Thursday, July 29, 2010

Children in Public Places

I love my boys and I think this fact pretty much comes through in every post I write about them.  I pretty much take them with me everywhere I go and in many cases, there are places I would not be able to go without their aid.  Today for instance, we are going grocery shopping.  I will ride in the scooter and my oldest will push the baby in a cart stopping to pick up food that we need for the week.  By myself, I would not be able to purchase enough food for our family for a week, because the scooter cart is not large enough to contain everything we need, and I cannot walk through the grocery store. There are buildings I cannot even enter because the doors do not open automatically and so it is usually one of my children that holds the door open for me.  We have even worked out a system for the laundry.  They bring it down to the basement where I seperate it and put it in the wash.  They then put it in the dryer and bring it upstairs when it is done.  I sit and fold the clothes on the couch and they then put the clothes away.

If I need help, all I have to do is ask, and most times, they anticipate what I need before I can say a word.  They may only be 9 and 4 1/2, but my kids are definitely my caregivers.  We consider ourselves a team and work together to keep our little home running smoothly.  So when someone looks at them and says they don't belong, they are also saying I don't belong.  Even if I were an able bodied woman, denying them access would also mean denying me access, because I am their mother.  Who exactly do these anti-child feminists think is responsible for their care?  Yes, I am once referring to another disgusting anti-child thread on feministe.

Is it really any wonder that you see feminists constantly talking about abortion rights and never motherhood, when they are constantly attacking children and their right to share our space?  Write a post about children in a restaurant, store or any other public place and someone is quick to talk about how their evening was ruined by screaming children knocking things over or having something spilled on them.   What more, the shaming of their mother is often part and parcel to their commentary.  Mothers don't control their children, or remove them quickly enough to ensure that these people have the peace and serenity they desire.  Yet, and this is the part I find most ironic, they are supposedly for women's rights.   What they are advocating is a removal of women from public spaces by virtue of their motherhood. Here is a catchy concept, if you want serenity and peace, take a hot bath.

I think by now, we are all very aware that children are extremely expensive to raise and by suggesting that people should just hire a babysitter (note: a role often done by poor WOC) they are excluding people based in class and further supporting the exploitation of other women.  But then, their latte's are at stake and what could be more important than that?  The moment we decide that a group of people don't belong, we are using our privilege to assert power and this is without doubt oppression.  Did these feminists accept men's reasoning's for having male only clubs?  No.  But mothers are to accept their decision that our children don't belong.  When it is not about their exclusion, they simply do not give a damn, thus enforcing the very same hierarchy that has kept women as secondary citizens  for centuries.

Also, one must absolutely consider how restrictive being in the presence of a child is.  I mean for heavens sakes, adults cannot cuss or engage in crude behaviour.  What about their right to say and do what they want?  I mean actually curtailing your behaviour for children is oppressive right?  And to this argument I say for fucks sake.  If you are an adult, then you know about time and place.  You don't complain at work for not being able to say fuckity fuck fuck, nor would you be in a church saying the motherfucker can kiss my arse.  There are plenty of occasions when one has to watch what one says, and those don't amount to oppression.  The idea that adults who have all the privilege and power in the world are being oppressed by children, is not only laughable, it is down right ridiculous.  Yes, I said it -- and guess what else -- I fucking mean it. Oh dear, heaven forbid one be restrained from speaking crudely around children, when there are several instances in the course of the average day when one must watch the kind of language one uses.

Then of course they have to leap to the extreme examples of children in bars.  I have been in plenty of bars in my lifetime, and I have YET to see a child in one.   I took my children to a tragically hip cover band outdoor concert two weeks ago.  The adults were all drinking because there was a restaurant/outdoor patio situation and do you know what happened?  My children danced, played and had a good time. Not a single person changed their behaviour, their father and I had a few drinks and we laughed and had an amazing time.  Throughout the night there were a few other families that came and went, but somehow we all managed to share this space and the world did not come to an end.

So once again I am forced into the position of telling these ignorant feminsts, if you are anti-child, you are anti-woman.   Some of these children that you are showing disdain for are little girls and that means that in a few years they are going to be women.  Are you comfortable with teaching them that they should be invisible?  That is the message you send every single time you argue that they are not welcome.  Some of these children that you wish would disappear from sight, are caregivers to their differntly abled parents, but hey -- why care about the disabled, we are only another marginalized group.  And ALL of these children are human beings, but then hierarchy trumps human value every time doesn't it?

Feminists tie themselves into a knot whenever women say that they are not a feminist, but rarely do they ever consider the various reasons they give women to ignore and or reject this label.   You want to politicize and reclaim things, how about starting with the premise that all people matter?  I know this might be a bit radical because you have White, heterosexual, able-bodied, cisgender privilege to maintain, but it just might make women a little more interested in hearing what you have to say.  I could never take on the label of feminist because I am a disabled mother who happens to be a WOC and until all of my identities are recognized as relevant and worth fighting for, they can all just go fuck themselves.  My children are an essential part of my identity and you don't get debate their basic rights as though you are chatting about lab rats and not human beings.