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April 5, 2006 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Can we try not to hijack a relationship thread with judgements about "breeders"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Etiquette/Policy at 8:30 PM (322 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Specifically here and here. The poster is looking for relationship advice, not for opinions on human reproduction.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:32 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Uh, not to get into specifics but current events with pieoverdone probably are affecting the tone of her comments. Momentary glitch, folks. (At least that is my take.)
posted by konolia at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2006


I dunno, dude. I think that she answered the question quite well. Maybe a little passionate about it, but she was left no doubts about what her answer to the question was. ;-)
posted by drstein at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2006


Momentary glitch, maybe, but pieoverdone is really, really being over the top an inappropriate.
posted by Justinian at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone is not saying, "Your friend is an idiot for wanting to have kids," which would not be answering the question and would merit a callout. She's saying, "Your friend shouldn't assume that her boyfriend will change his mind, and it's not fair to either of them to stay in this relationship," which is entirely on topic and answers the question. She's being pretty blunt, but I don't think that merits a callout.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:38 PM on April 5, 2006


One comment like pieoverdone's would be understandable but she really went overboard. And I'd rather have a koi pond too.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:38 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone is way out of line, those comments were not only off topic and not at all helpful, but she comes off sounding hysterical and just a bit insane. I hope they get deleted - not at all what AskMe is about. And now with drstein's useless comment, the thread is in danger of turning into a clusterfuck. The question was whether there is any point in staying in the relationship, not if the lady in question should have kids or not. Man, people are so weird sometimes.
posted by lemur at 8:38 PM on April 5, 2006


This man is going to have a woman leave him because HE IS NOT ENOUGH only his fertile sperm is. That is unfair.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:39 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone, you are spewing your own issues all over the green. please stop. you are coming off as a crazy person.
posted by lemur at 8:41 PM on April 5, 2006


I removed some of the comments. pieoverdone, I know it's been a crap few months for you, but you have to keep it out of AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 PM on April 5, 2006


Uh, not to get into specifics but current events with pieoverdone...

Ooooh, how mysterious. Assuming you're not just making stuff up: Why is it that people can't understand that part of keeping a secret is not running around telling everyone, "I know something you don't know"?

Pieoverdone: Everyone got your point. Thanks. Now answer the next question: Why do you feel compelled to keep making that same point, over and over and over again? Exactly what does that accomplish?
posted by cribcage at 8:42 PM on April 5, 2006


Wannabaybee. Wannabaybee.

I LOL'd.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:42 PM on April 5, 2006


No, pie. She may leave him because they don't have common goals and because their visions of the future are incompatible.
posted by jrossi4r at 8:42 PM on April 5, 2006


Right. Her goal is she wants a baby and he doesn't. That's incompatible and it's unfair to hang that over his head as a condition of continuing the relationship.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:46 PM on April 5, 2006


pie: she's not hanging it over his head - no where in the question does the poster indicate that her friend issued an ultimatum to her boyfriend. she is not trying to change his mind. she is trying to decide whether she should stay with him despite the incompatibility of their goals.
posted by lemur at 8:47 PM on April 5, 2006


And Konolia, don't minimize this as a side effect of my recent personal hell. Being childfree and a chick is rare, and I have to sympathize with the man in this situation and hope that he doesn't get coerced and wheedled into a lifetime of shit.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:49 PM on April 5, 2006


Yeah, you sound like you're living the kid-free Life of Reilly and and having a ball right now.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:51 PM on April 5, 2006


She wants sex, and he doesn't. It's unfair to hang that over his head as a condition of continuing the relationship.

She wants a job, and he doesn't. It's unfair to hang that over his head as a condition of continuing the relationship.

She wants a drug-free home, and he doesn't. It's unfair to hang that over his head as a condition of continuing the relationship.

Hey, this is fun.

pie, you're coming off as a crazy person.
posted by Justinian at 8:53 PM on April 5, 2006


"And now with drstein's useless comment, the thread is in danger of turning into a clusterfuck"

Can I go ahead and say "Fuck you" here instead of in the thread? :P

I guess I didn't really answer the question, but oh well. Welcome to the Internet. There's lots of off-topic stuff here. Enjoy your stay!
posted by drstein at 8:53 PM on April 5, 2006


Right. And it would be so much better if I had to spoon feed mac and cheese into some 2 year old's mouth and clean crayon off the walls of my new house and change diapers full of shit because human development is a slow and tortuous process. It's fucking wonderful and all worth it, isn't it?
posted by pieoverdone at 8:54 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone's comments were removed and cellphone's wasn't? Come on. p.o.d. may have gone overboard in her comments, but there was an answer along with the opinion; cellphone's comment doesn't address the question at all.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:55 PM on April 5, 2006


You mean pay attention to someone other than yourself?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 PM on April 5, 2006


Someone needs a binky and a nap.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 8:56 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone's comments were removed and cellphone's wasn't? Come on.

remedied.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 PM on April 5, 2006


pie: unless someone is kidnapping you and forcing you to bear children, what the heck is your problem? Seriously... if you don't want kids don't have any! Why the wild-eyed ranting? It's not like you've been turned into an unwilling baby factory for the Cylons.
posted by Justinian at 8:57 PM on April 5, 2006


hope that he doesn't get coerced and wheedled into a lifetime of shit

wow, i thought the boyfriend in question had free will, but maybe not... can i change my answer then?
posted by salvia at 8:59 PM on April 5, 2006


What? She could stop taking birth control and 'oops' the man into a pregnancy and then claim ignorance. That's fraud.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:59 PM on April 5, 2006


I guess I didn't really answer the question, but oh well. Welcome to the Internet. There's lots of off-topic stuff here.

Actually, AskMe answers are supposed to stay fairly on-topic, moreso than the rest of the site. I only mention this because I've noticed that more than a few of the wisecracks I've removed from AskMe in the past few weeks have been yours. Thanks for keeping the "Fuck you" out of the thread though.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:01 PM on April 5, 2006


posted by pieoverdone What? She could stop taking birth control and 'oops' the man into a pregnancy and then claim ignorance. That's fraud.

I think you'd have a difficult time proving it.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:09 PM on April 5, 2006


Wow. This is shall forever more be the textbook MeFi definition of having issues. Just for posterity's sake in case Jess goes on a deleting spree...

This is a fucking brat you'll have to deal with...
...not some hypothetical larvae...
HE IS NOT ENOUGH only his fertile sperm is.
...a side effect of my recent personal hell...
...coerced and wheedled into a lifetime of shit...
...spoon feed mac and cheese into some 2 year old's mouth and clean crayon off the walls of my new house and change diapers full of shit because human development is a slow and tortuous process...
She could stop taking birth control and 'oops' the man into a pregnancy and then claim ignorance...

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:13 PM on April 5, 2006


Has no one else been on the receiving end of this and realized how demeaning it is?
posted by pieoverdone at 9:14 PM on April 5, 2006


It's fucking wonderful and all worth it, isn't it?

Yes! It is!
posted by Wolof at 9:15 PM on April 5, 2006


Also,

I think that she answered the question quite well. Maybe a little passionate about it, but she was left no doubts about what her answer to the question was.

If someone asked you, "Do you think rap music is poetry?" and you responded "That fucking nigger music belongs in the gutter with the rest of the koons," you could make the same statement. Yeah, we got her point. We also got most of the sword, some of the hilt and a bit of the handle.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:16 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


The receiving end of being dumped because of being childfree, not the receiving end of a garden variety MeTa callout, that is.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:17 PM on April 5, 2006


another prematurely bitter old lady yelling at kids to keep off her pubic lawn ...

*snores*
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM on April 5, 2006


...spoon feed mac and cheese into some 2 year old's mouth and clean crayon off the walls of my new house and change diapers full of shit because human development is a slow and tortuous process...

Are you avaiable to babysit?
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 9:19 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I dunno, pieoverdone- being dumped for not wanting children sucks, but then again, being dumped for ANY reason sucks- because it's someone saying, I don't want to be with you anymore. And although that sucks, it's not a crime.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:20 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


posted by pieoverdone Has no one else been on the receiving end of this and realized how demeaning it is?

Well, it's demeaning to you, if you think it's demeaning. That is, it's only demeaning if you think your position is flawed or wrong.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:25 PM on April 5, 2006


Actually, two-year-olds can feed themselves. And are unbearably cute when doing so.
posted by LarryC at 9:30 PM on April 5, 2006


Behold: the fascinating-in-a-trainwreck-kind-of-way consequences of allowing relationship questions on AskMe. Not saying we should disallow them, just saying. So it goes.

Me, I don't think anything useful can ever be gained in one's own relationships by asking other people about theirs.

Like Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

But me and ol' Leo are in the minority, clearly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:30 PM on April 5, 2006


It's demeaning because at that point you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want. It's not a material possession you can put on craigslist when it doesn't match the rest of your furniture. It's a lifelong commitment and the physical burden of breeding is carried on the woman, not to mention the trashing of whatever career she has, all so you can play catch in the backyard while she changes diapers and wakes up in the middle of the night to titfeed and shove frozen washcloths in its mouth while its teething.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:31 PM on April 5, 2006


First off, everyone take a deep breath. If it's really important for one person to have children and it's really important for the other to never have kids, it's not really something you can compromise on in a relationship. Just as, if one of you absolutely wants to move to Los Angelese for a job and the other absolutely won't, it's not something you can compromise on. The original poster asked in the best way possible, there was no "I'll trick him into getting me pregnant," no expectation that they'll change their mind, just a is this a good enough reason to break up.
posted by drezdn at 9:31 PM on April 5, 2006


My dad was never around to play catch in the backyard with me when I was a wee &.

It made me sad, until I saw how girly he threw.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2006


It's demeaning because at that point you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want.

That's an incredibly cheap — and frankly, demeaning — assessment of whatever guy (apparently) dumped you. Just because he wanted kids and wasn't willing to compromise that need doesn't mean that he didn't love you or value your intellect or a hundred other attributes. Maybe it makes you feel more secure to focus your pain by painting the circumstances in absolute, monochromatic tones, but it's exceedingly naive and...well...childish.

...And before you object, Ally Sheedy, remember that you're the one who dumped your purse on the couch.
posted by cribcage at 9:43 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm so tired. If anyone wants to keep fighting with me on why it's so horrible not to want to breed or not be with someone who wants to and you don't, email me. I'm going to bed.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:43 PM on April 5, 2006


I don't think the issue is that it's "horrible not to want to breed"; I think it's more your complete disrespect of those who choose to.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 9:46 PM on April 5, 2006


It's demeaning because at that point you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want. It's not a material possession you can put on craigslist when it doesn't match the rest of your furniture. It's a lifelong commitment and the physical burden of breeding is carried on the woman, not to mention the trashing of whatever career she has, all so you can play catch in the backyard while she changes diapers and wakes up in the middle of the night to titfeed and shove frozen washcloths in its mouth while its teething.

Pie, I understand how you feel, but you have to remember that biologically the purpose of sex is to reproduce. Reproduction is the reason we have sexual relationships.

The flip side of that is companionship. People want to feel loved by another person, and a relationship can fulfill that. That's wonderful.

But in a society with monogamy a Man (or woman) can't be with one partner for reproduction and one partner for companionship. That's just not fair to anyone, and leaves everyone unfulfilled.

Asking him to give up his dreams of fatherhood just so that you can be with him is very selfish.

Also, the baby is only a baby for a few years. Personally I find babies adorable.
posted by delmoi at 9:52 PM on April 5, 2006


posted by pieoverdone It's demeaning because at that point you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want. It's not a material possession you can put on craigslist when it doesn't match the rest of your furniture. It's a lifelong commitment and the physical burden of breeding is carried on the woman, not to mention the trashing of whatever career she has, all so you can play catch in the backyard while she changes diapers and wakes up in the middle of the night to titfeed and shove frozen washcloths in its mouth while its teething.

pieoverdone, you're making several sweeping generalizations about men, women, children, and parenting, and I submit the only reason you feel demeaned, inferior, or inadequate is because you view yourself that way; otherwise you wouldn't have such strong feelings about what someone else thinks of you.

