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Childfree and Feminine: Understanding the Gender Identity of Voluntarily Childless Women

Rosemary Gillespie
Gender and Society
Vol. 17, No. 1 (Feb., 2003), pp. 122-136
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3081818
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Childfree and Feminine: Understanding the Gender Identity of Voluntarily Childless Women
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Abstract

The roles of women and of feminine identity have been historically and traditionally constructed around motherhood. However, recent years have seen a growing trend among women to remain childless/childfree. Drawing on interviews with 25 voluntarily childless women, this article considers the extent to which this trend results from the appeal or pull of the perceived advantages of a childfree lifestyle as well as the ways childfree women might represent a more fundamental and radical rejection of motherhood and the activities associated with it. The article concludes by considering how to recast understandings of feminine identity away from a mother-centered focus.

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