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I do not consider this to be a comeuppance, oddly - Tactical Ninja

Dec. 14th, 2011

09:53 am - I do not consider this to be a comeuppance, oddly

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So the other day I wrote about the ridiculous #childfree flamewar on Twitter, in which those who have appropriated the term 'childfree' as a name for themselves as a group tried to tell those who have children that they are not allowed to say they are childfree when their kids go away for the holidays. Because they are not free of children all the time they should not call themselves childfree when they are free of children.

I can see both sides - who can't? Well, those who are involved in the ongoing flamewar apparently can't.


I don't really have a dog in this fight, although as a parent I find the smug arrogance of certain childfree spokespeople to be irritating. There are a whole lot of assumptions behind the use of the word 'breeder', for example, that are insulting and derogatory to all who have children. It is possible to be intelligent and have reproduced. OMG call the media it's a revelation! The idea that someone who hasn't chosen the same lifestyle as you is clearly a) wrong and b) stupid is one that seems prolific among the childfree and many childfree people tend to be quite arrogant about it. Mostly it doesn't bother me and I can also see why it happens - society is geared towards those with children.* Add in the assumption that everyone will eventually have children and the pressure some people seem to feel entitled to put on those without children, and you get a recipe for defensiveness that emerges as smug arrogance in some people. It's not rocket science but I do wish those people would stop with the 'you have a child therefore you're stupid' line because it's .. childish.

* Think about how many 'family friendly' places exist, how many politicians campaign on 'family values', and how much of -everything- seems designed to cater to those with children.

Anyway, there's one person in particular who's been vociferous bordering on obnoxious on the childfree side. While she hasn't really got to being outright insulting, she's definitely in the smug and arrogant camp. Suffice to say that I don't agree with everything she says (although I do agree with some). It's been interesting because this woman is also pro-choice, and while I think she's being over-the-top on the childfree stuff, I also very much enjoyed watching her tear apart a pro-lifer in the same way. Because I'm human. Her behaviour is much more ok when I agree with her stance. Interesting, that.

However, she also has a blog and the other day she made a post to said blog about an incident when she was a teenager in which an unwatched child nearly drowned. She uses it to clarify the difference in how she uses the term 'breeder' vs 'parent'. Personally I think 'breeder' should be removed from the vocabulary but her distinction is at least a reasonable one.

Check out the comments though. There are only three, and one of them goes as follows:

FUCK YOU CUNT! You are such a slag on twitter.. go FUCK YOURSELF! If you are that concerned about overpopulation.. kill yourself already, the world would be a lot better off with out CUNT FACES like you!

Cunt. Slag. Kill yourself. Cunt face. Because this woman has been arrogant and opinionated on Twitter, some man (yes it's a man, check the email address that she published as a reply) takes it upon himself to tell her to commit suicide using insults based on her gender.

I wonder how this particular comment would have been made had she been a man? Or even if it would have been made? Remember the #mencallmethings debate? This is the kind of thing that set off that hashtag.

Just saying.


PS Santa got a new face:




Mwuahahhaa

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Santa

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So far only one of my colleagues has got the reference. He suggested the badge.

I despair...
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)

Re: Santa

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Santa does not forgive, he does not forget...

...whether you've been naughty or nice.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)

Bahahahaha!

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From:t_c_da
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)

Re: Santa

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also known as...

Q: Why is Santa always so jolly?

A: Because he knows who all the naughty girls are...
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From:margohell
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)

Appropriating the term?

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I'm curious about the choice of "appropriating" the term childfree. It appears to have been in-use circa approximately 1972 (ref: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childfree ). It doesn't appear to have been used by another group prior to that time, so would it not be more accurate to say it was 'coined'?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Possibly. I used appropriated in the sense of 'taking it for themselves and excluding others' rather than the sense of 'stealing it from someone else'.

Coined is probably just as accurate but doesn't quite convey the message I was trying to send with the exclusivity that is the basis of the current flamewar.
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From:rivet
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
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I like 'colonised' for those cases, personally.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 13th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Actually, yeah. I didn't even think of that one.
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From:margohell
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Well, as you say, I don't have a dog in this fight (there's been damn childish behaviour on both sides) but I can see where some of the hostility comes from.

