Favorite headline of the day

Reason magazine topped its article on the “we need more white babies!” movement (and its accompanying film, Demographic Winter) with this great headline:
bestheadlinenokids.JPG
Best EVER! But seriously, the article also makes the excellent point that people don’t choose to remain childless for some weird or nefarious reason. Some of us, uh, just don’t want kids, and have decided our lives will be just as happy or happier without them.
When I think about my happiness and my lack of desire to have babies, I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode in which Marge starts a crusade against “Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays,” and she has the following exchange with childless activist Lindsey Naegle:
simpsonspuke.JPG

Bart: Mom, I locked your keys in the car.
Marge: Then wait in the shadows!
Bart: Also, Maggie puked in your purse again.
Lindsey Naegle: Poor me… all my purse is full of is disposable income.

Of course, you should feel free to have lots of babies if you like them and they make you happy!

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298 Comments

  1. A male
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    “Sure they had the right to choose to have me, but they’re not also entitled to praise for making that choice.”
    Can people say your parents should be proud of having a child like you?

  2. fishboots
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    A male, roymacIII,
    I would like to thank you for your posts. The were well reasoned, well thought out, polite… so many things mine never are.
    I understand not wanting to have children. I understand not being comfortable with them, or wanting to spend gobs of time in their company.
    I don’t understand compairing them to smelly cab drivers… but whatever.
    Children are an intregal part to having a tomorrow. Raising them is not just a ride on the socially rewarded express. I can not count the number of times I’ve recieved dirty looks, impatient sighs, and outright rudeness from people because I dared to be in front of them, or next to them with *omigosh* CHILDREN. This is the behavior I recieve in grocery stores, banks, department stores… My favorite is the unsolicited parenting advice, all of it contradicting the unsolicited advice I recieved the day before.
    Women are the ones in society that are tasked with the raising of children. Women are the ones that make the most sacrifices for having them. Half of children are female. I believe motherhood and the bizarre Societal expectations of mothers to be a feminist concern.
    There is yet another post on Feministing about how reproductive health care for poor women is being cut. There is a post about PP in Idaho having been baited by fundies in an effort to tarnish their reputation and get their services cut. And yet, we still have many posters that think poor women shouldn’t be getting pregnant and having those poor babies.
    These things are connected, and they happen apurpose. Women aren’t able to access the reproductive services and education they need and are then shamed for it by society at large. I can’t comprehend the piling on by self-proclaimed feminists.
    I was a little pissy in my earlier posts, and I shouldn’t have been. A litte might be a bit of an understatement.
    I truly am mystified by the notion that motherhood can be seperated from feminism so easily, and that women that are in desperate situations don’t recieve more compassion and less codemnation.
    p.s. That is not to say I think the only way to be a good feminist is (fill in blank), but I am honestly confused as to the complete and utter lack of empathy.

  3. EG
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    No one’s even brought up the free market and capitalism yet
    Hey! I did, I did! (speaking as the good child of New Leftists that I am)
    What I don’t understand is the rhetoric of “selfish and irresponsible” that is being flung at poor parents. Isn’t that exactly the rhetoric that those who don’t want children object to having used at them? Why does somebody’s deep-seated emotional need to become a mother make her “selfish”? Is she also selfish for wanting a roof over her head and food? As a society, we dismiss the important of emotional needs even though it’s been shown time and time again that they are as necessary to our existence as physical ones. This is why I don’t understand the anger about money; didn’t someone earlier claim that it wasn’t the same as lesbian relationships because lesbian relationships didn’t cost money?
    Am I supposed to take away from that that people think that money is more important than basic human emotional needs? That if lesbian relationships did cost money, it would be OK to condemn women who need them? That’s bullshit. Expecting women who need to have children to have a happy life to deny that need in order to better fit an essentially exploitative economic system is no better than expecting women who already have children to deny their need for romantic/sexual relationships in order to better fit an essentially misogynist gender ideology.

  4. GopherII
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    “Yeah, good point. Likewise, what about a SAHM who’s single and/or inherited millions and/or telecommutes to a techie job while staying at home? All sorts of factors go into these decisions…”
    Even billionaires work….they create non-profits, charities ect. If I had a billion you know it would go to charities to support women, and I would create my own.Its about quality. If you believe its vital for a woman to be a SAHM then you believe she works just because she has too, which is not the case. She works because she wants too. Anyways what about ‘quality.’ Just because youre always around for the kid doesnt mean anything. I would think it more self-sacrificing if my parent took off work because I was sick, rather than had already been conveniently off work to serve that outcome.

  5. GopherII
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Likewise, what about a SAHM who’s single and/or inherited millions and/or telecommutes to a techie job while staying at home?”
    Mina,
    Plus if you were that well off it would be BOTH the parents who should stay home. Dont you think thats a little overindulgent in the kids? Just because shes single and inherited millions doesnt mean that shes still not acting in accordance with partriarchy.What if something happended and she lost those millions, then what would she fall back on if she hasnt worked for 15 years? What would her resume say? Its a pretty pathetic position to be in. The wealthy often work, its how you maintain the $$ you’ve made. I believe theres no reason parenting shouldnt be split 50/50, and you shouldnt not work just to be glued to your kids 24/7. Its highly unnecessary and overindulgent.

