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. Kimmy
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see you completely ignore 99% of my post.
    And I certainly hope to see this much hue and cry next time somebody says they don’t like Republicans or conservatives or something like that. You know, a group that it’s apparently acceptable to dislike.

  2. rileystclair
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    ok ok, i concede the point and will alter all future statements on the topic to “i don’t often like children.” or “i have not liked most of the children i have encountered.”
    i still think that the casual remark “i don’t like children” is generally not interpreted by most people to mean that the speaker immediately dislikes every child on sight, much as i don’t assume that someone who says “i don’t like republicans” means the equivalent. but i’m willing to try to be more specific in case my statement is interpreted that way.

  3. shfree
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Kimmy:
    To use an extreme example, let’s say I’d run into 1,000 wheel-chair bound people in my life. And every single one of them had happily run over my foot every time I saw them. Would I be justified, in your view, in disliking this behavior and those who showed it, even if they happen to be wheel-chair bound? Or would that make me a bigot?
    If you said “I can’t stand it when people run over my feet in their wheelchairs”, no. It isn’t bigotry. If you added “which is why I dislike people in wheelchairs” it becomes bigotry.
    But really, you can be annoyed, irritated and frustrated by large groups of people. But you are going to have to accept that it is bigoted behavior, when you start painting irritating habits of individuals to an entire group of people.

  4. EG
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Heh, riley. When I say “I don’t like Republicans”–well, it means just that. I really don’t!

  5. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    And I certainly hope to see this much hue and cry next time somebody says they don’t like Republicans or conservatives or something like that. You know, a group that it’s apparently acceptable to dislike.
    You don’t think that there’s a difference between disliking a group of people defined by an innate trait- age, race, sex- and disliking a group based on their choice to come together over a shared value that you disagree with?
    I dislike the KKK.
    I dislike the Nazi party.
    I dislike serial killers.
    These are groups that one chooses to belong to and that are formed around a shared set of beliefs. I think that there’s a huge difference between a group formed around an idealogy and a group based on some arbitrary attribute like age, skin color, or ableness.

  6. fishboots
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that the people that hate children see nothing wrong with stating it. Why should they? Are the children going to rise up and revolt? No.
    Children are pretty much helpless little critters, and really easy to rag on. As are poor women that dare to have children.
    These losers are just bringing the rest of us REAL women down. I helped pay for their immunizations, so I can be as nasty as I want to be.
    Oh, and how can a stay at home mom be a feminist? If she REALLY cared about other women, she’d be working to make some man richer, as opposed to raising indendent thoughtful daughters. (Useless to some posters until they are capable of logical and thoughtful discussions on the many ways in which the patriarchy debases us all, of course)
    /idignant disbelief.
    Seriously, is this Feministing?

  7. rileystclair
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    haha EG, i would actually agree with you, but i do have one or two token republican friends who are, aside from being politically retarded, are pretty great people.
    so if you said that you didn’t like republicans, i’d take you at your word but think that if you happened to meet my token chums, you might like them, too. :)

  8. Kimmy
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Not according to the definition of bigot, shfree, no, it isn’t. Thanks for playing.
    I’ve tried being nice, and I’ve tried playing along, and I’ve tried making reasonable arguments. But apparently y’all aren’t into that. You’d rather use loaded, insulting, and patently inapplicable phrases to label someone because the impugned the precious children. Well, get the fuck over it. I’m not a bigot, you don’t know what the hell the word means, and you should all find a really tall extension ladder and get the hell over yourselves while you’re at it.

  9. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I improperly used “innate” there, but I think that my general meaning is clear.

  10. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Not according to the definition of bigot, shfree, no, it isn’t. Thanks for playing.
    Bullshit it’s not.
    Merriam-Webster, on bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
    When say that you dislike a group of people, when what you really dislike is a behavior, you are expressing prejudice.
    Merriam-Webster on prejudice: 2a (1): preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b: an instance of such judgment or opinion c: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics
    When you say that you dislike a group of people based on preconceived notions about how members of that group will act and attribute to them a negative behavior that many other people exhibit, you are exhibiting prejudice.
    When you use “children” as short-hand for “people who are loud, illogical, disrespectful of other people’s property, and have trouble communicating” you’re exhibiting bigotry and prejudice, and not being particularly respectful or tolerant.

