I was hoping to have my first childfree column under our new ownership be an interview with the woman herself, but apparently there’s a whole process involved with getting an interview with her, so I’ve filled out the paperwork and am hoping to have an answer from one of her assistants in the next 2-4 weeks. There’s a good chance I’ll get to go to Chicago to interview her in person if my request is approved, so fingers crossed, everyone!
The childfree don’t really get to have many heroes or icons. Famous women who don’t have children are viewed with suspicion or pity (see: Jennifer Aniston). Any famous man who has declared that he has no intention of having children is seen as a Peter Pan who will never grow up, regardless of how attractive he is (see: George Clooney). Famous women tend not to come right out and state that they don’t intend to have children, because the circus that surrounds such a declaration can be career-damaging and negative.
Not for Oprah, though. Her un-childed status has been apparent for years, but she’d mostly kept silent on the subject until a 2010 interview with Barbara Walters (starting around 7:30):
Amazing. Someone famous, someone respected, someone who commands the attention of the world at large, came right out and said that there was no way she could have had the life she did if she had children. She came out and said, “I have no regrets.” This is huge. Finally, an irrefutable answer to the question, “What kind of legacy can you possibly leave if you don’t have kids?” Um, hello? OPRAH.
One or two celebrities “coming out” as childfree isn’t enough, though. Sure, Cameron Diaz, Kim Cattrall, and Janeane Garofalo have all openly discussed the fact that they don’t have kids and don’t want ’em, but for many other celebrities, the subject remains hush-hush. It’s pretty obvious when someone doesn’t have kids, but unless they come out and state that it’s never going to happen, the world is on baby bump (I really hate that phrase) watch. And until more high-profile people come right out and say, “Having kids isn’t for me,” the struggle to legitimize that decision for us regular schlubs is still an uphill battle.
I’m busily drafting questions for my dream interview with the woman herself, just in case. I have to try to remember to refrain from asking if she’ll adopt me. Talk about undermining your own message!