We know that representation matters. We know that the childfree choice and people who think about and make that choice are not represented enough. So here is an amazing resource of positive representation, Therese Shechter's documentary "My So Called Selfish Life". I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek ahead of it's release this Friday, May 6th.
While of course I am biased (in case you can't already tell!), this is a very impressive film. It is not negative about parenthood, it never falls into the 'them Vs us' argument. It doesn't need to because the purpose is simply to show childfree people living their lives and to hear their perspectives. Therese speaks to pioneers of the movement, experts who have researched the field, medical practitioners, writers, artists and musicians. She explores the deep hold pronatalism has on the way that fertility rates are viewed, the definition of what it means to be woman and even how it permeates the LGBTQIA+ community. She highlights the dark history and connection to eugenic practices in the US and how tones of that argument can still be seen today, despite how progressive we might like to think we are. She traces her own experience as a childfree woman, highlighting how people expect an elaborately detailed reason, when she simply doesn't, and has never wanted to be a parent. She also speaks to her own mother about her choices in different and difficult times.
This range really is the point of this film - to highlight that the choice to be childfree has been here for some time now and society needs to catch up to that so that childfree people can feel supported instead of judged and othered.
My favourite part of the film has to be the discussion of the biological clock. Therese shows how this idea, for that is all it is, was created by a male journalist in the 1970s, and has no medical or scientific basis. It certainly is appealing from the pronatalist point of view and combines well with the regret narrative that childfree people so frequently hear. Therese speaks to a wide range of people from different ages and backgrounds but no regret, or fear of regret is to be found. We do see people who have done the work of self examination, put in thought and time, and have found a lifestyle and way of being that resonates with and works for them.
We all want to feel that we belong, to see and hear others who hold the same kinds of opinions as us. It allows us to relax and feel accepted. We know the negative feelings associated with always feeling different and having to explain our situation. This documentary will show you that there are many other people who have the same kinds of thoughts and outlooks as you. While it is based in the US and Canada, we see universal themes arise which are highly relatable.
The film is available for home streaming from May 6 - 16th and tickets are 10 dollars. I highly recommend you treat yourself to a viewing!
Go to https://myselfishlife.com/ to see the trailer and find out how to see the full film.