Expand MandatoryMotherhood or make new trope?:

Total posts: [16]
Someone in the Lost & Found was recently looking for a trope to cover the idea that there's something wrong or "bad" about a woman who doesn't want children. I was looking for this myself a while back and couldn't find it. Mandatory Motherhood was suggested by several people, but it really doesn't seem to fit because it's mostly about fate or cosmic forces: "the law or the universe is doing its best to stop her, demanding she have children or else." It doesn't really include the idea that the woman in question is "bad" for not wanting children. It also doesn't include the disapproval of other characters in-setting, which is what I was looking for.

Should we/can we expand the definition of Mandatory Motherhood to include this idea? Or would it be better to make a new trope, possibly called something like "What Do You Mean, You Don't Want Kids?"

Either way, I'm sure this should be a "no real life examples" trope.
2 SeptimusHeap19th Jul 2013 12:18:58 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
That sounds like something to YKTTW. I.e making a new trope.
To blur the matter further, I just noticed that many of the "playing with" examples attached to Mandatory Motherhood would actually fit the proposed new trope better. For example:

"Straight: Alice's mother constantly gives her the I Want Grandkids speech."

"Exaggerated: Alice is getting this from everyone including her gynecologist."

"Downplayed: While Alice's mother respects her decision in not wanting kids, she insists that 'she'll change her mind'."

"Invoked: 'What? You don't want children? HOW DARE YOU, YOU FEMINIST SELFISH BITCH??!!! AREN'T YOU ASHAMED??'"

Those are all about social pressure from other people, not "the law or the universe."

edited 24th Jul '13 9:46:56 AM by jayoungr

4 Larkmarn19th Jul 2013 12:55:08 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Due to Tropes Are Not Narrow, I think that examples for the proposed trope CAN fit in Mandatory Motherhood.

That said, I think that it is distinct enough that it should get its own trope. Mandatory Motherhood is more of a plot trope, whereas "Doesn't Want Kids" is characterization.
5 Noaqiyeum19th Jul 2013 01:28:31 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
I think there might be a trope called Career Versus Family or something that touches on this.
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
Career Versus Family is in the same ballpark, but a woman who doesn't want children doesn't have to be a career woman, or her career doesn't have to be the reason she doesn't want them.

edited 19th Jul '13 2:17:50 PM by jayoungr

7 Madrugada19th Jul 2013 02:36:40 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I strongly oppose expanding Mandatory Motherhood to include social pressure that may be uncomfortable for the woman but can be resisted. That's treated in a different way than actually be forced ("demanding she have children or else. (There must be a serious "or else" involved") to have children is. It's a different trope.

edited 19th Jul '13 2:38:15 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Now I'm also wondering whether this would be one new trope or two: a characterization trope for the woman who doesn't want kids, and a reaction trope for the other characters who disapprove? Also, what if the author seems to disapprove?
9 Fighteer24th Jul 2013 09:50:26 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
We already have tropes about that, or at least I'm pretty sure. Law of Inverse Fertility is one of the classics: when a couple who wants kids always has trouble with pregnancy or adoption, and a couple that doesn't gets babies without even trying.
Law of Inverse Fertility is a plot trope, though. Like Career Versus Family and Mandatory Motherhood, it's in the same ballpark, but I wouldn't say it covers the same territory.
11 Larkmarn24th Jul 2013 01:02:43 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
I'd actually say that Law of Inverse Fertility is closer to the current definition of Mandatory Motherhood, but relatively unrelated to the suggested expansion. LOIF and MM are about plots where someone who doesn't want to be pregnant becomes pregnant, whereas the suggested expansion is about the society's reaction to a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant, and the fact that she's looked down on for her belief.

The more I think about it, the more I support this getting its own trope.

edited 24th Jul '13 1:03:34 PM by Larkmarn

12 Fighteer24th Jul 2013 01:03:46 PM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Female Success is Family. Crap, that's not it. Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits?

edited 24th Jul '13 1:04:19 PM by Fighteer

13 Larkmarn24th Jul 2013 01:06:21 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Female Success is Family got renamed because it was constantly used as this suggested trope. No adequate trope was made for it.

Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits is an index, and this trope would go on it for certain, but I don't think this specific trope exists on the list.

edited 24th Jul '13 1:08:21 PM by Larkmarn

14 Fighteer24th Jul 2013 01:29:39 PM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Yeah, we might be missing something. Take it to YKTTW. I'd just be concerned about it becoming a commentary on real life culture instead of culture in fiction.
15 Larkmarn24th Jul 2013 01:48:09 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Definitely a potential issue. I'd say "keep it to in-universe examples only," except it's very often left unsaid (and just used as shorthand for "This biddy never wants to have kids. What a freak, amirite, Audience?").
Okay, I gave it a shot:


I described it as being specifically about characters disapproving of other people's decision not to have children, so hopefully any real-life examples will be confined to quotes from real people saying similar things. I figure the case where the author thinks a woman who doesn't want children is some kind of freak comes under Author Tract.

By the way, thanks for the link to the Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits. I just changed the description of Mandatory Motherhood there, as it said "Unless you're a total bitch whose mere existence is an aberration, you must conceive a baby." Again, that fits better with the proposed new trope.

edited 24th Jul '13 6:24:34 PM by jayoungr

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Total posts: 16