What Women Really Think

Dec. 24 2014 11:58 AM

Watch President Obama Break Down Stereotypes About Toys for Girls and Boys

Earlier this month, President Obama joined the first lady for her annual photo-op-friendly volunteer gig with Toys for Tots. The Obamas were tasked with sorting each donated toy into a “girl” box and a “boy” box as press and select kiddos looked on. True to form, Obama kicked off the event with a square pop-culture reference (“I’m the big elf. I’m like Will Ferrell”), followed by a Dad joke: “Let’s get sorting. I’m positive that for girls 0 to 2, that’s perfect for the Call of Duty video game.”


But then Obama followed through on the joke, turning the toy-sorting gig into a referendum on gender roles. New basketball? Girl box. (“You know what? I want to make sure some girls play some ball.” Tool kit? Girl box. (“What, girls don’t like tools?”) Tee ball game? Girl box. (“Tee ball. Girls play tee ball, too.”) As Obama told the crowd: “Just trying to break down these gender stereotypes.” Unfortunately for America's bravest boys, video of the event from NowThis News only shows Obama diversifying the girls box. Next year: Give the boys the rainbow looms they so desperately want.

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Dec. 24 2014 10:34 AM

Non-Traditional Families Are The New Tradition

Christmas is a time of nostalgia for Victorian imagery, ‘40s-style crooner songs, and the idealized 1950s family image of two parents, two kids, and a dog. But if watching the inexplicably famous Holderness family celebrating the corny joys of the nuclear family Christmas is the sort of thing that makes you want to pour a little more bourbon in your eggnog, take comfort in the fact that history is on your side. A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that the majority of American kids under 18 are not being raised in a “traditional” family, defined as two parents in their first marriage. Only 46 percent of kids have the Leave It To Beaver lifestyle; the rest are being raised by single parents, cohabitating parents, stepparents, or even grandparents. That's down from 73 percent in 1960.

Defining the nuclear family as “traditional” is somewhat misleading, as report author Gretchen Livingston told Jessica Goldstein of ThinkProgress. “In a lot of ways the 1950s and 1960s were an anomaly in family structure; the birth rate was uncommonly high, people married young,” she explained. “So even though people think of that as the traditional image of the family … it was actually [an] anomaly.” (Still, as she pointed out, these numbers had even changed a lot since 1980, when 61 percent of kids were being raised in a stereotypical nuclear family.) The takeaway is that the image of a “traditional” family is a figment. Family life is always changing in response to economic and social change. 


These are the sorts of numbers that tend to get conservative hands a-wringing over the supposed problem of “out-of-wedlock” births, which have been rising alongside the number of kids being raised outside of nuclear families. As the report notes, “the share of children born outside of marriage now stands at 41%, up from just 5% in 1960.” But if you dig into the numbers a little, it becomes clear that the supposed scourge of bastardy isn't the primary reason for this shift. Only 34 percent of kids are being raised by single parents, many of whom were once married but are now divorced. While researchers didn't measure the pasts of the polled families, just their present status, the only way we could get to the numbers we have now is if a substantial chunk of that 46 percent of traditional families started off as the dreaded “out-of-wedlock” births and just got married sometime after the first baby was born. Even W. Bradford Wilcox, in a piece for Slate condemning giving birth while single, did concede that many women who do so eventually get married.

Not that these realities will quell conservative lectures about the near-magical properties of giving birth with a wedding ring on your finger. Younger women who give birth while single tend to be less powerful and less Republican than divorced people are, making them an easier scapegoat. But for the rest of us, this research is a bit of cheer before the holiday. If your family has a second Christmas at Dad's house, or you’re fretting about the etiquette of stepparent gifts, or you live in a family where “Santa” is not mom but grandma, don't despair. You're not weird, as it turns out. In fact, you're the new normal. 

Dec. 24 2014 9:00 AM

The Year of Truly Awful Celebrity Sex Scandal

As 2014 comes to a close, DoubleX is looking back on the year that was—the stories we covered and missed that captivated, puzzled, enraged, and delighted us.

