me that his wife and he had decided not to have children at all. I was rather surprised at hearing him say so, because I can't see much sense in a marriage where you deliberately choose not to have kids. Of course I was too polite to try to convince him otherwise (that is not my business).
    Why is it so hard to accept that some people simply do not want to have children? I have met several people who have admitted to not having a desire to have kids. I think that in many places in the United States this is perfectly acceptable, and nobody will judge you for that. However, perhaps in more rural areas there is still a stigma against childless couples.

    In my opinion, it is a very private matter and unless I was really close with somebody, I would never even bring up the subject.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In case of choosing not to have children, there is a sort of scorn in my culture; they usually think that she is stupid and doesn't know her own good and that if she does not change her mind soon her husband will either divorce her or marry another woman to bear his children. Also, if she was brave about it and declared it in public people would definitly try to talk her out of it and can sometimes be rather rough or rude about it (there is a bad habit here of people thinking that they know better than the concerned party).
     

    toolmanUF

    Member
    St. Petersburg, Florida, USA (English)
    In case of choosing not to have children, there is a sort of scorn in my culture; they usually think that she is stupid and doesn't know her own good and that if she does not change her mind soon her husband will either divorce her or marry another woman to bear his children. Also, if she was brave about it and declared it in public people would definitly try to talk her out of it and can sometimes be rather rough or rude about it (there is a bad habit here of people thinking that they know better than the concerned party).
    Well, I understand that this is a taboo topic in many cultures. That doesn't mean that I think that we should accept it. If a woman does not want to have children, it is her choice and nobody should think that she is stupid or abnormal. I know here in the States some couples decide, together, that they would prefer to not have children. While I am not saying that this is the path that I would take, I feel like this is such a personal decision and I can not pass judgment on somebody for their choice.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    In the past, children were needed to help run the family business or farm, and were the only form of pension or sickness plan for their parents. So barrenness was seen as a curse, and children were a blessing.

    In advanced Western societies, children are an economic burden on their parents. Having children is the perfect example of a private cost and a public good.

    In Australia to-day, you have people who feel sorry for the childless, and who believe that they are missing out on a very important part of life.

    At the other extreme, there are the Deep Greens who really do scorn women for having children, and who see childbearing as environmental vandalism.

    However, those same Deep Greens will one day be lining up for their Old Age Pensions, paid for by the children of others.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    As others have already stated, most people in the US do not outwardly express scorn at childless couples. People show discretion (or rather, the should!) because there is no telling why X person does not have children. I'd say that childless couples are becoming more and more common, and though people may ponder why, most typically do not ask.

    India is absolutely different story: childless couples are seen as aberrant rogues, who for some odd reason are childless. They are ridiculed and often pitied. Now, I've never met anyone from India who chose not to have children, but where I stayed, there were women living independently by themselves, and they certainly faced a lot of back talk for choosing not to get married.

    To propose to an Indian that you'd prefer not to have children is a very difficult
    task to do indeed.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    To propose to an Indian that you'd prefer not to have children is a very difficult task to do indeed.
    Same here. Financial burden is not seen as reason enough not to have children, they would say "God will provide for them"; affecting one's career is considered an even lamer excuse "which is more important, your job or your family?". While other cultures may find this not reasonable, it is a firm believe in Arab culture. In addition to that, not having children would mean ending the family line (a sin if you are the one that caused it) and having to either go to an old people's home when old or be taken care of by more distant relatives.

    Moreover, this is hardly considered a private matter in Arab culture; this is a matter that concerns the extended family.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    And is this belief as held as firmly with the new generation as with the old? I can't place my finger on a firm answer for this question in India, but generally speaking, no, but a rather weak no.
     

    Joca

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Why is it so hard to accept that some people simply do not want to have children? ...
    Ok, this is off-topic, but since you are quoting me, I thought maybe I should try and give you an answer.

    In simple terms, because that's what makes the world go round: children rather than money.

    In other words: whatever your reasons for not having children (and some of them are really justifiable), you are somehow denying a basic instinct: the reproduction instinct.

