Disdain for the infertile

My mother was a dedicated viewer of 100 Days to Heaven when it was airing on ABS-CBN. I found the show all right and Xyriel Manabat tolerable, unlike many child stars who are too aware of their cuteness and precociousness, and thus turn up these qualities even further. The show itself wasn’t too bad, but I was really rather put off by a scene wherein Connie Reyes’s character Anna Manalastas was berating Valerie Concepcion’s character, who was villainous. Long story short, Anna was telling Valerie’s character that she (Valerie’s) was a failure, because she was unable to bear a child for her husband.

I found it to be a very grim spot in an otherwise harmless TV show, and potentially dangerous. People here already place such a huge premium on having children, saying children are blessings regardless of whether or not the mother-to-be wants the child or is prepared for it. Because children are highly prized, people may start thinking that kids are their lives’ major achievement, and may see themselves in a poor light if they’re unable to have any. Then there’s also the unfortunate thinking that getting pregnant, giving birth, and being a mother is the only thing that can make a woman complete.

I encountered this sort of attitude indirectly, being acquainted with a couple of women who can’t have children. Rather than being sympathetic to their condition, they have been targeted by fellow women who taunt them for being infertile. Apart from being another example of women’s viciousness towards one another, it’s a stark reminder of how women are still primarily viewed: as vessels for infants and nothing more. We could achieve so many things and expand our minds and horizons, and we’re still perceived to be worthless if we can’t have any children and as if we’re being selfish for being infertile and unable to spawn members of the next generation.