Just a vocabulary note here: "breeder" is a word that means, variously:

  • one controlling the selective breeding of a species (in the context of animal husbandry)
  • a heterosexual (in the context of queer lingo)
  • any person who has reproduced or intends to (childfree community jargon)
The third meaning will be used in this writeup.

When someone mentions that he or she does not wish to have children, if he or she happens to be unlucky, that person is treated to a number of groaningly over-repeated responses from outraged and defensive people who do not, cannot, or will not understand that other people have different views from themselves. In reaction to the preponderance of these responses, online childfree groups have created a game called "Breeder Bingo".

The rules for this tongue-in-cheek game are as follows: when, in the course of normal conversation, one mentions a lack of desire to have children or one's indifference towards them, and if the audience responds with shock and indignation, one mentally (or physically) pulls out a Breeder Bingo card and a pen. As certain key phrases are heard, the player crosses off the corresponding spaces on the card. It is cheating to deliberately provoke one's audience or steer the conversation towards topics related to children.

Breeder Bingo is not a physical game so much as a figure of speech used to illustrate the triteness of the arguments used in response to a less-than-enthusiastic attitude toward children. An example of its use would be, "This woman at work asked me when I was going to have kids, so I told her I don't want to have any, and I got Bingoed to hell and back." In fact, this game would most realistically (and ideally!) be played as a drinking game, in which one takes a sip or shot every time they hear a key phrase; the game is an excellent one if, before the player gets truly upset, they quickly reach a pleasant stage of inebriation.

A typical Breeder Bingo gamecard would look like this:

|       B        |        I         |       N       |        G          |          O            |
| Children are   |  You must have   | You're just   | Childbirth is a   | The best thing        |
| our future!    |  had a horrible  | selfish.      | woman's greatest  | in the world I ever   |
|                |  childhood.      |               | achievement!      | did was have kids.    |
| Someday you'll | My kids are the  | Who will take | But you'd make    | I said I didn't want  |
| meet someone   | most important   | care of you   | such a good       | kids when I was       |
| who'll change  | thing in my life!| when you're   | parent!           | young, but I changed  |
| your mind.     |                  | old?          |                   | my mind.              |
| It's unnatural | What if your     |     FREE      | Being a parent is | You don't know what   |
| not to want to | parents thought  |     SPACE!    | the most important| love is until you     |
| have children. | the same way?    |      WOO!     | job in the world! | have a child.         |
| It's different |                  | How can you   | You were a child  | You don't love your   |
| when they're   |  You childhater! | live with     | once!             | partner if you won't  |
| your own!      |                  | yourself?     |                   | give him/her children.|
| Just wait until| It's all worth   | You must be a | You'll regret it  | It's not a real       |
| you have kids  | it in the end.   | very sad      | when you're older.| family if you don't   |
| of your own.   |                  | person.       |                   | have children.        |

Other Bingo-isms include:

  • What do your parents think about no grandkids?
  • You should have a kid. White/black/other people aren't having enough kids. You'll be outnumbered!
  • Your child could cure cancer! (Funny how it hardly ever occurs to people that a hypothetical kid's more likely to become a serial murderer than the next Einstein.)
  • But you're so smart! Your children would be so beautiful/smart/talented!
  • You'll change your mind once you have one.
  • You're horrible. I'm glad you're not having kids.
  • Oh, well, you never know. "Accidents" happen <wink, wink; nudge, nudge>. (As if someone committed to not having kids won't be taking as many precautions as possible to avoid "accidents." And when all is said and done, "accidents" can be taken care of.)
  • I feel so sorry for you. You're missing out.
  • You're just bitter and hateful.

There is no standardized prize for winning Breeder Bingo, except perhaps for a sense of smug satisfaction from knowing that one's audience has said at least four trite, illogical, or clichéd things in a relatively short time. Of course, there is always the sense of childish glee one can get from a well-done trolling, but remember: trolling is cheating!

On a serious note, questioning someone's decision of whether or not they wish to use their reproductive organs is invasive and rude. Ultimately it is nobody's business but their own -- and the person (or people) they choose to remain in a serious relationship with, of course. One person's choice to live differently from another's is not an insult, and it is the height of arrogance to assume that someone has arranged his or her life specifically to spite you. People consciously choosing not to follow a lifestyle similar to yours is not a threat to your freedom to continue living the life you choose.

It is worth noting that this kind of Bingo game exists for any kind of other situation, but the most common ones in existence pertain to social justice issues such as racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism, sizeism, and other anti-oppression conversations. If you often find yourself subject to Breeder Bingo, it's worthwhile to take a moment to empathize with other people who, for different reasons, go through the same sense of frustrated helplessness.

For those interested, some pretty decent responses to BB-isms can be found at the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement site at <http://www.vhemt.org/biobreed.htm>.

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