What's wrong with "parents"? Is that offensive to single mothers these days, or something? "Breeders" gives the impression of a group of people who do nothing but ceaselessly procreate, possibly for money. For surrogate mothers or sperm-bank donors, fair enough but these are very rare and specialised cases. No-one else should be described in those terms.

It's a horrible word, please stop using it.

BurningTongues - Do i detect a note of hypocrisy here? It's quite possible for discrimination/harassment cases to brought for using homophobic terms. Doing it back it is
  • a) Snide
  • b) Self-destructive
For example, i can imagine being called a "breeder" being used as a fair defence for a homophobic insult.

I'd like to second this.

The word "Breeders" is, in my opinion, a genuinely offensive one, because it carries overtones of contempt, and there is no equivalent opposite for those who don't have children.

It is not only used for those who have a procession of children, but in militant "childfree" circles, to refer to anyone who produces offspring, no matter how planned that parenthood may be.

It seems, to me, to treat those who choose to have children as mindless collections of procreative organs, not something that any parent of my aquaintance would do to those who choose not to do so.

WolfDaddy Firstly, Caesar Augustus was a long time ago. I have seen no "general disdain" recently for those who choose not to have children, far more I see envy for a lifestyle that those of us with kids cannot hope to emulate. Yes, I have seen childproofing measures that were unnecessary for the childfree, but then again, I've seen safety measures at work that were unnecessary for any but the terminally stupid, this is the product of a society which allows law suits willy-nilly. Secondly, in my experience, those who use the term "breeder" do so indiscriminately -- but in any case, what extent of evidence do you require as to whether a person should or should not be a parent? A passing glimpse of a couple whose children are misbehaving in a restaurant? Two minutes of yelling at a child?

For instance, let's look at the example you cite -- you don't know what led up to the situation. For all you know, the woman may have spent 45 minutes attempting to dress the child in warm clothes that morning, to be greeted by tantrums, removal of said clothes and hurling them across the room. She may have had, in her bag, the sopping remains of a sweater and jacket that he had deliberately spilled a drink on, that she'd had to remove quickly before he was soaked to the skin, and been attempting to rush him back to a warm car. He might have just spent the last three hours whining at her while she took him to the dentist, or the clinic or any one of another host of commitments. Toddlers are not reasonable beings, and even the best of them can be fiends from hell. It would take a saint to never yell at them. But on the basis of a passing contact, you are prepared to judge her as 'unfit' to have kids.

You have chosen, for whatever reason, not to have children. Good for you, I applaud you for a decision which is clearly right for you. I, on the other hand, have chosen to have, and raise, a child. I'm not seeking your applause, or even your understanding, but I don't deserve to be reviled for it, and the existence of the word "breeder" in this context, and its use to describe anyone who you don't know personally is offensive.

"Breeders" is merely descriptive of people who procreate but in no wise should ever have been parents.

I revere good parents, and good parenting. It's a thankless job while it's being done, only appreciated in hindsight when one's experience of the world becomes great enough.

Recently, I observed a woman with a toddler child on an atypical windy and chilly spring day here in Southern California.

The woman was wearing a sweater, a pullover sweatshirt with a blouse underneath. She was warm.

Her child, however, was shivering uncontrollably because all he was wearing was a thin t-shirt and shorts. To perfect the image, this alleged "parent" was yelling at her child to "shut the hell up", causing the child to sob uncontrollably.

Would you honor this person with the name of "parent"? I would sincerely hope not.

Yes, "breeder" is a butt-ugly word. It's a butt-ugly world sometimes.

Demeter: no less than Caesar Augustus called people who didn't procreate "murderers of your own posterity" (at least according to Suetonius). I find the modern usage of the term breeder valid and fair given the general disdain heaped upon people who choose, for whatever reason, not to have children.


And your rebuttal is well-argued. I certainly know toddlers can be ... difficult. I once spent a morning from hell trying to get my goddaughter's (when she was four) socks just so on her feet and got kicked in the mouth many times before she was pleased with my efforts. My patience was tried, to say the least. Now she's an extremely pleasant, intelligent high school junior. Go figure.

I regret that you find the very existence of the word to be personally offensive, especially since you find no equivalent word for its opposite. I'd like to be incredibly presumptuous and suggest you consider that there is no antonym for the root word "breed" (or "parent", for that matter). That, to me, is incredibly revealing about us as a species.

The term "breeder" started out as some members of the gay community's response to words like "faggot," "homo," and "dyke."
It was/is used to shock straight people, some of whom go about their lives assuming that just because the way they live happens to be very very popular, that it is completely without faults and therefore impervious to verbal assault. Breeder is a shock-term. I've seen some of my friends call heterosexuals breeders in arguments (which are usually started by people coming up to us in public and kindly pointing out that we're going to burn in hell), and the heterosexuals are truly taken aback. You can almost hear what's going on in their heads: "Hey! They're not supposed to have a word for us! We're normal!"
It's a pretty mean word. But hey, so is faggot. Can you blame people for wanting to be able to fight back?

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