  11. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I am in totally agreement with you, rileystclair. I guess it’s because I’m also a misanthrope and highly cynical.
    But, why is it hard to accept that they are some people who, faced with children, are just not comfortable around them, cannot deal well with them, and don’t want children for those particular reasons, and are much more at ease when they are not present, in contrast to if they are present, which are generally seen as signs of dislike?
    Perhaps people are jumping on Kimmy because she did particular examples. However, there are just some people who again, not to be redundant, just are not comfortable and are stressed out when they are faced with kids.
    So, perhaps it is insensitive to say “I don’t like children;” however, I don’t think it is insensitive to say that “I don’t deal well with children” because it’s an honest statement of my own reaction when I’m actually dealing with children.
    And Jeebus, dislike is not the equivalent of hatred. Who the hell said anything about hating children?
    And roymacIII – not to be overly nitpicky, but age is not an innate trait, but I see what you mean. Perhaps that’s what you meant by improper usage.

  12. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I am in total agreement with you, rileystclair. I guess it’s because I’m also a misanthrope and highly cynical.
    But, why is it hard to accept that they are some people who, faced with children, are just not comfortable around them, cannot deal well with them, and don’t want children for those particular reasons, and are much more at ease when they are not present, in contrast to if they are present, which are generally seen as signs of dislike?
    Perhaps people are jumping on Kimmy because she did particular examples. However, there are just some people who again, not to be redundant, just are not comfortable and are stressed out when they are faced with kids.
    So, perhaps it is insensitive to say “I don’t like children;” however, I don’t think it is insensitive to say that “I don’t deal well with children” because it’s an honest statement of my own reaction when I’m actually dealing with children.
    And Jeebus, dislike is not the equivalent of hatred. Who the hell said anything about hating children?
    And roymacIII – not to be overly nitpicky, but age is not an innate trait, but I see what you mean. Perhaps that’s what you meant by improper usage.

  13. EG
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it is insensitive to say that “I don’t deal well with children” because it’s an honest statement of my own reaction when I’m actually dealing with children.
    I completely agree, and nobody has argued otherwise. “I don’t deal well with children,” “I’m uncomfortable around children,” the significant difference between those statements and “I don’t like children because they’re loud, illogical, and dirty” (or whatever) is that the first two statements are about one’s own feelings and emotional reactions, whereas the third puts the focus on the children; the speaker is claiming that it’s some innate negativity about children that is at issue, rather than her/his own feelings and discomfort.
    ut, why is it hard to accept that they are some people who, faced with children, are just not comfortable around them, cannot deal well with them, and don’t want children for those particular reasons, and are much more at ease when they are not present, in contrast to if they are present, which are generally seen as signs of dislike?
    Nobody’s saying that. Every single person on this thread is supportive of people not wanting children for any reason whatsoever. What Roy and I are objecting to is the use of inaccurate group characterizations as justification. You’re uncomfortable around children? Fine. Own that. It’s about you and whatever issues/perspectives you have. Making it about some supposedly “objective” assessment of children’s behavior turns it into “children deserve my dislike–it’s not me, it’s them.” And the assessments used are almost always assessments that can equally apply to adults.
    Who the hell said anything about hating children?
    Not in this thread, to be fair. But in other threads about children and not having them, it’s come up over and over.

  14. Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    And roymacIII – not to be overly nitpicky, but age is not an innate trait, but I see what you mean. Perhaps that’s what you meant by improper usage.
    Yeah- I caught it after I’d already hit “submit.” Age isn’t, and ableness isn’t necessarily.
    Other than that- EG sums up my feelings very well.

