The Real L Word’s Nikki & Jill Are Having a Baby: The Autostraddle Interview

I remember first meeting Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein via my television set back in the summer of 2010. They were the perfectly glam engaged couple seen planning their Malibu wedding… and not much else. Well, boy has a lot transpired since Season One of The Real L Word! Over the last two years, they have filmed and edited their own mini-episodes (known as Flip Friday) for fans who wished to see their favorite RLW couple continue their regular lives, post-Showtime. As documented in the nearly 80 episodes of Flip Friday, Nikki and Jill have since married, become close friends with Cori & Kaci (of Season Two) and are now expecting their first child together, due on their second wedding anniversary, October 9, 2012. They’ve also remained loyal and steadfast Autostraddle fans, even reading from an Autostraddle Real L Word recap at their wedding and doing a Flip Friday with Riese & Alex.

Nikki & Jill’s love story dates back to 1984, where they met at (where else?) CAMP!, when Nikki was dating Jill’s older brother for a few summers.  Nikki grew up to be the founder of Nikki Weiss & Co, where she represents leading directors in the commercial and feature film world while Jill’s background in marketing and advertising on Madison Avenue helped her transition into a full-time career as a commercial treatment writer. Jill’s writing can also be found in her Curve Magazine fitness column and in scripts for various award shows.

I chatted with the fab couple about camp, their impending major life change, finding an anonymous sperm donor, the upcoming election, their Real L Word comrades, whether they would do Reality TV again and how Nikki would fix the Oprah Winfrey Network and our favorite guilty pleasure, Smash.

Are you prepared for all the life changes that are about to happen?

JILL: It feels as if it comes out of nowhere! We were just discussing that last night funnily enough. . . We’re putting the house on the market, we’re moving and we’re having a baby. There’s so many changes happening concurrently. Nik had a moment in the kitchen last night where she jokingly asked me, “how did I get here?”

NIKKI: What happened to my gorgeous bachlorette house and my convertible car?! My whole life has changed! You just don’t see it coming. But I wouldn’t have it any other way now! We literally put the house on the market yesterday, I’m having heart palpitations but it’s exciting.

Do you plan on finding out the sex of the baby beforehand?

NIKKI: Well, at the time of the Curve article we didn’t know the sex of the baby because it was before the 12th week but we DO know the sex of the baby now! You’re generally not able to find out the sex until the 20th week. Well, fortunately for us our baby is really well endowed so we found out at our 12 week ultrasound!

Oh! Do you want to make it an Autostraddle exclusive?

NIKKI: You can have the exclusive on the baby boy.

That’s so cute!

NIKKI: We’re so excited I can’t even tell you. There is so much “girl” in this house so we are really excited to have a boy. He is gonna understand women so well… we are gonna put a nice gentleman into the world.

Nikki, did you ever have the desire to be pregnant?

No, I can’t say I ever had the desire to carry but I’ve always had the desire to parent. It really wasn’t until I met Jill that I wanted to parent with someone else.

And Jill did you always want to carry?

JILL: Yes, it wasn’t on constantly on my mind throughout my twenties when I clearly wasn’t ready for it, but it was always something I knew I would do one day, or hoped I would do one day.

NIKKI: You just didn’t know you’d be doing it with another lady! [laughing]

JILL: True! Nikki was perfectly fine with me carrying, so it was kind of a no-brainer decision.

NIKKI: But I thank her every day, Jess. I’m like, “thank you for doing this for us” because I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose control of your body, really. Especially for somebody like Jill who is so athletic and so in control of that. It’s so important to her. I just thank her every day.

Were you very strict with your diet pre-pregnancy?

JILL: Not strict per se, but I have very healthy eating habits in general… And nothing really changed too much, I just consume a little bit more now.

NIKKI: During the first trimester this child was eating bagels like it was going out of style.

JILL: Well, I was so nauseous! But I didn’t have to change many eating habits. I think I was in pretty good shape going into the pregnancy because I was healthy beforehand, it’s just a matter of thinking bit more carefully about what you’re eating because you are eating for someone else now and need to have x, y, z in your diet everyday… this amount of calcium and this amount of protein… so you do need to  be more responsible about what you’re putting in your body and how often.

Did you have any pre-pregnancy anxiety about how it would effect your body and workout regimen?

JILL: The honest answer is yes. Obviously, fitness is very important to me and I enjoy it so much, so it was a big proposition to decide that for the next 9 months  my workout regimen  is going to take a bit of a backseat while I give up control of my body. I basically had a conversation with myself where I decided that I’m taking  the next year of my life and becoming totally and utterly selfless, making it about something and someone else. It’s definitely been a shift  – I’m watching my stomach grow every day and view that as beautiful now versus wanting to get a more defined six pack.  What I consider to be beautiful has changed. But because I enjoy fitness, I spoke to my doctors at length and am working out under their care…  I think pregnancy is a very easy time to just say “eff it” and let it go but I want to be healthy and fit so I still exercise as often as I’m allowed to… it’s just at a different intensity and frequency now.

