Ideally, friends are able to hold opposite opinions and discuss them peacefully. But it's not always that simple, particularly when those opinions speak directly to your lifestyle differences.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her friend she's glad "the village" no longer exists for parents. She wrote:
I have a friend "Bella" who is late 20s and has a toddler and a baby. She constantly bemoans the fact that "the village" doesn't exist anymore and people aren't helping her and her partner with their baby the way they used to in past generations and how selfish it is and how terrible this is society now.
She's really bitter her mother won't retire and babysit the kids for free, but her mother is only in her mid 50s and can't afford to retire yet. She constantly complains she can't travel or enjoy her life anymore because she doesn't have a village.
After years of this, I told her I'm actually really glad we have moved away from that because "the village" that parents romanticise was actually the unpaid labor of women, and as a woman who doesn't want a child, I'm glad that I'm no longer considered socially obligated to babysit other people's kids for free or do household chores for people who chose to have kids in my free time.
Especially because these people won't pay it forward to me in any way, and if something happened to me, like getting really sick and needing help, they'd use their kids as a reason they can't help me. I also reminded her that "the village" depended on women not having jobs and it is a good thing that women can now sustain themselves and aren't forced into dependency on their fathers or husbands.
The thing that triggered it was that I went overseas recently for a holiday and to attend a concert of an artist I really like and she complained about how she doesn't get to do these things because "the village" is off doing things like that.
She said I'm just a really selfish childfree person who wants mothers to "suffer," but I don't think I was wrong, and then she said I was a bad feminist and a terrible person and hasn't spoken to me since. AITA?
NTA. So many things from caring for the sick/disabled, community projects, to helping raise children was unpaid women's labour's that relied on us not being able to work. Yes, it's unfair now that women are expected to work and raise children unless the men are doing an equal share. But in this case it just sounds like your friend wasn't ready for the responsibility of a child.
"But in this case it just sounds like your friend wasn't ready for the responsibility of a child."
I kinda get the impression she thought they'd be cute little accessories she could take everywhere and then dump them on someone else whenever she wants a break or it would be more fun to do something without them.
NTA. You have no obligation to give her free child care. If you choose to help that’s great, but there should be no expectation.
Yes, YTA. How you can defend the systems that keep women and mothers isolated, depressed, and overworked in the name of "feminism" is beyond me. But more than anything else, you chose political correctness over empathy for your struggling friend. I don't get the sense that you even like this person at all. I hope she finds better friends.
You’re not an AH for sharing your perspective on a topic with someone who frequently shares their perspective on that topic with you. That said, I don’t think your position is necessarily any more authentically feminist than hers. What you celebrate as wages for women’s work, she experiences as capitalist enclosure of a once more collective structure of care.
She’s still trapped doing the uncompensated reproductive labor of mothering, only now closer to doing it alone. She longs for the flexibility and connection of community gardens and collective dining while you point to the benefits of wages at commercial farms and restaurants. Her feminism is communist; yours is bourgeois.
ESH. Neither of you seem to have a good understanding of what a proper village is supposed to look like and you are projecting your worldviews onto each other, leaving no space for either reality to be true in any way. Neither of you showed each other any compassion here.
I understand you are probably tired of hearing your friend complain about the challenges of being a parent in modern day, but there's a reason she is opening up to you about this. Being a parent can be pretty isolating.
Motherhood is very often romanticized and many women are shocked to find how little our society cares about women and children after the child is already here. Her biggest pitfall in this could very well be repeatedly choosing the absolute wrong person to confide in on this subject; you.
Just as OP and her friend are divided on this topic, so is the internet.