But okay, let's say someone views you as nothing more than an incubator--doesn't that suggest to you his views of women and humanity are so far out of whack that his opinion of you really doesn't amount to a hill of beans?
posted by fandango_matt at 9:56 PM on April 5, 2006


"And although that sucks, it's not a crime."

It will be once I'm elected. VOTE FOR ME!
posted by klangklangston at 9:57 PM on April 5, 2006


i don't care whether you have kids or not ... i don't even know you

go to usenet and post to alt.support.childfree where you and the rest of the self-righteous non-breeders can make all the snide comments you want to

the only reason i'm not ripping you apart right here and right now for your crappy attitude is because i sense you have serious issues ... and i'm just not going to do it ... nor am i going to feed your narcissistic need for attention by emailing you about it so you can unload all your bitterness and frustration out on me

get over yourself already ... you're not so important that we should care if you have kids or not
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 PM on April 5, 2006


"Reproduction is the reason we have sexual relationships. "

Really? Orgasms are why I have sexual relatioships. Must be a lot more little Delmois around than little Klangs.
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 PM on April 5, 2006


posted by delmoi Pie, I understand how you feel, but you have to remember that biologically the purpose of sex is to reproduce. Reproduction is the reason we have sexual relationships.

You sure about that? What's the reason for gay sexual relationships?
posted by fandango_matt at 10:01 PM on April 5, 2006


Clearly pyramid is responding to klanglangston.
posted by drezdn at 10:02 PM on April 5, 2006


Worse case scenerio: they stay together, get married, have a kid against his will, the kid grows up unloved and spends the rest of its life posting to AskMe as anonymous, and we all know how screwed up anon's life is; not to mention how busy they make AskMe.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:03 PM on April 5, 2006


He said, "biologically."
posted by cribcage at 10:03 PM on April 5, 2006


I can't wait to be an incubator.

Seriously, just because someone wants children badly enough that they seek a partner who feels the same way doesn't make them evil. It makes them.... NORMAL. Get a grip, pieoverdone. It's no different than seeking someone with similar political views or kinky sex interests.

How can you expect someone to stay with you when you have such different goals? You are the selfish one for wanting THEM to live in misery - the one who breaks it off is doing the kindest thing in the long run.
posted by gatorae at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2006


Hear, hear, cribcage. pieoverdone, since when were we obliged to marry people who want fundamentally different things in life than we want, just because we started dating them?

No, wait, you know what, I'm not going to argue with you over this. But you should listen to what others have said: you've come across as bitter, intolerant, irrational and a little bit crazy in this thread. I can only imagine what your deleted comments were like.
posted by Dasein at 10:06 PM on April 5, 2006


Clearly pyramid is responding to klanglangston

well i'm kind of wondering what his position on the single tax is that the republicans are trying to pass in michigan ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:06 PM on April 5, 2006


Crap, should have previewed - cribcage, I was applauding this, though I would have said the same thing to fandango_matt (gay relationships have no biological purpose, which is not to say there's anything wrong with them).
posted by Dasein at 10:08 PM on April 5, 2006


Damn, I finally manage to get a few hours of sleep and I miss out on a massive trainwreck.

pie, I agree that it sucks to be dumped because you don't want kids, but...what many other people have said about projecting and so forth. Anyway, I hope you feel better in the morning. Hang in there, those of us who know the details of your current situation wish you the best.
posted by Gator at 10:09 PM on April 5, 2006


The single business tax repeal that they're trying to do? Or is this another thing that the Republicans are up to that is both retarded and obnoxious?
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 PM on April 5, 2006


Or gay relationships have the biological purpose of creating a better, more supported, longer life for each of the participants, which could certainly apply to childless straight relationships as well. Married men tend to be healthier and live longer than single men.
posted by occhiblu at 10:12 PM on April 5, 2006


Or is this another thing that the Republicans are up to that is both retarded and obnoxious?

hmmm ... i should keep my mouth shut, then ... i might give them ideas
posted by pyramid termite at 10:14 PM on April 5, 2006


Oh sure, klangklangston. Decide to run just as I'm moving out of your district.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 10:14 PM on April 5, 2006


Too late. I emailed the others, and we think it's a great idea: Promote the sacrament of holy matrimony by levying a tax on anyone over 18 who's single. Expect a resolution to be introduced tomorrow.
posted by cribcage at 10:16 PM on April 5, 2006


I've ended relationships in part because I wanted to stay childless and my boyfriend wanted kids.

And yet, neither I nor the guys I broke up with rant hysterically about how demeaning it is to end a relationship because we had fundamentally different ideas about what we wanted in our futures. Some of them even argued that it was demeaning that I "only wanted sex" from them...which is a fair point, actually.

So we get that you're very angry about this kind of thing, pieoverdone, but you've got to stop frothing at the mouth about it. Lots of people - even those of us who don't want children - can see that this situation isn't nearly as horrible as you perceive it to be.
posted by stefanie at 10:22 PM on April 5, 2006


Kim Deal was hot. Tanya Donnelly, not so much. Cannonball remains one of the catchiest and most fun songs to sing. </derail with judgements about the Breeders.>
posted by Eideteker at 10:30 PM on April 5, 2006


Me, I don't think anything useful can ever be gained in one's own relationships by asking other people about theirs.

It's a real shame that Matt disabled the blink tag, because otherwise I'd quote this in blinking neon bold. /me tries marquee — nope. I have a really hard time understanding what people expect to gain by asking strange geeks on the Internet whether they should dump their SO, or tell him/her that he/she is too fat, or whatever.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:32 PM on April 5, 2006


Kelly was a looker and the dude behind the drums was alright. I liked their cover of "Shocker in Gloomtown."
posted by drezdn at 10:34 PM on April 5, 2006


Being gay is a biological anomaly. The purpose of sexual intercourse is to reproduce in order to propagate your species.

Disclaimer: Of course being gay isn't a crime against humanity nor is there anything wrong with your particular sexual orientation.
posted by puke & cry at 10:34 PM on April 5, 2006


pieoverdone wrote...
It's demeaning because at that point you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want. It's not a material possession you can put on craigslist when it doesn't match the rest of your furniture. It's a lifelong commitment and the physical burden of breeding is carried on the woman, not to mention the trashing of whatever career she has, all so you can play catch in the backyard while she changes diapers and wakes up in the middle of the night to titfeed and shove frozen washcloths in its mouth while its teething.

I have several female friends who would agree with most of this. With the exception of one, they're all in long term relationships with men who are of similar mind.

Hang in there.

Oh, and as demeaning as being broken up with for not wanting children is, I've seen a woman who desperately wanted children divorced for being barren. The husband wasn't even interested in surrogates, much less adoption. So remember, just because you've dated fuckheads doesn't mean that there aren't people out there who are even more fuckheaded.
posted by tkolar at 10:39 PM on April 5, 2006


posted by puke & cry Being gay is a biological anomaly.

"If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex ­ it is a biological error."

--Dr. Laura Schlessinger
posted by fandango_matt at 10:40 PM on April 5, 2006


Talk to the bonobos. There are plenty of purposes for sex that don't involve reproduction.
posted by occhiblu at 10:41 PM on April 5, 2006


I have often been in this position, pieoverdone, which you seem to be in now:

1) I post a well-considered and lucid answer to an AskMe question. Clearly, it's an issue I've thought about before and I have something to say about it.

2) a couple of people post "what scarabic said" style comments, and I feel all bad ass

3) some people take issue with part of my answer or disagree with me in their own right

4) I jump back in all overconfident and compeltely - AHEM - overdo it, expanding from my original, quite sane thesis to 1,001 reasons why everyone but me is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

It's a snowball effect. I sympathize. But sometimes, we do get it right on the first shot and it's time to shut the fuck up.
posted by scarabic at 10:46 PM on April 5, 2006


you see me as nothing more than an incubator for something you want

Case in point: there's a big difference between strongly wanting kids, seeing a difference in opinion as a dealbreaker-level difference, and regarding another human being as a simple incubator for your seed.

Come now. There are so many dimensions to chemistry, and dozens of them present dealbreakers. People have the right to make their own choices about things like religion, drugs, sex, kids, etc. It simply isn't cool to judge another person for any of those choices.
posted by scarabic at 10:50 PM on April 5, 2006


What scarabic said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:53 PM on April 5, 2006


Don't go tempting me, now.
posted by scarabic at 10:57 PM on April 5, 2006


What scarabic said. Except the first post - I've never been guilty of snowballing my beliefs into a trainwreck in any thread, ever.

Nope, not even once؟
posted by Ryvar at 10:58 PM on April 5, 2006


puke & cry wrote...
Being gay is a biological anomaly.

Oh please. A "biological anomaly" that pops up for 5% of the population, generation after generation after generation?

The purpose of sexual intercourse is to reproduce in order to propagate your species.

And yet you do seem to realize that we reproduce as a species. Not as individuals, but as a group.

Humans are a social, clannish animal. Prior to the very recent invention of the Nuclear Family, the presence of extra men and women around the homestead was a very welcome thing. They added to the wealth of the clan, and served as backups should the primary parents not survive. For one example, consider how many children in Victorian England were raised by relations after their mothers died in childbirth.

I'm not gay, but I am a male who is almost indifferent to reproducing. I've put a lot of thought into how I've come to exist, if evolution is solely selecting for individuals who feel a driving urge to breed. The answer becomes pretty clear as I find that one of the greatest joys in my life is accumulating wealth and using it to provide for my neices and nephews.

My brothers have passed on the genetic materials for my family line (and are soaking up an enormous amount of their own resources raising the kids). I feel confident that a small but significant number of those kids will grow up to fill the same role I'm filling right now, and that our family line will prosper for it.

Certainly the well known wealth of the gay community suggests that a similar dynamic applies there. Anecdotally, my gay and lesbian friends certainly match my interest in making sure their extended families are taken care of.
posted by tkolar at 11:04 PM on April 5, 2006


It's like everyone's staring at a traffic pileup, and a couple of people get jealous of the attention so they stage a train wreck.
posted by cribcage at 11:09 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Have a Coke and a smile, pieoverdone. Someone dumping you because you don't want kids is just as fair as them dumping you because you have a horrible personality. And if that's harsh, then instead read what cribcage wrote until it clicks.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:11 PM on April 5, 2006


Basically what's going on here is that pieoverdone is rehashing an old argument with an ex-boyfriend, only this time she's having it with whoever happens to be browsing metatalk on a Wednesday night. Surprisingly, the resulting discourse is not particularly coherent. You want the core of the argument?

This man is going to have a woman leave him because HE IS NOT ENOUGH only his fertile sperm is.

Read: YOU left me because I WAS NOT ENOUGH only being an "incubator for something you want" was.

And what the hell can I say, pieoverdone? Yes: it's fucking wonderful and all worth it.
posted by nanojath at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2006


puke & cry wrote:
I am either a complete troll or a total bigot. Discuss.

Yeah. In a rare moment of lucidity you seem to have nailed it. Despite the interrogative implicit in your statement, I feel completely statisfied with your admission.
posted by scarabic at 11:22 PM on April 5, 2006


Oh please. A "biological anomaly" that pops up for 5% of the population, generation after generation after generation?

Not to mention hundreds of different animal species. That we know of. And non-procreative sexual activity has been seen in lots of different organisms, even though we've only just begun to look carefully.
posted by mediareport at 11:30 PM on April 5, 2006


anomaly

Being gay isn't wrong or bad, but it is an anomaly.

Humans are a social, clannish animal.

But we are animals, like all others. And the fundamental purpose of any species having sexual intercourse is the propagation of that species. If you'd like to dispute that, I'm willing to hear it.

Appling human social constructs leads to comments such as this. Humans complicate this situation to extremes, like we tend to do.