    I would say that even homosexuals will experiment it. Indeed, some of them will become artists (creators) and talk of their works as their "children".

    I think that if you choose not to have children, you'll automatically (that is, unconsciously) sublimate it into another creative sphere of existence.

    Likewise, why is it so hard to accept a suicidal type? There are indeed other factors at stake here (and sometimes a suicide can even dignify you), but a suicidal person is denying the basic instinct of self-preservation and that's why most cultures also find it so hard to accept suicide.
     

    Philippa

    Senior Member
    Britain - English
    ... because I can't see much sense in a marriage where you deliberately choose not to have kids ...
    Hello,
    Don't people get married to cement their committment to each other as a couple? Couples do get married who are definitely too old to have children, so that can't be the motivation there.
    toolmanUF said:
    ... If a woman does not want to have children, it is her choice and nobody should think that she is stupid or abnormal ...
    It's not just a woman's choice! Is there any scorn towards men who don't have children, I wonder?!
    Saludos
    Philippa :)
     

    Joca

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hello,
    Don't people get married to cement their committment to each other as a couple? Couples do get married who are definitely too old to have children, so that can't be the motivation there.

    It's not just a woman's choice! Is there any scorn towards men who don't have children, I wonder?!
    Saludos
    Philippa :)
    As for your first paragraph, yes, of course, people get married in order to strengthen their relationship, but this is often (albeit not always) achieved through the creation of new family members, and actually this seems to be the most obvious reason for a marriage. Otherwise, if it's just for the cementation of your relationship, it would suffice to live in together, wouldn't it? As for old couples, they are a particular case, we would have to ask them, to start a poll. They know beforehand that they won't produce offspring, but do they feel as if they were missing out on something? Anyway, many of these old couples have children from a previous marriage or relationship and they are often at a stage of their life where they can't hope to live many more years. So why "bother" to have children at all?

    As for the second paragraph, I agree: it is not just a woman's choice, but usually hers is the final word. A man without children may not be a victim of scorn, but in certain cases he may be viewed as economically incompetent or somewhat immature.
     

    Mate

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina
    Moderator's note:

    This thread is now reopened under a new title: Negative attitudes toward women without children

    All contributors are kindly asked to remain on topic.

    Mateamargo
    CD moderator
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    I'm wondering if women from other cultures who do not have children by this age encounter this kind of reaction.
    In Germany you would not be confronted with any kind of scorn or wonder. Many women have no children, particularly educated and career-oriented women who decided against children.

    The is a deep cultural and social discussion about this development in Germany, though. Many people are afraid that the very low fertility rate is bad for the country's future, particularly considering that the poorer and less edcuated, the more children are born -- a reversed situation would be much better.

    Kajjo
     

    tvdxer

    Senior Member
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    I'm a woman in my late 40s without children. In my country, this does not generate much of a reaction. Every now and then someone from the U.S. will be surprised to learn that I don't have children, but they never interrogate me about it. I have therefore been surprised, several times, to find someone from another culture reacting with a sense of shock (sometimes even outrage) upon learning that I don't have children and interrogating me about why I do not have children -- which I consider to be an intensely private matter.

    I'm wondering if women from other cultures who do not have children by this age encounter this kind of reaction.
    I would say the same is true in this part of the U.S. too, though I don't have any first-hand experience. :)

    Childless married couples seem fairly rare here, though. I can't imagine anybody asking them "why" they don't have children.
     

    Fleurs263

    Senior Member
    English/England
    I think this attitude is really an attitude from the past; most people I know would be more concerned with women having children and abusing them, than women choosing not to have children. Lifestyles have changed so dramatically - for women in particular - that waiting until your 40s to have children or deciding not to have them at all, is not so extraordinary.
    I've heard many times women say that if they had their time over again, they would never have children at all. Now that is quite disturbing.
     

    clipper

    Senior Member
    England´s english
    As a soon to be father in Spain my experience, or rather my partner's experience has been quite the opposite of the proposed sentiments of scorn on childless women.

    Whereas we would have expected to be congratulated on our "achievement" we have been disappointed to hear comments such as "why would you want to have kids ?" and "oh, thats you're life screwed then".

