An illustration of Issa Rae
Women are consistently criticized for their life choices, and celebrities like Issa Rae are no exception. (Illustration by Leigh Desorcy, Montserrat College of Art)

Self’s Interview With Issa Rae Highlights Society’s Obsession With Women’s Personal Lives

In a world that expects marriage and children to be everyone’s end goal, those who don’t conform are publicly judged for their private choices.

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An illustration of Issa Rae

In a world that expects marriage and children to be everyone’s end goal, those who don’t conform are publicly judged for their private choices.

When a woman finds herself single and thriving, she is suddenly provoked with, “When are you going to get a significant other?” When a woman begins dating someone, they are nearly verbally attacked with, “When are you two going to get married?” When a woman and her partner get married, they are swarmed with curiosity, “When are we going to see some grandchildren from you two?”

And the list of demands put on women never ends. When a trending celebrity such as 36-year-old Issa Rae has gotten to a certain point in her life, many people begin to wonder, “Why doesn’t this woman have children?” It becomes an intense fixation and game to figure out why on earth a woman would not reproduce. It’s a likely assumption that most women on the planet have been asked the question. Stick around to understand why it’s inappropriate to question a woman as to why she does not have children as well as what Issa Rae has to say about the “concern.”

Issa Rae is an excellent role model for anyone who acknowledges the constant intrusion of baby talk aimed at women. In recent years, Rae has made a name for herself with her hit show “Insecure,” which follows a young Black woman navigating through life’s constant whirlwinds. On top of that, she has accomplished much more. According to Revolt, Rae has founded a production company, ColorCreative, to create more opportunities for women and minority writers. In addition, Rae has a label with Atlantic Records, an exceptional Stanford education and two Golden Globe nominations under her belt.

Of course, as a society, we feel the need to ask Rae the inevitable question, “When are you going to have children?” So, when interviewed by Self and asked the impending baby question, Rae replied, “I’m extremely happy. I like my life, I like this selfishness, and I know that I have a window.” Why shouldn’t she be happy and take as many career opportunities as she possibly can? Women deserve to live a life where they can build their careers and not worry about having children. Is it so unbearable to imagine a hard-working woman without a kid clung to her waist potentially slowing her down?

The interview continued the wider discussion around why a woman doesn’t procreate; Rae evoked a straightforward sentiment: she doesn’t want to. Just because a woman may possess the reproductive organs to bear children does not mean that’s all a woman is suitable for. Yes, it is technically a biological destiny, but it’s 2021 — times are changing. Believe it or not, other fulfilling aspects of life don’t include having children. Taking up hobbies such as volunteering, clubs and sports; maintaining healthy relationships with friends, family and significant others as Rae does; and just being able to have unlimited “me-time” is meaningful.

These parts of life can often be sidetracked when starting a family, and to many women, they just aren’t worth giving up, which is acceptable in every shape and form. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe this reason is legitimate and still question a woman’s official stance on the matter. Not every woman feels a maternal instinct, and it’s a noble choice as to whether they will care for another living, albeit smaller, human. So, instead of being shunned and shamed for her decision, a woman should be applauded and accepted.

Lastly, having children isn’t necessarily an option in every woman’s life. Some women may want to start a family but physically cannot have children due to infertility or other health issues. It can be a heartbreaking discovery about oneself, and many people are not keen to share their personal information. There must be heightened sensitivity around this subject, as women experience many barriers to motherhood. It doesn’t just stop at physical barriers — mental and psychological barriers such as assault and trauma, a recent miscarriage, relationships and finances may prevent women from having children. Women are all on different journeys and deserve respect no matter their individual situation.

An important note to end on, highlighted near the conclusion of Rae’s interview with Self, is her commitment to privacy. Rae rarely reveals anything about her personal life to the public and should be applauded for it. This stand to create a healthy distance between her private life and career is something to look up to. Why does anyone deserve to know whether she has children and what the reasons are for her decisions? Just because someone is well-known does not mean their personal lives have to be.

The reasons for a woman not having children are all valid, no matter who the person is. There are various causes behind why a woman doesn’t have a child; it’s in everyone’s best interest not to ask. Simply put, it’s invasive to ask such questions about a person, especially when they are not close.  Let women live their lives and stop nagging about what doesn’t concern you. It’s not a requirement for women to divulge their livelihoods to anyone. The hard facts are, it’s no one’s business.

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Tori Walz

Eastern Michigan University
English with a Concentration in Professional Writing

Hi I am Tori and I am glad to be here. :)

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