There are certain messages women in the public eye are forced to hear constantly. They’re usually about their bodies in some way, and they’re just about always unsolicited.
One all-too-common criticism thrown at female celebrities is that their lives aren’t really meaningful until they become mothers. It’s an attitude many people clearly have about women in general, and one they sometimes feel comfortable saying out loud to women, especially to women who are famous.
Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams was subjected to that treatment this week. In the comments of a video she posted about signing inserts for her upcoming memoir, a “fan” wrote, “Michelle I love you but you need some children.”
The comment is obviously gross, but especially questionable, given the upcoming book Williams is referring to in her post is about her experience with depression.
She rebutted by calling the commenter an idiot; he said that was uncalled for; and Williams responded with one of the better verbal smackdowns of the past decade.
“No, what’s uncalled for is you telling a woman that she needs to have children,” Williams responded. “What if that woman CAN’T have children?? What if that woman DOESN’T WANT children?”
These are excellent points, of course: the decision whether or not to have children is a huge and sometimes a complicated one. Women are increasingly delaying parenthood or choosing not to have children, and while single, childless women have been statistically found to be happier than married women with kids, our society still judges women who don’t want to be parents.
“I... often feel that because I don’t have kids, I need to do more to prove my value as an adult, and especially as a woman,” Kerry Graham previously wrote for HuffPost. “If I had kids, there would be no question of what I contribute: I would be nurturing life. Without offspring to refer to, I feel pressure to be more productive, more purposeful, more prosperous.”
And of course, there are women who do want to be parents, but who are still trying or have given up hope due to miscarriage or fertility issues. One in six Canadian couples experience infertility, according to StatCan. And that doesn’t even take into account the queer couples or single women who need expensive, physically and emotionally taxing treatments for children to even be a possibility.
Whenever someone is berating someone about the fact they don’t have kids, there’s a chance they’re talking to someone who has experienced the sorrow of infertility or pregnancy loss, and are compounding the impact of an already very painful experience.
But Williams wasn’t done with her “idiot” attacker after their initial back-and-forth. She had more to say.
“WATCH YOUR MOUTH and FINGERS..... Don’t you ever let that come out of your mouth or your fingers on a comment section again to ANYBODY,” she continued. “I would have ignored but too many people need to stay out of a woman’s uterus!!! Now scram and be blessed!!!”
Doesn’t “scram and be blessed” just have a special ring to it? All the reserved politeness of “bless your heart,” but less passivity. She’s sincerely wishing him a happy life, far away from her.
“Scram and be blessed!” Adding that iconic send-off to our vocabulary, ASAP.