    There is certainly an attitude of young professionals whose priorities are far from creating a future generation, and the scorn appears, in our case to come from them.

    I should point out that despite living in Spain these attitudes do not necessarily come from Spanish people.
     

    henja

    New Member
    Norway
    In Norway, a lot of women choose to have children late or not to have any at all. Most people won't think it's a big deal, although some people might think quietly to themselves that it's a bit selfish.

    Openly expressing your negative opinions to people about them being childless (or any other choices they have made) is considered rude. If you do that, people will start to wonder what's wrong with you.
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Here in the UK the situation is mixed. Again class, education and culture come into it. If a woman has children before her twenties it is viewed as aberrant. In fact there is specific government policy to reduce the amount of teenage pregnancies (the level here is several times that in other European countries like the Netherlands).

    However once biological clocks start ticking quite loudly, we see women deciding to have children only to find that it can be much harder to conceive when you are older. It's as though our society places more value on material wellbeing than childrearing.

    I understand that bringing a child up without support and ability to earn much money is anything but easy, however I feel less than comfortable with such an ageist approach.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    My only sibling, my older sister, is turning 30 in about 10 days, she has a PhD in UVA, now she's an assistant professor and a postdoctoral researcher. Granted, she's not super beautiful, but I think she's good-looking, and she has her share of admirers.

    She decided to go back to Taiwan and work there because she wants to be able to take care of my parents, so now she has to face this kind of questions all the time "Why don't you get married?" "Do you have a boyfriend already?" "If you don't get married now, it will be too late to have kids", the kind of questions that she would never have to answer if she stayed in the USA.

    It's not like people "scorn" her, instead, they are kind, and they try to "introduce" new guys to her, even my mom is worried, not to mention all the "talktive relatives". On a good day, she would joke and say "Human race is not going to diminish just because I don't want to get married and have kids." But I know the pressure on her, it's funny that no one cares about her achievement as a PhD, all they care about is when she's going to get married, as a "normal" woman.

    I want to get married myself, but I would never "scorn" my sister for not wanting to marry, that's her choice, she's a grown-up, and a sister to be proud of, if she wants to stay single, that's her freedom, it's like you can choose to be a vegetarian or not, I choose to be one, and she's not, but we are both okay with each other's decision.

    Staying with someone for the rest of your life or bringing newborns to this world are both very serious things, they are promises that you have to be mature enough and responsible enough to keep, I think I will respect everyone's decision on this matter. Perhaps you will lose something, perhaps you will gain something, but no one can foresee that, and it's not fair to force others to do something just because you yourself believe in it, I think.

    Well, that's what I know about Taiwanese culture, from my own sister.
     

    beakman

    Senior Member
    Nichec, I totally agree with you, nobody can have exactly the same experience and foresee everything. Every single life is very particular. So, after having said this, I'll get back to the question about women who don't have children.
    From my point of view if a woman could have children (from physical view point) it is better for her to have one, though she is single but nobody should force her nor ask her about it. It's important and have nothing to do with the marriage. I'm speaking here about women who are in their 30-es and maybe are single and well-educated (no matter, with or without steady relationship). Men sometimes are scared of having kids because they don't want to have complications in their "organized" lives. But is it really necessary to take notice of everything the man wants and do only what he wants? I don't know...if I can explain it well...I think the couples who don't want children are not 100 per cent sure about it, at least not every childless couple, or at least not every women/ man. I am sure they are sometimes doubtful about it. I don't understand men who try to convince women that it's better not to have children from economical point of view...It's nonsense. I'm for at least one kid for every woman! but it's my wish and it has nothing to do with reality because the world is very badly arranged and full of contrasts.
    I don't see any scorn towards childless women here in Spain and, sincerely, nobody cares if you have one or not.
     

    dafne.ne

    Senior Member
    Catalunya - català/spanish
    In Catalonia, some years ago people could thing "poor lady", but fortunately nowadays everything is normal.

