Diane Von Furstenberg: “All women should have children”

I was going to blog about FOX News contributor Liz Trotta, who made light of the fact that sexual assaults in the military have increased. What Trotta said was disgusting, sexist and needs to be roundly denounced by not only this country’s military officials, but soldiers and lay men and women alike.

No woman should expect to be raped in their homes, when they are out running, when they are at work, much less in the military just because they are in close quarters with a bunch of burly men. Trotta needs to be dropped from the network for her anti-woman, rape apologist mindset.

Shifting gears…

An interview with Diane Von Furstenberg with CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett caught my attention in which she responded to Rick Santorum’s bashing of “radical feminists” who he claimed ruined the traditional family model.

The fashion pioneer responded with: “I believe really that all women should have children. I think that our body is made for that and think we should all have children. If we can’t somehow, (then) I think we should adopt them. I think women are made to have children and to be mothers, for sure.”

She also went on to say that it’s important women need to have an identity outside the home, which helps women have better relationships with themselves, their husbands and with their children.

One step forward, two steps back…

What’s ironic about Von Furstenberg’s comments is I had this same conversation with two male associates earlier today via email. When I told them I didn’t plan on having children, one responded with, “Talk to me when you’re 30,” and the other responded to his comment by saying, “Good one!”

I think it’s high time people take their hands off women’s reproductive organs.

Not every woman needs or wants to have children. I do not want children. I’ve never wanted children and at the age of 28, chances are pretty fucking slim that I will never have children. My uterus does not flutter nor do my ovaries kick into overdrive when I see a cute little infant snuggled up to the bosom of his or her’s mother. And I’m okay with that, but most people I tell this to seem to be offended or dismissive of my plans to not reproduce. Why do we as a society applaud people for being assertive about wanting children at an early age, but respond with a smug attitude to people who are just as sure at a young age that they do not want children?

While I’d like to think that the fashion designer’s opinions could be attributed to her coming of age in “simpler” times, I don’t feel comfortable blaming her rigid, traditionalist views on her age as that would amount to discrimination and stereotyping.

What’s disturbing about Von Furstenberg’s sentiments is she has no problem with promoting the 19th and early 20th century, male-sponsored opinion that women’s bodies are made for solely producing offspring, the one of the many sexists notion that helped kick start the women’s rights movement. Not only can our bodies incubate zygotes and produce fetuses, our bodies are also able to doing the same thing as our male counterparts do, such as getting rid of waste, digesting food, cooling us off when we get too hot, etc. Our brains are also capable of absorbing all that big, scary male-oriented stuff such as politics, science, mathematics and finances.

One also has to wonder if von Furstenberg considered how ableist, cissexist and harmful her statements are to women as a whole. What about women with physical disabilities who are unable to carry children or those with a history of mental disorders that could be hurdles to adopting? What about transgender women who don’t have the organs needed to carry children? What about women who refuse to adopt, and are desperate to have a child of their own–but can’t due to various medical issues? What about women who are facing dire financial situations and who don’t want to bring children into a poor financial outlook?

Furthermore, her suggestion that women should have children, be able to work full-time and have an identity outside the home reeks of class privilege. Many working class women often find themselves working more than one job, and relying on relatives, neighbors and their older children to watch over their young siblings. Many women who have full-time careers are forced to spend long hours at work, neglecting quality time with their children.

Ironically, many women eventually end up ditching their careers and staying home with their children not only because their employers refused to accommodate their busy schedule (and remaining slow to provide on-site daycare), but societal pressure compels sometimes convince women that it’s best to give up their hard-earned careers while fathers are expected to carry on with their career goals while serving as a secondary figure in their children’s lives.

I’m sure if every woman had the success and money Von Furstenberg enjoys, women wouldn’t have that problem as we would be able to hire others to raise our children while we are out conquering the world. And quite, frankly, I’m am completely disgusted with rich, wealthy women dictating to us female commoners about what we should do with our uteruses.

While Von Furstenberg did throw women a bone by declaring it was healthy for us to have identities outside the home, her statements provide society with yet another unrealistic yardstick it can use to compare and contrast our worth on whether we decide to reproduce.

11 comments on “Diane Von Furstenberg: “All women should have children”

  1. What about women partnered with other women, even if they want children? Are they both supposed to stay home? Are they both supposed to physically give birth?

  2. Von Furstenberg also defended Roman Polanski. I remember wanting to own one of her dresses for many years. No more. Never, now.

  3. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this. I am also 28, and I do not want children. I have never wanted children. I did not even play with baby dolls as a child. And I get the exact same reactions all the time: dismissive (“wait until you’re 30″ or “of course you do, you just haven’t realized it yet”) or offended (“how could you not want children?!” and “how terrible for your parents”). So, seriously, thank you for this post.

  4. I’m 30, and I’m just out of the clinic where I was making a complaint against the doctor who berated me for not being pregnant while I was doing the one month check-up on my IUD. 

  5. I never wanted children. However, just as you described above, so many folks around me kept telling me that I would change my mind when I got older.

    In my late twenties, I started getting some serious side effects from my birth control bills. My doctor said that I could be at increased risk of stroke. I said I was too young for a stroke! Her response was that a 19 year old patient of hers had just had a stroke the previous week. Then I thought to myself, “Well, a stroke is better than getting pregnant.”

    CLICK. I realized that all those other people were wrong. I got a tubal ligation shortly after that, at age 29. I’ve never regretted it. I’m in my 50s now.

    It’s reasonable to think that a teenager might change her mind. But by the time a woman is in her late twenties then she probably knows herself well enough to make that decision. I encourage all women to trust in their own judgment.

  6. I was babysitting a 4 year old and a 7 year old the other day, and the 4 year old asked if I had kids. When I said no, she told me that was very sad, so I explained to her (and this is true) that I don’t want to have kids partially because I enjoy getting to spend time with her and her sister, as well as friends of theirs I also care for, and my friends’ kids, and hopefully one day nieces and nephews – and the 7 year old piped up and said “Yeah! If you have your OWN kids, you hafta concetrate on them, but if you don’t, you can love lots and lots of kids!” <3  I have other reasons for not wanting my own kids (biological or adopted), but that actually is a major reason – I personally would tunnel-vision on my own kids, and I really like getting to be a mentor/aunt-figure for lots of kids in my life and having plenty of love and energy to share around.

  7. There isn’t a single thing that all women should do. Three billion women in the world are not interchangeable. I think we’ve discovered the key problem in the fashion industry: idiots who persist in the belief that “one size fits all” in the face of all evidence.

  8. Bravo! 

    While this IS mainly a problem females encounter, I’d like to point out that as a 32 year old male I have even run up against this. My primary care physician asked if I recently had a child, I told him no and that I had no desire to have any (neither does my 30 year girlfriend).  He scoffed and stated that I would have children eventually.

  9. Why do people with such small mindsets get to go on t.v. and talk about their world views? Seriously, whose idea was it do to an interview with this person and what was their motive?

    WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

  10. Anyone asking you if you want children, just tell them “As soon as your cheque clears for £500K to raise my child I will go ahead and have them. Huh? You ‘re not going to finacially support me raise my child? Then don’t fucking ask about if I’m having one, coz that ain’t none of your business.”

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