  15. Kimmy
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Roymac:
    Please find an example of a time I have been intolerant towards children. Oh wait, you can’t. Not only because you don’t know me, but because there isn’t one. And my opinions are not preconceived or irrational, given that they have their basis in each and every interaction I have ever had with children, including those both in childhood and in adulthood. That makes my opinions both logical and in evidence based on experience. Not only my experience either, but the experiences of many other people.
    Once again, there is nothing wrong with disliking a group based on behavior. I dislike the behavior of children. I neither blame them for it, hold it against them, or treat them poorly on that basis. I respect children as their own individuals whose behavior is not entirely within their own control, and even when it is, they can’t help it if they’re doing something that annoys me. It’s their right to behave in such a manner, and I wouldn’t try to punish them for it or take it away from them.
    However, there is no child I have ever been around for more than five minutes which has managed to avoid doing something that annoyed me. Therefore I dislike them. As I have said repeatedly, I know that this is entirely on me and based on my own personal reaction. Which is why I am both tolerant and respectful of children. I do, however, do my utmost to avoid prolonged exposure to them.
    There is no hatred in this. There is no intolerance. There is no disrespect.
    To put it another way more normal to this forum: if every single human male I had ever encountered in my entire life (assuming the number in this scenerio was similar to the number I’ve actually encountered) had grabbed my ass, I would be justified in describing men as ass-grabbers and saying I didn’t like them.
    Since every child I’ve ever met has annoyed me at some point, I feel no shame in saying that I don’t like them.
    There are also a great many adults I don’t like for similar reasons. However, there are also a great many adults I do like who are not annoying, therefore I cannot group adults in the same fashion.
    And Jesus, when did this turn into the thought police? I tend to function by a far more rational standard. I judge people’s behavior, not their thoughts. I don’t care what someone thinks, I care how they act. Can thoughts influence actions? Absolutely. But in this case they do not, therefore my thoughts are irrelevent to my dealings with children. This ridiculous overreaction to my opinion about kids as a class is insane, illogical, and totally impossible for me to understand.

  16. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I move that people stop using analogies, as people seem to generally suck at them, and I dislike having to point out why an analogy is a poor one. Like here:
    “And if you decided that you dislike all people with disabilities because one person with a disability annoyed you, that would be bigotry.”
    Ok, now my problem with this analogy is that people with disabilities don’t have some kind of common mindset. An adult in a wheelchair is not the same as my sister. My sister is relevant because she has the mindset of a two-year-old. All two-year-olds have the mindset of a two-year-old, but not all people with disabilities do. They’re not all the same but they’re at about the same level of maturity.
    This is not the only poor analogy that I’ve seen on here, hence my motion.

  17. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Wildberry, it wasn’t a poor analogy about why disliking an entire group of people is bigotry until you yourself dragged the example of your sister into the mix.

  18. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Please find an example of a time I have been intolerant towards children.
    Sure: “I don’t see anything wrong with saying I don’t like them [kids]. I also don’t like assholes, smelly people, drivers who think they own the road, and people who think that “20 items or less” is really just a suggestion and it’s fine to use that lane for their two baskets of groceries.”
    Right there. Do you see what you did?
    1. You’re comparing kids- a group defined by age- to groups defined by their actions.
    2. You’re using “kids” as shorthand for “people who do X,Y, and Z annoying things”, despite the fact that X,Y, and Z have nothing to do with age, and are, in fact, behaviorial.
    And my opinions are not preconceived or irrational, given that they have their basis in each and every interaction I have ever had with children, including those both in childhood and in adulthood. That makes my opinions both logical and in evidence based on experience.
    How does that saying go?
    “Anecdotes are not evidence”?
    You’re no more justified in saying “I dislike children because of X,Y, and Z” than someone is in saying “I dislike women because most women I know are self-absorbed, super-ficial, and rude.” We wouldn’t hesitate to call out someone who said something like that, even if it was objectively true that most women that person knew actually were those things.
    Once again, there is nothing wrong with disliking a group based on behavior. I dislike the behavior of children.
    It’s not “the behavior of children”. It’s people behavior that children sometimes exhibit. Having trouble communicating is not specific to children. Nor is being illogical. Nor is having a disregard for other people’s property.
    This ridiculous overreaction to my opinion about kids as a class is insane, illogical, and totally impossible for me to understand.
    How are we overreacting? By calling you out on something and saying “Hey, that’s not okay”?
    Also: The last time I accused someone’s argument of being insane, it was pointed out to me that I was being an asshole, and “This is not the hallmark of the well-intended argument”. Just saying.

  19. GopherII
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    ” GopherII, Where in the HELL did you find ANYTHING I said implying that I feel its my “duty” to be a SAHM? ”
    I admit. After I posted that I meant to change it. I meant to state SAHM feel its their duty-not specifically you.
    I think I got you confused with someone else who stated they believe its their duty to be the nurturer and caregiver exclusively.

