I highly recommend Teri Strange’s Antinatalism series on her YouTube channel, as well as the comments below the vids. In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to offer a little perspective on “family” and exactly what family means (and doesn’t mean) in the context of capitalism and patriarchy. In case anyone is wondering or just not completely clear why their family stresses them out so much, about why the holidays suck, about why everyone drinks heavily and talks small (or fights, or uses passive aggression) when they get together “for the holidays” or why they never get together much if at all, I hope this will help. I understand that this will be controversial for most of the human population but don’t bother trolling me with pro-family comments, I am completely immune. Having a family myself I fucking know better, and I know that as much as anyone defends “family” with jerking knees thinking that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to them, the kinds of things I am talking about here are actually universally applicable and apply to everyone under the current system even if the details are not exactly the same. And like everything that’s true and real, it’s true and real whether anyone chooses to believe it or not.
And remember: just because you don’t personally know about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
So without further ado, I offer the following Christmas Family Portrait(s):
Christmas Family Portrait I.
Grandfather. Your grandfather was the man who was legally entitled to rape his wife, your grandmother. And we all know that men will be goddamned before they decline to exercise an actual or perceived right; in a sexual context that’s especially frightening because the other thing men love to do is push boundaries, and beyond that, they take things to which they aren’t entitled at all. So if he was legally entitled to rape your grandmother you can be pretty certain he did and he probably did a bunch of other horrific shit to her too. If your grandparents weren’t legally married he may not have had the legal right to rape her, but then where did your parents come from? Think about that just a little bit. Do you really think your grandmother probably said “Hell yeah!” to the prospect of being ejaculated into by your grandfather when there was no such thing as reliable birth control back then and when abortion was probably illegal? Was your grandfather just so fucking sexy that she actually had to fuck him even though she could literally die? Or is there another — any other — explanation that makes more sense than that? Think before you answer. And don’t lie. Also, for all you know your grandfather could’ve been an unknown assailant or John.
Grandmother. Your grandmother was the woman who was literally owned by your grandfather, or if she wasn’t literally owned by him she was only a generation or perhaps 2 away from that and she actually knew women — her own mother and grandmother and other female relatives — who were literally owned by their men. She had no legal, moral, intellectual or other right to bodily autonomy and her husband could and likely did rape her at will, literally as much as he wanted and surely more than she could stand. She became impregnated under these circumstances, probably more than once, but surely once was enough to teach her certain things about life. About how the world works. About her own worth, and the worth of her offspring. If she had girl children it was literally her job to break them.
Gestating and birthing children under these conditions likely caused her to become sick and weak and she may or may not have ever recovered. Perhaps experiencing her own physical limitations for the first time she surely began to wonder what would happen to her in the future, especially once she became old. All of this has colored your grandmother’s perspective, as did the fact that she was not permitted to speak about any of this and where even thinking it was a bona fide Thoughtcrime — just as it is today. In order to get through the day under this horrific regime, she probably self-medicates/d. She may even heavily self-medicate, causing side effects like addiction, brain damage or more. She may have survived one or more suicide (or murder) attempts. If she was ever institutionalized, your grandfather probably had her put there. She may wish she had never been born at all.
Father. Depending on how old you are, your father was the man who was legally entitled to rape his wife, your mother. In the United States, marital rape — a husband raping his wife in other words, because let’s get fucking real — was not universally legally barred until the 1990s. The fucking 1990s! I won’t Google that for you because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t forget a thing like that, but just in case I’m off by a couple decades ask yourself if it really fucking matters that much. My parents were married in 1969 and marital rape was certainly legal then, and abortion may or may not have been legal or available, and contraception may or may not have been legal or available. All of this happening at the same time meant that, just as in your grandparents’ case, it was the male — your father, not your mother — who decided whether your mother had children, under what circumstances, how many she had, and when and if she would ever be allowed to stop.
