Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes…Why is there criticism of “people with children”?

There is no end to the phenomenon in which people who are raising children are criticized and criticized for being called “parents” on social media (SNS). As Declining Birthrate continues to decline, Takushoku University professor Kazuma Sato (family economics), who has one child, worries that “this could discourage people who wish to get married and raise children in the future.”

The criticism of “people with children” has three main causes.

 There are no statistics on criticism of “child-bearing”, and it is difficult to get a complete picture of who is calling whom. However, there is no doubt that it is attracting the attention of many people, and I believe there are three reasons behind it.

Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes...Why is there criticism of "people with children"?

 The first is the development of SNS, a device that has the power to spread the word. However, for a message to have an impact, a certain number of people need to sympathize with it. Related to this is the second reason, the decline in households with children. People raising children are becoming a minority, and the lifetime unmarried rate is also rising. It’s hard to understand how difficult raising a child is until you’ve tried it, but I think fewer people are aware of the hardships of raising a child, and more and more people are empathizing with those who criticize them.

 Third, the “externalization of child-rearing” has progressed. In the past, many women quit their jobs when they got married and had children to concentrate on housework and childcare, but due to changes in society’s demands and values, more and more women are now continuing to work.

 According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Basic Survey on People’s Living, people under the age of 18…

“Why me for your child?” Growing criticism of “parents”

 A strong voice of criticism is spreading on social networking services (SNS), referring to parents with young children as “parents.” There are many cases where behavior based on having a child is considered insane or a nuisance by those around you, but what is the reason behind such hatred?

Agree or disagree with posts on SNS

 “People with children are suddenly absent from work again because their children have high fevers.The workload of everyone in the department has increased by about 1.3 times today.” In November 2023, a user of Twitter (X) posted such a post, which was viewed more than 30 million times and sparked a mixed debate.

Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes...Why is there criticism of "people with children"?

 Also, in April of the same year, when the soup specialty store “Soup Stock Tokyo” announced that it would provide free baby food at all stores, there were comments such as, “The individual who proposed it likely has a kid. I won’t go there again.” There are many stores that only have it, but I can’t stand being attacked with a stroller. Goodbye Soup Stock Tokyo…”

 In addition, there are many posts on social media such as “Single women are forced to work to fill the void left by people with children,” and “If you sit near someone with children, not only will you not be able to recline, but you will also be forced to help.” There is.

Do women who don’t have children also write?

 ”This is an argument about, ‘Why should we sacrifice for your child?'” That’s what Yuko Ando, ​​a journalist who has been active in news programs, says.

Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes...Why is there criticism of "people with children"?

 There are several cases on social media where women who do not have children appear to be posting, and Ando, ​​who has no children, worries that a “division” is occurring among women. “The divide between married and unmarried individuals is growing, and the number of people choosing not to get married or have children is increasing for a variety of reasons, including economic issues, and between those who have children and those who do not, is becoming more severe.Furthermore, in many workplaces, the idea of ​​male superiority persists, Women already feel a sense of unfairness, but women without children are now forced to cover the work of colleagues who have taken time off to raise children.”

There is a fear that those who wish to get married and raise children will be discouraged.

 The increase in the number of both husband and wife working is thought to be accelerating the sense of unfairness. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s National Survey of Living Conditions, the percentage of households with unmarried children under 18 in which the mother works was 56.7% in 2004, but rose to 75% in 2022.・Over three-quarters of 7%. The percentage of mothers who are “regular employees” has also increased from 16.9% in 2004 to 30.4% in 2022.

Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes...Why is there criticism of "people with children"?

 Professor Kazuma Sato (family economics) at Takushoku University, who has one child, said, “Dual-income households need to ‘externalize’ the burden of raising children by using nursery schools or after-school child care, but if the child suddenly develops a fever, If this happens, it will inevitably affect co-workers at work.The criticism of people who have children is likely to continue to grow, and unless the government takes the lead in taking measures, people who wish to get married and raise children will be affected. “There is a risk that this could lead to a decline in the economy,” he warns. [Eri Misono]

“I regret becoming a mother” Candid confessions of women who defy taboos

 ”I regret becoming a mother.” When she found a book with that title at a bookstore, she felt anxious.

