It is always that question, that maddening question that makes me go into frenzy. “Do you have children?” they always ask, they being the hedonistic men who are always hitting on me. “Why not?” they ask appalled that I have no children, no boyfriend and I’m not seeking either of the two.
First of all I am twenty one, a student, freelance writer and casual worker, having a child at this stage would be utterly devastating, selfish and quite frankly stupid. Secondly the last time I checked it is the year 2012 and the stature of women has changed from merely being baby producing machines to actual beings with aspirations, dreams and choices to have children or not.
I have lost count of the number of men who when they find out that I have no children are disappointed; it is as if I am a product that has some deformity and is then rejected to oblivion. I thought this sort of thinking by these men attributed to their old age but even younger men (as young as me) don’t understand why I don’t have children. I fumble to understand their way of thinking.
My cousin told me that some of these men think that if a woman does have children she may not have HIV. I scoffed at this reasoning because it is dangerous and baseless. If men think that way then the HIV rates in South Africa are only going to climb exponentially higher. HIV is a serious epidemic, especially in South Africa and if stupid reasoning about HIV infection continues like this, the young women and children of South Africa are in grave danger. Education on how HIV works needs to be emphasised in every way, every single day, in the workplace, at home, in the malls- everywhere.
Another reason for this thinking is that men still do not see women as possible life companions, there is no romanticism to being in a relationship; the females are simply there to produce offspring for them and serve their men until God knows when. Could this way of thinking by men be the reason for the high teenage pregnancies? I don’t know but women, young women need to understand that their worth is not found in their fertility, that children are not bait to tie a man down and that most importantly that is not the only reason they are on this earth.
I am okay, I am not insane, and I don’t need a man or child to put my life into perspective. I understand how HIV is contracted and no thank you I do not want a dose of it. My worth is not found in my womb, it is found in my actions to society, it is found in my individualism, it is found in my talents, it is found in my mind, in my heart, in my soul. Do young women know where their worth lies but importantly do men?