  6. sage
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I really fail to see the editor’s wisdom in posting something like this. Was the thinking, “hey, I know what might foster community and understanding within the feminist community, I’ll post something about how funny and cool it is to NOT LIKE important members of their families, and by extension, trivialize childcare work that has been historically undervalued in our patriarchal society. Those mothers constantly have to defend and wrestle with sterotyping and dismissals, let’s give them a few here to chew on! After all, they’re doing their damndest at great expense to their other priorities to make people others LIKE, but hey, let’s just cut them off at the knees by saying it’s hopeless, and kids are just unlikable (high five!)” Yeah, right on!”
    You’d think that Feministing would be more aware of these issues, given how many run-ins it’s had being accused of having a narrow “single young white woman” scope. But apparently not, because I honestly don’t think it occurred to the editors that a post like this would invite trolls who reduce women to their “reproductive organs”, their work to “shit wiping” and people they love to “tax liabilities” all the while thinking they have a green light from the feminist community for doing so. I honestly don’t think they thought that saying “maybe they don’t like children” is cool would result like this.
    But here we are. All of these dehmanizing things have happened on this thread in what is supposed to be a safe space for ALL women. As someone who has been on both sides of the debate, I can say there’s no way that the times people pressured me to start a family compared to some of the vitriol against mothers and children on this thread, and how badly it feels to be reminded that some segments of the population think this way. Especially feminists. And to have the editors basically do nothing? Yuck.
    So be more careful in the future, Feministing. Some posters have argued valiantly against the bigotry, insult and misogyny in this thread that far surpasses anything implied by the OP, but that shouldn’t be their responsibility. Is having strangers discuss whether you deserve to keep your children or have them adopted out because you can’t afford them anywhere NEAR on a par with Aunt Sally saying “when are you going to settle down and have a baby?” We can get SO angry about Aunt S and the other doesn’t even get a blink on the troll banner? It can’t be that you think poor women with children aren’t participating on Feministing. But at this rate, why should they? Saying “have all the babies you want” after basically delegitimizing the whole enterprise as in the service of people it’s cool to say you “don’t like” and then allowing the abuse to survive and thrive here simply isn’t enough. Not by a long, blind shot.
    There are ways to discuss social pressure toward having a family without being divisive. Take some responsibility, if not this time, then next.
    There are patriarchal circles that approve heartily of mothers and childrearing. None of us hang out there. Would you ghettoize would-be young feminist mothers to their circles because it’s open season on them here?
    Shut it down. Give EG and RoyMac and Sing and others who I’m sure quit in utter dismay a break. And for the sake of all of us, post some kind of follow-up opinion to set the record straight.

  7. susan
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Arguably, the most important privilege American people have is
    electing our supreme leader. I think most people agree it is important
    that we do not consider race, sex, or the fact that one of the
    candidates is married to an ex-president when casting a vote and this
    decision should be base on who will conduct themselves in the most
    honorable manner while in office.

  8. susan
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Arguably, the most important privilege American people have is
    electing our supreme leader. I think most people agree it is important
    that we do not consider race, sex, or the fact that one of the
    candidates is married to an ex-president when casting a vote and this
    decision should be base on who will conduct themselves in the most
    honorable manner while in office.

  9. Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Even billionaires work….they create non-profits, charities ect.
    Not to disparage any billionaires, but unless they’re actually running or actively participating in the work of running the charity- donating money and/or paying someone else to run one does not constitute “work” in my book.
    If you believe its vital for a woman to be a SAHM then you believe she works just because she has too, which is not the case. She works because she wants too.
    How in the hell do you know? Since when did you get to be the Arbiter of Women’s Choices? Some women work outside of the home. Some women work because they have to. Many women of color spent decades fighting for the right to not have to work outside the home. But, hey, just keep on ignoring that, and pretend that white middle-class concerns about being able to work outside of the home were the only battle being fought on that front.
    I would think it more self-sacrificing if my parent took off work because I was sick, rather than had already been conveniently off work to serve that outcome.
    Why does it matter how self-sacrificing the behavior is? Are we judging people’s worth as parents based on how much they give up and suffer, now, too? Because, seriously? That’s a fucked up standard.

  10. GopherII
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    “I really fail to see the editor’s wisdom in posting something like this.”
    Oh come on. Even though we may disagree, I still see these people debating on this forum as people that for the most part are concerned about misogyny is society. Just because we debate different issues doesnt mean theyre now Gangs with Vendettas after each other. These divisions would still exist whether anyone admitted to it or not. Feministing allows us to sort it out. You build community by debating things. I dont think I would reject anyone here whos argued with me if we had to come together to support a cause. If I had anyone here who disagree with me hold a sign outside a Planned Parenthood that said “Pro-Choice,” I wouldnt tell them to leave, and I’m sure vice versa.