NIKKI: She’s still got rockin’ arms and sick legs. She looks gorgeous.

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 267 articles for us.

53 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    What an outstanding interview! These ladies are absolutely amazing and Im so happy to see them on this site. I really enjoyed reading a bit about their careers, because it’s one of the few subjects I haven’t seen much about through their fan page. Its nice to see strong, independent women representing our community.

    Also, Flip Fridays are the best, even my mom is a fan!!! They answered one of my questions in a Q&A flip and I squealed like a child…..they even showed me their collection of matching coffee cups ;p It’s going to be really neat watching their baby story unfold. Now, to the mailbox to see if Curve has arrived yet!

  2. Thumb up 3

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    Re: TRLW ” I guess I wish they kept it a bit more on the high road. ….there’s enough negative stereotypes around the lifestyle that I don’t think there’s a strong reason to spoon-feed it. And some of that might have been done….. I don’t know that highlighting SO much sex, partying or promiscuity really helped change any perspectives out there in a positive way. I would hope for a bigger sense of responsibility with this kind of a platform.”

    Yes, this, obviously! Thanks, Jill.

    • Thumb up 9

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      Really? REALLY?

      I can’t even. Nikki and Jill should be able to bring as many people in the world as they please so long they love and respect the beautiful people they bring in and others. Policing women’s reproductive rights/choices is gross, yuck, eww.

      • Thumb up 2

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        Note the difference between censuring and applauding. I asked why we *praise* people for doing something that is questionably ethical.

        If I see someone smoking on the playground, I’m not going to go up and tell hir to stop (that would be policing), but I’m also not going to go up and say “wonderful! congrats! you are smoking in front of children!” (that’s applauding ).

        Can we be a little aware of the children already in existence who are not going to get them as loving parents, because they chose to bring another child into the world? There are half a million children in foster care in the US alone.

        Can we be a little aware of overpopulation and global climate change? There are over 7 billion people on earth.

        How is it admirable, laudible to choose to reproduce?

        • Thumb up 5

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          “Can we be a little aware of overpopulation and global climate change?”

          Personally I find the issue of overpopulation to be an issue of resource, not “having too many people”. The over consumption of first world nations is something to really talk about, I personally believe we have space for 8, 9 even 10 billion people.

          Global Warming, again the Earth is getting warmer before we gave it a name. However humans can aggravate the effects again something that is caused by mainly first world industrial nations.

          And honestly people are going to have children no matter what the conditions are. It is about choice I personally choose to not have children, they have the choice to have children.

          I have engaged enough in this derailment. I just wanted to celebrate this beautiful couple’s happiness.

        • Thumb up 2

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          I agree, Bra, that distribution of resources is at the heart for humans. However, there are other species besides humans. There isn’t enough space for 10 Billion – or 7 Billion, as it turns out – of us and them.

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      What should “we” be doing? Stoning them? It’s their choice, not anyone else’s. If you want to give them applause for that, so be it, if you don’t, then don’t. It’s really quite simple. I fail to see your point in your question.

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        I know we are culturally conditioned to view reproduction positively, but let’s question that cultural convention.

        Why is it good to reproduce?

        I am asking why people think it’s a good thing, a praiseworthy act.

        In response to your question, do you really think that stoning is the alternative to praising? How about withholding praise, just as most people would if you saw someone doing something else morally questionable, like littering, leaving a tap running in a public restroom, driving a hummer, etc.?

        • Thumb up 2

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          Point 1: Not everyone is culturally conditioned to reproduce, that is an assumption on your part. Personally, I don’t want kids and that is a conscious choice I’ve made, just like other people have made conscious choices to have kids. Whether you view that as positive or negative is relative to the individual and your conscious choices (or not).

          Point 2: Reproduction is BIOLOGICAL, it’s what living things do in order to survive and further their species, like plants, bee’s, birds, reptiles, humans, et cetera. We were born to reproduce, it’s not a social construct and or condition, it’s merely a system in place on Earth, that happens to “work,” at least so far.
          a.) It is quite interesting how you specifically target human biological reproduction. Why are you not targeting other living organisms? Could it be, that you have a moral agenda here? I mean, let’s just call it for what it is here.
          b.) You’re associating values on reproduction when there aren’t any, biologically speaking. Your words of “positive” and or “negative” are social constructs applied to a system that has no such “value.”