  20. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Ok, now my problem with this analogy is that people with disabilities don’t have some kind of common mindset.
    Oddly enough, neither do children. Weird, isn’t it?
    All two-year-olds have the mindset of a two-year-old, but not all people with disabilities do.
    But, that’s self-defining. Of course two-year-olds have the mindset of a two-year-old. They’re two years old, so, by definition, they must have the mindset of one. That’s like saying that all wheelchair bound people have the mindset of a wheelchair bound person.
    If you’re attempting to suggest that this fact somehow means that the mindset that they have is the same, you’re wrong. Not even all babies are the same, mentally and emotionally, and you’re going to tell me that all two-year-olds have the same mindset?
    The last time I checked, “children” covered a pretty broad range of ages, anyway.
    The fact that not all people with disabilities are the same is actually kind of important to the analogy, given that children also express a great deal of individual variety, and do not, in fact, have “the same mindset”.

  21. EG
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    All two-year-olds have the mindset of a two-year-old, but not all people with disabilities do.
    All thirty-year-olds have the mindset of a thirty-year-old. Therefore I do not like adults.
    I mean, it makes just as much sense.

  22. GopherII
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    roymacIII, Sera,
    I’m getting sick of scrolling through all the comments. We’ll have to continue this debate when another post about women, kids and careers comes up.
    However, I’m sticking to my view. A woman needs to work, its a good example for kids, and balances out the care between the two parents which is best for the child.

  23. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    It was a poor analogy. When you first brought it up it was people with developmental disabilities. My sister has a developmental disability. I said I don’t expect people to like her despite the fact that she’s annoying, just that they be understanding. Then YOU started talking about everyone with a disability! My sister has the mindset of a two year old, an adult in a wheelchair does not. It would be bigoted if someone just hated all people with some kind of a disability, because disabled people are vastly different from each other. If someone doesn’t like 15-year-olds who act like two-year-olds, well, I expect them to still treat her with respect, but I don’t really blame them.
    Face it, it’s a crappy analogy. When I brought up my sister it was perfectly relevant. I wasn’t just trotting out some story for the hell of it. Just give it up.

  24. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    It would be bigoted if someone just hated all people with some kind of a disability, because disabled people are vastly different from each other.
    So. Are. Children.
    That is why the analogy is apt. It is wrong to make generalizations about entire groups of people. Children are individual human beings. Hating an entire group of human beings is bigotry.
    It’s pretty sickening the lengths some folks will go to in order to justify their intolerance of others. Outlawing the use of analogies? Please.

  25. Kimmy
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I admit I’m a terrible person for not liking children. This despite the fact that I treat them with nothing but respect and care. Obviously, this means horrible things about my personality and justifies throwing around slurs and insults towards me. I am obvioulsy obligated to say something like, “I like children as a group, but there is the fact that I’ve disliked each and every child I’ve ever met.” That would be much more honest, clear, and far less bigoted.
    What kind of weird statements are you people attempting to extract here in order to get you off your high horses?
    By the way, a statement about not liking children is not intolerance. Showing intolerance towards children would be intolerance. And since I never show intolerance towards children (I’m talking about actual acts here, not this thought police shit), I am not intolerant towards children. Thanks so much.

  26. Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I know, right?
    It’s a crappy analogy because… it compares two distinct, but similar, circumstances and illustrates exactly the point it was intended to?

  27. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Here we go with more bad analogies.
    Look, we all know how two-year-olds act. Yes they have different personalities. Some are harder to deal with than others. Trying to compare it with 30-year-olds is just dumb. At that age the brain has fully developed, at the age of two it has not. Because their brain has not fully developed, they are immature, and you can expect certain behaviors. Not so with an adult. Stop with all the dumb lectures, seriously.
    You guys, why don’t you just drop it? Maybe Kimmy didn’t phrase it the way you would have liked, but you know what she meant. “I don’t like kids,” is an often-used phrase, when what they really mean is that they don’t like having to deal with behaviors that children often exhibit. You know that. You know what she meant. You know she’s not trying to oppress kids. Why do you keep harping about bigotry and crap?
    Here’s the definition of bigotry from dictionary.com:
    stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
    Is she intolerant of children? No. She just doesn’t like dealing with the behaviors that she expects from them. She’s not trying to turn them into mini-adults, or send them away to kiddie concentration camp. Why do you have to be so damn anal about if her phrasing was perfectly PC when you KNOW what she meant?