  11. GopherII
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I dont see it as being nasty. The ultimate umbrella everyone agrees on is to be anti-misogyny, and not in the faux “Take Back The Kitchen,” condescending sexist way. We can argue, and it may get nasty, but I’m pretty sure the mass majority who post here have the same idea that I do. Enjoy the fights!Thats what makes the feminist community so strong is because ultimately it all comes down to is freedom for women, and eroding misogyny. I am by no means about to go and do a drive by mooning to anyone here.

  12. lyndorr
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    “I believe theres no reason parenting shouldnt be split 50/50, and you shouldnt not work just to be glued to your kids 24/7.”
    50/50 does sound great. Otherwise, someone has the responsibility of making all the money the household needs and the other person is responsible for pretty much everything else and neither experiences what the other’s responsibility is like. I have seen this with my parents where my dad makes all the money (and was always an involved dad) and this responsibility causes stress. Though if one parent stays home and the other works and BOTH are comfortable with this and the choice is good financially, who am I to judge?
    Also, I can understand wanting to be “glued” to your baby 24/7 and think parents should have the chance for one or the other to do so in the first year. Oh, I just read Sweden, in their attempt to make things 50/50, will be giving a tax rebate to parents who split parental leave equally (9 months each). Woo.

  13. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    “‘Sure they had the right to choose to have me, but they’re not also entitled to praise for making that choice.’
    “Can people say your parents should be proud of having a child like you?”
    I doubt they’d want to. Meanwhile, people can say whatever they want. A’s right to praise B for whatever isn’t necessarily B’s right to praise from A…
    “And yet, we still have many posters that think poor women shouldn’t be getting pregnant and having those poor babies.”
    More like people in poverty shouldn’t be forced to have unwanted babies, people who are’t in poverty should think about the odds of putting any children they already have in poverty before they have more children, etc.
    “and that women that are in desperate situations don’t recieve more compassion and less codemnation.”
    It seems less like “don’t help her when she’s in a desperate situation!!!” than “how desperate can her situation be if she chose it for herself?”
    “Why does somebody’s deep-seated emotional need to become a mother make her ‘selfish’?”
    It only makes her “selfish” if she has to hurt someone else (such as a child she already has) in order to fulfill that “need.”
    Likewise, why does somebody else’s deep-seated emotional need to have sex with a woman make him “selfish”?” It only makes him “selfish” if he has to hurt someone else (such as an unwilling woman) in order to fulfill that “need.”
    “‘Likewise, what about a SAHM who’s single and/or inherited millions and/or telecommutes to a techie job while staying at home?’
    “Mina,
    “Plus if you were that well off it would be BOTH the parents who should stay home. Dont you think thats a little overindulgent in the kids?”
    Not necessarily. For example, what if the parents spend some time telecommuting instead of spending every waking hour watching the kids?
    “What if something happended and she lost those millions, then what would she fall back on if she hasnt worked for 15 years? What would her resume say? Its a pretty pathetic position to be in.”
    Good point. That’s another reason I mentioned telecommuting. SAH and gaining experience to put on one’s résumé aren’t mutually exclusive. :)
    “Many women of color spent decades fighting for the right to not have to work outside the home.”
    Isn’t that a privilege instead of a right? If it was a right, then every man who has to earn a living and doesn’t get a chance to stay at home could say his rights are being violated…
    “50/50 does sound great. Otherwise, someone has the responsibility of making all the money the household needs and the other person is responsible for pretty much everything else and neither experiences what the other’s responsibility is like.”
    Nitpick: 100/0 isn’t the only alternative to 50/50. What about 60/40, 75/25, 20/80, etc.? ;)
    “Are we judging people’s worth as parents based on how much they give up and suffer, now, too? Because, seriously? That’s a fucked up standard.”
    Right on! That’s a fucked-up standard for any other role too, not just for parenting.

  14. fishboots
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    “Many women of color spent decades fighting for the right to not have to work outside the home.”
    Isn’t that a privilege instead of a right? If it was a right, then every man who has to earn a living and doesn’t get a chance to stay at home could say his rights are being violated…
    Wow.
    And yet, we still have many posters that think poor women shouldn’t be getting pregnant and having those poor babies.”
    More like people in poverty shouldn’t be forced to have unwanted babies, people who are’t in poverty should think about the odds of putting any children they already have in poverty before they have more children, etc.
    Double wow.
    “and that women that are in desperate situations don’t recieve more compassion and less codemnation.”
    It seems less like “don’t help her when she’s in a desperate situation!!!” than “how desperate can her situation be if she chose it for herself?”
    It’s a trifecta.
    If it wasn’t for the fact that this is a feminist website, and you are a feminist, I would say you hate women.
    I think the problem is you hate poor women. Yes, they are technically women, but they haven’t achieved the level of self determination you have, and so are on their own.
    Or perhaps you like cutting and pasting from posts you’ve obviously given no thought to, and making pithy little remarks you find witty.
    Dismissing the constant battle poor women and women of color fight to enjoy freedoms many on this board enjoy is about as classless a move I have seen. And like Sage metioned, it seems the PTB don’t have a signifigant opinion on the matter.
    How fucking sad.

