Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
Doing parenthood is something that child-free scrapbookers do, too. Child-free scrapbookers report that they include the personal context in their scrapbooks so that years from now when their children or grandchildren read the album they will learn more about their parents or grandparents. Here scrapbooks are created with the thoughts of future children and future grandchildren in mind. These scrapbookers anticipate parenthood and scrapbook with this in mind.
Not all child-free respondents in my research, however, intend on ever having children. These scrapbookers are more likely to deemphasize the role scrapbooks might play for future generations. They may also emphasize their role as caretaker of a pet more than a parent or a child-free scrapbooker who intends to be a parent one day might do in a scrapbook.
Child-free respondents say that the pervasiveness of the image of mothers creating scrapbooks pushes scrapbookers without children to the margins. One child-free respondent, who does not intend on ever having children, states:
For me, I am a person without children and a lot of people who scrapbook seem to think why in the world would someone without children scrapbook which lessens to me in my mind the value of my life and my experience. You’re saying that my life isn’t worth scrapbooking which is absurd. Because we have family and friends…if I’m gone somebody might actually want to remember me. If I’m here forever I might want to remember my nieces and my nephews, my grandparents whoever…so many people think that why would I scrapbook myself? I mean I can’t imagine thinking like that and thinking my mom and dad are not worth me scrapbooking.
Clearly, scrapbooking is about more than just doing motherhood or there would not be a place for child-free scrapbookers.
Moreover, most child-free scrapbookers still make scrapbooks about their family to varying degrees. Scrapbookers without children of their own (both men and women) make scrapbooks about nieces and nephews (scrapbookers who were mothers also make pages about their nieces and nephews). Several of these respondents make baby scrapbooks for their brother or sister’s child and the birth of the child was sometimes the trigger to becoming a scrapbooker.
The point is that child-free scrapbookers exist. Some scrapbook with the anticipation of eventual parenthood in mind while others have no intention of ever becoming a parent. The scrapbook industry promotes the image of mothers scrapbooking and this message is heard by child-free scrapbookers, who feel pushed to the margins of the hobby.
Are you child-free or did you start scrapbooking before becoming a parent? How does your parental status shape your scrapbooking? Comment below or join the conversation on facebook.
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