MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE
MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE
MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE
MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE
A PARADIGM-SHIFTING DOCUMENTARY ABOUT ONE OF OUR GREATEST SOCIAL TABOOS: CHOOSING TO NOT BECOME A MOTHER

MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE

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OFFICIAL SELECTION - Woodstock Film Festival | OFFICIAL SELECTION - BendFilm Festival

Pronatalism • Motherhood • Media Criticism • Population and Climate Change • Reproductive Justice • Abortion and Contraception • Nuclear Family  Gynecology  Alternative Families • Baby Boom • Fertility Rate • Infertility • Baby Bust • Eugenics • Sterilization • Black Families • Maternal Regret • Slavery

Date of Completion: 2021 | Run Time: 77 minutes​​ | Language: English | Captions: Yes (Coming Soon) | Includes: Transcript & Study Guide | Director: Therese Shechter | Producer: Therese Shechter

MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE is a paradigm-shifting documentary from award-winning filmmaker Therese Shechter that examines one of our greatest social taboos: choosing to be childfree. This funny, thought-provoking, and sometimes sobering film shines light on a society that believes all women want children — that giving birth is not only a biological imperative but the defining measure of womanhood.

Titled after one of the myths it challenges, MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE draws on a heady mix of culture, science, and history–revealing the rich and diverse lives of people who said no to children, and the forces that have marginalized them in society. We follow Therese as she pulls back the curtain on pronatalism, the promotion of baby-making for cultural, economic, and political purposes. The film takes an irreverent approach to explore an array of timely issues rarely examined through this prism: the ongoing erosion of reproductive services; the racial undertones of panic around reduced birth rates; and concern over having children during the climate change crisis. At its heart, the film doesn’t seek to denigrate motherhood but rather spotlight the unexamined forces that inextricably link women’s identity to motherhood. Posing timely questions about cultural narratives that shape our identities, the film has sparked a movement that asks: who’s really in control of women’s bodies and lives?

Academic Quotes

University of Maine | Dr. Amy Blackstone, Professor of Sociology, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine; Author, “Childfree By Choice” (Dutton 2019)
"Wonderful to see and hear from a diverse group, particularly given how white and middle/upper-middle class this area of work - both in terms of whose experiences are considered and who gets presented as expert - has been to this point."

Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY | Bonnie Anderson, PhD, Professor Emerita of History
"I thought My So-Called Selfish Life was terrific and loved all the different kinds of women the film portrayed. I especially enjoyed Marcia, as well as filmmaker Therese Shechter's mother, and the inclusion of women of color. A wonderful job!"

Denison University | Dr. Hanne Boyd Blank, Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of Women’s and Gender Studies
"My So-Called Selfish Life is a big-hearted and joyfully feminist film that opens an important conversation about the potential of women's lives.  In a world that still presumes, in spaces from doctor's office forms to grocery-line small talk, that women inevitably become mothers, it's radical to not only say but show that women's lives can be full, rich, and good from beginning to end without ever bearing a child or parenting.  Best of all, this film gives us something few other sources do: role models for what it can look like for women to flourish without children.”

Hunter College and LaGuardia Community College | Bronwen Pardes MA, Lecturer
“In My So-Called Selfish Life, director Therese Shechter walks a fine line, taking aim at the motherhood mandate without dishonoring motherhood or mothers. Parenthood is hard enough for those who want to do it, and should only be undertaken with enthusiasm.”

University of South Carolina BeaufortDeborah J. Cohan , Ph.D., Professor of Sociology
"As a 52 year old woman who chose not to have children, I found the film immensely relatable, touching on the very questions I had over the past 25 years and that I still have. The film is validating and life-affirming for those who have made this choice, and it is deeply informative for anyone willing to try to be open to understanding this choice. The film is a work of intense love."

Press Quotes

The Globe and Mail | Zosia Bielski
"An engrossing deep dive into the child-free choice."

Quelle Movies | Raquel Stecher
“It’s a profoundly important documentary about a subject that is often swept under the rug. Any childfree or childless woman, including myself, who has endured awkward and hurtful conversations with people in their lives about their situation will feel not only validated but redeemed to hear so many women in similar situations. And for those who cast judgement on others about the idea of maternal regret, they may learn a thing or two about compassion."

Albany Times-Union | 4 Can’t-Miss Movies at Woodstock
“Both laugh-out-loud hilarious and heartbreaking”

Film Threat | Ray Logo
My So-Called Selfish Life is a timely documentary on an issue as pressing as ever. Women’s bodies and fertility are continuing areas of concern for those in power — again, usually men. The recent laws passed in Texas—and perhaps due to be passed in other states — are evidence enough.”

Chicago Reader | Wanjiky Kairu
“From start to finish, My So-Called Selfish life is visceral and entertaining.”

Chicago Tribune | Darcel Rockett
“Worried about the baby questions that will be lobbed at you this holiday season? ‘My So-Called Selfish Life’ could be the film to end the conversations.”

Agnes Films | Alexandra Hidalgo
“The film expertly blends interviews with decades of film and TV clips in which women are confronted with the expectation that they become mothers, not only for their own self-fulfillment but also to perform their duty to society.”

“I want what SHE has” podcast | Theresa Widmann
“A fascinating, thought provoking, informative and entertaining… and this is coming from someone who has struggled to have children yet is STILL trying!”