  15. Kmari1222
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Ok, for the last time, NOBODY is saying poor people shouldn’t have children. Some of us are saying it is not right for someone who cannot provide basic, basic needs for a child to have one, or two, or however many.
    Here’s a question for everyone:
    Do you think it is acceptable for a woman who is living on the street, has no money to her name, cannot provide food, clothing, shelter or other basic needs to a child, to go and PURPOSELY get pregnant simply because she can?
    What if the child dies of cold or starvation? Are you going to respond with “well it was her right, I’m glad she had a child even though he died when he was six months old.” ??
    Seriously, I want to know.

  16. Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Do you think it is acceptable for a woman who is living on the street, has no money to her name, cannot provide food, clothing, shelter or other basic needs to a child, to go and PURPOSELY get pregnant simply because she can?
    The problem there is not with the woman wanting a child. The problem is with a society as wealthy as ours is that would let someone live in those conditions. And, yes, actually, I think that the homeless and impoverished have just as much right to have a family as anyone else does, and yes, I think that, as a society, we have obligations towards our least well off.
    “Many women of color spent decades fighting for the right to not have to work outside the home.”
    Isn’t that a privilege instead of a right? If it was a right, then every man who has to earn a living and doesn’t get a chance to stay at home could say his rights are being violated…

    Well, thank you for posting, hands down, the most offensive thing I’ve read all day.
    I’m done.

  17. sage
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Fishboots,
    What occurs to me now is the irony: the OP started with how awful it is to have people telling you TO have a baby, and it degenerated into an ugly discussion that breathtakingly showed us all, again, in case we had the luxury of forgetting, a whole segment of the female population for whom this particular pressure is *not exactly* their problem. It’s like the Tell Tale Heart or something, beating there, underneath the so-called “debate.” Some women, lots of people want absolutely NOT to have babies. Those “lots of people” who think that way are out there, and they include, to some of our surprise and dismay, feminists. It’s a much bigger problem in my view, and it makes me wish I spent less time watching The Simpsons, and more time paying attention to how freely accepted *these* ideas about women are, and engaging *that* problem directly somehow.
    I have a lot of respect for those posts who were/are trying to do just that. I still believe that the Eds should pay attention to what’s going on here…at least as much to the words being used here on their own site as the ones on T Shirts elsewhere, since this did start as an ill-conceived OP that spiralled out of control and remains uncommented upon officially. What ensued isn’t a debate. It became an assault on mothers, the poor and children. It happens all over the world this way, but it shouldn’t be happening in the feminist blogosphere.
    Dear Feministing: this shouldn’t be happening here.

  18. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    “The problem there is not with the woman wanting a child. The problem is with a society as wealthy as ours is that would let someone live in those conditions.”
    In other words, people should have the right to not go hungry…
    “‘Isn’t that a privilege instead of a right? If it was a right, then every man who has to earn a living and doesn’t get a chance to stay at home could say his rights are being violated…’
    “Well, thank you for posting, hands down, the most offensive thing I’ve read all day.”
    Human beings neither photosynthesize nor absorb nutrients through roots. Food doesn’t launch itself into our mouths. *Someone* has to do *some* sort of work (whether going and getting the food directly, or doing something else and trading the results of that work with the people who did go get the food directly), or else people’s rights to not go hungry would be meaningless. Nobody would actually have the food they theoretically have a right to eat (apples would stay on trees instead, tuna would stay in the ocean instead, etc.).
    This thread isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone forget those very basic facts.
    Why is it that, when it comes to the subject of earning a living, so many people in so many forums say stuff about women and/or children that would make more sense about trees in a wilderness than about human beings?

  19. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    “Some women, lots of people want absolutely NOT to have babies. Those ‘lots of people’ who think that way are out there, and they include, to some of our surprise and dismay, feminists.”
    They also include, to some people’s surprise, some of these women themselves. You don’t have to be rich and white to think “I want absolutely NOT to have babies,” you don’t have to think “I need another baby” if you’re not white and/or have a low income, etc.
    “It became an assault on mothers, the poor and children.”
    That’s like saying “every child a wanted child” is an assault on unwanted children (since it could lead to a lower population of unwanted children), “brush your teeth” is an assault on people who have cavities (since it could lead to a lower population of people who have cavities), “you’re hired!” is an assault on the unemployed (since it could lead to a lower population of the unemployed), etc.

  20. fishboots
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Sage,
    I don’t know what to think about all of this, but reading the pushback gives me some hope.
    Mina,
    Poor people aren’t poor because they don’t work hard enough. That you actually believe that is…
    after reading this thread it is honestly tiring.
    Ala roymacIII, I am out.

  21. sage
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry, Mina, we’re mowing down the trees as fast as we can, too. They’re like, just standing there in our way, trying to live or something.

    That’s like saying “every child a wanted child” is an assault on unwanted children (since it could lead to a lower population of unwanted children), “brush your teeth” is an assault on people who have cavities (since it could lead to a lower population of people who have cavities), “you’re hired!” is an assault on the unemployed (since it could lead to a lower population of the unemployed), etc.

    Right on! Or “cultivate compassion” is an assault on petty opportunists (since it could lead to a lower population of complete assholes).
    Fish and Roy, grab a table but don’t start drinking without me. I’m right behind you.