Please note that I am not gay but I am totally against reproducing. Such is the decisions that we as complicated animals make.
posted by puke & cry at 11:36 PM on April 5, 2006


sorry, that 'comments such as this' link should go to here.
posted by puke & cry at 11:37 PM on April 5, 2006


Start here.

Where Darwin saw competition as the essential reproductive strategy, Roughgarden sees cooperation as the key. Her basic tenet is that animal species “interact socially to acquire opportunities for reproduction.” Sex can be social as well as reproductive, she argues. Genders can be multiple and changeable—partly because animals must cooperate not only to reproduce, but also to keep offspring alive. And animals choose between same-sex and between-sex partners to improve their own net reproductive success....

Roughgarden asserts that Darwin’s theory doesn’t cover the gender-bending and sex-switching behaviors that have been discovered since the 1970s in fish, bird and mammal societies. The “final torpedo,” she believes, is the mounting evidence of homosexual behavior in perhaps 300 species of animals. “According to Darwin, homosexuality is anomalous,” she explains, because “a homosexual mating can’t produce offspring. But if the only function of sex were reproductive, it’d be a very, very inefficient process. A [ratio of a] thousand or so copulations per conception is typical. Genetic traits are just not that inefficient in nature. There’s got to be another purpose for sex.”
posted by occhiblu at 11:41 PM on April 5, 2006


(To clarify, all the above is quoted from the article, not written by me.)
posted by occhiblu at 11:41 PM on April 5, 2006


This thread has convinced me to reproduce asexually. I can't decide between budding and parthenogenesis. Anyone have any experience or should I save it for an AskMe question?
posted by TimeFactor at 11:47 PM on April 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


That article is from one scientist who has an obviously pro-gay agenda. Anything else?
posted by puke & cry at 11:48 PM on April 5, 2006


posted by puke & cry Please note that I am not gay but I am totally against reproducing.

By your own logic, since you're not gay, and you have no interest in reproducing, then you must have zero interest in sex.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:48 PM on April 5, 2006


Took a few hours off. Just came back to find this...

IshmaelGraves: She posted the question because everyone (but me) was telling her to DTMFA and she thought by posting to a site that reaches a ton of people that she might get a variety of perspectives. (She's not a regular MeFi user which is why I'm posting). Interestingly, the answers (regardless of where they are coming from) seem to be overwhelmingly "YES".
posted by kechi at 11:50 PM on April 5, 2006


DTMFA = Dump the mother fucker already (Dan Savage-ism)
posted by kechi at 11:50 PM on April 5, 2006


Yes.
posted by occhiblu at 11:51 PM on April 5, 2006


By your own logic, since you're not gay, and you have no interest in reproducing, then you must have zero interest in sex.

By your faulted logic I guess. I basically said 'fundamentally biological'. Take into account all other complications that come with being human.
posted by puke & cry at 11:54 PM on April 5, 2006


(And has it occured to you that many, many, many scientists, especially older scientists, may have unexamined, unchallenged pro-family assumptions?)
posted by occhiblu at 11:55 PM on April 5, 2006


If you have to explain the abbreviation...
posted by cribcage at 11:56 PM on April 5, 2006


Being dumped because you don't want to have kids must be pretty painful.

But from this list:
  1. Having a kid you've been blackmailed into having
  2. Staying in the relationship, refusing to have kids and having them resent you forever
  3. Being dumped because you don't want to have kids
I'd pick number 3 every time.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:59 PM on April 5, 2006


I know, I know, I posted it then my friend over my shoulder said "huh?" So I thought I'd add an explanation. That and I got dissed for not knowing what PDQ was the other day and didn't want to put anyone else in the same boat.
posted by kechi at 12:21 AM on April 6, 2006


Hersh , Donnelly , Deal , oh aye.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:03 AM on April 6, 2006


Behold: the fascinating-in-a-trainwreck-kind-of-way consequences of allowing relationship questions on AskMe. Not saying we should disallow them, just saying.

I totally agree with the wonderchicken; one thing is deleting answers like "I don't know how to fix your broken external USB hard drive but let me tell you why Windows sucks and why you should buy a Mac". relationship advice is by definition free-form, and needs more latitude. I like Matt and Jess but Jesus Christ, if you guys allow relationship questions you have to give a little room for those who answer. deleting pieoverdone comments sucked; you don't want opinions? then don't allow relationship questions in your site. relationship questions provoke opinionated comments.

you don't want opinions, just allow questions on broken toasters
posted by matteo at 1:32 AM on April 6, 2006


That article is from one scientist who has an obviously pro-gay agenda. Anything else?

Ha! occhiblu provides a well-articulated response to your challenge - all you really asked for - and then you raise the stakes. So you're not really willing to "hear an argument" as you state.

You just want to state what you feel as obvious and ingrained into you at some point and dismiss any objections as biased. I dont see that such myopia is really worth trying to address any further.
posted by vacapinta at 1:57 AM on April 6, 2006


Deleting/Editing AskMe responses doesn't suck, if the responses are sucky.
9.4 points for the "you don't want opinions" shot, though. You woulda got the whole 10.0 if you had followed it up with a rousing chorus of "We Shall Overcome".
Too bad the relevant part of Pieoverdone's contribution is still there, though, Matteo.
You almost had an ounce of cred.

Pie was pushing an agenda born out of her own pain, and was quite obviously unable - and uninterested - in just expressing her opinion(Two people who want different things shouldn't plan on being together in the long term, which I totally agree with) without dragging in her own issues. That lack of tact or maturity, not the content of her opinion, was the issue.

Whomever responds to a relationship-based AskMe will of course draw from their own experiences, that's natural. A subjective opinion is the only type of response a member can make in those threads.
However, that member has a responsibility to the Asker, the community, and themselves to present that opinion in an intelligent manner.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:06 AM on April 6, 2006


Gasoline and matches.

*flees*
posted by Ryvar at 2:37 AM on April 6, 2006


if the responses are sucky


"sucky"? says who, you?
OK then, that settles it!

I totally missed the memo where alvyn ampersand is the new co-administrator here.
*chuckles, sings "we shall overcome", waits for alvyn's first fpp, if ever*
posted by matteo at 2:56 AM on April 6, 2006


This thread has convinced me to reproduce asexually.

I await your cloud of spores with great eagerness.

(matteo, did you see pie's now-deleted comments?)
posted by Gator at 3:02 AM on April 6, 2006


matteo in being-an-uninformed-and-off-base-snarker shocka!
posted by Marquis at 3:34 AM on April 6, 2006


(Late to the trainwreak but it did happen during local night.)

> This man is going to have a woman leave him because HE IS NOT ENOUGH only his
> fertile sperm is. That is unfair.

I utterly don't see this. I can see that it's unpleasant for the parties involved but where's the unfairness? People hook up and marry for all kinds of reasons beside I adore only thee, my love. Marriage for love is a recent innovation, historically speaking, and it's much more of a romantic ideal than a description of actual practice. People marry for money all the time, for instance. That ugly, boring guy (B*ll G*tes) sure is a lot more loveable if he's a zillionaire than if he lives at the homeless shelter. Hell, people marry to improve their tax situation or get the right kind of passport.

As for the fertile sperm, it's not all he is but it's an important part of what he's got to offer--and if his partner expected it and suddenly finds out he never had any intention of offering it that's going to make major problems, and rightly so.

Judging by the ratio of sex-related posts to kid-related posts, this crowd is generally more focused on sex than on children. So imagine a romantic partner who says "You should stay with me just for me and the wonderful person I am, even though I never intend to have sex with you. If you dump me over that, it proves you never cared about anything but my dick/pussy, you beast."

Some expectations are entirely reasonable, and the partner who stonewalls against one of these does so at his/her peril.

posted by jfuller at 5:02 AM on April 6, 2006


Has no one else been on the receiving end of this and realized how demeaning it is?

No, but I have been on the receiving end of this:

"You want to start trying to have a baby? It's my lifelong dream and means the world to me."
"Okay, honey, let's do it!"

...several months later....

