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Reposted from alt.poly

Apropos of a couple of discussions on wiscon lately I want to express the following, which I posted in alt.polyamory in a thread about said discussions:
Every time I try to describe my feelings about children it boils down to "Um...they are people." As with adults, I have all sorts of superficial thoughts about the ones I don't know - positive, neutral, suspicious, whatever, depending on my mood and their behavior in the moment - and I tend to like the ones I know, especially if they take an interest in me.
Also, I think that hate speech directed at any people is ugly.

For the record, I don't have or want children of my own.

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Jun. 1st, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
It took me a minute to get how "agism is not a feminist value" applies because I tend to think of "agism" as prejudice against older people, but of course that's not its real definition. Good point.
pyrzqxgl
Jun. 2nd, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
Now that's a good line to remember!
windsea
Jun. 1st, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
I spent over half of my life -- until I was at least 33 or 34 -- not having or wanting children. Gradually, I changed my mind, and succeeded in having two, when I was 37 and 39 -- much more than half a lifetime ago.

Even before I had them I was uncomfortable with the sort of bigotry you describe, on more than just the alt.poly newsgroup. Conflating the choice not to have children, the visceral bigoted dislike of that transient state of being (and of those who have brought them into existence), and feminism is simply mad.

In its essence, western feminism is all about choice and rights -- the right women have to the same choices and rights men have always had. It has no links with ageist analysis.

People who loathe children seem to forget that they were a child themselves once. Or, possibly, they had such a miserable experience that they are taking it out on all children.

Like you, I like some kids. I dislike others. I have done my damndest to raise my kids as individuals who respect the space and rights of others.

To read the vitriol on alt.poly and think of it aimed at my two, for no other reason that they are younger than the posters -- well, there's another reason I've lurked for many years. And I think I may just chuck reading it too. Enough, already.
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
In alt.poly's defense, some of the vitriol is being repeated from another source for the purpose of criticizing it, rather than being the opinions of the posters. But yeah.
kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
I've seen lots of what I would call hate speech in the crazier corners of the childfree communities. Crotchfruit, moos, breeders, etc. This is THE reason I am so, so, so not going to reach out for community in those places. And that bums me out, because PRotFU and I have recently come to the realization that we cannot/won't be having kids, and I want to find support and community. Here on lj, I have to say that cf_marriage is pretty sane and hate speech free. It's also fairly quiet.

kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
All of that said, my own vitriol tends to rise to the surface in reaction to the parents (mostly mothers) who act as though the fact that they have children (and especially babies) entitles them to just about anything it might occur to them to want. My seat on an airplane is only the most recent instance of this boundless mommy entitlement. And our culture feeds this, with all of our obsession with safety and trampling on civil liberties for the sake of the chilllllldren.

So yeah, it can start to feel like a culture war sometimes. Which is one of the reasons I moved out of the suburbs. Kids are people; they are not angels and they are not aristocracy and neither are their parents. They're people.
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
I feel angry about people who act as thought they are entitled, but those people come in all types, IME.
kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
True. Do you not perceive a cultural bias toward entitling mothers and children, though?
(Deleted comment)
kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
We're coming from fairly radically different worldviews on this. I wonder whether firecat's journal might not be the best place to hash it out. I'm happy to move this to my journal if you'd like to continue the conversation.
mjlayman
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
One of the Kaiser clinics took out four handicapped parking spots to put in pregnant women spots. It's pretty annoying because if they really have that much trouble walking in the parking garage, they're probably eligible for a temporary handicapped parking tag and could use a handicapped spot. If they don't have that much trouble, they should park with the other able-bodied folk.
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 04:35 am (UTC)
I don't perceive such a cultural bias, no. That might be a peculiarity of how I live; I don't hang out where there are a lot of mothers and children. Or it might be that some areas have the bias more than others.
kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Ah. I've spent the past four years in a suburban environment where all community pretty much centers around the raising of children. I am surrounded constantly by mothers and children, and their expectations.
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
Good luck finding the support you seek. That's more or less how it happened for me and the OH.
starcat_jewel
Jun. 2nd, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
childfree_zone is also a sane group, and it's fairly active. Instead of spending all our time talking about other people's children, our main topics of conversation tend to be:
1) information/support about sterilization;
2) dealing with pronatalist pressure from friends and family; and
3) noting and discussing mentions of childfree people, or CF in general, in the media.