          Point 3: The stoning comment was said in jest. It is really interesting how you are making this a moral issue. Morals are not universal, they’re quite relative to the individual based on the social conditioning and or experiences they have had toward the “common good.” The common good basically states, “If I do this, I will survive, if I don’t do this, I won’t survive.” Essentially, you have a kind of “survival of the fittest,” where living organisms compete in niche markets, where they check and balance each other out, etc.

          Lastly, Point 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw, besides this being one of my favorite pieces from a brilliant mind (at least in my opinion), hopefully the overall message is clear enough, as to compliment my previous points.

          You see, whether you consciously decide to reproduce or not, or even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t make conscious decisions and pops out kids left and right, it is not going to change anything because it’s out of your control. Your comments are riddled with a personal moral agenda and like I stated earlier, if you want to applaud, then so be it, if you don’t, then don’t, but you have no authority to control a system that was here longer than your very existence. The biological system is a lot bigger than you and you really have no “value” in that system, at least in a biological sense, other than to carry out what you were designed to do. If you want more information regarding this very notion, check out The Matrix (movie), it’s full of philosophical conundrums, however you are not “the one,” do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars, you do not have a “monopoly” on reproductive rights. You get nothing – Willy Wonka.

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          Yes, I am treating this issue as an (human) ethical issue. Whether or not one should reproduce (as humans on earth today) is a question for normative ethics, otherwise, one wouldn’t pose the question with a ‘should’.

          I wrote “we are culturally conditioned to view reproduction positively” not that “culturally conditioned to reproduce”. My point is about perception of reproduction (my initial question), and your point is about biological determinism.

          One view of reproduction is biological, but we can also view reproduction as an ethical issue (my view), a legal issue (the government’s view), a spiritual issue (religion’s view), etc. We are having different conversations. You are talking about biology, and I am talking about ethics. So in response to point 2a, yes, I’m talking about human (last I checked, Nikki & Jill were human) ethics (the ‘should’ question). Your ‘moral agenda’ is my ‘ethical question’. point 2b, I’m talking about ethics, not biology, so the value terms are completely appropriate.

          You are right, morals are socially constructed and contextualized. Ethics, however, rely on the same universal principals, such as objectivity, as science. As such, my ethical perspective is no more or less universal than your biological perspective.

          Point 4 – G. Carlan is a comedian. People laugh because he says the unexpected, not because of any intellectual authority or cogency.

          Have I answered your questions? Because you haven’t answered mine: why applaud?

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          There seems to be a little bit of dancing around the issue here, so I’ll try to clarify.

          ————————————————————
          Yes, I am treating this issue as an (human) ethical issue. Whether or not one should reproduce (as humans on earth today) is a question for normative ethics, otherwise, one wouldn’t pose the question with a ‘should’.
          ————————————————————–
          Why are you treating this as a human ethical issue? What vested interest do you have in this, other than it being about a personal moral agenda? Normative ethics is synonymous with morals and dictates as well as defends what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ within the societal construct. This is exactly the point I was trying to make here. Is it clear now?

          ————————————————————-
          I wrote “we are culturally conditioned to view reproduction positively” not that “culturally conditioned to reproduce”. My point is about perception of reproduction (my initial question), and your point is about biological determinism.
          ————————————————————–
          Your premise is an assumption and a generalization. You cannot assume nor say that “we” are culturally conditioned to view reproduction positively because that is not the case for all individuals. Not all individuals view reproduction positively and not all individuals put a value on reproduction, whether positive or negative. Therefore, your point of it being about perception of reproduction cannot be discussed further, until you have a better premise that is not based on assumptions and generalizations.

          ————————————————————–
          One view of reproduction is biological, but we can also view reproduction as an ethical issue (my view), a legal issue (the government’s view), a spiritual issue (religion’s view), etc. We are having different conversations. You are talking about biology, and I am talking about ethics. So in response to point 2a, yes, I’m talking about human (last I checked, Nikki & Jill were human) ethics (the ‘should’ question). Your ‘moral agenda’ is my ‘ethical question’. point 2b, I’m talking about ethics, not biology, so the value terms are completely appropriate.
          —————————————————————
          I completely agree here as far as the different views of reproduction, however I don’t agree that we are having different conversations. The reason why I don’t believe we are having different conversations is because we both agree that there are different perspectives, we just don’t agree on the same perspective personally, as you are coming from a normative ethics standpoint, whereas mine is more about the biological standpoint, does that make sense? These different personal perspectives, do not negate from the overall point, which is, that there are many different perspectives on how one views reproduction and they can (and do) exist under the larger “umbrella” of the ‘greater’ reproductive perception.