"Why don't you want to have sex with me anymore?"
"I'm afraid you'll get pregnant."
"Um, I thought we were trying for that."
"I don't want that anymore."
"Okay, can we talk about this? Do you not feel ready? Would you feel more ready in... like 5 years? When we get our debts paid off / finish college? What are you thinking?"
"---***stone wall of silence, followed by anger at further attempts to engage***---"
"?! *cry*"
"---***runs off and all-but-fucks another woman***---"
"Don't you think you owe me an apology?"
"No."
~~~~~~FIN (divorce)~~~~~~~

What do I win?

Am I bitter? I was, for many years. But now I have a kid, and it's not with that jerk (thank FSM).

When one wants a baby and the other does not, it can only end in tears. Best that it not end in a baby, imho.

And is it really so noxious and unexpected that someone would desire to do something with you that is natural, instinctive, and that every fucking generation between you and the first archaic cell evar has done? I mean, really. It's not so unusual or anything.

It's one thing to defend your choice, and it's another to shit all over those who choose otherwise. You could probably benefit from some therapy. Unless overflowing with bitterness and spite is how you really want to be, of course.
posted by beth at 5:41 AM on April 6, 2006


And the fundamental purpose of any species having sexual intercourse is the propagation of that species.

Species don't have purposes. Please don't apply your fundamental human construct, or whatever the hell you called it.
posted by docgonzo at 5:42 AM on April 6, 2006


"I can't decide between budding and parthenogenesis."

BIG BLACK NEMESIS
PARTHENOGENESIS
NO ONE MOVE A MUSCLE AS THE DEAD COME HOME!
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 AM on April 6, 2006


> Species don't have purposes. Please don't apply your fundamental human
> construct, or whatever the hell you called it.

Doc, listen up and earn the first half of your nic. There are two perfectly legitimate styles of naturalistic explanation. Causal explanations focus on antecedent conditions on order to explain a particular outcome. Teleonomic a.k.a. functional explanations focus on a particular end state in order to organize and make sense of the events that led up to it.

There's nothing illegitimate about claiming that sex has a biological purpose, any more than there's anything illegitimate about claiming that spoons have a purpose. Neither sort of claim implies that species, or spoons, are conscious entities. If it makes you happy you can substitute "function" for "purpose" without changing the meaning of what has been said even a tiny little bit.

posted by jfuller at 6:12 AM on April 6, 2006


Red Queen's chasing all you freaks down.
posted by Jimbob at 6:13 AM on April 6, 2006


I love Shriekback.

if you guys allow relationship questions you have to give a little room for those who answer. deleting pieoverdone comments sucked

Matteo, I left pie's main comment and removed several heavily flagged comments that were either ranting against "breeders" or others telling pie she needed to leave her personal issues out of AskMe. Opinions are welcome, as I'm pretty sure you know. Opinions on the subject that don't help the questioner answer their question or address the subject at hand decrease the usefulness of Ask Metafilter and, in this case, actually create an atmosphere where people might not want to ask touchy questions or offer advice for fear of being harassed.

Alvy summed it up pretty well; you don't need to be an admin to understand how the place works.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:22 AM on April 6, 2006


BTW, let me throw this out.

Changing crappy diapers and spoonfeeding a messy GENERIC infant is a pain in the posterior.

Changing the crappy diapers, etc OF YOUR OWN CHILD is a fundamentally different experience.

Never would have believed it if I hadn't experienced it.

But, still, if ya don't want kids don't have them. If you do, I don't wanna babysit.
posted by konolia at 6:27 AM on April 6, 2006


Neither sort of claim implies that species, or spoons, are conscious entities.

spoons are tools created by a conscious being for a particular purpose. artifacts created by humans are exactly the one thing in the universe that is created expressly "with a purpose". we then project our creative impetus onto the universe and deduce it too must have been created with a purpose, and that's where all the complications start. But maybe "existence precedes essence".
posted by mdn at 7:02 AM on April 6, 2006


I had a friend who went out on a few dates with a man who told her he didn't want kids (had some already, didn't want to do it again). She did want children, and he stopped seeing her because it was obvious that they wanted different things. She ranted and raved about how selfish he was being to expect her to give up having children and how she should just marry him and get pregnant "accidentally".

Frankly, I believe she was the one who was being selfish (and no we're not friends anymore). They both had a right to decide whether they wanted children, but no right to force that choice on the other. His attitude was that they should part ways and go find relationships in which they could be happy. Her attitude was that he was obligated to do whatever she wanted — after a few dates. She was selfish, and I would say that if the situation had been reversed and she reacted that way.

Being dumped is never fun, but it's only demeaning if you so construe it. You just need to face up to the fact that the other person felt he or she couldn't be happy with you long-term and realize that you wouldn't be happy with an unhappy partner. It has nothing to do with your worth as a person. It simply means that in the jigsaw of life, you were two pieces that simply weren't designed to interlock. All you can ask in such a situation is that the person behave honourably and not make false promises or waste your time. So if he or she has done that, wish that person well, and go find your rightful place.
posted by orange swan at 7:09 AM on April 6, 2006


Orange swan is, as always, wise.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:57 AM on April 6, 2006


Wow matteo, you shore zinged me good!

I had no idea that my understanding of the guidelines and my ability to differentiate between a tactful comment and an innapropriate one hinged on the number of FPPs I made!

*Begins scouring YouTube and DailyKos*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2006


I love Shriekback.

Me too. Great use of their music, btw (although not the song klangklangston quoted), in Michael Mann's criminally underappreciated Manhunter.
posted by dersins at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2006



Changing crappy diapers and spoonfeeding a messy GENERIC infant is a pain in the posterior.

Changing the crappy diapers, etc OF YOUR OWN CHILD is a fundamentally different experience.

Never would have believed it if I hadn't experienced it.


I feel that way about cats.
posted by drezdn at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2006


I feel that way about cats.

I demand to see a pic of your cat in diapers.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I agree with orange swan, but while I think pieoverdone's "I'm just an incubator?" interpretation of the situation is misguided or at least incomplete, I can still sympathize with her as a woman who doesn't want kids.

There seems to be this assumption that the default status for women is something between "has kids" and "wants kids someday" and everything between "not sure" and "never!" is some sort of glitch. Whenever I say "I don't think I want kids," I almost always get one of two reactions.
1. Condescending: "Oh, you'll change your mind once you're a little older." Maybe I will. I can accept that as a possibility, as I can't see the future. So why can't others accept the possibility that I won't?
2. Shocked: "Really? REALLY? WHY??????" As if there needs to be a reason. For me, there's no reason not to other than a lack of a reason to.
Years of this can really grate on a girl, making you feel like most people think you lack some fundamental element of womanhood. Not a good feeling; can sometimes lead to some militant feelings. I myself try to stay calm about it, though.

In other news, I wish I could bud. Or that I was a lesbian.
posted by lampoil at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2006


And the fundamental purpose of any species having sexual intercourse is the propagation of that species. If you'd like to dispute that, I'm willing to hear it.

The fundamental thing that keeps species around is the propogation of that species. It is a matter of happy coinicidence—fucking and having babies leads to a new generation which can also fuck and have babies.

Unless we're going to presume that wolves and fish and bacteria are wandering around thinking, "god damn, I gotsta propogate this shit."

So we can quibble about just how unfit the word "purpose"—as the reasonable lay person intends it—is for the useful accident that is sexual reproduction, but it is decidedly unfit. You may as well say that the purpose of gravity is to make things fall.
posted by cortex at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2006


lampoil, exactly my reactions too. It sickens me.

I'm not less of a woman or "damaged" because I don't want children. I'm simply not interested.
posted by agregoli at 8:50 AM on April 6, 2006


Just because you do not want children, does not mean that everyone does not want children.

Just because you see children as a burden, does not mean that everyone views children as a burden.

Your life choices are not the decisions everyone should or wants to make.

Your opinion is not the standard.

It must hurt a lot to love someone, who had different goals for his life that prevented your relationship. I can see that hurt bleeding into everything you're posting here, and I'm so sorry that there's nothing I personally can say or do for you to feel differently.

But your issues are with yourself and this relationship, and you need to understand how zealous you're sounding in this thread.

Take a nap, eat good food, go out and hang out with good friends. Don't pick at wounds that aren't healed yet or you'll make them worse.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2006


KevinSkomsvold: Click here
posted by drezdn at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2006


Metafilter: god damn, I gotsta propogate this shit.
posted by jenovus at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2006


I think that's the essence of where the "childfree" "debate" always goes in when it gets discussed in a general forum, lampoil. As a married man who has a child I want with a woman who also wanted a child (and who does not see any onus or deficiency in any person choosing not to reproduce or be a parent), I can't claim to have any real understanding of how infuriating it must be to face that sort of societal response to an honest, rational and correct personal decision. I think people forget or don't know or don't believe how it is for people, particularly women, who choose to be child free. Nevertheless, when a statement is made like the "incubator" comment - it is very hard not to respond and say, hey, you know I change the majority of diapers, I'm the one who left my job because her career had more potential, choosing to have a child is not necessarily driven by some banal lifestyle motivation a complete lack of foresight about the rigors of childrearing. It's pointless, because I'm not really the example being excoriated and its not like the choice to have a child really even needs to be defended when it is so overwhelmingly socially affirmed. Nevertheless: it's hard not to respond when something you are is attacked. While a couple people in this thread said pioverdone sounded like she was selfish, almost nobody said anything against her decision or being child free in general at all. Yet it is obvious from her last response that this is how she felt she was being attacked here.

I was so tempted to post a call for pioverdone's participation in this thread but I resisted messing AskMe. That's progress, that is, the "slow and tortuous" process of human development in action.
posted by nanojath at 9:12 AM on April 6, 2006


pieoverdone writes "Has no one else been on the receiving end of this and realized how demeaning it is?"

Yes to the first, no to the second as it's not. As to the first after a while I got tired of hanging by my wrists, got down off the cross, made a bridge with it and got over it. I suggest you post a rant to your blog and then do the same. Write the woman off as whatever you'd like and stop letting her control you, it's not healthy.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2006


"sucky"? says who, you?

matteo, dude, you're flailing. It's pretty clear that ThePinkSuperhero and Jessamyn thought they were sucky, for one. Scroll to the top of this thread for more assenting "sucky" votes. drstein dissents, but the majority opinion is pretty clear.

I don't think you're really defending the comments, yourself, just arguing the principle. But come on. There's such a thing as shrieking your "opinion" repeatedly until it starts to damage the conversation.
posted by scarabic at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2006


Mitheral, as I understand it pieoverdone would be writing the man off and &c.

When people find out I'm married, they ask about kids. When I say no, they say, you will. When I say, well, no, they say, yeah, but your wife, heh heh. And when I say she says no too, they say, oh, you'll change your mind.

The assumed inevitability of childrearing—the unfailing suggestion that I don't really not want kids, I'll understand when I'm older, I'll change my mind eventually—is definitely well within the Annoying Me Zone.
posted by cortex at 9:26 AM on April 6, 2006


It's fucking wonderful and all worth it, isn't it? - pieoverdone

For the people who want it, yes. If you don't want it, fuck no.

why it's so horrible not to want to breed - pieoverdone

Each person should make the choice that is right for them. I totally respect people who choose not to have children. It's hard work that completely changes & consumes your life and you have to *want* it in order to make it worthwhile. Particularly if you're a woman. Because then it fucks with your body, too. If you don't want that job, you sure as hell shouldn't be pressured to take it.

I know there are some parents that are particularly obnoxious about thinking it's an exerience that everyone should have, and "isn't it all fucking wonderful". I find those parents annoying, too. I'm a parent and I am really annoyed by the lie some parents perpetuate about how perfectly awesome parenting is. Fuck that. Let's be realistic. I think potential parents need to know about all the times that being a parent sucks and is hard and miserable and lonely. It's important that people enter parenting with eyes wide open, so they can decide if it's worth struggling through the hard parts. Not every 'breeder' is an evangelist for the cause.
posted by raedyn at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2006


Potential parents should also consider that parenthood will cause fundamental shifts in the dynamics of their esrtwhile relationship.
posted by cortex at 9:32 AM on April 6, 2006


> I almost always get one of two reactions.
> 1. Condescending: "Oh, you'll change your mind once you're a little older." Maybe I will. I can
> accept that as a possibility, as I can't see the future. So why can't others accept the possibility
> that I won't?
> 2. Shocked: "Really? REALLY? WHY??????" As if there needs to be a reason. For me, there's
> no reason not to other than a lack of a reason to.

I wouldn't express either reaction, on grounds of ordinary good manners and the principle of not making personal comments about others.