  28. Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I admit I’m a terrible person for not liking children.
    I don’t know what kind of person you are. Based on that comment and the jab about the ‘thought police’, I’d guess that you’re the sort of person who tries to play the victim when someone calls you on your shit.
    I am obvioulsy obligated to say something like, “I like children as a group, but there is the fact that I’ve disliked each and every child I’ve ever met.”
    I certainly wouldn’t want you to say that. As I’ve stated repeated, the issue is in treating children like a monolithic group, rather than as individual human beings.
    “I don’t like kids,” is an often-used phrase
    Yeah. That’s the problem.
    Oh, and cherry-picking dictionary definitions of the word ‘bigotry’ is incredibly petty and unbecoming.

  29. Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I admit I’m a terrible person for not liking children… …Obviously, this means horrible things about my personality and justifies throwing around slurs and insults towards me.
    1.I never said you were a terrible person. I don’t know you from Eve, so I wouldn’t feel qualified to make such a sweeping statement about you.
    2. Being told that you’ve exhibited bigotry or said something offensive isn’t a slur or an insult.
    I think that you’ve expressed a bigotted sentiment, and I’m calling you out on that statement- the same way I do when I see someone on here use “retarded” as an insult. It’s not a reflection on your worth as a person, nor is it intended as a slur.
    By the way, a statement about not liking children is not intolerance. Showing intolerance towards children would be intolerance. And since I never show intolerance towards children (I’m talking about actual acts here, not this thought police shit), I am not intolerant towards children.
    So, when people say “I don’t like ethnic group X/homosexuals/women. I wouldn’t do anything to actually hurt them, but I just don’t like them. I prefer not to be around them, and avoid them if I can”, they’re not really being racist/homophobic/sexist? They’re just expressing an opinion? And when we call people out for that kind of shit, we’re just being “thought police”?

  30. shfree
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Except I don’t know what she meant. I hear “I don’t like kids” and I imagine they mean they don’t like kids. And I find that bigoted. Now, if she had said “I don’t like people that do X, Y, Z” that would be a different story, even with X Y Z being commonly associated with children.
    No one is asking anyone to fawn over that specific kid that is climbing all around screaming their fool head off. You are free to be annoyed by individuals, we all have our own annoying and peevish times. But you do the kid sitting and playing quietly a disservice by painting them with the same broad brush as the one that is currently engaged in irritating behavior. That’s all.

  31. Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Or, what roymacIII said!

  32. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    “”I don’t like kids,” is an often-used phrase
    Yeah. That’s the problem.
    Oh, and cherry-picking dictionary definitions of the word ‘bigotry’ is incredibly petty and unbecoming.”
    And you didn’t just cherry-pick part of my sentence, leaving out the, “but what they really mean is…and everyone knows it” part?
    Oh, and assuming that I was cherry-picking definitions is incredibly petty and unbecoming. Check it out:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigotry
    Oh I’m so sorry for leaving out the second definition, the one that says “the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.”
    I had even looked up bigot, to see if that page had something else to add:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigot
    Oh no! I left out the definition from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing!
    So yeah, petty and unbecoming, for sure.

  33. tink manslaughter
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    For what’s worth, a lot of this was initiated by Kimmy’s responding to my comment, which was actually directed at Ann’s original post, and my concern about the use of “I don’t like kids” as a throw-away “humorous” phrase. I hadn’t even read Kimmy’s comment.

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

    I quoted the part that was relevant. Your assertion that ‘everyone knows’ that people mean one thing when they say another is untrue.
    Yes, you’re cherry-picking. And yes, it’s petty and unbecoming.

  35. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Alright, do you get all angry at people who are all, “I love kids!!!1″? Do you say, “You can’t assume that you’ll love all kids! That’s assuming they’ll all act the same way, like they have no personality of their own! How DARE you!”
    But no, that’s a POSITIVE stereotype, huh? Therefore harmless? Not that Kimmy’s opinion of kids was harmful in the first place. Reminds me of this time when some kid told this Asian-American kid, “Asians are really smart!” I told him that’s a stereotype, but he wouldn’t believe me. It’s a GOOD stereotype, he insisted. Bah.

  36. Wildberry
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh really? Explain to me how picking the ONLY definition that was at all relevant is cherry-picking. As if I was searching through a plethora of definitions, looking for the one that best suits my argument. THAT is cherry-picking. How would I NOT cherry-pick, then? Which definition should I have chosen?