  22. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    “Do you think it is acceptable for a woman who is living on the street, has no money to her name, cannot provide food, clothing, shelter or other basic needs to a child, to go and PURPOSELY get pregnant simply because she can?”
    Or for a man who has a ton of money but, for whatever reason can’t afford to spare anywhere near enough time or energy for a child’s basic needs, to go and PURPOSELY adopt or hire a surrogate mother just because he feels a deep-seated emotional need to do so? I’d say such a person still can’t afford to give a child what every child deserves.
    Sure, food, clothing, and shelter take money (or barter or producing the stuff directly), but there are even more basic needs than the material ones.

  23. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    “Poor people aren’t poor because they don’t work hard enough. That you actually believe that is…”
    Actually, I don’t believe that and I never said I did.
    Of course most people in poverty are poor because of circumstances they had no control over!
    You know,
    - like when someone has no control over being laid off at work, because of her or his employer’s choices
    - like when someone has no control over not raising enough crops, because of drought
    - like when someone has no control over being flooded out of affordable housing, because of segregationists’ choices
    - like when someone has no control over losing a home, because of a bush fire
    - like when someone has no control over being bombed, because of some foreign president’s choices
    - like when someone has no control over incurring big medical expenses, because of a road accident caused by bad weather
    - like when someone has no choice but to be homeless, because of her abusive partner’s choices
    - like when someone has no control over being born into poverty, because of someone *else’s* choice (whether that someone else is her or his mother, father, extended family’s patriarch, local theocrat, or whomever)
    - and tons more examples exist too!

  24. A male
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    “Am I supposed to take away from that that people think that money is more important than basic human emotional needs?”
    That would assume that those who cannot afford [more] children planned to have all of them, or would love them. Perhaps neither are always true. I believe some parents with poor parenting skills are doing the best they can, but ignorantly. I believe others don’t really care how their kids behave, or how they are growing up. The latter is the more serious problem, because they may resist change or offers of help.
    I’ve blown my Japanese savings and singlehandedly impoverished my family (thank you, thank you) in an effort to bring my family “home” to my widowed mother, and start a new career in my hometown, where I wanted better opportunities for my children, and possibly even my wife, than in Japan. Financially, it appears to have been a mistake.
    I do not regret having children, and I try not to dwell on me losing all our money for the move, my education, and living expenses while job hunting, but if we have a third child, it will be by accident, because the Pill and a condom would have to fail at the same time, without us knowing it.
    “Do you think it is acceptable for a woman who is living on the street, has no money to her name, cannot provide food, clothing, shelter or other basic needs to a child, to go and PURPOSELY get pregnant simply because she can?”
    As a nurse, I know the story of a single homeless woman living in a tent on the beach, who at last count, had eight cesareans in a row. You know what judgment our instructors made of that woman? Nothing. And you’d better believe that the nursing faculty and my colleagues or classmates are probably the biggest feminists I know. Indeed, the issue should be, how do we help families like that in such a situation, or how to get them out of it? Be certain that after EIGHT cesarean births as a homeless single mother, someone MUST have mentioned contraception (or where to seek help for rape or DV/IPV), and social services must also have come by. Perhaps this woman chose not to act on the standard patient education or help offered, but I seriously doubt many poor women “purposely” get pregnant. That is why this unequal access to women’s health services is such an issue, as is the lack of comprehensive sex education in public schools.
    I have my own opinions of the many ways people act selfishly or irresponsibly, but I will still have to live with the fact that allowing choice means some people will make bad ones, out of simple shortsightedness, ignorance, or even deliberately. What other choice do we have, when speaking of reproductive freedoms (which feminists continue to fight to protect)? Education, and social and economic measures must be taken at the same time, and CPS or other agencies must be standing by to assist or remove children at highest risk to prevent the tragedies you speak of.

  25. A male
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    I doubt many poor women “purposely” get pregnant believing themselves “selfish” or “irresponsible” that is. Why should they? Maybe they have children in a less than ideal environment, because that is how life is for most people in that community.
    Even my community in Hawaii has a lot going against it, where even DINKS (double income, no kids) may never afford a home. (Spare $650,000, anyone? $130,000 down, $3,117.66 a month for 30 years at 6%? You can qualify with an income of just $187,000 a year.)
    Having kids just means more financial hardship. For me, kids may mean no more retirement or college fund. Fortunately, my oldest child currently wants to be a baker, as opposed to say, a doctor out of Harvard.

  26. A male
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    *sigh* I didn’t mean kids were “just” financial hardship. I meant “even more” financial hardship.

  27. Mina
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “That would assume that those who cannot afford [more] children planned to have all of them, or would love them. Perhaps neither are always true.”
    Yeah, that’s why it’s totally important to remember the difference between choosing to do so and being forced to do so.
    “Fortunately, my oldest child currently wants to be a baker, as opposed to say, a doctor out of Harvard.”
    BTW, in many cases the financial aid offices of graduate schools don’t expect a parental contribution to tuition, fees, etc. So, if another one of your kids does want to be a doctor out of Harvard then it may not cost you as much as you fear.

