I Wanna BE Someone, Not DO Anything!

People have commented unsympathetically on the way some youngsters are consumed with the desire to be something, without any real interest in the art, skill or knowledge required to get there. There is a huge difference between the love of singing and the desire to be a pop star. Some artistes have the former, some only the latter; fortunately for them, there is no shortage of bald fat men in corporations who can package them as being something without their having to do stuff.

Well and good, and it is easy to mock the thirst for celebrity among insecure young people. But wait a moment: how exactly is this different from the desire to be a parent? This is heard at its most explicit among young women who sometimes say, not that they want to have (or bear, or bring up) a child but that they want to be (or become) a mother. This is of course a game that men can play as well.

How this life-change is expressed matters: if you speak about the child, you are reminded that there is another human life involved, whereas if you say that you want the being of something, it remains all about you. And the reason why you want just to be a “parent”, without even mentioning the child that makes you one, is probably to do with status.

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