  37. Mina
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    “‘How about progress for the people who already had progress and didn’t want it?’
    “I’m not sure what you’re referring to.”
    I was thinking of when progress makes options available to someone and she or he refuses those options then complains about the effects of that refusal.
    For one example: suppose a man has more money/energy/time than you or me, has birth control available (instead of stores refusing to sell condoms and no privacy from relatives who hate oral sex), chooses to not use them, then complains about how little money/energy/time he has left after his partner gives birth for the 7th time.
    For another example: suppose a woman has the right to vote, the information she wants to judge the candidates, and an opportunity to go cast her ballot (instead of misogynist voting laws or a dictatorship with noone voting), chooses to not use them, and then says she wants to be compensated with alternative representation for not voting.
    “Here’s a question: Is a lesbian stay at home mother inherently feeding into patriarchial expectations?”
    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…
    “What about the happiness, needs, and rights of the child they’re going to bring into the cycle of poverty?”
    I’m reminded of an earlier thread about whether pregnant and HIV+ women and girls who want to give birth should bother thinking about how not to infect babies:
    http://feministing.com/archives/008302.html#comment-122665
    “‘It’s just selfishly wanting to live a life with one’s basic emotional needs met.’
    “Yes. At the expense of the child.”
    …and *this* reminds me of another thread in which a poster figured unsocial men who want sex with women deserve it the way starving children deserve food:
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/008329.html#comment-123596
    “You people sound like everything will be peachy keen if only we helped pay for poor people to have kids.”
    Hmm…what if the system admitted it was paying some people to have children, and put them on public-sector payrolls for their childcare work instead of calling the pay “welfare”? On one hand they’d get employee benefits along with the rest of the employees, on the other they’d get evaluations from their bosses along with the rest of the employees…
    “Cavepeople didn’t have paying jobs, schools, bills, or…well… most of the things we have today.”
    OTOH fishing, gathering, and hunting are “paid” even more directly than more recently invented “paying jobs.” Caveworkers got food (and in some cases leather and plant fibers for shelter like clothing and tents) directly instead of exchanging their currency wages or salary for it.
    “When I was a kid, we lost our fucking house- it didn’t make my parents bad parents”
    Of course not. They didn’t lose their house first *then* have you on purpose, keep you in squalor, blame the Jews or whomever, and call a single mom a slut for doing the same thing to her child that they did to you.
    Ever noticed how some married men out there tell their unmarried daughters “you have no man so you can’t afford to raise a child so *don’t have sex*!!!” but don’t take their own advice and have more children than they and their wives can afford to raise? These jerks are way worse than all the good parents in poverty out there.

  38. Fenriswolf
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Arh! Too many comments past the ones I’m interested in: I’m just going to go ahead and comment.
    I don’t see a problem with saying you don’t like kids. I have a problem with saying you hate kids, but that’s different.
    I like kids – I have low tolerance for children who are allowed to be arseholes, but as a blanket statement I like them, I enjoy talking to them. I don’t expect everyone to.
    I worked with a woman at the SPCA who didn’t like children. I admit I found it strange – another co-worker’s kids came in to meet the rabbits. I took them outside and talked to them about our rabbits and what theirs were like and they were cool kids. I enjoyed their company. My co-worker looked pained the ENTIRE time and when I said they were nice looked horrified. But while I can’t relate to that feeling it doesn’t make her a bad person.
    I don’t think you can compare it to not liking the elderly or women or people of a given race. People of one race or sex have no across-the-board personality traits. Elderly people are still adults, and not everyone will go through the same changes as they age. All children go through the same developmental stages, just at different rates.
    It is comparable to saying you don’t like dogs. I find it very hard to like someone who actively dislikes dogs, but it doesn’t make them a bad person. Dogs are physical, will make at least some noise, and smell at least a little. For some people that is very off putting.
    If on the other hand someone gives me dirty looks for having a dog or walks in a wide circle around me despite my dog walking nicely at heel and with me in between them and the dog THEN they’re being an arsehole. If you have to cross the street because you’re scared, fine. If you’re going to be pissed off at me because I own a large bully breed and you don’t like them, then you can get fucked.