XX Factor year In Review

On Thanksgiving, 2009, Tiger Woods got in an argument with his then-wife Elin, reportedly about his infidelities. He then crashed his car into a tree in front of his Florida home. It turned out Woods was cheating with a football team’s worth of women—exotic dancers and club promoters and waitresses—all of which went against his squeaky-clean, family man image. He lost a bunch of endorsements, and was pilloried by the press. Reporters camped outside his house for days on end.


I’ve been thinking a lot about Woods lately, because his scandal—which, five years ago, was the biggest one around—seems impossibly quaint and even a little  wholesome compared with this year’s big disgraces: allegations against Bill Cosby and CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi. After all, though Woods was cheating on his wife, he was having consensual sex with these women. Yes, Woods put forth an ascetic image while he was really indulging in a lot of vices, but that contradiction is nothing compared to the horrors of Cosby, who put himself forward not just as a sterling family man, but also lectured other black men on acting responsible and “respectable.” He railed against rap music, the current state of black culture, and promoted stable, two-parent homes. All the while, he was allegedly drugging and raping women. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, not to mention the actual alleged abuse.

Ghomeshi is much less famous and powerful than Cosby, but the allegations against him also make the Woods Affair seem like small potatoes in retrospect. Ghomeshi allegedly sexually harassed coworkers who were ignored by their superiors when they tried to complain. He allegedly assaulted several others. When the CBC fired him, he attempted to sue them for $55 million, though he later dropped the suit as more and more evidence of his sexual misconduct piled up against him.

These are true scandals. They are disgusting and illegal abuses of power. Perhaps in their wake, we’ll be able to move past the reflexive preaching against celebrity affairs and other juicy missteps, which, while totally entertaining, are really none of no consequence to us, collectively. What Cosby and Ghomeshi did actually matters, and the stories of their alleged victims need to be aired. Paying attention to these scandals this year was not gawking—it was caring about things that matter. Even if Cosby can’t be punished in court, the public shaming should be unyielding.

Dec. 23 2014 2:00 PM

The Year Disney Realized Women Can Do More Than Fall In Love

As 2014 comes to a close, DoubleX is looking back on the year that was—the stories we covered and missed that captivated, puzzled, enraged, and delighted us.

XX Factor year In Review

This time last year, Disney's Marvel movies, while undeniably entertaining, were so male-dominated that Joss Whedon had to fight to keep the studio from cutting Black Widow out of The Avengers. That's how grim things were: The studio actually thought people wouldn't want to see Scarlet Johansson in a tight leather suit on the big screen. 


What a difference a year makes. After the success of Disney's Frozen, with "Let It Go" becoming the most popular girl power anthem of the year, Pixar, long criticized for the male-centric model of most of its movies, announced the upcoming Inside Out, about a little girl named Riley. No longer will Brave languish as the token "girl" movie in their catalog. 

Marvel Studios didn't have quite that kind of breakthrough, but 2014 showed the studio softening up on its all-men-all-the-time mentality. True, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stepped in it in August by saying that it is a "challenging thing" to create a single female-led film. But both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier made tons of money and got a warm critical reception, and both featured ass-kicking women (Zoe Saldana and Scarlet Johansson) in second billing roles.

Perhaps this success is what prompted Feige to step up to the challenge: In October, Marvel announced that it finally—finally—will put out a female-led movie, Captain Marvel, in 2017. Better yet, the character they went for is beloved for being a genuinely feminist one, who is also supposed to be a tall woman of nearly six feet (cough, Gwendoline Christie, cough). And on the TV front, ABC will begin airing a show about post-war S.H.I.E.L.D founder Peggy Carter this January, called Agent Carter. Netflix is also doing some series for Marvel, one of which will be centered around a former superhero, now-detective named Jessica Jones

In 2014, Disney woke up to the fact that audiences want to see women as more than the love interest in movies and TV shows. I'm excited to see what they produce in the next few years.

Dec. 23 2014 12:30 PM

Want to Reduce the Abortion Rate? Support IUDs.

One of the ongoing battles in the fight over abortion is the question of what’s behind the declining abortion rate in the United States. Anti-abortion activists understandably want to attribute the decline to a rise in abortion restrictions, with a side dose of platitudes about a “culture of life.” Pro-choicers say improved contraception use is responsible for the drop. The latter is an answer that doesn't sit well with the increasingly contraception-hostile anti-choice movement, but it does have significant scientific evidence to support it. 