A lot of the Childfree By Choice folks feel 'put upon', if you will, because their lifestyle choice is constantly disregarded (at best) or even taken advantage of. We're constantly being told "you'll change your mind" or similar statements that are designed to tell us "You'll be sorry!", and any attempts to state that no, we're not the least bit sorry get dismissed. It happens often enough that those kinds of statements are referred to as "bingos" (ref: Buzzword Bingo).

On top of that, there are benefits that childfree parents don't get: maternity/paternity leave is a classic example. In some workplaces it's the people without kids who get stuck working the holidays. There are no apartments/condos to live in the US if you're under retirement age where children are disallowed; this is particularly galling in an apartment building where you can't get away from the noise.

And to put icing on the cake, even places which in the past have been free of children are now seeing more and more children present. 10 pm showings of R rated movies. The bar at restaurant/bars. High-end restaurants. Etc. etc.

So those who choose not to have children are finding that they have fewer and fewer places to call their own where they can go without being subjected to at least one poorly behaved and poorly supervised child present. Some of us can't even go HOME without hearing the neighbor's baby screaming.

So yes, you can see how having even the lifestyle term that was coined for people without kdis being used by parents would give some people fits. Some of the local childfree meeting groups have had parents showing up and are now in response using the criteria that if you EVER had kids you're not welcome.

Me? I'm fine as long as kids are kept away from me and there's no discussion of baby poo.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 13th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Oh yeah, I totally understand the arguments - on both sides.

And I agree, as a parent of a 16-year-old, that I prefer not to be around children. I'm no fan of babies and baby poo is just..

(not keen on 'kid talk' much either, although I can do it if necessary)
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From:margohell
Date:December 13th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Tara, is that YOU?

(I have a friend with a 16 year old and a 19 year old who adores that shade of hair as well, and doesn't do the kid talk either!)
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From:tatjna
Date:December 13th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Nope, I'm Wendy and I live in New Zealand. Nice to meet you! ;-D

I think there are probably quite a few parents out there who have sympathies with the childfree (and also with the arguments for being childfree). I also think it's probably the extremists on both sides who create the flamewars that end with everyone declaring everyone else to be stupid and nothing being resolved.

Personally, I've liked my kid more and more as he's got older, but have chosen to have no further children. Most of my friends are childfree but I have some who aren't. I struggle to tolerate small children although as I've got older (41 now) I've become better at interacting with them too. I still hide in my cubicle when someone brings a baby to the office and can make small children cry by raising one eyebrow just like my Dad. My son says he'll be childfree and I'm not questioning his decision - it's his decision after all. I don't regret having reproduced - my kid will be a decent human being as an adult and we need those types in the world. Having only had one kid I feel that I'm contributing to reduction of the population (since it took two people to make one person).

So yeah, I have sympathies with both sides of the debate and thus don't really get too involved when the extremists start flinging shit.
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From:margohell
Date:December 13th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Hey, I'm Margie from the US. We think New Zealand is awesome!

>I also think it's probably the extremists on both sides who create the flamewars that end with everyone declaring everyone else to be stupid and nothing being resolved.

You just summed up American politics in one sentence.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)

Re: Appropriating the term?

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Hahaha!

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From:guaparella
Date:December 13th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
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I read this post and have been just following links for about an hour. Thanks!


Scary Santa.
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From:pombagira
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
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and then there are people like me.. i do not term myself as child free, as it was not a conscious choice, persay, and i am not in the catagory of can't have children as far as i know, i just didn't have children, it never happened, my life took a different path. i don't regret not having children, nor am i sad because i didn't have any, nor do i pine and way if i only had a husband and or children, if i must be honest it is a non topic for the most part. i am however nurturing by nature, just ask my friends or if you want/need any vitamins, bandaids, or an ear to bend.. *grins*

weridly i know all about baby poo.. O.O but that was job related, i know quite alot about chilrens, again job related, but don't go out of my way to talk about it.

