Happy International Childfree Day!
To celebrate this day, the winners of the Childfree Person of the Year and Childfree Group of the Year are announced! First, the Selection Panel gives a big thanks to all who nominated such great nominees. Every year, amazing childfree people are nominated, and the Panel faces tough decisions!
Here are the 2020 childfree winners and their nomination submissions:
2020 Childfree Person of the Year: Elizabeth Hintz
Elizabeth Hintz is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Florida. She is a childfree academic who has dedicated her professional career to understanding and normalizing childfree experiences. As a scholar, she studies interpersonal, family, and health communication. Her research examines how we talk about childfreedom and with what consequences, spanning topics such as: (a) the stigma and paradoxical dilemmas encountered by the childfree in medical consultations in which they request voluntary sterilization, (b) shifts in and characteristics of media coverage of voluntary childlessness over the past 40 years, and (c) childfree experiences of being “bingoed” when discussing childfreedom with others not sharing our views.
She uses her status as a childfree person to augment the rigor and depth of her analyses, rather than approaching her research projects under the guise of objectivity. Elizabeth aims to promote social justice for the childfree community through her research efforts. By understanding how the childfree express our views to others and how others respond to those expressions, the issues facing our community can be better and more broadly understood, and we can work to advocate for positive social change in these relations.
Elizabeth’s research helps others to see what an amazing childfree life can look like. Rather than viewing childfreedom as the most important part of participants’ identities, her research normalizes childfreedom by studying the issues which childfree people encounter in daily life, such as discussing childfreedom with others, navigating the workplace, and negotiating difficult conversations about reproduction and contraception with medical providers. Her research also highlights the benefits of childfreedom, including the ways that the childfree community act as sources of information and support for managing difficult conversations and provide tools for re-storying our lives.
She has advocated for the acceptance of the childfree choice in both professional and personal capacities. Professionally, in 2019, her manuscript about childfree bingos received the Donald P. Cushman Award from the National Communication Association, the highest national award given to a graduate student, for authoring the top ranked manuscript in the field. This same manuscript was published in Communication Monographs, a top-ranked national journal, and has now been read in communication seminars across the country.
Although early in her career, Elizabeth’s work has greatly increased the visibility of childfree families as being equally fulfilling and legitimate alternative familial forms by questioning otherwise taken-for-granted assumptions about what constitutes a “family” and pushing research about families into new directions. Her work was selected for dissemination by Communication Currents, a national newsletter circulated to scholars of communication, and she has also discussed her research about the issues faced in patient-provider interactions when childfree individuals request sterilization for an upcoming episode of the social justice podcast Well That’s A Problem.
Personally, she and her husband live a childfree life and openly discuss their experiences and views with others.
2020 Childfree Group of the Year: Childfree Internet Community, Overheard by Childfree
Nominated by Stefan, Russia
I want to nominate the Russian childfree internet community: Overheard by Childfree https://vk.com/overhear_childfree, (VK is an online social media and social networking service based in Saint Petersburg) and its group creator, Alex Crown.
I’d like to nominate this community because it has helped so many people to find a point of support in so pro-child, so patriarchal Russian society.
Russian society is even more pro-birth and more patriarchal if you head to the inner areas of the country away from the capital.
So many people in inner areas who feel inner opposition to giving birth or decide to stay non-parents often can find support only online in such groups.
The example of group support is in its growth. It now has more than 60k subscribers.
This is an internet support group. Everyday people share feelings and ideas about being childfree and get support in tough life situations.
This Group helps dozens of people every day, with just the fact it exists. Because sometimes young people in Russia can find support and acceptance in being childfree only over the internet. Over the years it has done so much to spread the idea that “childfree = normal” in Russia!
Many thanks to all of the stellar nominees, those who nominated them, and all who have been part of and celebrate International Childfree Day, an annual, formal recognition of amazing childfree people and their lives!