Now we can add one more study to the pile. Researchers from Ibis Reproductive Health and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco recently published a study in the medical journal Contraception that shows that as more women utilize long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as implants and IUDs, the abortion rate declines dramatically.


Researchers staged the study in Iowa, one of the few states where access to both family planning and abortion services increased during the study period, between 2005 and 2012. As access to care widened, the researchers recorded a major surge in demand for IUDs and implants at Iowa family planning clinics—from 1 percent to 15 percent of all clients. Subsequently, the abortion rate in Iowa decreased, despite the fact that getting an abortion was actually easier for women than it had been previously. In fact, the drop was dramatic, “from 5,198 abortions in 2005 to 3,887 in 2012, or from 8.7 abortions per 1000 women aged 15–44 to 6.7,” as a press release for the study notes. The takeaway? At least in this part of Iowa, adding just one new IUD or implant per 100 women was correlated with a 4 percent decline in the abortion rate.

Clearly, if you are sincerely disturbed by the act of abortion and would like to see the number of abortions decline, the answer is to encourage women to consider using IUDs until they want to get pregnant. Unfortunately, that's not a popular attitude within the anti-choice movement, which has latched onto the IUD as its most hated and most demonized form of contraception, second perhaps only to emergency contraception. As Joerge Dreweke of the Guttmacher Institute detailed in a recent analysis of anti-choice rhetoric regarding contraception, anti-abortion groups prefer demonizing language when describing IUDs, usually claiming that it's an "early abortion," "life-ending," or that it works by "killing the embryo". None of this is true—IUDs work by preventing sperm from getting to the egg—suggesting that the hostility to IUDs is rooted less in concern for life and more in a general distaste for the sexual freedom they provide their owners. 

Dec. 23 2014 12:00 PM

The Year People Started Caring About Online Harassment

As 2014 comes to a close, DoubleX is looking back on the year that was—the stories we covered and missed that captivated, puzzled, enraged, and delighted us.

XX Factor year In Review

Ever since the first women ventured onto online bulletin boards to seek virtual companionship and share opinions, there have been men ready to respond by saying “tits or GTFO.” But while the problem of internet harassment has been with us for more than two decades now, 2014 was the year that the public at large started to see it as a serious problem. As the divide between “real” life and the internet continues to break down, it’s become difficult to argue that being harassed online has no impact on the increasingly rare parts of our lives that exist completely separate from our laptops and phones.


The year started with “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” a big and buzzy Pacific Standard piece by Slate’s Amanda Hess that alerted a lot of people to a problem they didn’t know existed. But it was the celebrity photo hack that, for good and bad, really galvanized the public, drawing a ton of attention to the problem of “revenge porn,” where someone publishes nude photos of a person without her consent. And even before naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence landed online, some legislators were finally addressing the problem of non-consensual photo-sharing online. A number of states have recently passed laws criminalizing the sharing of nude photos without the subject’s permission. And California has now successfully prosecuted the first person with a revenge porn law, a man who was, in the classic style, trying to regain control over a woman who left him by humiliating her online. In addition, revenge porn king Hunter Moore, who ran a site dedicated to publishing non-consensual nude photos, was indicted early this year on federal hacking charges, and is expected to face trial soon.

But virtually undressing women against their will is hardly the only kind of internet harassment that came to national attention this year. At Jezebel, the writing staff wrote a collective post demanding that their owner, Gawker Media, do something about men who post rape gifs in comments that the writers can’t help but see, and then have to spend time cleaning up. Jezebel’s post helped expose how much grief women who write about feminism have to put up with from online misogynists. But this problem also got some real world exposure when artist Amy Roth created an art installation in Los Angeles called A Woman's Room Online, an 8x10 office space completely plastered with abuse women had experienced online. (Full disclosure: I contributed some ugliness aimed at me.) Even the Supreme Court was forced to think about online harassment, hearing arguments over whether or not Anthony Elonis, who was charged with threatening to kill his ex-wife online, should have his words—which he claims were not aimed at her but just into the internet ether—protected by the First Amendment. 