  39. lyndorr
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    “I was thinking of when progress makes options available to someone and she or he refuses those options then complains about the effects of that refusal.”
    Eh, I don’t want to debate. I’ll just say there will always be people like that, won’t there? My dad had nine brothers and sisters because his dad “didn’t like condoms”. But generally more people use the things progress brings than don’t, yes? And as far as things like free health care, wouldn’t anyone lacking money take advantage of that? Or paid maternity leave?
    And I don’t see how the American government currently pays people to have kids. Okay, there is welfare but surely a lot of people on welfare with kids either went on welfare after having kids or would be on welfare even if they didn’t have kids.

  40. Posted February 28, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Wildberry, while it seems we fundamentally disagree on what ‘intolerance’ means, I’d like to extend to you my apologies: I never should have accused you of behaving in a way that’s ‘petty and unbecoming’. That completely sucked on my part, and I’m very sorry. My choice of words and tactics was cheap. I’ll admit, I’m hugely annoyed when folks try to build an argument on a rigid dictionary definition; that’s what I was responding to.
    My argument, otherwise, stands.

  41. EG
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I run across someone saying “I love kidzz!!!11!” I tend to roll my eyes and think “uh-huh, I bet kids hate you–it’s not like they can’t tell when adults see them as cute lap dogs.”

  42. Posted February 28, 2008 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    EG – yes! My nieces and nephews seem to have bionic bullshit detectors. I see it in their faces every time we take them to visit Santa Claus at the mall!

  43. Kmari1222
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    “Hating an entire group of human beings is bigotry.”
    oh my GOD are you serious? Nobody said anything about intolerance or HATING children, we’re talking about disliking children.
    I don’t find the company of most children alluring, but I damn sure dont hate them, and I do treat them with respect. And I tolerate them.

  44. Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    OK, I’m not reading all 246 comments. So forgive me if this has been mentioned.
    Has anyone seen the ads for that new Newlywed show on ABC? What bugged me was that one of their challenges was that they unleashed a bunch of kids on them to test their parenting skills. Like being a newlywed AUTOMATICALLY means you are future parents? *argh*
    Though I did like the comments of one of the husbands, something like “as soon as we get home I am giving MYSELF a vasectomy.”
    Maybe people should have to go through that test before they have kids.

  45. A male
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Oh, people, people. Don’t like kids? That’s fine with me. There certainly are many people who should not have kids, and should be raising them better. But judging any individual or group of people for allegedly “taking” one cent of “your” money is silly. See below.
    “Humanity could go extinct, thinking like that.”
    “Likewise, I once saw someone claim that homosexuality is evil because if all his children were gay then he’d have no grandchildren.”
    “I’m all for government programs to help get people out of poverty. I’m not in favor of putting more people into poverty.”
    I am also guilty of too often thinking like a middle class, university educated American.
    Quite frankly, life today for at least one third of humans in the world is what many middle class Americans might consider shit. Those people might consider their living conditions simply the way life is, perhaps for as long as they and their ancestors can remember. Even a few million underprivileged people in the US (any color) may feel this way, because it is a part of their upbringing or culture, for decades or generations. Centuries, perhaps. Have poor people lost the right to have sex without contraception? The right to make choices, includes poor, even outright selfish, irresponsible choices. Like voting. What, Republicans, those who support Obama, or write in “Ronald McDonald” on ballots shouldn’t have the right to vote?
    “If I can help it, my tax dollars will NOT pay for them to have children.”
    I have absolutely nothing against you or your other views, but how do you know YOUR money is being used for anyone’s children? You’re 19, you say. How long have you been working? How much do you make? Have a little look at how much “your” money is contributing to society, by finding your gross income on this table:
    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/01/blog-post_26.html
    People earning under $30,881, may as well not talk at all about “their” tax dollars at work. Did you go to public school or university? Unless you have been pulling down about a million dollars in your teens and paying taxes on it, your taxes have not even paid for YOUR burden on society, yet. Why do these “other” poor people offend you so? I am hoping you are just classist and naive, and not hating on certain groups of people.
    This tax table does not even include corporate taxes ($370.2 billion), which I have deliberately ignored as a major contributor to our society, as well as the national DEFICIT. (see Wikipedia for US federal budget 2007)
    The national debt is $9,332,328,684,995.55 as of 29 Feb 2008 at 06:14:30 AM GMT, according to the US National Debt Clock, and “continue[s] to increase an average of
    $1.59 billion per day.” Seems even Bill Gates and Exxon Mobil have been a little slack, no? You can’t blame a $9.3 TRILLION national debt on poor people or the war in the Middle East, either.
    ” . . . Each citizen’s share of this debt is $30,649.16″ including children and everyone else who does not pay taxes.
    Holy shit, I need to pay $91,947.48 to fulfill this debt for the Americans in my family, before we even start on the services we actually receive today! Have you paid $30,649.16 in taxes ON TOP OF all other taxes you owe, and fulfilled your own PAST debt to society, to talk about “paying one’s share” of taxes?
    The Department of the Treasury at
    http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfh.txt
    will show “Major foreign holders of treasury securities (in billions of dollars)” because AMERICAN TAXPAYERS ARE NOT PAYING “THEIR SHARE!” My god, Bill, get off your ass and out of retirement! Set your own kids aside, push those XBOX 360s, and “help” some poor people have more kids! Stop paying billions for AIDS treatment and prevention in developing nations, we’re talking Americans, dammit!
    If and when the US goes bankrupt (I’m waiting for that, as well), over 25 foreign nations and organizations will be standing in line for a piece of America, with Japan and China at the head of the line. America even owes Mexico, Thailand and India tens of billions of dollars, each. WE owe foreigners about $1.5 TRILLION dollars, as of right now. Have you paid that off yet? No? So how do you know “your” money will EVER get into the hands of poor families to allegedly “help” them have more babies?