          ————————————————————–
          You are right, morals are socially constructed and contextualized. Ethics, however, rely on the same universal principals, such as objectivity, as science. As such, my ethical perspective is no more or less universal than your biological perspective.
          ————————————————————–
          Ethics and morals are synonymous. Ethics is the system of moral principles. Objectivity is completely different from ethics and morals entirely. Objectivity is value-less, whereas ethics and morals have value based on ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ You are however right, when you say that objectivity and science are a pair, which brings me to my perspective on the biological aspect. Biology has no ethics or morals, it is purely objective, it is a value-less system. Ethics and morals are a subjective system based on values, that is why it’s relative to the individual (as I also stated earlier) because people do not have the same values, ethics, or morals, therefore it’s not universal.

          ————————————————————–
          Point 4 – G. Carlan is a comedian. People laugh because he says the unexpected, not because of any intellectual authority or cogency.
          ————————————————————–
          Yes, he is a comedian, that much is obvious. People laugh not only because he says the unexpected, but because there are inherent truths within his humor. Humor is another form of of someone’s intellect, in fact, humor is strongly related to an intelligent person, as it is a magnificent and wonderful display of someone’s originality and creativity. There have been studies on this very subject, in fact, even peer reviewed.

          —————————————————————
          Have I answered your questions? Because you haven’t answered mine: why applaud?
          —————————————————————
          No, you have not answered my question, which is why are you looking at this from an ethical (human) perspective? I have answered your questions, hopefully this response has elaborated on exactly how I answered those questions. Again, your question of, “Why applaud?” cannot be answered because your premise needs to be restructured first. Your premise is based on a fallacy, that fallacy is called and or known as the following: Fallacy of Insufficient Statistics, Fallacy of Insufficient Sample, Leaping to A Conclusion, Hasty Induction. If you would like more information and or examples of this particular fallacy, here is a good website on that here: http://nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html

          Also, I’d like to say, that I enjoyed discussing this topic with you.

        • Thumb up 2

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          Glad you’re enjoying the discussion – I do wish autostraddle would make space for discussion of controversial issues. (Hey there, autostraddle, I’m still willing to write articles on politics – I don’t just do erotica!)

          Full disclosure: I’m a philosopher. So I treat most things in life as human ethical issues, because that’s what I research: normative ethics.

          Why should other people view problems through a normative ethical lens? Because it gives us the best indication of what the best way to live might be. Normative ethics is the scientific version of religion: it tells us how to live, using reason & rationality rather than blind faith.

          Turning the question around, why do you appeal to biology?

          Quick response to the other points before I turn to the normative ethics I’m Supposed to be writing…

          Cultural conditioning *is* generalized: ‘cultural’ refers to groups, not individuals. There are always exceptions to cultural statements – just as there are always exceptions to biological statements (to use a queer example: not all humans are XX or XY).

          On different perspectives: yours is descriptive, mine is prescriptive. Yours answers the question ‘what is?’ while mine answers the question ‘what is right?’

          Ethics and morality are not philosophically synonymous. There are different arguments about the differences, but a solid, prevalent distinction is that ethics is universal/objective, whereas morality is relative/situated. Feminist ethics questions the objectivity of ethics in the same brushstroke as it questions the objectivity of science. Feminist theory questions the objectivity of knowledge produced only by wealthy, western, white men. That frame of knowledge production is constitutive of both ethics and biology. So from a philosophical perspective, ethics and biology are equally objective. What is your argument to the contrary?

          Again, feminist theory: let’s question the presumed correlation to two traits encouraged in male children, and culturally defined in relation to male expressions: humor and intelligence. There’s nothing inherently funny about how boys are taught to joke, yet it is culturally privileged (see recent jezebel article ;) ). Similarly, there is nothing inherently more intelligent about how boys are taught to think, yet we privilege those models in society (example: when the first IQ tests were released, females scored significantly higher than males, so they readjusted the test to emphasize those question areas in which males scored higher.)

          Why does my question require any argumentation on my part for you or anyone else to answer? I am simply asking you (and others) to consider your motivations and rationale behind a judgment. Let me rephrase: What do you perceive as the value of reproduction that warrants social endorsement?