Then there was the rise and fall of a reactionary movement of angry, anti-feminist video gamers that called itself “Gamergate,” which highlighted how much a devoted group of online harassers can make a woman’s life a living hell. Hearteningly, the public was mostly against Gamergate and the sexism the movement was peddling, and the whole episode was so visible (Stephen Colbert even interviewed harassed gamer Anita Sarkeesian on The Colbert Report), that in the end, it actually helped bring attention to the fact that online harassment is more than a mild annoyance, but a very serious problem for many women who live and work online. So, awareness of the problem has been raised. Hopefully online platforms like Twitter can help solve it in 2015.

Dec. 23 2014 9:00 AM

The Year Cheerleaders Fought Back

As 2014 comes to a close, DoubleX is looking back on the year that was—the stories we covered and missed that captivated, puzzled, enraged, and delighted us.

XX Factor year In Review

This was the year that NFL cheerleaders finally started rooting for themselves. Cheerleaders from five football teams filed suit against their employers in 2014, alleging that, among other labor violations, they were paid sub-minimum wages for their work. And at least some of these cheerleaders-turned-labor-warriors can claim victory: One team, the Oakland Raiders, has begrudgingly agreed to pay its squad members the bare minimum wage going forward. Rah, rah. Unfortunately, a thin paycheck is just one of many demeaning bullet points in the typical NFL cheerleader’s job description. Even if all NFL teams gave their cheerleaders a raise, they would still be free to weigh them, bleach them, spray tan them, “jiggle test” them, and auction them off at charity golf tournaments—where members of the Buffalo Jills say they have to sit in the lap of the highest bidder.


The job description of the NFL cheerleader is so dismal that Vice’s Smriti Sinha believes that instead of paying up, the NFL should just eliminate the position entirely. “These women are treated more like booth Barbies than the dancers and athletes they imagined they'd be,” Sinha wrote last month. “What purpose is NFL cheerleading serving other than dehumanizing women and entertaining the male gaze with ever-shrinking costumes? … If the league wants to send a message to women, it should end the practice of cheerleading altogether.”

How did the status of the American cheerleader fall so far that the most humane option would be to take them off the field? When college football first swept the nation in the early 1900s, cheerleading was seen as an admirable extracurricular for elite college men, as Mother Jones noted in a brief, fascinating history of American cheerleading last week. “The reputation of having been a valiant 'cheer-leader' is one of the most valuable things a boy can take away from college,” the Nation argued in 1911. “As a title to promotion in professional or public life, it ranks hardly second to that of being a quarterback.” By the 1920s, Stanford was offering courses in cheerleading, including one on “Bleacher Psychology.” When college men headed off to fight in World War II, women assumed their roles on the sidelines, and when the war was over, they didn’t cede their ground. It didn’t take long for “cheerleader” to flip into an insult.

But over the past several decades, female-dominated high school and college squads have worked hard to regain the respect that cheerleading enjoyed in its boys’ club era. These days, the routines are spectacular, the cheerleaders skilled, and the national tournaments fiercely competitive. This spring, cheerleading was officially recognized as a sport in New York state schools. Watch a few minutes of the annual UCA College Cheerleading Championships, and you’ll see just how impressive these athletes can be:

So it’s unfortunate that as high school and college cheerleading has grown ever more professional, “pro” cheerleading is still treated like an amateur sideshow: The uniforms keep shrinking, and the paychecks remain pocket change. NFL officials could resolve this contradiction by just taking cheerleaders out of the game, but I think a more enticing solution is jumping and flipping right in front of their faces. If the league really wanted to send a message that it respects women, it could draw on the talents of high school and college cheerleaders across the country, and remake NFL cheerleading in their image: Less booth Barbie, more human pyramid.

The change would require an investment, yes, but these teams have been stealing from their most visible female employees for years. Football owes cheerleaders. Besides, it could very well pay off. The NFL needs a female-friendly PR coup, and hundreds of highly skilled college cheerleaders need a playing field. The move would help galvanize legions of girls (and cheer-interested boys) to become personally invested in football, thus increasing viewership among women. If the leagues’ squads were freed to take cheerleading to new heights, competitions between the squads would attract their own audiences. Taking cheerleading seriously would help pro football reaffirm its status as a true national pastime, one that reflects back the changing values of the communities it represents. And the form already has a prototype: the Baltimore Ravens’ co-ed stunt team. The cheerleaders are ready. It’s time to put them in the game.