actually i was interviewed a few years back for someone phd about the very topic of women who did not fall in to the conscious decision not to have children or could not have children, but women who didn't have any. it was quite the eye opener for me as there are quite a few women out there who are in a similar place.. and bonus for finding out that you are not the only one, it is a growing number actually. would be interesting to find if there is a similar male counterpart men who did have children.. it would make for an interesting contrasting? companion? study.. *ponders this*

hmm... also i like santas new face.. its pretty cool.. were do i get one of those? *ponders this*

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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)

*ahem*

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Costume Shop.
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From:pombagira
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)

Re: *ahem*

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Ooo..thank you *beams*
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From:wildilocks
Date:December 15th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
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I fit kinda in that same category I think, things just haven't turned out that way...
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From:anna_en_route
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
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Urk those attacks are hideous, there are times when I really want to be able to go face to face with someone and ask them what on earth they think they're achieving by trolling, it just seems like a such a pointless (and sociopathic) activity.

I'm quite firmly in the "never want kids" camp but I feel like I've never taken any serious flak for this so I really don't have a dog in this fight ( I wouldn't deny their experience or anything, it's just that it's not mine and I don't feel able to comment).
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
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All I know is that I get frustrated at namespace collisions in programming where people use the same symbol to mean different things. When Ubuntu created their desktop called Unity it annoyed me because there is a development environment for creating games called Unity. It makes googling bugs and information frustrating.

But that's just the pedantic in me and me enjoying people using clear unambiguous labels for things instead of appropriating labels that are already strongly grounded. I'm not going to have a flamewar about it though.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
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So Parents::ChildFree and Nonparents::ChildFree can coexist peacefully forever and ever.

Our logic will overwhelmingly convince them to all namespace their words on Twitter. Although tweets may not have space for full sentences any longer, they'll at least be unambiguous partial sentences!
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
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Have I mentioned how much I love you two lately?
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
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I take it that's the Romance::Love variety ;-)

x
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
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I could think of worse fates. Although I'm not sure I could cope with that much tea.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
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This is why I'm a fan of Python, it provides much more flexibility in defining relationships.

Although I'd expect that you really want a Romance::Love::Poly library to be thread-safe, otherwise you're just asking for trouble. I think message passing is the answer to these concurrency issues.

Another problem is that Wendy::love() is not defined (or terminated by a semicolon) and I think self love should be allowed for in the design.

I'm a big geek.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
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Have I mentioned lately how much I love you two?

Oh wait, yes I have. ;-)

I am also a fan of self love. Just saying.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
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And it would not get crumby for quite a while!
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
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There is no direct simple ways to do this in C++. Python lets you return whatever you like and things will run smoothly so long as you only access valid attributes/method on that object.

A solution in C++ might be:

Returning a proxy object called WendyLove that contains a type enum and a void pointer that is either returned via dynamic_cast or dynamic_cast.

Boost libraries provide a template called Variant to simplify this:

boost::variant
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<bed,biscuit>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

There is no direct simple ways to do this in C++. Python lets you return whatever you like and things will run smoothly so long as you only access valid attributes/method on that object.

A solution in C++ might be:

Returning a proxy object called WendyLove that contains a type enum and a void pointer that is either returned via dynamic_cast<Bed> or dynamic_cast<Biscuits>.

Boost libraries provide a template called Variant to simplify this:

boost::variant<Bed,Biscuit> WendyLove;

Bed* bed = wendy.love(joel).get<Bed*>();
if (bed) bed->shag();
else {
wendy.love(jez).get<Biscuit*>().nom();
}

But it's been a while since I looked at C++ so I may have got specifics wrong.

I wonder if Wendy feels objectified by all this OO discussion?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 06:12 am (UTC)
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Wendy is being struck by an urge to eat biscuits in bed with hot men.

lalala
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
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Every kind of object?

You should probably stop using me and my love habits as an analogy now..
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From:t_c_da
Date:December 14th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
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So when are you planning the BugSquashing::Party???
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From:anna_en_route
Date:December 14th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
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Internet++:
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 14th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
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I just saw the stdbio header. Bwahaha.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2011 07:11 am (UTC)
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Yeah, to me it seems a funny way to define yourself, based in whether or not you have reproduced. There are so many other, IMO more important things that make up my identity. I love my offspring but I'm not me just because of him, you know?

But then, I'm not an extremist. ;-)
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