I would certainly raise an eyebrow internally, though. The default condition for all other forms of life is to be a playa in the reproduction game. For everything from buzzards to blue-greel algae we think, well of course it's going to reproduce unless it's prevented from doing so by some force beyond its control.

If one believes Darwin, and accepts the continuity of species, and sees humans as just one type of animal along with the other types rather than some entirely different order of being created in the image of God, it's logical to expect that the default condition of the other life forms will apply to us also. Thus humans who have purposefully dropped out of the reproduction game are indeed anomalous, and one inevitably wonders what sort of force or event or condition beyond their control made them the way they are.

posted by jfuller at 9:40 AM on April 6, 2006


cortex writes "Mitheral, as I understand it pieoverdone would be writing the man off and &c."

I admit to being confused by "recieving end" as the AskMe poster is a woman. Anyways no offense intended pieoverdone.
posted by Mitheral at 9:47 AM on April 6, 2006


I would certainly raise an eyebrow internally, though. The default condition for all other forms of life is to be a playa in the reproduction game.

The default condition for all other forms of life is to run around naked, die illiterate, and poop wheresoever the notion takes them. I don't see why the reproductive comparison is very compelling.
posted by cortex at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2006


> to run around naked, die illiterate, and poop wheresoever the notion takes them.

That describes the large majority of humans pretty well, doesn't it? Especially considering them over any great time depth.
posted by jfuller at 10:00 AM on April 6, 2006


The point of considering them over any great time depth is to contrast, then, what they've been up to more recently. Which suggests there might have been, in recent human history, some growing development of social constructs that further and further differentiate us, in our potential and actual behavior, from the default state of nature.
posted by cortex at 10:07 AM on April 6, 2006


More recently:

Travel to any city in India and you will find two common images – women lining up with pots of various shapes and sizes waiting for water, and men and children defecating in the open (women have to do this under cover of darkness).

Not that India has any monopoly on this. I'd say australopithecine default conditions still obtain generally, and exceptions are remarkable enough to evoke comment (suppressed, of course, by the mannerly.)
posted by jfuller at 10:13 AM on April 6, 2006


I'd say australopithecine default conditions still obtain generally, and exceptions are remarkable enough to evoke comment

Like what? Wearing pants? Getting take-out? Talking on cellphones to people who are not within hearing range? Do those cause you to raise an internal eyebrow as well?
posted by occhiblu at 10:16 AM on April 6, 2006


And yet, more recently we have things like journalism and the codified written language and electricity and the very context that allows us to observe the fact that a lot of humans go around shitting on the ground as something of note.

I'm not claiming that we've ceased in every respect to be natural beings. I'm suggesting that, no matter how generally conditions obtain, the exceptions are remarkable and from our perspective as humans utterly unique and defining—and that, in essence, if we can have an argument in writing on the internet about the social question of children vs. no children, comparisons to the unconsidered practices of generic mammals are probably not that apt.
posted by cortex at 10:19 AM on April 6, 2006


I'm not less of a woman or "damaged" because I don't want children. I'm simply not interested.
posted by agregoli at 8:50 AM PST on April 6 [!]



There are several people here projecting their personal paranoia on to this conversation and (more unfortunately) on to AskMetafilter whenever a maternity-related question comes up. A statement like the above is a perfect example.

Can anyone point out a single instance anywhere on this site, ever, where a poster has said a woman is "damaged" if she doesn't want a child? You can't. Know why? Because it's all in your head! Having a child is a personal decision. Nobody here, absolutely nobody, cares if you decide not to have one.

Raising a child is an amazing experience, but if you don't want to partake in it -- who gives a flying fuck?
posted by sic at 10:38 AM on April 6, 2006


lampoli: I can still sympathize with her as a woman who doesn't want kids.

agregoli: I'm not less of a woman or "damaged" because I don't want children.

For the record, no one suggested that pieoverdone was damaged because she doesn't want children. No one suggested they were unable to sympathize with her situation. No one objected to her perspective being added to the thread.

The objection came when she began bombing the thread with comments, repeating herself ad nauseam and arguing with other replies.
posted by cribcage at 10:40 AM on April 6, 2006


> Like what? Wearing pants? Getting take-out? Talking on cellphones to people who
> are not within hearing range? Do those cause you to raise an internal eyebrow as well?

These don't strike you as astonishing? They do me, you must be pretty blasé--or else I'm easily astonished and filled with the spirit of wonder. (The remarkable exception I was thinking of, natually, was non-reproductive status in a world of 6.5 billion and rising. That's way off baseline, and exceptional behavior like that is going to attract notice. Clearly most of us are still reproducing absent-mindedly, the way we did back in the Silurian when we were all graptolites.)


> I'm suggesting that, no matter how generally conditions
> obtain, the exceptions are remarkable

fuller falls all over himself agreeing with this. In the next breath we note that those who act exceptionally should not be surprised if they get, as it were, stared at for it. Though, as noted, I myself am more graceful than to stare openly.

> comparisons to the unconsidered practices of generic mammals are probably
> not that apt.

Most--indeed almost all--of what the human race does is unconsidered and performed while running in animal mode.


posted by jfuller at 10:40 AM on April 6, 2006


I absolutely refuse to believe that you note with astonishment each and every person you see wearing pants, or that you raise your inner eyebrows -- even if manners keep you from commenting out loud -- each time you use a toilet, or see a cellphone, or eat food from a restaurant.

For one thing, you'd hardly have time to post here, you'd be so astonished at the unnatural notable behavior of all those around you. Including yourself! You're using a computer! They didn't have those waaaaay back when! OMG! How notable! I'm overcome with astonishment! I can barely type!

That you might have frequent moments of joy about what an amazing world we inhabit, I can believe. That you have an existential crisis every time a women mentions that she doesn't want children because it's so unnatural... well, that's not natural.
posted by occhiblu at 10:54 AM on April 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


cribbage and sic - I assure you, people care and it is NOT "all in our heads", or we wouldn't get all those comments.

I never said a single thing about pieoverdone or the whole mess, just adding my comments and sympathies to lampoil. It wasn't directed at you. So I'm not sure why your bile turns to me now for sympathizing with the shit the childfree have to go through.

pieoverdone was ridiculous and inappropriate in the thread but that doesn't mean I don't know where she's coming from.
posted by agregoli at 10:55 AM on April 6, 2006


These don't strike you as astonishing? They do me, you must be pretty blasé--or else I'm easily astonished and filled with the spirit of wonder.

Do you not see the difference in implication between being "astonished and filled with the spirit of wonder" at the various social/technological feats of humankind and being like to "raise an eyebrow" at someone who decides not to have kids?

The point is precisely that if you are "raising an eyebrow" every time you see pants being worn, or food being taken-out, or phones being answered, or any of these other remarkable, exceptional things we do every minute of the day, how does the childlessness thing somehow merit the mention of the raising of that (no doubt by now exhuasted but magnificently toned) eyebrow where the rest does not?

Most--indeed almost all--of what the human race does is unconsidered and performed while running in animal mode.

Just so: some of what the human race does is considered and performed independent of our animal heritage, pants and cellphones and literature and willful childlessness all together in one big bucket.

So this might just be an argument of interpretation: I read your mention that you will "raise an eyebrow" (despite being "more graceful than to stare openly") as sort of rude and judgemental in a way that doesn't reflect back on the general pants-phones-takeout complex. You may not have meant it that way at all, and hence the conflict.
posted by cortex at 10:55 AM on April 6, 2006


I can't believe that someone wrote "breeders" and there have been no in-thread references to the most famous prior use.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:58 AM on April 6, 2006


Wow. I had forgotten that it was dhoyt.
posted by cortex at 11:00 AM on April 6, 2006


I'm not sure why your bile turns to me now for sympathizing with the shit the childfree have to go through.

"Bile." Nice word from a clearly bitter woman. To answer your question: I posted a comment clarifying what happened because few people actually saw it, and the tenor of this thread is beginning to suggest that her comments were deleted because of their content rather than the fact that she posted the same thing about 47 bjorkin' times.

I assure you, people care...

Maybe. But as pyramid termite said and sic repeated, no one HERE gives a damn — which is why you're being met with words like "paranoia" and "projection," and being told to "get over yourself." It's absolutely, totally irrelevant and you're arguing with empty air. You look ridiculous.
posted by cribcage at 11:08 AM on April 6, 2006


I wish there were some way we could look at deleted comments. Having them excised and disappeared so utterly is very frustrating. I can't even go into the relevant person's comments history as the comments are gone there as well. Maybe a DL hyperlink to the deleted comment?
posted by stinkycheese at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2006


Perhaps instead of deleting comments, we should leave them up but mark them with some sort of Seal of Administrative Disapproval. A little scarlet "D" or some such. And any comment found to reference a marked comment would itself become marked.

Although that's probably actually a terrible idea. Never mind.
posted by cortex at 11:21 AM on April 6, 2006


stinkycheese wrote...
I wish there were some way we could look at deleted comments. Having them excised and disappeared so utterly is very frustrating. I can't even go into the relevant person's comments history as the comments are gone there as well. Maybe a DL hyperlink to the deleted comment?

Do you ever think we're all a little too interested in the moderation process? While I'm glad that MetaTalk is here so we can all get together and shout at each other, I'm really thankful that the main focus of Metafilter as a whole is on the blue and green and on the content there.
posted by tkolar at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2006


Agregoli, I am absolutely convinced that at some point in your life some unkind person has said that you are "damaged" for not wanting children, probably someone that you care about, which is why you are so bitter about it.

But regardless of your unhappy personal experiences in the real world, nobody on MetaFilter has stated or even insinuated that you are "damaged" because you don't want to have a child.

Personally, I support any person's decision to not have a child -- I can't even imagine thinking otherwise. What bothers me is when people drag their emotional baggage into AskMetafilter which is a place to answer other people's questions, not air out their grievances with the cruel world.

Just answer the freaking questions or get out of the thread.
posted by sic at 11:25 AM on April 6, 2006


I absolutely refuse to believe that you note with astonishment each and every person you see wearing pants

Yoink!

I love this thread.
posted by Gator at 11:26 AM on April 6, 2006


"Perhaps instead of deleting comments, we should leave them up but mark them with some sort of Seal of Administrative Disapproval."

Matt could simply change the font color to match the background color of the page, so if you wanted to read it you'd have to highlight it, like spoilers on a movie review page. That would be awesome.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:31 AM on April 6, 2006


And he could synchronize page background and deleted-comment color in the CSS, so it'd be easy to keep consistent even across multiple styles.

Crash, I could kiss you.
posted by cortex at 11:33 AM on April 6, 2006


I absolutely refuse to believe that you note with astonishment each and every person you see wearing pants

This thread was worth it just to read that priceless line from the divine miss occhiblu.
posted by scody at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2006


cribcage wrote...
But as pyramid termite said and sic repeated, no one HERE gives a damn

Actually, you and pyramid termite and sic may not give a damn, but there are multiple people on this thread that clearly suffer significantly from this issue.

Conversations in which people who face similar problems get together and bitch are not an uncommon or unhealthy thing. If you're bored with watching people seek and provide emotional support, may I suggest that you go back to the Blue and Green, where this sort of conversation is less appropriate?
posted by tkolar at 11:38 AM on April 6, 2006


I'd say australopithecine default conditions still obtain generally...


posted by octobersurprise at 11:40 AM on April 6, 2006


occhiblu:

> I absolutely refuse to believe that you note with astonishment each and
> every person you see wearing pants, or that you raise your inner eyebrows -- even if
> manners keep you from commenting out loud -- each time you use a toilet, or see a
> cellphone, or eat food from a restaurant.

Actually if I weren't such a laid-back kinda guy I would walk around with my hair permanently pointed straight up, like eraserhead. But I am not much of a something must be done! sort (though of course hideously judgemental); much more into and this, too, shall pass.
posted by jfuller at 11:44 AM on April 6, 2006


Pants, too, shall pass?
posted by Gator at 11:48 AM on April 6, 2006


tkolar, if the AskMe question was about how people deal with being called "damaged" for not having children, we would not be having this discussion because we wold be in total agreement. That was not the question. I have also seen other maternity-related threads that these people who are suffering from personal problems for not having children also saw fit to derail.

not with the same crazed intensity as pieoverdone, but still, derailing

In my opinion, that should be discouraged.
posted by sic at 11:51 AM on April 6, 2006


By the way you are framing the question in an odd way, obviously agregoli, pieoverdone and lampoli have personal issues about children and "care" about about the subject. But at least two of them care so much that they believe that people here on metafilter think less of them for being childless. That is what we are referring to. We don't care that they are not childless.
posted by sic at 11:53 AM on April 6, 2006


er, "are childless" -- ah, you understood me...
posted by sic at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2006


I'm wearing pants. And I note this with complete and utter astonishment.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2006