Your father may have also been your own rapist and/or fathered one or more of your own children, or one or more of your sister’s children. One or more of the people you think are your siblings could actually be your half-sibling and niece/nephew at the same time, being the offspring of your father and your sister. If that were true you likely would never know. Other people (like your mother) may know about this and they may not. Your father may have a second or even a third “family” you don’t even know about and your family may not even be his primary family (your mother could be the “other woman.” Stranger things have happened.) Your father may’ve even killed your mother; if your mother is dead he is the primary suspect, even if the death appears natural or via suicide. Like your grandfather, your father also could’ve been an unknown assailant or a John.
Mother. Your mother was impregnated under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, the same general conditions as was her own mother. This happened at least once but probably more than once. One or more of her pregnancies were likely unwanted and/or due to rape. The number of siblings you have is not necessarily reflective of how many times she was impregnated, it could easily have been more, and it could’ve been a hell of a lot more. There is a decent chance that your mother had an abortion or committed infanticide. You probably will never know any of this because your mother probably won’t tell you. If she had girl children (you) it was literally her job to break them (you).
Because a lot of her reality is distasteful and depressing, your mom probably lies a lot, to other people and to herself. She probably self-medicates and may even have brain damage from drug and alcohol abuse, or from the effects of violence, including self-inflicted violence and attempted suicide. There are things she cannot speak, there are things she cannot think: she may not have wanted you or one or more of your siblings. She may not have wanted children at all. Like your grandmother before her, your mother certainly had hopes and dreams for her life that never materialized. If your mother was murdered, it was probably your father who killed her. If she killed herself it was probably his fault. If she killed him he probably deserved it.
On Aunts/Uncles. If you have aunts and uncles that means that your parents had siblings — your grandmothers were impregnated more than once under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy and that this was many years ago where women had little to no say in how many children they had or whether they had children at all. In all likelihood, one or more of your aunts and uncles was unwanted by your grandmother and she had them out of coercion and lack of control over her own life. One or more of your aunts and uncles were likely the product of rape, either by the man you know as your grandfather, or by another man. It’s possible that the other man is someone only your grandmother knows about and that she took that secret to her grave. Your aunts and uncles are your parents’ age and shared most of your parents’ experiences (see above) and as siblings they were/are all in direct competition with each other for societal and generational/familial resources. Your aunts and uncles are siblings, and the boys very likely abused the girls, including sexually abusing them. They may’ve even created shared children via incestuous rape.
On Cousins. If you have cousins, that means your parents had siblings and your parents’ siblings had children. That means that your aunts were impregnated under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy. Your cousins are the same age as you and your siblings more or less, which means that they are in direct competition with you for societal and generational/familial resources. By common sense alone, we know that some of them were unwanted by their mothers and yet were born anyway. Some of your cousins may also be your grandfather’s children, which means they are both your cousins and your uncles/aunts at the same time via incestuous rape. If you are female, it is likely that one or more of your boy cousins abused you, including sexual abuse, rape and impregnation.
On Siblings. If you have siblings, that means that your mother was impregnated more than once under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, the same general conditions as was your grandmother, and that she gave birth under those conditions at least twice. There may’ve been additional pregnancies and children (additional siblings) that you may never know about. There is an excellent chance that one or more of you were unwanted by your mother and she had you anyway. One or more of you may’ve been the result of rape, contraception failure, or even a failed abortion. Your siblings are in direct competition with you for generational/familial and societal resources and there truly may not be enough to go around. If you were a multiple birth, your multiple was in direct competition with you in the womb and your mother was charged with caring for multiple newborns at the same time. Some of your siblings may actually be your grandfather’s children, which means that they are both your sister/brother and aunt/uncle at the same time via incestuous rape. There is a large chance that your father abused or even killed one or more of your siblings. There is a decent chance your mother killed one or more of your siblings too. Even if you were the one being abused you may never know for sure.
On Children. If you have children, assuming you are female, that means that you were impregnated at least once under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, the same general conditions as were your own mother and grandmother. The pregnancies may or may not have been wanted. If you have girl children it is literally your job to break them. If you are male, that means that you impregnated a woman under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy in which you were in a position of relative power. You may be a rapist, and you may or may not even know it (that distinction is up to her and whether she wanted the sex or not, it is not up to you to decide or even to know if she wanted it or not. Think about that shit.) You probably know though, let’s get real.
