Femmostroppo Reader – May 16, 2010

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed. What did I miss? Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

  • Children are people too
  • – “I do not understand why my children, and any other children, are treated with suspicion. Not all the time, by any means. Not everywhere, by any means. But often enough, instead of making the same basic assumption that applies to adults in public spaces, that is, the assumption that the adult will comport her or himself in a way that makes the space easy for everyone to be in, the reverse assumption is made. People assume that the particular children they see right in front of them will do something that disturbs the adult, before even giving the children a chance. It’s a nasty prejudice. And yet it’s one that many people (see that thread at Feministe for example), seem to embrace. It seems that it’s okay to say, “I hate children.””

  • Associated Press: Woody Allen comes out in support of Polanski
  • – Woody Allen has restated his support for fellow filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is in house arrest in connection with a 33-year-old sex scandal.

    Allen said Polanski “was embarrassed by the whole thing,” “has suffered” and “has paid his dues.” He said Polanski is “an artist and is a nice person” who “did something wrong and he paid for it.”

  • On Hating Kids
  • – ” When parents make supervision of children a community responsibility, it feels particularly like an affront in a place like New York where public space is also private space, to some degree. So while I actually really like kids, I definitely sympathize with feeling incredibly annoyed or frustrated when you’re in public — on the subway, in a restaurant — and parents are letting their kids race around, or don’t do anything about a screaming child. It’s the same frustration I feel when I’m trying to walk to work and there’s a gaggle of tourists strolling five-across down the sidewalk, looking up at all the tall buildings and blocking anyone from passing — basically, the New York equivalent of going 40 in the far-left lane on the highway. More than just being annoying, it violates the basic social rules that keep a particular place functioning fairly smoothly.

    None of which should have anything to do with hating kids. And I am not a big fan of the “I hate kids line,” but I do understand it as short-hand, the way that I say “I hate tourists.” I don’t actually hate all tourists, and I’ve been a tourist myself in enough places to know that they aren’t intentionally being assholes, and that most of them aren’t even acting like assholes. But I’ll still seek out places where tourists are few and far between (although I’ll also realize that if I choose to have dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square, I can’t really be salty about all the tourists around). It’s a similar thing with kids. I don’t really feel a need to seek out kid-free places the way I do avoid tourist-traps because kids don’t bother me, but there are a few restaurants in the neighborhood that I know are kid- and family-oriented; there are also at least one place I can think of off the top of my head that seems to be populated disproportionately by people over the age of 75. Neither of those scenes are really my bag, so I don’t tend to go to those places. If I do go to those places and a kid is being a kid, I suck it up. No harm done. Also, if kids are acting like kids generally out in public? Again, suck it up. Children are part of society, and it’s unreasonable to expect that you’re never going to have to interact with them, or that they should have to behave perfectly at all times.”

  • So, ok.
  • – “[The figuring of childhood as something to be gotten over, a handicap to be cured of, a regrettable but necessary stage on the way to full humanity] is – and here is my most basic point – the thing you are supporting when you say, “I hate kids,” and then insist on claiming it is just a social preference, a little personality quirk, perhaps one you even feel proud of, and one that no one has any business assigning a moral value to. You are contributing to the discursive reduction of children to sub-human status. Childhood is not a bad smell you get to hold your nose around until it passes. It is an iteration of humanity.”

Disclaimer/SotBO: a link here is not necessarily an endorsement of all opinions of the post author(s) either in the particular post or of their writing in general.

Categories: arts & entertainment, linkfest

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8 replies

  1. Thanks for the link, tigtog.
    The latest complaint about children on that Feministe thread: once upon a time when the commenter was studying in a coffee shop, a child made some noise there, which interrupted the commenter’s study.

  2. There’s another lovely response to the children-in-public brouhaha over here, this one drawing parallels between children and disability.
    Also related to children, but not the current debates, I’ve just posted a big thing about why my daughter’s not allowed to watch Disney movies.

  3. Oh, those discussions on children really, really make me angry. Aaah, I have to largely keep out of it or I’ll get ragey.

  4. once upon a time when the commenter was studying in a coffee shop, a child made some noise there, which interrupted the commenter’s study.

  5. Glad to see you defending children here. Too many adults forget that, um, they were children once.

  6. When I can exit my apartment, (ME/CFS), I am a wheelchair user and we go to the area just south of Times Sq. Spouse then pushes me in my wheelchair all the way home. When it’s not pollen season, we sit in tiny parks. I enjoy the look of Manhattan, particularly the people.
    I have lived in Manhattan, with the exception of the 3 years I spent with first spouse who was a community organizer (2 in NOLA doing civil rights work and one year in Denver, his job with AFSC, American Friends Service Committee as organizer). I got here from Brooklyn, NY when the Bd. of Education appointed me to teach in
    a school in the area “portrayed” in “West Side Story”, in 1960. So,
    I like kids.
    Kids do not trip over my wheelchair when we are (st)rolling near
    midtown. Adults are not looking where they are going and hit me
    in the head/shoulder with a bag(s) or trip over my wheelchair
    footrests. Little kids are at my eye level and always smile and say hello or stare in surprise, then smile. My problem with Times Square is the miserable paving and bad curb cuts more than the
    crowds. I have pity on tourists. (This is an expensive city to visit. I hope to be able to afford to live here for as long as I want. I love
    Manhattan.) I love the faces, the languages, and the buildings. I put the faces/ people into my collages/xerographics using my photos.
    This society worships “youth” as in looking young, but is mean to kids: public schools are terrible (effort to privatize), lack of affordable housing, huge amount of kids who are homeless with their families,
    kids going hungry, college education too expensive for most working class…. Youth are used for military and to fill the prisons…
    To see how bad the police are in relation to kids, particularly kids of color, see the New York Civil Liberties Union (local branch of the famous American Civil Liberties Union) http://www.nyclu.org. Lots of police brutality – recently a 9 year old was handcuffed in Brooklyn, NY by police, who have personnel in NYC schools. Scapegoats in NYC alternate between kids (how they act, dress, violence they do as opposed to violence on them) and teachers.

  7. Filthy sluts again! “Vajazzling, the newest threat to your college son!” Well, of course. That stuff would take a layer of his skin off, just saying! Ow! Ow! Ow!
    I reckon it’s a C21st version of the chastity belt, myself, but what do I know? Hordes of prowling college girls on campuses nationwide have vajazzaled private regions, hunting down smart, fit young men. Is your son prepared to resist this threat?…

  8. Sorry, that comment was intended for the Filthy Sluts thread. Pardon my derail!

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