"Bile." Nice word from a clearly bitter woman.

Hey, my card's full... BINGO!
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:13 PM on April 6, 2006


tkolar: Well, I for one am not really concerned here with the moderation process except insomuch as it interferes with my ability to follow the conversation.

mr_crash_davis: I love that idea of changing the text for deleted comments so that you'd have to highlight them in order to read them.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:13 PM on April 6, 2006


Sic wrote...
In my opinion, [derails] should be discouraged.

I understand your frustration. Consider the point made.
posted by tkolar at 12:15 PM on April 6, 2006


stinkycheese, you should adore this, then: META
posted by cortex at 12:16 PM on April 6, 2006


Sometimes this place is so self-referential it's like hypertext.
posted by OmieWise at 12:21 PM on April 6, 2006


If you're bored with watching people seek and provide emotional support, may I suggest that you go back to the Blue and Green, where this sort of conversation is less appropriate?

If you'd like to open a MeTa thread by calling for people to counsel each other on the feelings of insecurity, rejection, and depression resulting from the decision not to have children, feel free. I predict you'll be told quickly that it's an inappropriate use of MeTa and your thread will be closed. You're looking for Usenet. (Or MeCha.)
posted by cribcage at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2006


Yikes. I was just adding a comment. I was talking about real life, not MetaFilter. I wasn't defending pie's comments in AskMe, I was just commenting on the issue as a whole. What with all the talk about whether or not homosexuality is a biological anomally, and since I didn't see any "no one on MeFi CARES if homosexuality is an anomally!" comments...I thought the discussion had moved on from "pie's comments: appropriate for AskMe? check yes or no."

sic, I don't know if you meant me to be one of the "at least two" who think MeFites care if I'm childless or not. If so, you are wrong. MeFites have tried to make me feel inferior for a great many things in my short time here, but never for being childless. I don't think I claimed anything of the sort, but my apologies if that's how it sounded.
posted by lampoil at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2006


jfuller: I think you make a valid point, but I agree with others that it's a little oversimplified to assume we're exactly like other mammals in this sense.
posted by lampoil at 12:54 PM on April 6, 2006


If so, you are wrong. MeFites have tried to make me feel inferior for a great many things in my short time here, but never for being childless.

We'll take whatever faint praise we can get.
posted by cortex at 12:55 PM on April 6, 2006


Speak for yourself, dammit! I reject faint praise, I reject load praise, I reject it all.
posted by OmieWise at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2006


Oops, "loud". Damn attempts to be vaguely amusing.
posted by OmieWise at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2006


This thread turned out awesomer than my wildest dreams.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:58 PM on April 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


MeFites have tried to make me feel inferior for a great many things in my short time here, but never for being childless. I don't think I claimed anything of the sort, but my apologies if that's how it sounded.
posted by lampoil at 12:52 PM PST on April 6 [!]


Let me praise you faintly: you are very reasonable; I thank you for that.
posted by sic at 1:03 PM on April 6, 2006


This thread turned out awesomer than my wildest dreams.

You're telling me.
posted by pieoverdone at 1:13 PM on April 6, 2006


I'd add to this discussion that if some hypothetically bitter, barren woman <cough, cough> felt afraid to poke her head back into this thread for fear of revealing more about her neuroses, she could instead reveal volumes about herself privately by sending me an anonymous email.

When I write something, I put my name next to it. Just one of the many attributes, sweetie, that make me better than you.
posted by cribcage at 1:21 PM on April 6, 2006


Did what I think just happened actually just happen?

I don't think I like any of you anymore. Where's eyeballkid? I gotta tell him that I finally understand.

posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on April 6, 2006


Wait a second, what? Are you wanting me to email you because I'm that person or did you get some email? I can't figure that comment out.
posted by pieoverdone at 1:28 PM on April 6, 2006


Just one of the many attributes, sweetie, that make me better than you.

*flags it; wishes there was a specific "pure assholish" reason to cite*
posted by scody at 1:31 PM on April 6, 2006


cribcage writes...
If you'd like to open a MeTa thread by calling for people to counsel each other on the feelings of insecurity, rejection, and depression resulting from the decision not to have children, feel free. I predict you'll be told quickly that it's an inappropriate use of MeTa and your thread will be closed. You're looking for Usenet. (Or MeCha.)

I see, so you're not really complaining about the thread hijacking, you're actually complaining about *this* thread being hijacked.

lampoil writes...
I thought the discussion had moved on from "pie's comments: appropriate for AskMe? check yes or no."

For many people, it had. Other, more anal retentive types, were determined to stick with that no matter where the thread went.
posted by tkolar at 1:39 PM on April 6, 2006


cribcage, that was out of line. Way out of line.

Flag on the play, buddy. And in sentiment, if not exactly word for word, what Scody said.
posted by konolia at 1:55 PM on April 6, 2006


Cribcage, it took a real effort to be the biggest jerk in this thread. And yet, you have done it. Congratulations.
posted by LarryC at 1:58 PM on April 6, 2006


Huh.

I'm not threatened by people who don't wish to have children; if you don't want to have kids, you most certainly should not. And if you don't have children, I'm not especially interested in why, except in that I might be interested in other decisions you have made (like why you took flying lessons), or inclinations that you have (like what you see in the Ramones).

Often-- and certainly not always, but more than once in a while-- those who have decided not to have children cast that decision is really defensive, even angry, ways. I don't quite get it. Why on earth would anyone care, unless you have issues with your immediate family and their expectations, which is something hardly exclusive to deciding to become a parent or not? It's not anybody else's business, and I would never consider it mine unless I was invited to discuss it.

Having the child was the best thing I have done so far, in many ways. It's made me a better person, and enriched my life in profound ways. But, you know, ymmv. Why are some of those who are "child-free" so angry about it all, and why do they talk about children so hatefully? They're human beings, you know, albeit small ones.
posted by jokeefe at 2:02 PM on April 6, 2006


Ehh, bite me. Some child dragged her tantrum from this thread into my e-mailbox, and if she's offended by my reply maybe I'll sniffle a bit. But probably not.
posted by cribcage at 2:06 PM on April 6, 2006


cortex writes "Perhaps instead of deleting comments, we should leave them up but mark them with some sort of Seal of Administrative Disapproval. A little scarlet 'D' or some such. And any comment found to reference a marked comment would itself become marked.

"Although that's probably actually a
terrible idea. Never mind."

Anything that leaves deleted comments readable in some form replaces the disease (unreadable deletes) with a much worse cure (King of the Shitpile). Look at all the people who endevour to be the one making the "This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments" final post.

(PS: Wow, over 24 hours with out a deleted post on the blue).
posted by Mitheral at 2:13 PM on April 6, 2006


"Bile." Nice word from a clearly bitter woman.

Oh my gosh, I would elaborate on the rest of your comments but I'm giggling too much at the idea that I'm a "clearly bitter woman."

I'm not sure what I'm bitter about? Being happily childfree, newly married to a wonderful man, enjoying a life full of music and art and whatnot and looking forward to a lot of impromtu traveling without babies to block my way...yeah, I'm SUPER bitter! You don't need to worry about me, sweetcheeks! I LOVE my life. =)
posted by agregoli at 2:16 PM on April 6, 2006


I take back what I said about this thread being awesome. Booo on you, cribcage.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:18 PM on April 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Does anyone actually have a copy of my deleted comments anywhere? You can email them to me. I don't think stating what this man is in for when she springs the wannabaybee argument on him in a few years was necessarily a derail. It was 'don't waste the man's time' just with stronger words.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:27 PM on April 6, 2006


Oh, for Christ's sake. The thread cycles between every gutter short of Godwin and everyone's all smiles, but at 180+ someone throws out the word "barren" and the FemmeBrigade™ suddenly gets their panties in a knot. Lighten up, gals. It's not like anyone dropped the C-word.
posted by cribcage at 2:28 PM on April 6, 2006


Wow, can we delete any posts I've made that even engage cribcage as if he's worth trying to communicate with?
posted by tkolar at 2:29 PM on April 6, 2006


I'm feeling a little anxiety about this pants-phone-takeout complex. Do they run the government?
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:30 PM on April 6, 2006


Lampoil is coming from a similar position on the subject as pieoverdone, but is serving as a damn good example of how to state that position. If pieoverdone had taken the lampoil approach, this thread would never have come into existence.
posted by Bugbread at 2:35 PM on April 6, 2006


I would just like to point out the striking carryover of the "pants theme" from the all-time classic Drama Queen thread:

Watching [MeFite whose feelings I shall spare] try to shit in his own hand so as to fling it, only to realize too late he's forgotten to take his pants off first: priceless.

(There doesn't appear to be a way to link to comments in that mirrored thread; just search on "pants" to find scarabic's zinger.)
posted by languagehat at 2:40 PM on April 6, 2006


cribcage, darling, the problem wasn't that you said "barren"—the problem was that your whole comment was dripping with assholery over a purported, anonymous email about which the rest of us can only speculate and about which the apparent accused party has herself expressed confusion.
posted by cortex at 2:43 PM on April 6, 2006


I'm feeling a little anxiety about this pants-phone-takeout complex. Do they run the government?

Dude, they give orders to the zionist bankers. That's how far up it goes.

(There doesn't appear to be a way to link to comments in that mirrored thread; just search on "pants" to find scarabic's zinger.)

Nonsense, lhat. You just have to work at it a little.
posted by cortex at 2:46 PM on April 6, 2006


FYI, I didn't send cribcage an email.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:48 PM on April 6, 2006


I just did a page search for 'pants'. Now I feel kind of dirty.
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:49 PM on April 6, 2006


Lighten up, gals. It's not like anyone dropped the C-word.

cribcage, my man, you're exactly one comment away from making your name metafilter's own c-word.
posted by scody at 2:57 PM on April 6, 2006


the problem was that your whole comment was dripping with assholery...

Oh. Well, in that case, let me assure you it was dripping because I gave it a thorough soak before clicking POST. What, did you think my tone was accidental, that I was aiming for "conciliatory" and mistook one for the other?

Were you waiting for me to deny that I'm an asshole and an arrogant prick? Keep waiting. Hell, it says that on my jacket. But I don't go around sending profane anonymous emails, and that makes me better than at least one chipper li'l kitten in here. And since she didn't leave me the option of telling her directly, I did so here.

In the meantime, my attitude disturbed the delicate ecosystem of the day-old 180+ flamewar? Sniffle. Sniffle.

you're exactly one comment away...

Please don't turn the car around, Mommy. I'll behave.
posted by cribcage at 3:03 PM on April 6, 2006


Oh. You want to be a useless, unlikeable prick. I apologize for disrupting you.
posted by cortex at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2006


cribcage writes "But I don't go around sending profane anonymous emails, and that makes me better than at least one chipper li'l kitten in here. And since she didn't leave me the option of telling her directly, I did so here."

Uh, if it was anonymous, how do you know if it was from a she or a he?
posted by Bugbread at 3:11 PM on April 6, 2006


I have to say I think this thread has passed its use-by date and is starting to smell funny.
posted by jfuller at 3:26 PM on April 6, 2006


quiet, man—we haven't had a good ironic thread about thread-hijacking in ages. We need this.
posted by cortex at 3:29 PM on April 6, 2006


Wait, I found a new bingo card.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:40 PM on April 6, 2006


Can anyone point out a single instance anywhere on this site, ever, where a poster has said a woman is "damaged" if she doesn't want a child?

sic, there have definitely been derogatory comments in threads (on the blue) regarding women & couples who choose to not have children. I'd love to have the time to search for them (some of them may be in my posting history) but the horrific swamp of homework hanging over my head prevents it (not to mention the sucky non-search feature we have here). Possibly they were before your time, or you never entered them, but they do exist. Some of them were really out there too, suggesting that those who choose not to have kids have no right to marriage or the civil benefits attached. It's hard to forget looney, hateful shit like that.

Are people with children the actual majority in the western world? I've always been under the vague impression that those without children are the majority. They certainly are in my world. Outside of one aunt none of my family are breeders, and of all my friends only a gay couple seem to have any intention of becoming parents one day. With my co-workers and professors, it seems to be 70/30 on the side of the child-free.
posted by zarah at 3:41 PM on April 6, 2006


SteveInMaine, your a looser.
posted by cortex at 3:43 PM on April 6, 2006


Whose flameout is this anyway?
posted by LarryC at 3:43 PM on April 6, 2006


cortex: you were once a child, too.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:48 PM on April 6, 2006


SteveInMaine: stfu! What if your parents thought the same way?
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on April 6, 2006


LarryC, we're trying something new. By preventing a proper flameout and instead turning that burning energy back upon itself, we're closing in on the true goal of the project DARPA started all those decades back:

cold fusion.
posted by cortex at 3:51 PM on April 6, 2006


cribcage-Do you have an application for that FemmebrigadeTM you're talking about, because your attitude makes me want to join.
posted by OmieWise at 3:54 PM on April 6, 2006


You know, back in 1992 when I was contributing my little bit to the rapid spread of the internet, I had no idea how many souls it would eventually consume.
posted by tkolar at 3:57 PM on April 6, 2006


This was my flameout, goddammit. I was kinda scared it might get 'jacked with closure, but I never thought it would get diluted with humor and civility. Hamburgers.
posted by cribcage at 4:03 PM on April 6, 2006