Dec. 22 2014 4:34 PM

Meet Paul Nungesser, the Accused Student at the Center of the Fight Over Campus Rape

This year, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz became an emblem for how colleges mistreat victims of sexual assault on campus. After Sulkowicz reported an alleged rape to the Columbia administration and the college found the accused not responsible, she began hauling her 50-pound dorm mattress across campus as a powerful symbol of an adjudication system she claims is confounding, ineffectual, and unfair. The act has grown into Sulkowicz’s undergraduate art thesis project and inspired a national movement, Carry That Weight, that advocates on behalf of campus sexual assault survivors. In the shadow of her campaign stands Paul Nungesser, the student Sulkowicz says raped her. Today, the New York Times published the first interview with Nungesser himself. It’s the most intimate, high-profile portrait so far of a college student who was accused of rape—one who says that the system has failed him, too.

In his time at Columbia, three female students have accused Nungesser of sexual misconduct. He's denied each accusation, and has not been formally disciplined by the university. When one student accused Nungesser of groping her at a party, the university initially decided against him, but he successfully appealed the ruling. After another student accused him of intimate partner violence, the university dropped the case when the alleged victim stopped cooperating with the investigation. And when Sulkowicz accused Nungesser of raping her, Columbia declined to find him responsible, citing lack of evidence.


In lieu of any formal finding, Nungesser had paid a social cost. “He has gotten used to former friends crossing the street to avoid him,” Ariel Kaminer reports in the Times. “He has even gotten used to being denounced as a rapist on fliers and in a rally in the university’s quadrangle. … His name has been plastered on campus bathrooms and published in easily searchable articles. His face is visible online, too, in photos that detractors have posted as warnings to strangers.” Because Columbia failed to discipline Nungesser, Columbia bloggers, activists, and supporters have stepped in to exact their own punishment, and national media has fanned the flames.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Nungesser here, even as the opinions he airs on intimate partner violence—“Outside of a forced marriage or kidnapping, it just seems very hard to believe that a person would over and over again put themselves in a situation where they could expect this kind of behavior to occur”—are odious. In a perfect world, Nungesser would never feel compelled to pontificate on that particular issue in the Times. As Sulkowitz has emerged as a symbol of disenfranchised survivors, Nungesser has come to symbolize all the entitled young men who take what they want and never pay the consequences. That’s not quite fair. No matter what actually happened in Nungesser’s three cases, campus rape is a systemic problem, and he's just one man. Forcing Nungesser to pay personal consequences for the broken system is not going to fix it. Sulkowicz’s mother, Sandra Leong, rightly (and very generously and humanely) frames Nungesser’s experience as an unfortunate byproduct of the university’s failure to appropriately adjudicate sexual assault cases. “I think by sweeping it under the rug [Columbia has] subjected him to a very painful, scarring experience,” she told the Times. “I don’t see it as Emma’s fault because she just had to do what she had to do but I do see it as the school’s fault.”

When outlets report on campus sexual assault, they tend to carefully segregate the experiences of students like Sulkowicz and Nungesser into separate stories: The system fails victims; the system fails the accused. But it’s the same system, and right now it doesn’t look like it’s serving anybody. We don't need to pick sides to come to the conclusion that it needs to be refomed. Perhaps the stories we’re hearing from students like Sulkowicz and Nungesser are evidence of growing pains as the campus adjudication process evolves into a responsible and workable system for everyone involved, or maybe they're warning signs that colleges will never be able to adequately address this issue. Either way, there are no easy lessons here, just a group of people who are looking for justice and not finding it on campus or anywhere else.

Dec. 22 2014 3:00 PM

A Week of “Good News” Shows How Bad Christian Women Leaders Still Have It

It was a big week for female religious leaders. Last Tuesday, the Vatican ended its six-year investigation into the lives of American nuns with an approving report. And, on Wednesday, the Church of England appointed its first female bishop. On the surface, the moves portend good things for Christian women. In reality, they just highlight how bad things have been—and still are—for many of the most active women in the church.  


