08/12/2016 09:22 GMT | Updated 07/12/2017 05:12 GMT

Why Must I Choose Between Cats Or Babies?


I'm noticing a growing trend on social media, particularly on Facebook, and I don't like it.

I consider myself a fairly open-minded person. I understand that there are people who like things I don't, and that I enjoy things that other people would find boring or uninteresting.

I like to think that, on the whole, people accept these differences, and happily continue on with their lives unaffected.

That would not seem to be the case however.

I'm noticing a rise in the amount of Us Vs Them images and posts on Facebook - and I'm not referring to anything political here - it's Cats Vs Babies.

It would seem that under the Law of Social Media, you can only like one or the other. Not both.

For example, The Oatmeal ran a comic which appeared on Facebook comparing having a cat with having a baby. You can see from the very first image that babies are not going to come out on top here.

In response, you get retaliation comics such as the one from illustrator Lindsay Ishihiro which shows the opposing argument.

Both comics are pretty funny and are definitely geared towards humour rather than aggression.

What does it matter?

For ages, I couldn't figure out why this trend bothered me so much, and then it hit me; it was masking a more serious divide.

Once you step back and look again, it becomes quite clear that the cats vs babies 'war' is just a smokescreen for the older 'women who choose to have children' versus 'women who choose not to have children' divide.

A divide which I was hoping would have faded out of existence by now.

The comments that follow these articles don't focus on the positives of their own choice, but rather go after the reasons why the other side is wrong.

I know several women who, for various reasons they have come to decide on their own, do not want children. I also know plenty of women who have children and who do want children in the future.

I've also had to see both sides defend themselves and their decisions from those who believe they have made the 'wrong' choice. And I don't understand why this is even a thing in 2016.

The online debates that arise between women having to defend either choice can become quite nasty very quickly, so now it seems that a softer, 'funnier' face has been put over it in order to mask the brutality.

There seems to be a need for people to strengthen their own opinions, and the reasons behind their choices, by depreciating the opposing view.

This has recently become so prevalent in my Facebook feed that I'm starting to dislike both sides, even though I like both children and cats.

The trend also feels forced, like someone purposefully targeting these two groups and setting the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons (pardon the pun).

Surely, in a climate where feminism and equality still needs to be fought for on a daily basis, why are we choosing to add fuel to the fire by creating bigger divides within our gender?