sic, there have definitely been derogatory comments in threads (on the blue) regarding women & couples who choose to not have children. I'd love to have the time to search for them (some of them may be in my posting history) but the horrific swamp of homework hanging over my head prevents it (not to mention the sucky non-search feature we have here). Possibly they were before your time, or you never entered them, but they do exist. Some of them were really out there too, suggesting that those who choose not to have kids have no right to marriage or the civil benefits attached. It's hard to forget looney, hateful shit like that.

Oh what bullshit. You had time to read this thread and type that message didn't you? Show me the evidence of this widespread persecution of the childless or just shut up.

By the way, you can find derogatory remarks about people with children (and children!) in this thread alone!
posted by sic at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2006


SteveInMaine: I thought the bingo card was hilarious.
posted by JanetLand at 4:30 PM on April 6, 2006


" ... you can find derogatory remarks about people with children (and children!) in this thread alone ... "

As well you should.

People with children suck, because children suck and people suck.

I thank my lucky stars every day that I'm a dog.



Aw, shit. Now everybody on the internets knows.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:51 PM on April 6, 2006


I love Shriekback, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:52 PM on April 6, 2006


sic, I must have missed the comments that put you under attack when I skimmed this thread last night & this aft. Or are you just oddly taking my specific comment as an attack on you? I replied to your semi-query with nary a shred of personal agenda (I've only been out of my teens for a few weeks, I have no idea if I'm going to be a breeder or not!), and it took me all of 30 seconds to do so, which means my scale model theatre set (for Mother Courage & Her Children, heh) is not in any danger of being handed in late, yay! The 30ish seconds I waste on this reply will have similar zero effect.

But it's a darn good thing I can't be riled up by you mefites, or I would definitely have to waste a buttload of time finding the examples :D Just accept it, mefi is a hotbed of equal opportunity hatred, where not only do those with kids get bagged on, so do the child free. And pretty much so does everyone else, for whatever topic you have. Seriously, have you not noticed this?

I still need to find out the stats on with-child/child-free, for at least North America, I'm really interested to find out how diff or sim my personal patch of the world is to everyone elses...
posted by zarah at 5:00 PM on April 6, 2006


*gives mr_crash_davis a scooby treat*
posted by zarah at 5:02 PM on April 6, 2006


Bacon!
posted by konolia at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2006


has anyone said "he's got sand in his mangina" yet?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:36 PM on April 6, 2006


I don't think so. I hope someone does before that grimacing librarian comes along to tell us that we're done.
posted by cribcage at 6:55 PM on April 6, 2006


So what flag do we use when we want to see a thread closed? Watching this flaming train-wreck has been painful.
posted by onalark at 7:16 PM on April 6, 2006


If by "painful" you mean "awesome," then I totally agree with you.
posted by dersins at 7:22 PM on April 6, 2006


Heh. Someone's got sand in his...Goddamnit.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:27 PM on April 6, 2006


This thread is like a Denny's skillet.

So much shit in it, and it's all so delicious.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on April 6, 2006



posted by johngoren at 9:08 PM on April 6, 2006


Poke him again! Again! It's so fun to see the autonomic response.
posted by Miko at 5:44 AM on April 7, 2006


This thread is like a Denny's skillet.

hey, what's this white stuff all over my eggs for?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:47 AM on April 7, 2006


It seems to me that often this argument is heated and resentful because it involves three groups, one of whom is usually lightly or not respresented at all, where of the remaining two, one takes the other as the proxy for the missing antagonist. Specifically, outside of mefi-like social contexts you find a culture that is still in many ways prefeminist and especially so with regard to the idea of a woman's identity being chiefly centered around motherhood. The women (and men to some extent) who are not procreative are confronted on a daily basis by a procreative culture that tends to see them as damaged or subversive. This creates a lot of hostility, of course. But then, within mefi-like social contexts this debate flares up, usually the really oppressive procreative groups are absent and thus the third group—generally procreative but much more non-sexist and accepting of a non-procreative lifestyle than other procreative groups—is placed in the position of antagonist against the non-procreative culturally oppressed. Almost anything this tolerant and generally free-thinking groups asserts, if it is in any way pro-procreative, is interpreted by the oppressed group as just more examples of how they are oppressed in general. In doing so, the oppressed group also are usually angry and resentful (which is understandable) and make anti-procreative statements that are either explicitly or implicitly threatening to this otherwise naturally unaligned group. The word "breeders" is one such provocation—I don't think there can be any true doubt that it is a term mostly used with scorn and thus implicitly scornful, even when it is supposedly not intended to be. So, anyway, this third group, of which I number myself, feels unfairly attacked both directly in ways deeply associated with their identity (such as if they are parents) and indirectly by being incorrectly identified with the truly intolerant, sexist group. So this third group gets quite angry, which they otherwise naturally wouldn't be, and a conflict erupts that isn't really resolvable because it is built around false premises.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:56 AM on April 7, 2006


" pro-procreative"?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:35 AM on April 7, 2006


I have lots more antagonistic, intolerant, oppressive things to say on the subject but I'll save them for the next breeder thread since this one is aaaaaaaaallmost into the bit bucket. See Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.
posted by jfuller at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, EB has it.
posted by raedyn at 7:15 AM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, EB has the ability to parody himself better than anyone else ever could.

And, perhaps, a point.
posted by dame at 7:16 AM on April 7, 2006


What Ethereal said, but (much) more simply: just because you don't want to have babies ever doesn't mean that a maternity-related AskMe thread is attacking your way of life, it has nothing to do with you or your interests (obviously) so just leave it alone! We are not your nagging grandchildless mother!

Zarah, I didn't take your comment as a personal attack, I just really really wish you would back up your claims with hard evidence so that I can finally accept that there is a childless-person witch hunt going on this site that I've somehow managed to miss despite nearly daily reading...
posted by sic at 7:26 AM on April 7, 2006


heh, dame. yea, I have resisted putting a serious response on this thread because it's been, well, going in other directions, but now that it's been a little seriousified (if we can have pro-procreative...) I'll add a couple thoughts too: one is, it is possible to be surprised by something without assuming someone who feels that way is 'damaged'. Analogize the example - say you love traveling, and you meet someone who's never left their (perfectly ordinary, let's imagine) hometown, and has no interest in doing so. You might respond, really, you don't want to see the pyramids? you don't even want to see the ocean? That doesn't mean you think they're inhuman; you just initially find it difficult to relate - they think traveling is just all about not having AC and feet hurting from too much walking yadda yadda, and you think, well sure, it can be tiring - but it's so worth it.

I can definitely relate to choosing not to have kids; it would certainly change your life (or if it didn't, you are probably not much of a parent), and be really hard work, etc, but I don't really understand the utter disdain for having kids that some people express. sure, kids are annoying sometimes; so are dogs and people who have colds and people who rustle their newspapers too loud or chew gum - lots of things can be annoying. but kids can be cool, too, and then they grow up into new young people with their own ideas etc.

I also don't think it's all about 'you're a woman, you must love babies' - I think women get stereotyped as loving babies and men as wanting to 'spread their seed', but that's just how it's framed; the truth is men & women aren't that different in terms of wanting to have children. The main difference is that for women, it starts to become pretty unlikely after 30 or 35, if they're not already in a relationship, whereas for men it's not really unlikely 'til they're past 45 or 50 - their biological timeline easily has a 15 year padding on a woman's, so at 28 they may not even really be thinking about it.
posted by mdn at 8:47 AM on April 7, 2006


That doesn't mean you think they're inhuman; you just initially find it difficult to relate...

Indeed. Unfortunately, not everyone conveys their difficulty to relate in an elegant manner, and that's where a lot of friction comes from, I think.

Compare "wouldn't you like to see the pyramids?" with "whaddaya mean, you don't fuckin' like to travel?!"
posted by cortex at 8:55 AM on April 7, 2006


I think something similar can be said about the "You might change your mind" comments. Of course the "You will change your mind" comments are condescending and annoying, but a lot of people do change their minds about kids as they get older, and suggesting that someone might is not necessarily either condescending or demeaning. I know I didn't want kids at 28, began to see having kids in cost-benefit terms at 32, and really want them at 35. At 28 when people talked to me as if changing my mind about that was part of the teleology of adulthood I was pissed, but the people who simply suggested that changes in life frequently lead to changes in opinion about this were correct.
posted by OmieWise at 9:00 AM on April 7, 2006


Regarding the "You might change your mind" thing, it's also a matter of likelihood. That is, if person A wants kids and person B doesn't, people will generally say that "Person B might change their mind". They usually don't say "Person A might change their mind". That probably grates on folks who don't want kids ("Why is it always me that might change their mind, and not my partner?!"), but I'm sure if you pressed anyone who said "Person B might change their mind", they'd probably agree that person A might as well. It's just that person B changing their mind happens far more often than person A (no statistics, just personal experience, your mileage may vary). So, for some, the implication is "People who don't want kids will eventually want them", but for others it's "People's desires to have or not have kids may change, and they're more likely, but not guaranteed, to change in the 'want kids' direction".
posted by Bugbread at 9:16 AM on April 7, 2006


(And it's much easier for Person A to force Person B's hand, in that situation, than vice versa.)
posted by cortex at 9:27 AM on April 7, 2006


The travel analogy is off, because most people don't unthinkingly assume that you're going to travel. Society in general *does* assume everyone's going to have kids, which means that people who do not want kids probably have, in fact, thought through the various ramifications of their decision just because that decision so against the "default mode," and are often therefore more than a little miffed when people treat them like they simply haven't thought about it enough.

I grew up assuming that I'd have kids because "that's what everyone does." Changing my mind has been an extremely conscious process, whereas it seems that if I still wanted kids, I probably wouldn't have thought as much about it. I mean, there'd obviously be other concerns to think about, but the general "Yes or no" would never have been much of a conscious thing.

Though this may be more true for women than men.
posted by occhiblu at 9:31 AM on April 7, 2006


I think what's annoying about the "you might change your mind" comments is the implication that your life will be ruined, or at least take a significant downturn, if you do something irreversible and later change your mind about it and wish you hadn't done so. But it's not like people don't do things they later regret, things that change their lives in ways they didn't expect not to like, all the time. Anyway, you can certainly make the case wanting to have a child of your own but not being able to is not nearly as bad as having an unexpected, unwanted child.

I if I got snipped, and later decided I wanted kids, I'd go "oh well, in retrospect I guessed wrong, but I knew this might happen, and I had good enough reasons for doing it at the time, so it's plan B: I'll adopt, or maybe marry someone who already has kids" and get on with my life. I wouldn't be all "ohhhh, why, God, why was I so stupid" and go into a funk that lasts for years. So the answer to "you might change your mind" is simply "of course I might, so what?"

My impression is that people who say things like "you might change your mind" go through life conducting no sort of self-examination whatsoever, so that their regrets are always complete surprises to them. They have never considered the possible consequences of a course of action and steeled themselves for the possibility that one of those consequences might, eventually, be regrettable, and thought about what they'd do in this case. In short, they don't know what kinds of things they're likely to regret because they are strangers to themselves. This impression is probably wrong, especially because people do change in unexpected ways as they grow up, but it's still hard not to look down on people who give signs of not being very introspective.
posted by kindall at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2006


Kindall,

I understand what you're saying, but I don't know if your positing that people who say "You might change your mind" are folks who don't self-examine or self-steel. That might be true, and it might be false. The other possibility that pops to mind is that people who say "You might change your mind" are people who do self-examine and self-steel, and who think (rightly or wrongly) that the person they are talking to is someone who doesn't self-examine or self-steel (hence pointing out to them that they might change their mind, because that wouldn't have already occurred to someone who doesn't bother with self examination).

Personally, I think it's a mix of all four.
Some people who don't self-examine tell other people who don't self-examine "You might change your mind".
Some people who do self-examine tell other people who don't self-examine "You might change your mind".
Some people who don't self-examine tell other people who do self-examine "You might change your mind".
Some people who do self-examine tell other people who do self-examine "You might change your mind".
posted by Bugbread at 9:57 AM on April 7, 2006


Can we not use the word "breeders" as an epithet? Please? Pretty please?
posted by Lynsey at 10:04 AM on April 7, 2006


The travel analogy is off, because most people don't unthinkingly assume that you're going to travel. Society in general *does* assume everyone's going to have kids

