My So-Called Selfish Life: A documentary-in-progress by Therese Shechter

Watch the Trailer | 中文字幕版预告片

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

My So-Called Selfish Life is a first-person film exploration of a subject so deeply embedded in the fabric of our society we take it for granted as part of the natural order. That subject, motherhood.

As a society, it's assumed that all women want children. Nothing could be more obvious. And yet, this assumption also suggests it's unimaginable–inconceivable, so to speak–that a woman might make the choice not to become a mother.

Irreverent, personal, and thought-provoking, My So-Called Selfish Life questions these entrenched assumptions about women’s bodies and choices, as it challenges the idea that motherhood is a biological imperative and the defining measure of womanhood.

My So-Called Selfish Life takes its title from the very myth it detonates: that women who choose not to raise children are “selfish”—or “unwomanly,” unnatural, even mentally ill. Through memorable interviews, cultural critique, historical context, and autobiographical storytelling, filmmaker Therese Shechter reveals the rich lives of renegade women who have said no to motherhood.

Through a vivid pop culture tour that spans vintage postcards of storks chasing young women, to pregnant Barbies with removable bellies, the Jennifer Aniston baby watch, and the rise of "Instagram moms," the film connects the dots between the cultural forces that push a message of maternal inevitability so ingrained, we no longer notice it.

At the same time, My So-Called Selfish Life illuminates the long history of reproductive oppression that makes the choice to be childfree especially fraught for women of color. We have the power to define women’s roles in society whether they include motherhood or not, and reproductive autonomy and justice is available to all.

As part of a larger multi-media and social impact/engagement campaign, My So-Called Selfish Life will expose the stigma and prejudices of a society that glamorizes pregnancy and procreation. Join us on the front lines of a seismic societal shift, to change a narrative surrounding women’s bodies and lives.

This is the third documentary in Therese Shechter’s trilogy challenging our most sacred ideas about womanhood, which includes I Was a Teenage Feminist and How To Lose Your Virginity



How can I help get this film done?

  • Support the film with a tax-deductible contribution today. Filmmaking is ridiculously expensive, and early money is the hardest to raise. We'll use your donation to help fund traveling and shooting interviews, editing our rough cut, and creating an online interactive site where you can share your own stories.

  • Join us on Facebook and share posts with your friends. It's a lively and opinionated community.

  • Get on our mailing list and we'll keep you posted on our progress, how to submit to our upcoming story sharing site, and other ways to stay involved.

Is this just for childfree women?

The focus is on women who are childfree by choice, but this is a big tent. Women who don't have kids by choice or by circumstance both get scorn or pity from our society. For example, do think that having kids is the only way to reach our full feminine potential? No? Me neither. The film raises important issues for childfree men, and for parents as well; society's narrow (and often racist) definitions of what good and bad mothers look like can be equally oppressive and dangerous.

When will it be finished?

We are shooting for Spring 2020! We have done the bulk of our filming and have started our rough cut edit. Our ongoing fundraising will dictate how long it will take to finish the project. Think of it as writing a book that we also have to film and edit. I'll keep you all posted on the progress through occasional emails.

That's a great title!

Thanks! All credit goes to poet Molly Peacock who is part of this film. It's taken from her 1998 book Paradise, Piece by Piece which is a beautiful and fierce memoir of a childfree life.

Where can I see your other work?

You can learn a more about my filmswriting and interactive projects at the Trixie Films website.