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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mama delivers a good scolding

posted by bitchphd
So a lotta feminist blogs are talking about this anti-child nonsense from "Reason" magazine. Which I get--sort of--because sure, a lot of feminists don't have, and don't want, children.

But that shouldn't lead you to say things like this:

There are many reasons social and economic that people (read: women, for the purposes of the anti-choice doom-sayers) don’t want children, or at least many children. They’re expensive, they’re time constraints, and our fast-paced economy doesn’t have time for the slower lives required to raise children properly.

They're also human beings. If you don't want kids, bully for you: take your birth control, hope it doesn't fail, and if it does, have an abortion. You absolutely have the right to do all this shit, and I will absolutely support you.

But for fuck's sake. If you're a feminist, you ought to know better than to buy into the bullshit idea that people are commodities. Because conceding that point leads to this sort of thing. Isn't it just hi-larious?!? Nothing's as funny as laughing at a class of people for "choosing" to be poor, don'tcha know. (See the very first comment and ensuing thread for more. Apparently children = cancer, and there's nothing wrong with saying you "don't like children, period." Because children are all the same, and prejudice against an entire class of people ought not to make you "some sort of social pariah.")

Let me reminds you, once again, that people do not "choose" to have kids. A lot of people choose *not* to have kids--birth control, wealth, and modernity certainly contribute to this decision, which is perfectly irreproachable, by the way--but reproducing is not a conscious decision. It is something that the bodies of living creatures simply DO. It is, in fact, part of the definition of "living."

And it's not funny, feminist, "reasonable," or acceptable to talk about children as things, or to imply that people who "choose" to have kids are crazy or stupid. When you do those things, you implicitly support the idea that women's reproductive systems are abnormal, that women with kids are fools, and that children and reproducing women are not part of human society.

I get that a lot of women without kids feel beseiged by sexist bullshit about how unfeminine and selfish they are. Y'all 100% deserve not to hear that crap, and y'all 100% deserve for those of us with kids to have your backs on the right not to.

By the same token, women with kids deserve better than to have childless women support sexism by thinking that if they drink the smug libertarian kool-aid, they'll somehow get treated as honorary men. I expect feminists like Ann and Amanda to be able to see through the game where we're asked to turn on each other in order to take the pressure off the folks with the real power--in this case, the power to "choose" whether or not to acknowledge that children are people, too. It's the same fucking logic that underpins the "if I can't force her to have an abortion, I shouldn't have to pay child support" argument: children are someone else's (read: those bitches') problem. If you don't have a uterus--or if you choose not to use yours--then hey, kids are just theoretical abstractions to you.

Yes, having children is the biggest risk factor for poverty. It is time-consuming. It is at odds with being a Good Worker. But as a commenter at Pandagon put it,
the same people who are whining about too few babies of the style and color they prefer are the ones who continue to promote a culture and economic system in which any sensible person will recognize just how far the incentives against having kids go.

That is the real point. I agree with Amanda that people with kids and people without kids can be on the same side. Being amused by or endorsing "rational" anti-child arguments is NOT something we can agree on, though.

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