Breeder is a pejorative term coined by homosexual people particularly for parents who purportedly over-focus on their children and allegedly abandon their previous friends and lifestyle; or to women who give birth to many children, often with the derisive implication that they have too many offspring. The term is also used by antinatalists to pejoratively refer to anyone who has procreated, an act which they consider immoral.
The use of "breeder" in this way is not new. It appears, for example, in Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, widely acknowledged as the preeminent English satirical essay, in which Swift repeatedly uses the term.
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders.
Usage in the LGBT community
The term was part of a 2006 controversy in the heavily gay resort town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, when petitioners against same-sex marriage whose identity was published complained of having been called "breeders". The San Francisco Chronicle described the term as "a joking or derogatory slur used by gays to describe heterosexuals".
While using the term "breeder" as a descriptive term is not new, the term has increased in use within the last decade mainly due its acceptance by pop culture and specifically youth pop culture. Some heterosexuals have said that the term "breeder" is offensive to straight people and associated it with "heterophobia" or degrading heterosexual lifestyles. However, heterosexuals who do not have children can also be referred to as breeders, simply because they are heterosexual.
The term "breeder" has also been used to describe lesbian parents that partake in reproduction. The idea of gay parenting has led some to say that the line between "breeders" and otherwise is less clear, with the idea of LGBT families beginning to "breed". The term's connotation is a point of contention within the LGBT community. The expansion of the term to include parents within the community has created a divide on its meaning. There has been debate over its acceptability, inside and outside of LGBT circles, and whether it is a slur.
- "A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift". www.gutenberg.org. Archived from the original on 2015-07-12. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
- Yoffe, Emily (June 14, 2006). "Why childless people hate me". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
- Ling Liu (2006-07-26). "Provincetown Straights Complain". SFGate.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- Lavine, Simon Dumenco, Michael. "Is Straight the New Square? | Details". Details. Archived from the original on 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- Mamo, Laura (2007). Queering Reproduction: Achieving Pregnancy in the Age of Technoscience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0822340782.
- Latham, Heather Farm (2005-04-01). "DESPERATELY CLINGING TO THE CLEAVERS: WHAT FAMILY LAW COURTS ARE DOING ABOUT HOMOSEXUAL PARENTS, AND WHAT SOME ARE REFUSING TO SEE". Law and Psychology Review.