    At present, couples in general (no matter married or unmarried) use to have just 1 child. Main reasons are because children are very expensive and because apartaments are day by smaller. Sorry, we do not have where to put chldren!

    So, today is quite normal to meet couples or women with no kids at all and everybody understands it.

    And finally I would tell you that now is getting very common to find couples with 1 own child and another 2nd child adopted.
     

    EmilyD

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    This probably applies to men without children, but I was never in that group!

    In my part of the US ( the northeast ), social workers (in the broadest sense of that term) often work with families with children, and when I had no child, I believe many clients had less trust in me. When we met, one of the first questions many had was: do you have any children ?

    Some believe only in the power of peer counseling and that empathy simply cannot touch experience.

    ..Never mind that my one child is, of course, an entirely different being than each of your four children...;)

    Hugs, Nomi
     

    Chtipays

    Senior Member
    Mexico, Spanish
    I lived in the US many years, I was researcher in a University, there were 8 married women in my lab, 6 of them, including me, had chosen not to have children.
    Many other married researchers in the university had one child or none. Nobody ever in the US ever asked me why I didn't have children. Of course I lived in the bubble that can be the University environment.
    Once, talking to the researchers from my lab, we all agreed that we didn't have children because we thought that we wouldn't be good mothers and we were brave enough to admit it.

    Some of my married friends in Mexico chose also not to have them (all of them have at least master level education).
    While I worked in a Mexican University, some of the professors could ask me if I wanted to have them, and that was it. But the worst inquisitors were the secretaries, the lab assistants or the janitors, they would look at me as if I just fell from outer space when I said that I wasn't sure I wanted. They never thought it was a choice, I guess.
    I used to joke saying to the ones that asked for the first time: "I don't have children because I can't" and when the began to feel sorry for me because they thought I was unable to have them, I would continue: "I am too busy now, I can't" (I laughed and they hated me):D

    I also have to say that I have some friends, scientist or not that have children, some of them have many and they are happy and I love that, I suffer with friends that are trying to have babies and can't and I am happy when they succeed.

    The shock came when I moved to France, I was introduced to people and they would immediately ask, not IF, but WHEN I was going to have children. Being totally spoiled from the very respectful environment in the US, I could not believe it. I was offended. I wanted to answer that it wasn't their business. But that was not polite, so I was just smiling or my husband would answer that we would have them one of these days, to avoid explanations.
    As I said, I was spoiled in the US.

    On the other hand several French friends of our age have told us that they are envious of the life we have, that we can go on vacations anywhere without worrying about the kids and not to the same boring beach every year; that we can go out as often as we want without trying to find a babysitter and being worried while we are out because the babysitter could be a serial killer. Surprisingly to me, most of them had told us that they envy us because we can sleep as late as we want on weekends :confused:.

    But it is also true that some of them (the less educated ones) think that because we live our life differently, somehow we are criticizing or despising their own choice of life. So, as a reaction, they tend to look at us with contempt. If you don't do what they do is because you think that what they do is wrong, not other possibility.

    Something very funny that happened with French children is that they love me, apparently because I don't have children. They even introduce me to other kids saying that I don't have any children. Because of that, somehow they adopted me. Maybe they think that women that have no children must be kind of childish (which is probably true in my case). In the parties they surround me and make me speak French and we all laugh at my ugly accent. So, I guess, children are a lot more open than their parents at accepting people.

    Last comment, a Mexican male friend (a scientist too) was trying to convince me of what a great thing was to have children, he told me that he was desperate to see that his more brainy friends, who could educate their offspring so that they could change the world in the future :rolleyes:, were giving up procreation, while the less educated ones where having many children.

    A response to that would have to be in a totally different forum
     
    I'm surprised, Chtipays, that you have met with that kind of reaction here in France. I know several French couples who are married and have no children, and really it is not seen as strange - I mean, no one ever talks about it or makes comments like "I can't believe they don't have kids!".

    I did just want to point out something, though. Since it is commonly expected from society in general that young people who marry are probably going to start a family, it is common to hear "Et alors, c'est pour quand le bébé?" ("so, when's that baby coming?"), or other such references to the possibility/probablity of a couple having children.

