Celebrities: They feel “the societal obligation of procreating” just like us.
Every age comes with a defining milestone. When you turn 18, you’re granted the right to vote; at 21, you can drink; at 25, you can rent a car. But once you hit 30 and start inching closer to the big 4-0, things get more serious. Society begins pushing its “get married and have kids” agenda on 20- and 30-somethings, to the dismay of (some) millennials and Gen Zers out there. And with the global human population reaching a whopping 8 billion and reproductive rights under attack, it feels like the topic of whether or not we as individuals should procreate — at all, or at a certain age — is being discussed more than ever.
Andrew Garfield — known for playing the eponymous superhero in The Amazing Spider-Man and for his Tony Award-winning performance in Tick, Tick … Boom!, among other film credits — recently opened up to GQ about his thoughts regarding the pressure he feels as he nears his 40th birthday (which is next year).
“Releasing myself from the societal obligation of procreating by the time I’m 40 has been an interesting thing to do with myself,” he shared, adding, “It’s more about accepting a different path than what was kind of expected of me from birth. Like, By this time you will have done this, and you will have at least one child — that kind of thing. I think I have some guilt around that.”
Garfield isn’t the only Hollywood star rejecting this “societal obligation.” Plenty of famous women — including Chelsea Handler, Oprah Winfrey, and Zoë Kravitz — have spoken openly about being childfree. “I still want to go on adventures, have fun nights and see the sunrise,” Kravitz, 33, told Elle Canada in March 2022. “It's been an interesting journey of remembering that there's no finish line that I have to get to by a certain time. Playful, mischievous behavior is something I always hope to have, even when I'm 70 years old. The point of being alive is to experience life and play with it. There's still so much fun to be had."
Of course, as Garfield acknowledged in his GQ interview, “it’s easier for [him] as a man” to follow this path. In general, women experience far greater pressure to become parents and, if they don’t have children, to constantly explain why.
But while the narrative of prioritizing marriage and family has been a mainstay in our culture for longer than any of us has been on earth, things are changing; according to a recent survey conducted by luxury real estate firm Ruby Home, Gen Z women are following millennial women’s lead. Out of 1,000+ Gen Zers surveyed 27% said they don’t want kids at all. Among those opting out of parenthood, 89% of the women said it’s because they enjoy the flexibility of a childfree life, and 70% cited the value of alone time. As a childfree millennial who’s obsessed with her nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids but doesn’t want her own, I wholeheartedly agree with these stats.
In the end, the decision to get hitched and have kids is an individual one; it’s simply not up to anyone else — and none of us owes an explanation for our choices. As Garfield said, “Life is in charge. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”