A viral TikTok video has led to a debate amongst liberals and conservatives over the state of American marriage and family. 29-year-old TikToker Julia Mazur released a video earlier this month describing a Saturday while being single and childless. She stated that she had been out at a Beyonce concert the night before, having gotten home at 1 in the morning and then getting up at 10:15 the next day. She decided to spend her Saturday learning how to make shakshuka after seeing a picture of it online. “Whenever I’m hard on myself about why I’m not married, and I don’t have kids, and I should be further along at 29, almost 30, I wouldn’t wanna do anything else this Saturday,” she noted. “The effortlessness and ease of my life just kind of focusing on myself and the shakshuka I wanna make, or the Beyonce concert I wanna go to really pays off.”
Mazur’s video caught the attention of conservative commentator Matt Walsh, who highlighted the video on X. Walsh, a 37-year-old father of 6, called the video “depressing.” “Her life doesn’t revolve around her family and kids, so instead, it revolves around T.V. shows and pop stars. Worst of all, she’s too stupid to realize how depressing this is.” Walsh’s comment led to a wave of right and left-leaning individuals commenting on the video, some defending Mazur and others agreeing with Walsh’s stance. In an op-ed for Fox News, 23-year-old Aldo Buttazzoni referred to Mazur’s and other videos denigrating married life as a symptom of a larger problem. “These viral videos are more than just fleeting Internet sensations; they reflect a broader shift in societal attitudes toward marriage and relationships, especially among younger generations. The rise of online dating, career-focused aspirations, and changing gender dynamics have led many to reconsider the traditional timeline of settling down and starting a family.” In fact, since 1960, the median age at first marriage has risen from 20 for women and 22 for men to 28 and 30, respectively, according to the U.S. Census. Consequently, the median age of U.S. women giving birth is at the highest it’s ever been, 30, according to the latest statistics.
The delaying of marriage and having children has led to concerns about declining birthrates in Western nations. In response to a question about intentional childlessness, Focus on the Family encouraged looking at God’s Word. “We realize that Western thinking has been shifting in the direction of ambivalence toward childbearing or outright dismissal of parenthood. We understand that many two-career couples have reasons of their own for wishing to postpone childbearing or skip it altogether. It’s not our desire to sound ‘authoritarian’ or to push our views on others. Still, we have to admit that the current tendency to ignore or dilute the command of Genesis 1:28 causes us grave concern. It seems to be symptomatic of an attitude that rejects God’s design for humanity. So strong are our convictions in this regard that, under normal circumstances, it’s our opinion that couples should make it their goal to follow the divine pattern and look forward to a future that includes children. To state our view more plainly, we don’t favor intentional childlessness.”
In Genesis 1:28, God encourages Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful, and multiply.” In contrast to Mazur’s delight in the “effortlessness and ease” of her lifestyle, Focus on the Family encourages choosing the harder path. “No doubt about it: parenting is inconvenient. Hesitations about starting a family are understandable. The responsibilities of parenthood can’t be taken lightly. And there’s no denying that kids will bring major changes to your marriage and your individual lives. But the difficulties associated with childrearing aren’t reason enough to choose childlessness.” Both Mazur and Walsh stated they received hateful comments for their views, with Mazur doubling down on her lifestyle choices. “I found myself in those safe, good-on-paper relationships, but I also found myself feeling deeply unhappy and unfulfilled because I felt like I was checking off a box to appease other people. Throughout that process, I realized, ‘That’s not the only thing that can make you fulfilled.’ I’m 29 and single, and I feel fulfilled by my life and my career, by my friends and family.” Walsh, too, released a video to discuss the controversy. “[Leftist outlets are not] angry at me for being mean to Julia,” he said. “They’re angry at me for attacking a philosophy. A philosophy of self-centeredness and materialism that they all personally live by.”