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          Sybil you are completely missing the points. The point is simple. You came into the article, took Nikki and Jill’s spotlight and shined it all on YOU. Their PERSONAL CHOICE, is NOT about YOU, stop making it about YOU. Then Sybil, you rammed your beliefs, morals, ethics and judgment down everyone’s throat, told everyone how they should believe, according to YOU. You are not an authority on other people’s personal choice. Next Sybil, you then tried to cover your personal agenda as “normative ethics, that is objective,” if this is not a ploy, I don’t know what is. There is nothing objective about your comments. You are confusing terminology and putting things all under the same boat as “criticism,” when in all actuality, you are not criticizing (at least not constructively and objectively), you’re being judgmental. For someone to be on a queer oriented website, such as Autostraddle and proclaim close minded, judgmental attitudes toward a group of people who have already and continue to be stigmatized, ostracized and judged by other people, is IRONIC as hell, it’s like calling the kettle black. YOU are displaying exactly the same behaviors and close minded thinking that other bigots, racists and judgmental people display, toward a group they don’t understand, or an idea and or perspective they don’t understand. YOU are applying YOUR PERSONAL SUBJECTIVE MORAL BELIEFS toward Nikki & Jill because you don’t understand THEIR PERSONAL CHOICE. It’s one thing to not understand someone’s personal choice, but it is another thing to JUDGE their personal choice, which YOU are doing. Lastly, as I have reiterated ad nauseam, everyone has different perspectives on reproduction and everyone has their own personal choice regarding how, when, what, where, why, with whom, they want to reproduce, but you are not the authority on the matter because it’s a PERSONAL CHOICE and you should RESPECT that PERSONAL CHOICE. You don’t have to agree with a PERSONAL CHOICE, just respect it and you are not respecting a PERSONAL CHOICE because you are JUDGING and DICTATING what that PERSONAL CHOICE should be, this is the DIFFERENCE, that you for some reason, cannot see, but that others have continuously tried to point out to you, including myself.

          On another note, whenever you want to debate and or discuss an issue with people, you need to start off on a premise that isn’t fallacious and logically sound. Your premise was not logically sound.

          YOUR fallacious premise: With so many children without families, why do we applaud people who bring more babies into the world?

          Reasons why your premise is fallacious:

          1.) You are assuming that the whole world (7 billion+ people) applauds people that bring more babies into the world based on limited data, that being 2 people, Nikki & Jill, therefore, you have INSUFFICIENT DATA, INSUFFICIENT STATISTICS, you’re making a HASTY GENERALIZATION, etc. You cannot hone in on 2 people (Nikki & Jill) and then say that, “the whole world” and or “we” and or “everyone” is doing a specific task (applauding) because they (Nikki & Jill) are not the “whole world,” they are merely part of the population of 7 billion+ people they are not THE population of 7 billion+ people, see the difference? Read it again and again if you have to, I’ve made it as clear as I possibly can.

          2.) Not everyone applauds or cares about who, how and why people bring babies into this world.

          It’s like saying the following:

          a.) With so many Black children in foster homes, why do we applaud White people who bring more White people into this world?

          Do you see how that is fallacious? If you just got a, “Huh? Wtf reaction to that statement, then imagine the same response to your fallacious premise and or question. There are so many errors with your premise and or original question, it’s not even funny. You are basing your premise off assumptions and generalizations that are not true and that lack sufficient evidence and data.

          Anyways, your last response went off tangents, tangents that weren’t even addressing the points that I, nor others made. You started talking about marriage, feminism and your own personal beliefs, that had no standing with any of the points addressed. Another name for these tangents is called STRAW MAN (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html), that is, you’re GRASPING AT STRAWS, which is another fallacious argument. This is EXACTLY why you believed that you and I were having two separate conversations, when I said that we were not having two separate conversations. You were distorting my position and didn’t understand that position and you’re still distorting it, which is why I do not want to continue anymore because you are not “hearing” what I am saying, nor are you hearing others. You are unable and cannot differentiate between a judgmental fallacious premise and a sound logical premise and if you are a “philosopher” as you have disclosed, then I would think, that you would be aware of basic “philosophy 101,” such as logic and rhetoric. Here is a good source on fallacies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy. I suggest you read them, perhaps it will open up the door as to why you are getting the responses you are getting. Every response of yours is rooted in fallacious argumentation. You may think that I am ignoring your questions, but the reason why I cannot answer your questions is because they are impossible to answer when they are not logically sound from the start and based on faulty premises. That is why I stated to you earlier that you need to RESTRUCTURE your original argument and or question (so that I can actually answer them), so that it is LOGICALLY SOUND and removed of any bias, assumption and or generalization. Once you do that, then we can actually discuss something, but until that time has come, we are going to continue to go in circles. In any event, it was fun for a minute, but it’s no longer fun when the points are being ignored, my position distorted and assumed based on your personal moral agenda. Not everyone thinks like you and you have no right to tell others how they should think, or what they should value because those are PERSONAL CHOICES.

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          Wow, Sybil must really have struck a chord: these comments are getting nasty! What is with the personal attacks?

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          Antiant, what is your critique of asking why society values reproduction? I see you railing against thinking about morality, but what is wrong with that? And I see you angry about someone’s personal moral agenda, but we all have one. Why are you responding to her question? Because you have a personal moral agenda to defend whatever it is you’re defending (celebrating reproduction?). So what makes your personal moral agenda better than hers?

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      What is your problem Sybil??