  46. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    “Okay, there is welfare but surely a lot of people on welfare with kids either went on welfare after having kids or would be on welfare even if they didn’t have kids.”
    Yeah, good point.
    “But judging any individual or group of people for allegedly ‘taking’ one cent of ‘your’ money is silly.”
    I agree, and thanks for the details. I guess the non-silly exception would be things like judging an individual mugger for taking one cent of your money by stealing your wallet.
    “The right to make choices, includes poor, even outright selfish, irresponsible choices.”
    I totally agree. I just don’t think it *also* includes the right to have nobody say “that was an outright selfish and irresponsible choice” after one exercises one’s right to make an outright selfish and irresonsible choice. For example, I’m not grateful my parents had me in the first place.

  47. A male
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    “I’m not grateful my parents had me in the first place.”
    Is this related to low self esteem, or a simple observation you had no say in the matter?

  48. A male
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    No one’s even brought up the free market and capitalism yet, which guarantee in our society that we will always have a significant underclass of people who do low paying low skilled labor, with little opportunity for upward economic mobility. Immigration being what it is, the US could rely on new migrants to do many of those jobs (like I see in local fast food or large discount stores), but it is more likely that underprivileged people already here will continue to have children similar to themselves in educational background and employment opportunities, like how many families have been working in local factories, steel mills, or coal mines for generations.
    Measures for a higher minimum wage or actual “living wage” which would allow more people to improve their lives, would cause a round of inflation as employers pass their increased costs on to consumers (as seen with increased cost of oil and transport). Then consumers would demand raises from *their* employers to maintain *their* standard of living, and those employers would raise *their* prices, causing more inflation . . .
    And in places like Hawaii, things will just get ugly. Salaries have only about tripled since my parents’ time (and dropping in real value, households don’t get by on one breadwinner’s salary nowadays), but the cost of housing has increased about 30 fold in those same four decades.

  49. A male
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Correction. Average income has increased about nine fold in Hawaii in four decades. Housing has increased about three times as fast. In 2005, Hawaii ranked last of 47 states surveyed for housing affordability.

  50. Mina
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    “‘I’m not grateful my parents had me in the first place.’
    “Is this related to low self esteem, or a simple observation you had no say in the matter?”
    It’s in relation to suffering the effects of my parents having me, and knowing my parents had the info they needed to figure out that having me was a bad idea but didn’t bother thinking about that info enough. Sure they had the right to choose to have me, but they’re not also entitled to praise for making that choice.
    “No one’s even brought up the free market and capitalism yet, which guarantee in our society that we will always have a significant underclass of people who do low paying low skilled labor, with little opportunity for upward economic mobility.”
    Good points. That’s true in a lot of mixed economies too (part free market, part central control, etc. instead of anarcho-capitalist or pure communism), right?

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