A spontaneous strategy meeting was instigated by Jerry, the founder of No Kidding! last weekend at the child-free festival in Toronto. I could be found poolside at about 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, but I did catch the tail end of what looked like a very productive discussion about how to make chapters better and where the organization is going.
The people from places as far as the United Kingdom and California were at the table, plus at least one person from the Toronto chapter of this international social club for childfree adults. About a dozen people in all.
The founder and the couple acting as spokespeople and strategists for the five-year-old organization are absolutely adamant that No Kidding! is not an advocacy organization. It's a social club, plain and simple. However, given the number of interviews that Laura and Vinny
This couple represents a moderate voice and they do a good job of portraying a childfree couple that has made a conscious choice about having children. However, the character of this organization and what Laura and Vinny, as the NK! spokespeople, stand for is not advocating a childfree lifestyle. They do not promote it to others, they simply tell their unique story.
It's a very "live and let live" philosophy. That makes it very comfortable to be a member. It doesn't matter what your reason is for being a childfree adult, or whether you are single or married. If you want to meet other adults who want to do fun things (and don't need to line up a babysitter first), then you now have an avenue to do so. That's why there are 90 chapters around the world. It's a very successful model, and a volunteer-lead and volunteer-run organization that is still in its infancy. The internet as a social tool has really made it all possible.
It can be a fine line between advocacy and the goal of awareness. Extreme examples would be population control and pro-choice advocates. The pro-natalist extreme is represented by the religous right as Purple WomenTM contributor Twiga wrote about in her recent post. It seems to me that when we, the childfree, are portrayed in mainstream media we are often reduced to unflattering sound bites. I am glad to know that people like Laura and Vinny are out there to balance the often negative stereotypes.
Technorati Tag: Childfree