      There is nothing wrong with giving birth to your own children, yes there is adoption, however the paper work and the hassle of adopting makes it harder to adopt especially out of a different country, if your so on about it, why don’t you adopt children yourself?? Instead of bringing the negativity to this page??

      Nikki and Jill can do what they want, they don’t need your approval.

      And it’s not making the LGBT community any different as you state. I’m willing to bet your homophobia, against the community..

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        Actually, it sounds like Sybil is more supportive of the LGBTQ community than you are. Looks like you want LGBTQ to be ‘normal’, just like everyone else. Looks like she wants LGBTQ to be queer! If someone is hating (self-hating), it’s those who want LGBTQ not to be queer, but to be just like the straights!

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      There’s nothing wrong in wanting your own children, to be raised by you from birth. It’s great when people want to adopt for whichever reason. But there’s no need to “bully” those who want children to be biologically theirs or their partners’.

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      “With so many children without families, why do we applaud people who bring more babies into the world?”

      I think we’re taught it’s appropriate to be happy that someone is pregnant. But we don’t question why.

      In groups formed by hereditary traits (national, ethnic, racial, maybe religious), you would be happy for another member joining your tribe, because that’s an extra vote for you! Or in an agricultural society, that’s another worker.

      Today though, I think having children is part of the definition of compulsory femininity. Almost every woman I know around 30 is talking about how she “should” get pregnant. Not that they want to get pregnant, or are in relationships with people with whom they’d want to raise children, but it’s a cultural expectation.

      If you don’t give birth, you’re an incomplete woman, un-feminine, you’ll be a crone not a mother, you’ve failed your social imperative to be a baby machine.

      That’s why we applaud women who are pregnant today, because now she is a real woman, now she is sufficiently feminine, and we need to perpetuate that standard to exert pressure on the childless/childfree women to get reproducin’!

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    I agree with Assyrianisis. We are are indeed culturally conditioned to applaud marriage and biological reproduction, indeed to celebrate these things as ‘achievements’ of some sort, and any consideration of their politics is viewed in some way as the taking away of choice. So if all this gushing is really joy at seeing two lesbians express their choice so freely, I would like to ask, in the interest of ‘choice’, then how many people might defend and find cute and romantic a person’s ‘choice’ to dedicate her life to fighting the idea of marriage, and biological reproduction – and to keep that political conversation going? While long-term physical and emotional commitments with one other person may be what some people want, I don’t see the need to legitimate it within an institution that is the source of much discrimination in most societies. In the US alone over a thousand federal benefits and many hundred state benefits are tied to marriage, and in states like New York, where gay marriage has been legalised within a discourse where the duties and responsibilities of marriage have been praised to the skies, unmarried partner benefits are falling: making marriage not really so much a choice, but the most economical action within a corporate capitalist economy. By campaigning uncritically for marriage, by getting married, we are buying into the systemic inequalities that capitalism engenders. As for reproduction: I don’t believe Assyrianisis’ point was that we should not let people have children, but that we must be able to critically think about why it is that people often see adoption only as a last resort when there are so many children out there who need parents.

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      Thanks Durga!

      I do like you draw into question the rationale behind applauding reproduction by pairing it with the opposing choice: why is their reproduction ‘awww’-inducing, and our challenge reproduction fighting words?

      Autostraddle, let’s have some pieces on marriage!

      Durga is right: we need to be more critical, rather than blindly accepting social conditioning!

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        The reason people are annoyed with your choice as opposed to their choice is that they are making a life for themselves that makes them happy. You’re making the choice to judge what makes them happy and essentially call them indoctrinated sheep for building their life the way they want. Don’t want to get married? Don’t do it. Think marriage is a stupid, antiquated institution? That’s fine. Don’t want to have biological kids? Great, don’t do it. Think adoption is best? Great, adopt a bunch of kids! The problem isn’t what you want to do; it’s you acting as though anyone who doesn’t want life exactly the way you find acceptable is wrong or living a harmful life. You’re suggesting that anyone who doesn’t follow the “Sybil-approved-model-of-life” is an uncritical thinker who is just blindly following societal conditioning.

        Yes, adoption is a wonderful option, but some people want biological kids for many completely legitimate reasons. Adoption is extremely difficult, especially for gay people. It can be incredibly expensive and there are huge long term things to consider, including that child’s cultural background, what they want to do in the future about connecting or not with their bio family, and how their upbringing to that point has impacted them (check out information of children who were adopted from orphanages who were not touched enough as infants. They often have severe and permanent emotional and psychological problems).

        Furthermore, some people feel a strong connection to their biology. It’s my understanding that these women are both Jewish. Because of religious reasons, some Jewish people prefer having kids who have Jewish biological mothers. It’s very difficult to adopt a child with a Jewish bio mom and would probably be impossible for a lesbian couple. Some people really want to experience being pregnant. Some people feel a strong cultural connection to marriage and want to celebrate their relationships the way their parents did. There is nothing wrong with any of these things.