In 2008, the Vatican launched an investigation into American nuns because the nuns were thought to have a “secular mentality” due to their commitment to social justice. Tuesday’s report concluded by encouraging the nuns to essentially continue doing what they’ve been doing: work toward “the elimination of the structural causes of poverty.” It’s tempting to think of the report as a six-year nuisance that ultimately reinforced the nuns’ relevance. But the very existence of the inquiry was a chauvinistic exercise that rightly outraged many Catholics. The Nun Justice Project deemed it a “huge waste of time” and “demeaning.” And on WBUR last week, Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus reminded us of some of the other things that the church had to worry about in 2008—like pedophilia, lack of fiscal responsibility, and generally poor management. In light of those troubles, it’s baffling that the church chose to pick on the Catholic sisters for scrutiny.

Dec. 22 2014 2:00 PM

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury

As 2014 comes to a close, DoubleX is looking back on the year that was—the stories we covered and missed that captivated, puzzled, enraged, and delighted us.

XX Factor year In Review

There have been many prominent pregnancy and child care–related issues in 2014, from the UPS pregnancy discrimination case that was recently argued in front of the Supreme Court to the publicity around the scheduling software that makes child care arrangements impossible for working-class parents. In reading and writing about these issues, I’ve noticed a depressing sentiment: Having children is now often framed as a frivolous lifestyle choice, as if it’s a decision that’s no different from moving to San Francisco or buying a motorcycle. If you choose to buy that Harley or have that baby, it’s on you, lady.


When I’ve written about middle- and upper-middle-class parents wanting benefits like paid parental leave, this is the typical sort of comment people make: “I see no reason to subsidize women’s fantasies of ‘having it all.’ ” As if raising children is just about pinning another badge to a Girl Scout sash. When I write about working-class parents just trying to make ends meet and find safe child care for their offspring, the comments are even crueler: “If you can't afford a dog, don’t get a dog. If you can't afford a kid, don't get a kid.”

Though these sorts of reactions aren’t brand new, I’ve been seeing more of them. So I decided to ask June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, both law professors and the co-authors of Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family and Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture, about where the framing of children as a lifestyle choice comes from, and whether my suspicion that there’s an uptick in people treating child-bearing as this kind of consumer choice is true.

There are two slightly different things going on. For wealthier parents, the turn against child-rearing happened in the late ’90s and early aughts, when childless white-collar workers started grousing about the benefits that workers with children received, from tax breaks to more flexible work hours. This coincided with a critical mass of mothers in the workforce. Cahn, a professor at George Washington University, points to the 2000 publication of Elinor Burkett’s The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless, as an expression of the growing resentment of parents.

Carbone, a professor at the University of Minnesota, has found in her research and reporting that, since the 2008 recession, the kids-as-your-choice-not-my-problem sentiment has been applied to poorer people. “People weren’t saying this as much in 2004,” Carbone says.

So what’s going on? When Carbone and Cahn wrote their 2010 book, Red Families v. Blue Families, they described the blue state model of parenting as the kind where people defer child rearing until “both partners reach maturity and financial independence.” Red families have a different model—they promote abstinence until marriage and are pro-life, and so people get married younger, and there are higher rates of teen pregnancy among red families. There used to be sympathy for young parents who were struggling to get by in the “red” model.

Blue families have long preached and practiced “responsible parenting,” which is that you shouldn’t have children you can’t afford. But the shift is that red families are now also on the “responsible parenting” bandwagon.

As Carbone eloquently puts it:

What I see in almost all walks of life is a sense of pessimism about the country.  The pie is contracting. People work much harder to stay where they are, the ability to guarantee the same life for your children is declining, and people feel they can’t afford to be as generous about anything. You have to be warier of new people, resentful of people around you, you can’t expand the benefits available to others without hurting your own chances and those of your children.

The problem here is that wages have stagnated, and Millennials—the people who are starting to have kids now—are having trouble finding jobs that enable them to support themselves, much less families, despite being the most educated generation ever. Unfortunately, instead of blaming a political and corporate system that is making life impossible for everyone, people are blaming parents for the perceived “benefits” they are getting, like unpaid parental leave and child care tax breaks.

Though in some ways, having children is a “choice,” to compare it to the purchase of an appliance is appalling. It’s a pretty typical part of the human experience. It’s not something that should be restricted to people who already won the birth lottery by being born middle class.