 I have a 3 year old daughter. Children are cute, but the troubles of raising children are endless. Some of me feel relieved when I’m alone. But is it okay for mom to say “regret”? As I turned the pages with confusion, I found women who were challenging society’s image of a “good mother” and speaking out as “real, flesh-and-blood human beings.”

Declining Birthrate, SNS, dual incomes...Why is there criticism of "people with children"?

 ”For me, I don’t think being a mother is the right choice…because it doesn’t suit me. It’s not who I am.”

 “It was difficult [at first] to say that having children was a mistake and that it was a big burden for me. I did.”

 ”I feel like my freedom is gone forever…I don’t have freedom in my head.”

 In the pages, mothers confess openly.

 The author, Orna Donat (45), is an Israeli female sociologist. Regret over becoming a mother is a deep-rooted taboo. Donato, who questioned the current situation, answered “No” to the question, “If you could go back in time, would you become a mother again?”20 ~Interviews were conducted with 23 women in their 70s. Apart from poverty and marital relationships, she brings out a variety of narratives related to the “difficulties of motherhood itself.” When it was published in Germany in 2016, it received a great response, and it was decided to be published in 15 countries and regions. In Japan, it was published by Shinchosha in March 2022 with a translation by Masami Shikada.

 This book has been printed five times and has become a hot topic in Japan.

 “The feelings that I had hidden in my heart for a long time were beautifully put into words.Every time I said things like “raising children is fun,” I was hiding the fact that I felt nothing but self-deception. I’m glad that my feelings were acknowledged.” Shinchosha received the following feedback from a woman in her 30s.

 A man in his 60s who is interested in issues such as the declining birthrate and population decline commented, “The issues at issue were shocking and exceeded my expectations, and it made me realize the depth of the issues.”

 Junsuke Uchiyama, the editor in charge, said, “The conventional wisdom that women should be mothers and that they are designed to feel joy in raising children is far too deeply ingrained.However, there are women who are suffering because of this conventional wisdom.” “It’s a fact,” and said, “I thought that by making those feelings visible, it would be the start of a discussion to update the conventional wisdom. I felt encouraged that there were a certain number of male readers as well.” Explain.

Making “motherhood” more humane

 <Ah, I get it> <Aaah, I don’t know what to do with this feeling>. Riko Murai (52), an essayist and translator who has published numerous books about her mother and family, was the first to respond on her Twitter in March.

 Murai, who is also the mother of twin high school boys, said that she most sympathized with the book’s words, which say that “motherhood,” which is often considered sacred, “makes it more human.” She said, “Just because a woman gives birth doesn’t mean she automatically becomes a mother, and just because she gets married doesn’t mean she has to become a mother.I want to make it clear once again that we women have a choice in the first place.” He gave it to me.”

 The book is positioned as “a book that asks not whether it is good or bad to have regrets, but what kind of social pressure is there that does not allow even the feeling of regret.” In fact, when the book was first published in Germany, there was a flood of criticism towards Donat and the other women who had voiced their regrets. That was nothing more than the “whining” of a “selfish” mother, and that “the regret was due to her mother’s personal failings.”

 However, what this book criticizes is society’s perception of motherhood as a fixed “role.” As long as this is the case, mothers are deprived of their own emotions and will, and are bound to the “motherhood” that corresponds to their role.

 Donato argues that the only scenario is the “perfect mother,” and that’s the only way to aim for it — which is actually the “ideal employee.” Ms. Murai said, “If women step down from the role of mother and laborer, the family will cease to function, and the foundations of society may be shaken.That’s why this book points out that society won’t forgive mothers for their regrets.” I stayed there,” he recalls.

 She added, “When I read it from my daughter’s perspective, my impression of it changes completely.” In her own essay, she describes her feud with her late mother, saying, “As a daughter, I was sensitive to my mother’s desire to run away, and subconsciously drew her closer to me and never let her go. I feel like she didn’t allow me to break away from her role as a mother. If you read this book as a daughter who has taken away the words of her mother, you might have kept her secret for many years. I can understand your thoughts.”

Love and regret go together

 Some people may think, “I feel bad for the child by talking about regrets,” or “If there’s love, there’s no way they would regret it.”

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