        Marriage and children are highly personal choices and judging someone else for wanting them or for wanting them in a way that is different than you is judgmental and small-minded. I reject anyone who tells other people they have to live their life a particular way to be living the “right” way. I reject it from religious right wingers and I reject it from other queer activists.

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          You are right, I am judging their decision, and think that they are insufficiently critical and lack reflexivity.

          I also judge dishonesty, drunk driving, domestic abuse, assault, torture, murder…

          Do you judge any of those behaviors? Or do you think they are all personal choices, which it would be small-minded to judge? If you do judge any one of them, then where is the threshold you draw between what you tolerate (or even applaud) and what you judge (or even censure)?

          The ethical rule of thumb is that tolerance ends where harm begins. Does that work for you?

          Durga and I have argued for why reproduction is harmful, and should thus not be tolerated, which is consistent with the ethical rule of thumb.

          As for your reasons not to adopt, what about the consequences of Not adopting for those children? More severe emotional and psychological problems for a start! We cannot only view the issue from the side of the prospective parents.

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          Choosing to have a child and raise it with love and kindness is in no way comparable to murdering, torturing, or abusing someone. You have got to be joking. Please tell me exactly how having a child creates harm to the world? The only people who I have ever heard argue that reproduction is harmful are the people who want to sterilize and jail poor people and people of color so they can’t create so much “harm” to society by having “so many” babies. You do realize that’s what you sound like, right? Especially saying reproduction should not be “tolerated.”

          “As for your reasons not to adopt, what about the consequences of Not adopting for those children? More severe emotional and psychological problems for a start! We cannot only view the issue from the side of the prospective parents.”

          Some people do not have the emotional or physical wherewithal to raise children with severe disabilities. I say this as a person who works with autistic children. Why would you want to pair children with parents who would not be a good match for them and would not be able to parent them well?

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          You are excellent at putting words in others’ mouths.

          I wrote “where is the threshold you draw between what you tolerate (or even applaud) and what you judge (or even censure)?”

          Please do not accuse me comparing reproduction to murder. I was asking you where and how you draw a threshold between significant harms and insignificant harms, and then I suggested my threshold: tolerance ends where harm begins.

          You can read my previous posts for why it is harmful to choose to reproduce rather than adopt.

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          You were talking about things that cause harm and why we should judge them, then you mentioned reproduction as harmful and that is should not be tolerated, so yes, you’re putting them all in the same category of “harmful.” Saying we shouldn’t “tolerate” something is strong wording and means it’s a pretty serious thing. Why even mention those other things unless you were trying to draw some parallel?

          I think judging women’s reproductive choices is harmful and I don’t tolerate it. I think trying to shame women into or out of our reproductive choices is extremely harmful, especially since women have had our reproduction policed by other people in all societies in the world for basically all of history…so I guess we just have different ideas of harmful behavior.

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          “You’re making the choice to judge what makes them happy and essentially call them indoctrinated sheep for building their life the way they want. Don’t want to get married? Don’t do it. Think marriage is a stupid, antiquated institution? That’s fine.” –> Who called anyone indoctrinated sheep? That’s an assumption you’re making. And no, I’m sorry. By getting married and strengthening the institution of marriage, you are keeping me and any number of others like me who don’t want to get married from accessing equal rights of health insurance, hospital visitation, adoption and any number of other things. While that may be choice for your happiness, it’s also a vote towards discrimination. It’s not discrimination that’s knowingly made because the criticism of marriage is not widely heard owing to the fact that any word against that institution is taken as a vote against “choice” and some sort of high-handed judgement. So what’s wrong with encouraging that conversation and letting people know about that form of discrimination?

          “You’re suggesting that anyone who doesn’t follow the “Sybil-approved-model-of-life” is an uncritical thinker who is just blindly following societal conditioning.” –> Au contraire I’m very grateful for this argument and I would hope that in a society where you don’t want people blindly following “X-approved-model-of-life” we have all kinds of conversations, however uncomfortable they are, to us.

          “Some people really want to experience being pregnant.” –> Fair enough. But again, why is a conversation on reproductive ethics so antithetical to this idea? In a society that is as free and full of choices as you desire, shouldn’t we also critically consider where these desires might come from, and what their implications are? What is wrong with full and free conversation?

          “Marriage and children are highly personal choices” – I agree but then the personal is political. Is encouraging critical thinking on these issues so wrong?

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          “I agree but then the personal is political. Is encouraging critical thinking on these issues so wrong?”