    But those are not very serious comments, they are just like chit-chat, along the lines of if you just got a great job or a raise, people will ask you when you're going to buy the new Porsche. Or if you have a new house, they ask when you're putting in the swimming pool.

    But I can understand that if you are either in a situation where either you are finding it hard to conceive, or you have chosen not to have children at all, you might interpret the comments as being more "pointed" than I imagine they are.

    That is just my impression. So I would have to say in France it's not a very big deal at all to not have kids, and if people should ask you why and you say "We thought about it and decided not to", I can't imagine it causing any kind of shock or surprise.
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Russia, an ummarried and childless woman of 30+ has every chance to becaome an object of curiosity. If she's 40+, some people may even think there's something wrong with her.

    Of course, a woman may have different reasons to be unmarried and childless or married and childless, but it seems that most people readily forget about the fact that sometimes a woman can't have children because of some problems with her health.

    At the same time, in recent years the number of childfrees in Russia has increased dramatically. They're frowned upon by the majority of population, too. But I'm under the impression that it's so not because of their views, but because they're often very aggressive, especially when speaking of people with children. No more than two hours ago I came across a some 20 years old girl's reply in a LJ discussion about pregnant women in the subway (the question was, why so many people don't give place to pregnant women in the subway). The girl said that with her 10 sm heels she doesn't want to give place to someone who doesn't know how to use comdoms.
     

    Chtipays

    Senior Member
    Mexico, Spanish
    I'm surprised, Chtipays, that you have met with that kind of reaction here in France. I know several French couples who are married and have no children, and really it is not seen as strange - I mean, no one ever talks about it or makes comments like "I can't believe they don't have kids!".
    No, badgrammar, I guess I didn't explain properly what happened, nobody ever told me "I can't believe you don't have kids", it wasn't that. I just didn't like that people that I was just meeting where asking me something so personal. It was the fact that they were asking.
    And then I didn't explain them that we didn't want because I am not used to discuss this kind of subjects with people I just met. That is all.
     

    hehehehe

    Senior Member
    China, Chinese
    In china, when a woman is 30 and still not married, all of her relatives will be restless and try to "help" her solve the "problem". If she doesn't want to get married and have a baby, most of people will wonder what makes that poor girl lose all the faith in having a happy family. Fortunately, the altitude is gradually changing now.
    However, in some rural areas, a couple will keep on trying until they have a son, even though they already have several girls. According to their feudal thoughts, it's the only way to make their family passed down from generation to generation.
    There is an old saying," 不孝有三,无后为大", meaning "giving birth is the foremost filial duty".
     

    TraductoraPobleSec

    Senior Member
    Catalan & Spanish
    Yes, you have made a good point.:thumbsup:

    And also we have to said that if the woman was not married it could be even worse, because the word "solterona" is far away from being a positive one.

    Cheers.

    Ant
    I am pretty sure all languages have generated words to describe unmarried women without children. Italian has zitella, English has spinster or old maid... Since the 50s and 60s, when things started to change (luckily), I think one can tell right away who is a solterona or spinster from a woman who is single (soltera) following her will. Clothing and attitude always give a good hint.

    I have experienced this very closely in my family: one of my aunts, who is almost 80 now, started wearing trousers when no other women in my hometown did and traveling around Europe hitchhiking in the late fifties. She was actually the envy of the town.
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    I am pretty sure all languages have generated words to describe unmarried women without children. Italian has zitella, English has spinster or old maid...
    Russian also has a special word for an unmarried woman: it's старая дева (staraya deva). It means the same as the English "old maid", but has strong negative connotations and may even sound offensive.
     

    TraductoraPobleSec

    Senior Member
    Catalan & Spanish
    Russian also has a special word for an unmarried woman: it's старая дева (staraya deva). It means the same as the English "old maid", but has strong negative connotations and may even sound offensive.
    Hi, dear Etcetera,

    but then "old maid" in English has also very strong and negative connotations and can be offensive. The tone when pronouncing the word, of course, is very important.

    Have a good day there in Moscow! :)
     
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