Unsplash/Peter Sjo - Picture has been edited by Les 3 sex*

Story • To be a woman

19 September 2019
Isabelle Arcoite

Stories are written by people who don’t necessarily work or study in fields related to sexology. They convey emotions, perceptions, and subjective perspectives. Opinions voiced in the stories are those of their authors, and in no way represent Les 3 sex* position.

Translated by Florence Bois-Villeneuve


To be a woman.

A woman who…

doesn’t want to take hormones,
doesn’t want to have a period,
doesn’t want children,

is still a woman.

As far back as I can remember, I never wanted kids. It wasn’t until people started shoving the opposite ideological agenda down my throat that I realized my choice was the wrong one. If we’re still wondering why we need feminism in our so-called modern and progressive society, well, it’s partly to allow women like me to have their choices respected, and for society to recognize that a childfree woman isn’t any less of a woman. It’s to give women back control over their bodies instead of handing it over to healthcare practitioners.

In 2019, in Quebec, it is still impossible for a childfree woman under 30 years old without precarious health issues to undergo a surgical sterilization procedure. I know this because I’ve tried. Many of us have tried, only to be confronted with numerous refusals from professionals (doctors??). It seems that the social construct according to which all women should have children is stronger than our powerful desire and right to have complete ownership of our bodies. And when it comes to women who are delaying becoming mothers, it’s believed that it’s only a matter of time before they realize what they’re missing out on and head down the path that’s been mapped out for them. True, this choice may be partner-related. Because, of course, the desire to have children stems from meeting the right person, and moreover, according to heteronormative social norms, the right man.

By extension, this would also mean that a woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant is not a real woman. Because adoption has to be a consolation prize, right? After all, pregnancy is a rite of passage for all women, just like menstruation, an almost unavoidable monthly natural phenomenon that reminds us of our role as women, through the shedding of flesh and blood. The only way to escape this reality is hormones, which is why I started taking the pill continuously at the age of 14.

Because our modern society believes that it’s better to subject young girls to hormones (despite several documented adverse effects) than to allow women to take control of their bodies through surgery. Speaking of hormones, we might as well bring up the fact that for many, being a woman sometimes means accepting that we’re not fully aware of our moods and emotions, which are often altered by artificial hormones. To be a woman is, unfortunately, to see one’s reactions trivialized or ridiculed in relation to that particular time of the month and the “hysterical” reputation of women.

I chose not to have kids. It’s my choice. It’s my body.

Yet it’s the healthcare system that’s been making decisions for me and denying me access to a long-term, hormone-free, period-free method of contraception for over 10 years. The same system that has been forcing me to take hormones continuously for over 10 years, and that reminds me that my choices make me less of a woman in the eyes of society.

I am a woman who will not bear children and who, one day, will have full ownership of her body.

Other media interventions by Isabelle Arcoite about her desire not to have children
childfree, woman without children, femininity, women, gender stereotypes, social norm, hormones, feminism, choice, autonomy, body, surgery, sterilization, desire, power


Log in ou Create an account . Only subscribed members can comment.