  28. Kmari1222
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “but I seriously doubt many poor women “purposely” get pregnant.”
    We’re talking about the ones who do, not poor people who have babies. I specifically said, a woman who cannot afford to raise a child, getting pregnant on PURPOSE. That was the question.
    I didn’t ask how she got to be living on the street or why she doesn’t have money.
    And another thing, shouldn’t we be more focused on getting these people out of tents on beaches and less on letting them have more children which will just keep them there?
    Perhaps this woman living in a tent had enough money for food but not for a house. That’s fine, whatever, but once it starts to become neglect, it’s wrong.
    So everyone: stop saying we all hate the poor when we don’t. Stop putting words into our mouths. It’s getting old.

  29. EG
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    What ensued isn’t a debate. It became an assault on mothers, the poor and children.
    Yes. I agree.
    Yeah, that’s why it’s totally important to remember the difference between choosing to do so and being forced to do so.
    That would be relevant here only if anybody was advocating forcing poor women to bear children. Nobody is. What some people are arguing for is coercing poor women to giving up their children against their will.

  30. Mina
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    “‘but I seriously doubt many poor women ‘purposely’ get pregnant.’
    “We’re talking about the ones who do, not poor people who have babies.”
    Likewise, I was thinking of those people (of all sexes) who do purposely have more children whom they can’t afford to care for (whether they’re poor and can’t give the child enough food or rich and can’t give the child enough attention or whatever).

  31. GopherII
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    To get back on the topic of choosing not to reproduce:
    Yesterday something happened to me that caught me a little off gaurd. I was shopping at a local store and in one of the aisles was a little infant baby sitting in a baby seat within the shopping cart. The site of the baby actually made me feel like I was about to throw up. I felt hideously nauseous at the site of the kid.I dont know what it is, and I’ve been trying to analyze it all day. I dont want kids, but I think there is something biological of equal weight within people that either makes them want to have kids or not. I dont think it says anything about who you are as a person if you do want to have kids. Personally I have no clue why anyone would want them. I tried to figure out why even talking about the infant induced a feeling of nausea. It made my stomach sick. Anyone else have that, or am I a huge tocophobe?

  32. lyndorr
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    “I dont want kids, but I think there is something biological of equal weight within people that either makes them want to have kids or not.”
    Reminds me of the God gene idea. That some people are just biologically more likely to believe in God than others.
    “I dont think it says anything about who you are as a person if you do want to have kids.”
    Yeah, is there any great difference between women who want to be mothers and women who don’t? Some people are just happy being around kids and some people are not, unless perhaps they’re not their own. For some reason we expect people to be the first. I can see myself likely having kids someday but I couldn’t tell you why. I do see the advantages of never having them.

  33. Mina
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    “I tried to figure out why even talking about the infant induced a feeling of nausea. It made my stomach sick. Anyone else have that, or am I a huge tocophobe?”
    What’s a toco?
    “Yeah, is there any great difference between women who want to be mothers and women who don’t?”
    I bet there’s way more difference within each of those 2 groups than between those 2.

  34. kissmypineapple
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Toco is a type of toucan, so that must be a typo. Regardless, I would think that having nausea upon the sight of a child is something pathological, and perhaps you should do some serious digging to figure out where that comes from. Being uncomfortable around children and feeling the urge to vomit when you see them are very different, and I find that confession unsettling to say the least.

  35. GopherII
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    Mina,
    When I was researching I found a “phobia” called tocophobia which is either fear of anything pregnancy related, or childbirth. However, I meant the last bit in a sense of jest. I dont necessarily believe I’m a tocophobe. You can like kids, and even plan on having them someday and still be a tocophobe.
    kissmypineapple,
    I understand your reaction. However, its not pathological. I did some self-examination and figured it isnt necessarily anything irrational. Babies are beginner humans and are in a rawer, undeveloped form. Seeing the human being so microcised like that can be a bit off-putting. People should encourage themselves to see children and the choice to have them in new light. I think youre suffering from a lack of doing that. There can be other issues, but what I found is that there is two sides of the same coin that both sides dont really see. I have never found anyone who can rationally explain WHY they want kids(and I’ve asked plenty of people). Is not wanting kids wrong-of course not. I think all the hullabaloo about being in love and wanting to extend that love in a biological human is all trash. I think its simply something biological….without any moral to it whatsoever. Humans have a need to put beliefs in places where their rationality doesnt coincide with their baser instincts. It is when our sheer animality influences us, and our mind cannot put it in a frame that we can understand. Claiming the need to reproduce is the same thing.

