"I am just as normal as they are": Reconstructing the definition of womanhood through the experiences of voluntary childless women.
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In this thesis, I am adding a feminist, humanities-based voice to the sociological discourse surrounding voluntary childlessness. I am mapping voluntary childless women’s experiences with the societal expectation that all women are, or want to be, mothers. Through a literature study, I show that voluntary childless women are not generally thought of in a very positive way and I highlight a scientific gap which this thesis aims to fill. Voluntary childless women have never before been asked about their experiences of being voluntary childless in a world that places motherhood at the centre of its understanding of womanhood. In my theoretical framework, I show how motherhood is central to people’s ideas of what a good woman should be, and I argue that voluntary childless women are therefore being punished by society. Moreover, I argue, through the use of qualitative research by form of feminist interviewing*, that voluntary childless women are starting to reconstruct what it means to be a woman. Through my analysis of the interview data, and linking back to my theoretical framework, I am answering my research question, and four sub questions in the concluding remarks. *Please note: complete transcripts of interviews are not included here for privacy reasons.