The hate groups like to call us "fluffy-bunny", but that's their problem.
kmd
Jun. 2nd, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
Hey thanks!
johnpalmer
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
You know, it's scary, because there are parts to the pagan community that seem to be the exact same way (and use the exact same term).

And it always makes me wonder, do they realize it sounds like they're saying there's something wrong with people who don't have hate (or anger, or what-have-you) as a major motive force in their lives.

(I feel obligated to mention that there are also pagan folks who think of "fluffy bunny" folks as those who don't study seriously, feel they can grab anything that makes them feel good from any tradition, regardless of accuracy, and who have no discipline. I think this is a bit better, but it still seems unduly judgmental.)
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty far outside the pagan community at this point, but I've only ever heard the pagan version of "fluffy bunny" applied in the latter way you mention.

Although there is also a split between pagan people who study what they might or might not call "dark forces" and people who don't really see it that way.

I can see why people might want to contemplate "dark forces" as part of their paganism the same way I can see why people might want to use BDSM as a healing tool. (For example. I can think of other reasons.) It wouldn't have to be about promoting hatred in other people per se.

In my personal spiritual work I don't really see it that way (that there are "dark forces").
(Anonymous)
Jun. 2nd, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
You're right, the intended use of the term is the latter, but it gets used as well for people who try to be peacemakers (for example). I think the "dark forces" might be part of the key.

I've always had a lighter view of the universe, so I'm more on the side of the fluffy-bunny-from-their-perspective anyway, I suppose.

(I don't think there are dark forces in the universe; I think that it can be a useful way to think about things. "If you go into the wilderness, you might want to think about the dark spirit of the wild wanting to kill you, because otherwise you might do something not-smart-enough (as opposed to "something stupid") and end up dead.")

Kind of a digression, I suppose... but I'm tired this morning. (Well, "afternoon", now.)
johnpalmer
Jun. 2nd, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
You're right, the intended use of the term is the latter, but it gets used as well for people who try to be peacemakers (for example). I think the "dark forces" might be part of the key.

I've always had a lighter view of the universe, so I'm more on the side of the fluffy-bunny-from-their-perspective anyway, I suppose.

(I don't think there are dark forces in the universe; I think that it can be a useful way to think about things. "If you go into the wilderness, you might want to think about the dark spirit of the wild wanting to kill you, because otherwise you might do something not-smart-enough (as opposed to "something stupid") and end up dead.")

Kind of a digression, I suppose... but I'm tired this morning. (Well, "afternoon", now.)
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
I generally don't think there are dark forces in the universe but I do think there are dark forces in people. (I don't mean I think people are evil, I mean I think people have the ability to be scared/angry/stuff like that and to act on those in ways that cause harm to the earth/other people.)
mjlayman
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
I saw a bumpersticker a couple of weeks ago that said:

If you can't feed 'em
Don't breed 'em

Now, clearly I couldn't stop his pickup truck to argue with the driver, but I wanted to.

I've known since I was 13 that I didn't want kids, but I think it's fine for most people to have them. I generally like the kids I know personally.
firecat
Jun. 2nd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
I think it's best to consider whether you can afford children when deciding whether to have them (and most of the people I know with kids do consider it). Also, a lot of unexpected things can happen to a person's income in the 20 years it takes to raise a child. Also it's not like birth control is entirely reliable and free.
mjlayman
Jun. 2nd, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking mostly about the income. Things can be going fine and then dad gets hurt on the job. What does the pickup guy want them to do? Kill a couple of kids?
innerdoggie
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I don't understand the anti-kid vitriol either, and I don't have any children myself.

I'm wondering if it could be from people who may have been forced to look after younger siblings or babysit when they were very young. That might do it to you. Your other friends get to have fun, but you have to stay home with screaming little siblings.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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