  36. A male
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    “shouldn’t we be more focused on getting these people out of tents on beaches and less on letting them have more children which will just keep them there?”
    You are right. It’s a travesty that an entire class of people live under such conditions in the richest country on the planet. Prevention is logically easier and less costly than “treatment” of mere symptoms. I guess the point is, left to themselves, people will tend to reproduce anyway, until any measures that do exist to assist people with health care and reproductive choices, or education and employment opportunities, make their mark. Even without a Republican President, we have seen there are those who object to government funds being used to help the underprivileged, or to allegedly promote sex or prevention of childbirth in general. Many Americans also do not want to pay more taxes in general, to create the kinds of more egalitarian societies we see in more progressive countries I admire like Norway. I am not confident I will live to see the raising up of the underprivileged in a capitalist, free market economy, with strong conservative political and religious elements.
    There is only so much space available in shelters or public housing. That’s a simple fact. In addition is NIMBY, when people do not want shelters, homeless, HUD families, the poor, treatment facilities, etc., around them. Do you know how maybe 3,000 Honolulu homeless people ended up on a 16 mile stretch of white sand beach in a single community (which was already heavily ethnic, and economically disadvantaged to begin with) about 20 minutes by highway from the city? Because the state or country government themselves, “cleaned up” the Waikiki to downtown areas of Honolulu, getting homeless people off the beaches and out of parks. They closed down one of the most popular beach parks to public use, just to get rid of an estimated 100 homeless people near the largest shopping center. The government has “cleaned out” parks and beaches in my community, as well, fencing off areas and taking away picnic tables in the middle of town, so no one at all can sit for a picnic or rest anymore, much less any homeless people loiter during the day or sleep overnight.
    This is indicative of how the government in Hawaii often cares more about image (for tourism), than helping local people. This pro-tourism, pro-development bias by government is quite evident, and one reason many local people are resentful of local officials, and unfortunately, of tourists or recent residents from outside, leading to discriminatory sentiments (on both sides) based on class, culture, and ethnicity.
    Then is the ever present issue of Hawaii’s high cost of living. It is said that many families are only one paycheck from being homeless. So can you imagine what happens when there is any disruption in employment as when people fall ill, are laid off or change jobs? 70% of homeless in Hawaii are in fact, employed. Probably the main thing preventing many more Hawaii residents from being visibly homeless is the fact those who are established, may be relying on family and friends for economic or housing assistance, as when multiple or extended families live under one roof, multiple units are built on family property, or people like myself use my family’s “other” house.

  37. A male
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    “I have never found anyone who can rationally explain WHY they want kids(and I’ve asked plenty of people). . . . I think its simply something biological….without any moral to it whatsoever.”
    Since we’re no longer on the farm using our own kids for unpaid labor, and we are not royalty passing riches and territory down the family line, I agree. And I imagine anyone who tries to make a logical argument about why they simply must have their own DNA (as opposed to adopting, or why an Ethiopian/Chinese/Romanian child is preferable to an American child or any other), just might come off as an asshole.

  38. Mina
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “In addition is NIMBY, when people do not want shelters, homeless, HUD families, the poor, treatment facilities, etc., around them.”
    Good point. I try to lean more YIMBY myself.
    “And I imagine anyone who tries to make a logical argument about why they simply must have their own DNA (as opposed to adopting, or why an Ethiopian/Chinese/Romanian child is preferable to an American child or any other), just might come off as an asshole.”
    Especially if this person also proceeds to pick on the child for having her or his DNA (for example, passing on a tendency to be chubby then pressuring a daughter to be super-skinny).

  39. kissmypineapple
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Gopher, just because I find the urge to vomit upon the sight of a child to be pathological, that doesn’t mean that I want children. I actually don’t, so I’m not sure why you linked those two things. I’m sure that a lot of it probably is biology coupled with cultural pressure, but I don’t think wanting to love a child is trash. This is where I think you might have some issues to work out. Just because I don’t want children doesn’t mean that I think it’s trash that someone else might, and just because I personally get uncomfortable around children doesn’t mean I feel like I’m going to puke when they are around. Honestly, that’s troubling. It’s a weird reaction, and not weird, like, quirky.

  40. Mina
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    “I’m sure that a lot of it probably is biology coupled with cultural pressure, but I don’t think wanting to love a child is trash.”
    I got the impression that GopherII was talking about wanting to have a child and claiming that want is always love is being trash, not about wanting to love a child being trash. Some people do both. Some people do neither. Some people do one or the other…you know, like when someone doesn’t want to have any children and does love her or his young nieces and nephews, or when someone wants to have another child but already can’t remember the names of all the children he already has.

  41. EG
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I have never found anyone who can rationally explain WHY they want kids(and I’ve asked plenty of people).
    Sure. Just like falling in love.
    I think all the hullabaloo about being in love and wanting to extend that love in a biological human is all trash.
    Because you don’t experience something, you think it’s trash? Lovely. There are plenty of experiences I don’t have–are they all trash?
    I actually agree that the need to have children is biological, but I don’t see how that’s separate from being in love and wanting to create a child in the image of that love, or feeling a passionate need to love one’s child. That’s like saying that feeling hunger is trash; we only eat because we have a biological need to. Yes. And we experience that need as a feeling.
    Wanting to vomit on seeing any group of human beings is disturbing; if I said “seeing transsexuals/the elderly/people in wheelchairs makes me want to vomit,” nobody would say that it wasn’t pathological. And I’m sure I could come up with a rationalized explanation justifying it, just as you do for babies and children. But seeing other people doesn’t nauseate me. I guess I’m just funny like that.

