“Having Kids Early Is Hard. It’s Also Great” fittingly appeared in print on Mother’s Day in the New York Times. The online title to Elizabeth Bruenig’s essay was “I Became a Mother at 25, and I’m Not Sorry I Didn’t Wait.” Bruenig, a (soon to be former) opinion writer for the Times, is an iconoclastic left-winger. That didn’t stop the grotesque left wing of the Twitterati from smearing her as a white supremacist, among other things, for writing a paean to motherhood.
Here are two examples, picked at random of the Twitter hate.
Bruenig is no conservative spokeswoman. The essay consistently advances European-style government-sponsored child care. But she came under left-wing for insisting that:
….having children...isn’t a chore but a pleasure, not the end of freedom as you know it but the beginning of a kind of liberty you can’t imagine….One of the things they don’t tell you about having babies is that you don’t ever have a baby; you have your baby, which is, to you, the ur-baby, the sum of all babies. The moment they laid her damp rosy body on my chest, I knew she would envelop my world….
For expressing those tender sentiments, Bruenig was smeared as a birth-obsessed white supremacist. The Washington Examiner examined “Why Elizabeth Bruenig triggers the Left,” and dredged up some gruesome social media posts excoriating Bruenig (including one from noted rational thinker Amanda Marcotte).
Examiner author Tania Lowe asked and answered her own question:
Despite her lefty bonafides, Bruenig cannot help but trigger the Left. How is that?….The premise of the contemporary Left is that the neoliberalcapitalistcishetpatriarchy oppresses every nonstraight, white male in every way. Bruenig's willingness to be publicly happy with her life undermines that premise.
(In a perhaps unrelated matter, Bruenig will be leaving the New York Times and joining The Atlantic, a liberal publication that isn’t as ideologically predictable.)
Compare those left-wing meltdowns to the lack of vitriol for a proudly anti-natalist piece by Mary Katharine Tramontana on May 6: “Women Who Say No To Motherhood.” Unlike Bruenig’s piece, the contribution from outside writer Tramontana wasn’t in the opinion section but on the front page of the weekly Styles section, granting it an informal Times imprimatur.
Zoë Noble was 32 when her doctor told her “the clock is ticking.”
The hysterectomy Ms. Noble needed to remove a fibroid was not up for discussion so far as her doctor was concerned, despite the fact that she didn’t want children. It took years of pain and an emergency room visit before she was finally granted the surgery at 37.
The practice of a physician denying a patient surgery on the assumption that a woman will change her mind about wanting children is common.
Not long after that experience and others, Ms. Noble began photographing women who opt out of parenthood in her studio, and in January, she began a new portrait series, “We Are Childfree” -- an ongoing collection of photographs, stories and podcasts, documenting the lives of women who eschew motherhood….
Predictably, Tramontana crammed her thesis with left-wing political baggage:
Perhaps part of this social unacceptability is that with an admission to never having children comes an underlying acknowledgment that women have sex for pleasure. When many are still threatened by women’s sexual agency, some experts have argued that having sex for fun, rather than reproduction, is an affront to the long political and religious history of policing female sexuality and reproductive rights.
Tramontana inevitably worked climate change into the act:
Others have noted the environmental benefit of not having children. Even having just one fewer child per family can save an average of 65 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year (to put that into perspective, going car-free, the second biggest carbon saving, conserves a total of 2.5 tons)….