The following log is not to say that all childfree advocates hate children and parents. What it is to say is that those that do espouse this sort of hate -- yet feebly claim that they don't -- appear to be the ones most visible on the Internet, and that is a serious problem.
I became upset yesterday while reading the childfree, breeder, Breeder Bingo, etc. nodes. I became upset because they seemed like such petulant, desperate attempts to try and convince people that they didn't actually hate children, no, in actuality the focus of their hatred was what they referred to as "BNPs", or "breeders, not parents." The description was made that "breeder" actually referred to people who had children but were bad parents, and that good parents were actually okay. That's funny; shouldn't they be called "badparentfree" in that case?
I understand that not every person describing his or herself as "childfree" is awful or cruel. Yet it is hard to maintain that attitude when "mainstream" childfree websites revel in things like "Breeder Bingo." I particularly love the definition at http://www.happilychildfree.com/lingo.htm:
Breeder Bingo: Someone a few years ago made up a bingo card of stupid things breeders say to us, and when you get enough stupid sayings, you get a bingo! Now it just refers to any of the many, many stupid sayings breeders say to us. NOTE: Just because someone says these things doesn't always mean they are a "breeder". Sometimes they just don't understand. But it's still called "Breeder" Bingo in many cases to distinguish from regular Bingo.
So, hey, good news -- even though I might say something on that Bingo card, it doesn't mean I'm really a "breeder," just that I said something "stupid." Oh, really? Gee, thanks! I'm glad it's not some sort of way to stereotype and dehumanize an entire segment of the population, like "Homo Bingo" or "Spic Bingo" or something. That would be cruel. (By the way, just because someone says those things on the "Homo Bingo" card doesn't mean they're a "homo". Sometimes they just happen to sound effeminate enough to laugh at. But it's still called "Homo" Bingo in many cases to distinguish from regular Bingo.)
Yeah, sure, I see absolutely nothing wrong or insulting about that. "Don't worry! I'm not calling you a breeder. I'm only saying that you sound just like one! It's totally different!"
Read the other definitions on that page. Many are shockingly cruel. They devalue those people who really do want to put the time and effort into raising children, and raising them properly. They claim over and over to only be against the "bad parents," and yet have terms like "kindercrap" and "breedermobile" -- which many parents, even the good ones, have no choice but to deal with. Tell me that isn't hostile. (Also note that out of eighty-three definitions on that page, seventy-one are derogatory. Quite a rich lexicon of hate they've got going there!) Actually dreaming up a term like "lil' sizzler" to refer to a defenseless child killed because an unfit parent accidentally left them in a hot car belies all the "only against bad parents" bullshit they claim. A phrase like that is born out of hatred for all children; but by all means, somebody please try to justify ever saying something like that.
This is the main problem I see here: if the majority of childfree individuals honestly just choose not to have or associate with children, that's fine, but realize that your image is being co-opted by a vocal minority that thinks it's perfectly pleasant and acceptable to use terms like "bovine," "fuck trophy," and "placenta brain" to describe human beings. Think about how this makes the community as a whole look.
I'm aware of that the parents' side of the fence is just as ugly. There are a ton of unfit parents out there. You get the one side of the spectrum where the kids end up complete and utter spoiled brats. You get the other side where the kids are tortured and beaten. The former just pisses me off, because those kids will grow up to be totally self-centered assholes; the latter makes me think that there are some instances where torturing adults might be justified.
But despite claims to the contrary, many of these vocal childfree advocates don't appear to be railing against folks that spoil their kids. Hell, often it's the opposite: take a temper tantrum, for instance. A two or three-year-old has a tantrum in a store because he can't buy something he wants. (This will happen regardless of how great the parent is. This is what children do, because they are still learning how to control their emotions.) The quick solution to shutting the kid up would be to give him what he wants. The responsible solution is to ignore his screaming and teach him that whining and crying will not get him everything he ever wants in life. Yet that's the solution that will almost always get us dirty looks and bile-spewing rants after the fact on blogs.
I guess what really pisses me off, more than anything else, is that this hatred breeds counter-hatred in me. Parents (all parents) say those "Breeder Bingo" things to childfree people as a defense against the hateful shit being spewed from their mouths. What the hell do they expect? They come up with an entire lexicon of dehumanizing, degrading terms for children and parents, and what, they expect us to react with laughter? It makes me want to sit down and create a perfect "Happy Antichildfree" parody website. It makes me want to construct "Childhater Bingo". It makes me want to invent as many horrible, insulting, degrading, dehumanizing terms for child- and parent-haters as possible, just to fuel the fire. Just to hurt them as much as they want to hurt others. Hail Schaedenfreude.
Hell, it's made me write this rant for the past forty-five minutes when I'm supposed to be working.
But I remind myself that this is just giving in. The core of inciting hatred is to create language that turns the enemy into something less than a human being. It is why WWII posters branded all Japanese as buck-toothed, yellow demons. It is why the KKK brands all colored people as hulking gorillas. It is why Focus on the Family brands all homosexuals as ravenous, sex-crazed pedophiles. And it is why some in childfree community brands all parents as brainless cattle. No, not all of them, but enough that this is the impression I get, and it's just as wrong of me to see all childfree advocates as child-hating freaks as it is for some of them to see me as a moron raising a monster.
Good parents -- and moderate, non-hateful childfree advocates -- out there need to fight against this sort of hate propaganda. We are trying to teach our children right and wrong. We are trying to educate them well, to be polite, and to know how to behave around others. And we really do care about not upsetting those who choose not to have children, and want to work to find compromises that are acceptable to all parties. There are times each of us will be annoyed, and each of us will be annoying, and what both sides need is to have patience, tolerance, and understanding of each others' needs.