  42. Mina
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “I actually agree that the need to have children is biological, but I don’t see how that’s separate from being in love and wanting to create a child in the image of that love, or feeling a passionate need to love one’s child.”
    I can easily see how it’s sometimes separate.
    Isn’t it separate when someone feels a passionate need to love her or his daughter or son after adopting this child, instead of conceiving her or him?
    Isn’t it also separate when someone feels a need to create a child, gets his wife pregnant, and then complains about the baby being female instead of feeling a passionate need to love his new daughter?
    Then there’s this example:
    http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/sexual-violence.html
    Did the men in this case want to create children? Of course.
    Were the men in love with the women and girls they got pregnant? Hell no.

  43. A male
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    “That’s like saying that feeling hunger is trash; we only eat because we have a biological need to. Yes. And we experience that need as a feeling.”
    The fact that there are those who feel no need for (and I accept the validity of those feelings) romantic bonds, sexual relations (even with relationships like marriage), or procreation, shows how even those biological needs are in a different class than the biological need to eat, sleep, drink, or breathe. In my experience, I would say the likening of sexual desire (or “need” to have sex) to the need for food, always comes up eventually, and is a poor argument. Sex is a very important part of life for many, but people will not die if they don’t have it. Let us not even mention the numerous other factors that may determine one’s libido.
    On the other hand, malnutrition and starvation can be explicitly and statistically linked (as in kcal to body mass and level of activity) to poor health and death within a given period of time.

  44. A male
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    I disagree that forcing women to have “their” children was the end goal of those rapists, Mina. Children bearing the DNA of one’s enemy or oppressor are merely a physical, living, perhaps inescapable (that the women were kept until fetuses could no longer be aborted is telling) reminder of the violence and terror the rapists wanted to inflict upon those women, or even their greater society. Even if I were a wartime rapist or postwar occupier dallying with local women, as many US soldiers have done, I would be uncomfortable abandoning my biological children to an uncertain future in my “enemy’s” society where they may find little acceptance.

  45. Mina
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    “In my experience, I would say the likening of sexual desire (or ‘need’ to have sex) to the need for food, always comes up eventually, and is a poor argument. Sex is a very important part of life for many, but people will not die if they don’t have it.”
    Besides, if people did need sex as much as they need food, then who among you would want to lay back and think of fulfilling the rights of people who can’t get willing sex partners (the way we pay taxes in part to help feed people who can’t buy food)?
    “I disagree that forcing women to have ‘their’ children was the end goal of those rapists, Mina.”
    Even in cases like this:
    “…Mirsada was released only when she became visibly pregnant, and her jailer-rapists said, ‘Go bear our Serbian children.’…”
    ?

  46. A male
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    You are up really early today.
    Perhaps I worded that poorly. I do not believe that producing children was their end goal. There are socially accepted ways of having children, and caring for them. Rape, and abandoning children to be born among one’s “enemy’s” society, is not one of them. What those rapists wanted, was to maximize the women’s trauma, and to cause terror, as a result of such organized rapes, and forced pregnancy and childbirth.
    The issue of that article was rape as “a spoil of war” and “a mighty instrument of terror and destruction.” I believe history has proven it. The realization rape is a war crime should be a non-issue. The article brings up “genocide” at least twice, in reference to Bosnia and Rwanda. The only way I can think of rape being a part of “ethnic cleansing” is to remove the males from a society, and to impregnate a significant proportion of the females, to alter the ethnic heritage of future generations. As such statistics were not provided, I am hoping that is not what they claim has occurred anywhere in recent times, firstly because that would be too horrifying to imagine (G.I.s are believed to have left tens of thousands of children of mixed ancestry in Vietnam)*, and secondly I have not seen it demonstrated.
    * Take note of the revolting atmosphere on this thread “How many children did you father in Vietnam?” Men like those who consider it funny deserve outing and public condemnation:
    “oh, lots and lots, all I could. What can I say?…it only improved the breed. Fortunately I didn’t have to pay child support on them—thats the upside of cutting and running.”
    http://boards.historychannel.com/thread.jspa?threadID=800034946&messageID=800529493

  47. GopherII
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Yes it was a instrument of terror, but its end goal was for these women to be made to bear their children. It does happen and has happened throughout all of humankinds existence, unfortunetly. Another example is the Sabine women and Rome. The Romans raped the Sabine women to produce their offspring. The Sabine women were invited to attend a festival and when they arrived they were all brutally raped in order to perpetuate the genetic offspring of the Romans. I dont see how you cant see that these women were raped to perpetuate the Serbs offspring. The women were a spoil of war and were used to be a living vessel of the Serbs dominance and were used to communicate that they (which was their race)were to be eradicated to make way for the Serbs children and thus be a mark of their conquest. There are also countless examples of the Nazis doing it during WWII, and of course the conquistadors.

  48. GopherII
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    The woman becomes a vessel to communicate submission to the child within her uterus, which is submission to the race that conquired her own, and is a message that she (her race) is irrevelent and is to be used to put the Serbs as the dominant race in her territory.
    Its revolting. I feel for these women.

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