In the case of either parent, your children were given no choice as to whether they would be born or not, or under what conditions. Your children may wish they had never been born at all, and considering that they were born under conditions of late to end-stage capitalism and patriarchy they have a legitimate point. As a parent, your children are in competition with you for familial and societal resources but are also dependent on you for those same limited resources, creating a conflict of interest. The world’s resources are dwindling by the day and through social and political forces you have been removed from easy (or any) access to food, water, shelter, safety, healing medicine or peace — the very things needed to sustain life — and you created life anyway.
Let’s be clear about that: as a parent of children under the current system you rely on a food and water supply chain controlled by others to feed and water your dependents, and if that supply chain ever breaks down for any reason your dependents will dehydrate, starve and die in extreme mental and physical pain. And that will be your fault because you are 100% responsible for keeping dependents alive regardless of whether you have control over or access to the necessities of life. On some level you surely know that which causes you anxiety and for women likely causes so-called “postpartum” anxiety, depression and even psychosis. You probably blame your anxious, negative feelings about having procreated under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy on something (or someone) else because antinatalist thoughts and feelings are always redirected away from antinatalism and towards something, anything else.
If you had girls, there is a high chance one or more of them will be/have been raped by men. If you had boy children there is a good chance your boy(s) will grow up to be (or already is) a rapist or other violent criminal. Your boy child is highly likely to abuse your girl children and may even abuse you. Since men die before women, it is likely that any male partner you may have will predecease you and that you will then look to your children to assist you in your old age. You may or may not try to make other arrangements at which you may or may not find success.
As a parent, you may not have wanted your children at all and you may regret having had children under these conditions but there is nothing you can do about it now. The only way to end your temporary legal — and lifelong moral — obligations to your children would be to literally kill them, but you’ve probably decided against that (or have you?) You could also kill yourself and you may yet. Other than that, if you are female you will be a mother for life, morally and intellectually (if not legally) responsible for your children on some level until your kids all die, or until you do. You shoulder 100% responsibility but are granted little or no control, which are the objective markers of an unsatisfying career and warning signs for work-related psychological trauma, otherwise known as burnout.
Your children may also be the offspring of your father or grandfather, making them your half-siblings or aunt/uncle and your children at the same time. If your grandfather or father abused you, there is a good chance they will abuse your girl children and you may or may not be able to stop it. If your grandfather or father impregnates your girl child, the resulting child will be your aunt/uncle and grandchild at the same time, or your half-sibling and grandchild at the same time, respectively. You may or may not ever know that your father or grandfather or other male relative impregnated your child.
On Grandchildren. If you have grandchildren, and you are female, that means that you were impregnated under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, that you created life under these conditions and all that entails, and that your children went on to do the same thing. If your girl child has children, she is following in your footsteps and was impregnated under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, the same general conditions as were your own mother and grandmother. She may have wanted the pregnancies and she may not have. She may have been raped and she may have married her rapist. She also may not have married him. You have no way of knowing who the father(s) of your grandchildren really are. If your boy child “has children” that means your son impregnated a woman under conditions of capitalism and patriarchy, meaning from a position of relative power over the woman he impregnated. Issues of power including relative power invoke issues of consent. He may even be a rapist — you have proof that he had intercourse but no proof that the intercourse was wanted by the woman and you will never know for sure. Sorry, but no you will not.
Under the usual scenario, you do not have legal responsibility for your grandchildren but you probably sense that you have moral or intellectual responsibility for them, because you created their parent, and this colors all your interactions with your grandchildren as well as with their parents. Again, you shoulder up to 100% responsibility (generally excluding legal) but are granted little or no control. Your grandchildren may also be the offspring of your husband, making them your step-children and your grandchildren at the same time. You may never know for sure. But then again, you might know everything, including the fact that you didn’t do enough (or anything) to stop it.
Christmas Family Portrait II:
I said most of what I had to say on the topic of begetting in the comments of the above video. If anyone has anything to add/discuss, please leave comments below.
ETA: I just realized I wrote an entire post on family here — nearly 3000 words — and only used the word “love” once in the context of men loving to push boundaries including rape. If that doesn’t about say it all in one frame I wouldn’t know how to improve it.