          No, but judging someone’s personal choices, especially about something as serious and intimate as their reproduction is wrong. It’s no different than someone judging someone for having an abortion. Reproductive choices are the choices of each person and no one should attack them for it. There is nothing wrong with putting a critical eye on the things we do; the problem comes when people like Sybil above arguing that having children should not be tolerated.

          Furthermore, why would you assume that people who want to get married and have biological children haven’t thought about it critically? I wear makeup, high heels, dresses, and generally appear very feminine. I am all for feminist analysis of societal expectations of how women are expected to look, but I also expect respect of the fact that I want to wear those things. I’m as feminist as they come, but I wear that shit because I like it. I know the feminist implications of it and I STILL LIKE IT. I think it’s fun and it makes me happy to wear it. The idea that knowing the background and implications of something will totally change what you want is simply not accurate.

          I know all about marriage and the arguments against it, and, guess what, I still want to get married. It’s part of my culture and it’s important to me. And I want to marry my girlfriend, because it will make me happy. The idea that I should not do something that makes me happy, because someone might think it means I don’t want you to be able to visit your partner in the hospital is crazy. I never said I didn’t want you do be able to do that. I never argued that people who don’t want to get married should be discriminated against. I never argued that marriage should be the only way to have a relationship, so why are you arguing that marriage should be excluded as a way to have a relationship?

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          Judging a choice IS being critical. Evaluating whether a decision is ethically valid is judging someone. Why is it wrong to be critical, to evaluate, to analyze? We must also be critical about the ethics of abortion, otherwise it is simply a shouting match of “I’m right”, “No, I’m right”. To have constructive debate, we must engage in critical evaluation.

          There’s a wide range of approaches between ‘tolerate’ and ‘not tolerate’: it is not a duality. I am not saying reproduction “should not be tolerated”; but rather that there is reason to be critical, due to the attendant harm.

          Interesting, so you recognize how your decision to marry would infringe on the rights of others, yet you would still, with this awareness, choose to marry? Or are you not aware of the harm of marriage?

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          Thinking about something critically and judging someone are not the same. It’s not even close. I also never said that marriage would infringe on other peoples’ rights, so I don’t know where you’re getting that. I believe that many types of relationships can be recognized and respected without being detrimental to other types of relationships.

          These women are clearly extremely happy with their choices and are thrilled to be pregnant, so why do you feel the need to make such a wonderful announcement all about you and your political beliefs on marriage and children? Can’t you just let them be happy and us celebrate a happy lesbian couple who overcame a lot to be able to make the choices they made?

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        I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a conversation about marriage/reproduction.
        I’m personally just really uncomfortable with it happening here. Because whether you meant to single out Nikki and Jill or not, you have. You singled out one lesbian couple who will have had to justify their right to marriage/children over and over again.
        Why not bring it up somewhere else? Autostraddle has so many articles on marriage etc.
        You don’t see many articles on the internet about straight couples who have married/ had children with comments questioning their choices. A queer website, like autostraddle, is one place where you’d expect to avoid judgmental stuff like this about a couple’s actual life, you know?
        I don’t know. Was it necessary to bring it up here? I can see 4 articles on the autostraddle home page about marriage/family where you could have started this conversation instead.

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          I apologize if it looked as though I was singling out these two women. I’m happy to start the conversation anywhere – or to write a piece expressly to address one of these issues.

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          Yeah I think this conversation is actually really important and something I’d love to see brought up on autostraddle. I just don’t think this is a great place to have it!

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    i didn’t watch the real l word, but i watch their flips and i love them! i am so happy for them. regardless of anyone’s personal opinion said above on biological reproduction vs. adoption, i have a feeling they are going to be really amazing moms. also, that picture of nikki putting on jill’s makeup is so cute.

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    Biological reproduction as opposed to what? It’s still biological regardless of having the sperm introduced by a penis or any other piece of equipment. And those who are adopted were also conceived biologically. Instead of preaching to those who want their own babies, people should preach to those still breeding with no socio-economic conditions to do so.

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      Are you being purposefully obtuse, or do you really not get it? Biologically-related to the parents, as opposed to adoptive or foster parents.

      And your last comment? So wrong! You think only rich, socially privileged people make good parents? Yikes!

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    Hi all,

    Really interesting discussion, and great interview. Regardless of all of these issues – or perhaps because of – I just wanted to let the Autostraddle community know about our resource for LGBTQ parenting: http://www.itsconceivablenow.com.

    We have lots of interviews, legal questions, blogs, and real parenting stories from lesbian and gay parents spanning adoption, foster care adoption, insemination, and surrogacy. No matter what you think of biological parenting, there are a lot of legal and financial hurdles for almost any path you go down, and our mission is to help guide our community through the choices. Please check it out if you’re interested in parenting some day and let me know what you think!

    Best,

    Kendra (Editor and Co-Founder of It’s Conceivable)

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