yeah, I know I live in a bizarro world to most of america. in NYC it's a lot more surprising to find someone who doesn't have a passport than someone without babies. I thought of that example because my sister's bf is in his mid/late 30s and had never left america before last week. it took her almost 3 years to convince him to go with her to london to meet our family. he'd thought about it plenty - just wasn't interested. he only saw the down sides, & didn't 'get' why it would be worthwhile - why not just get a book about the pyramids? And there's a part of me that is like, come on! if you actually go see them, I guarantee you'll understand. But really, who am I to say? maybe he would go and just say, 'eh', and have tired feet.

anyway - one thing about "pro-procreative" is that it does kinda highlight something for me - the 'creative' part of the process. if someone doesn't want to have kids because they want to really get into their art/ thought/ other creative enterprises, then I totally understand. If someone doesn't want to have kids because they think it will upset their comfort/ lifestyle, then I kinda don't. Because I do think life is about producing something, whether a biological or artificial (hand-created, not unnatural) legacy. but - I realize that's just my way of doing life.
posted by mdn at 10:13 AM on April 7, 2006


I understand what you're saying, but I don't know if your positing that people who say "You might change your mind" are folks who don't self-examine or self-steel. That might be true, and it might be false

Yeah, that's why I said "this impression is probably wrong."
posted by kindall at 10:22 AM on April 7, 2006


Ah, sorry, I misinterpreted that part.
posted by Bugbread at 10:29 AM on April 7, 2006


Outside of one aunt none of my family are breeders

Not even your parents are breeders? Hmm, how did you get here then?
posted by beth at 10:34 AM on April 7, 2006


Adoption.
posted by Bugbread at 10:35 AM on April 7, 2006


immaculate conception
posted by sic at 10:49 AM on April 7, 2006


Just fell into it.
posted by cortex at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2006


Budding.
posted by Bugbread at 10:53 AM on April 7, 2006


It's about time we had a little talk about the birds and the bees, beth.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2006


this third group [...] feels unfairly attacked [...] So this third group gets quite angry...

And believe me, when the third group takes to lecturing the first group on why they should shouldn't take things personally, particularly things said to them on the internet, the irony is not lost on the rest of us.
posted by tkolar at 10:57 AM on April 7, 2006


Do we have a snappy little derogatory term for people who reproduce via a cloud of spores? "Puffers"?
posted by Gator at 10:57 AM on April 7, 2006


kindall writes "I think what's annoying about the 'you might change your mind' comments is the implication that your life will be ruined, or at least take a significant downturn, if you do something irreversible and later change your mind about it and wish you hadn't done so. But it's not like people don't do things they later regret, things that change their lives in ways they didn't expect not to like, all the time."

Well yes and no. The notion that someone's life may be ruined is obviously ridiculous, but we aren't talking about getting a tattoo or moving to a different part of the country, we're talking about having kids. And the people who are talking about others maybe changing their minds are usually people who have kids, which for most parents is regarded as one of, if not the, most important and rewarding things they've ever done.

Believe me, I understand the frustration that comes from the unthinking prejudice and condemnation of people who think that everyone should want kids; but I also think that while claiming that they've examined and considered all of the myriad aspects of the question, people who don't want kids often fail to grant the intense emotions that having children raises for people. It can't both be the perogative of people who wish to remain childless to have intense emotions about wanting to do that and to deny intense emotions to those who want to have kids. Obviously there has to be respect on both sides, but it isn't, for anyone, a decision just like any other.
posted by OmieWise at 11:00 AM on April 7, 2006


And believe me, when the third group takes to lecturing the first group on why they should shouldn't take things personally, particularly things said to them on the internet, the irony is not lost on the rest of us.
posted by tkolar at 10:57 AM PST on April 7 [!]



Fuck you


I know you won't take it personally
posted by sic at 11:02 AM on April 7, 2006


sic wrote....
Fuck you [...] I know you won't take it personally

Exactly so.

I did get a good laugh out of it though, so thanks.
posted by tkolar at 11:08 AM on April 7, 2006


My impression is that people who say things like "you might change your mind" go through life conducting no sort of self-examination whatsoever... [They] give signs of not being very introspective.

Funny, I'd say the opposite. You interpret it to mean they couldn't possibly have foreseen the consequences (or have "steeled" themselves to endure those consequences). I'd suggest it takes a degree of arrogance and an unexamined life to imagine that you're capable at 23 of predicting what will happen and how you'll feel at 37. Introspection ought to show you how far you've come since 13, which should dispel any sense that you've got a crystal ball.

It's been my experience that most people cycle through perspectives on the course life should take. At 19, it's, "I'll never get married. I love being single/having a career." Then at 22, they fall in love and it's a different world. And then they say, "OK, I'll get married but I'll never have kids" — until five years later when the clock begins to tick. It happens the other way, too: You're 10 years old and you figure your life will be a sitcom, then you hit college and discover your freedom and marriage becomes your nemesis. Whatever.

The point is, I don't think folks saying, "You might change your mind" are the ones living the unexamined life. I'd reserve that label for people who haven't noticed they're already changed their minds about a dozen important things, and so haven't figured out that process is likely to continue.
posted by cribcage at 11:15 AM on April 7, 2006


Cribcage, that was very well put.
posted by drezdn at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2006


Do we have a snappy little derogatory term for people who reproduce via a cloud of spores?

Fernies.

The point is, I don't think folks saying, "You might change your mind" are the ones living the unexamined life.

That's a good point. The flip side of is the case where a person may be more inclined to insist that other folks will make the same choice (or non-choice, in some cases) that they have than to admit to any self-examination that produces the unhappy result that they now think they made the wrong choice.

I'm thinking of the person holding the baby, staring wistfully at childless people doing childless things all around them, and asserting that this baby is just the goshdarned greatest thing that ever happened to them before going back to wistful staring, for example. From that person, the assertion that I will put myself in the same position rings of desperate try at vindication-through-recruiting.

I don't know how much of the population that is, for any given major life decision, and I certainly don't hope it's the representative slice, but it's another angle on the situation.
posted by cortex at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2006


I think that some people really underestimate the amount of time women of a certain age spend dealing with people telling them exactly what reproductive choices they should make and when. I hate the "oh, you'll change your mind" thing, not least because it's almost always expressed as "you will" rather than "you might." Beyond that, though, it's still hugely obnoxious for several reasons. 1) It's ridiculously patronizing. Do people the honor of believing that they mean what they say. Yes, they might change their mind, but telling people that in the inevitable sing-song tone doesn't do any good anyway, which is why it comes off as trying to defend the speaker's own choices. 2) Even if it's correct, it falls into the realm of making pronoucements about someone else's most personal business, which is pretty invariably rude. 3) In this case, it's a lot easier to change your mind in one direction than the other.

FWIW, I don't have children and I don't know if I want them. i do know that strangers or casual acquaintances who think that my "barren" state needs comment from them pretty much get an automatic write off as completely hopeless. The self-congratulation and vitriol that's produced by both sides of this whole argument is ridiculous (bingo indeed).
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2006


LittleMissCranky,

Understood, but keep in mind that this whole thing started because an AskMe question was posted requesting that strangers make pronouncements about someone else's most personal business.
posted by Bugbread at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2006


Here's a brief overview from the BBC of the various measures that the nations of Europe are taking to encourage people to have children. "Child-freeness" is clearly a matter of public concern and policy intervention in many places like these, and the underlying worry (namely that those who fail to raise children really are having their life-style and eating the future) is not seen as obviously wrong.

posted by jfuller at 12:44 PM on April 7, 2006


Understood, but keep in mind that this whole thing started because an AskMe question was posted requesting that strangers make pronouncements about someone else's most personal business.

Granted, but I wasn't really talking about the original AskMe, since the question was whether a woman would/should want children. I guess that I will amend my position to say that if someone specifically asks you whether s/he will want to have children someday, you are perfectly entitled to say whatever you would like. :)
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:04 PM on April 7, 2006


I wonder if the people who feel they've been harassed about not having kids have ever been to the Middle East. When my wife and I were in Syria, we got so tired of dealing with the "do you have kids?" question—saying "no" just brings on the avalanche: "Why not?" "When will you have them?" "Are you barren?" "What do your parents think??" (it seems to be inconceivable [heh] that people would just choose not to reproduce)—that we wound up telling people we'd left our (nonexistent) children at home with family. Now, that's pressure. I can't imagine what women who choose not to have children go through in cultures like that.
posted by languagehat at 1:12 PM on April 7, 2006


languagehat -
My husband is Canadian, but speaks Farsii and has middle eastern friends. When we gather with them and attend their cultural celebrations, I'm very glad that I'm a parent because it gives me something in common with these women. I'm questioned quite a lot about why we have only one and when we'll have more. I can only imagine what it would be like with no children.
posted by raedyn at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2006


Interesting, languagehat. Are probing questions like that not considered rude in the Middle East, just along the lines of, "So, are you gonna be watching the game this weekend or what?" I would think, in a culture where having kids is so much more the norm, that it would be considered terribly rude and hurtful to draw attention to a woman's "barrenness" in such a way.
posted by Gator at 1:31 PM on April 7, 2006


You interpret it to mean they couldn't possibly have foreseen the consequences (or have "steeled" themselves to endure those consequences). I'd suggest it takes a degree of arrogance and an unexamined life to imagine that you're capable at 23 of predicting what will happen and how you'll feel at 37.

But but but but.... did you even read what I wrote? *boggle*
posted by kindall at 2:23 PM on April 7, 2006


mdn writes "I know I live in a bizarro world to most of america. in NYC it's a lot more surprising to find someone who doesn't have a passport than someone without babies. I thought of that example because my sister's bf is in his mid/late 30s and had never left america before last week. it took her almost 3 years to convince him to go with her to london to meet our family."

I'm reminded of a woman I worked with who at 21 had never been farther than 160 kilometres from where she was born. We were going to a conference in Vancouver (a whole 350kms away) and she was estatic. This for a trip I used to make every second weekend for two years. Very wierd.
posted by Mitheral at 2:25 PM on April 7, 2006


Kindall,

He did. I think he's saying that a person who says "You might change your mind" is a person who has noticed that, over time, minds change a lot. A person who has noticed that has probably noticed that due to noticing it in their own life. A person who has noticed it in their own life is therefore a person who has engaged in self-introspection. Thus, you're arguing that, perhaps, a person who says "You might change your mind" is the kind of person who hasn't engaged in self-introspection, and cribcage is arguing that, perhaps, a person who says "You might change your mind" is the kind of person who has engaged in self-introspection.

If that doesn't clear up the boggling, then you might want to rephrase what you initially said, because I've read it, and I'm under the impression that I understand what you're saying. I'm also under the impression that cribcage has read it, and understands what you're saying and disagrees. If the disagreement continues to boggle you, then we're probably wrong in our interpretations, and rereading wouldn't be as helpful as you restating it with different phrasing, to make sure we're parsing it right.
posted by Bugbread at 2:31 PM on April 7, 2006


Similar to languagehat, when I lived in Romania with my (now-ex) husband, the first words we learned in Romanian were the words for "my husband" and "my wife" because we were sharing a sleeper car together which is something you're not allowed to do with someone of the opposite sex that you are not married to.

We were in our late 20's and people constantly asked us about our childbearing status, whether we were trying to have kids, how many kids we wanted, when we were going to start if not now, etc. If we responded truthfully that we weren't planning on it, we got the next round "why not" "what do your parents think?" etc.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell someone from another culture "I'm choosing to be different from the way they do things in your culture" without either feeling like you're a) insulting them and/or their people or b) setting yourself up to receive a bag of hell from them. I look at a lot of people's somewhat nosey questions in this country "Who are you voting for?" "How much did that cost?" "Did you have a nice Easter?" thorough the same lens. I just pretend that I'm from a slightly different culture and perhaps -- similar to how it was when I was in Romania -- my preferences are not the dominant cultural preferences, but it doesn't make them any less valid. If people think that they are, they are incorrect.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:04 PM on April 7, 2006


I look at a lot of people's somewhat nosey questions in this country "Who are you voting for?" "How much did that cost?" "Did you have a nice Easter?" thorough the same lens.

I'm sure many male mefites can relate to the experience of being in high school and having zero interest in spectator sports.

For the record, in the Mexican culture I grew up in, my mother talks about being relentlessly questioned about "Why aren't you planning on having more than two kids?? Is something wrong?" (my father has 10 brothers and sisters)
posted by vacapinta at 4:20 PM on April 7, 2006


Not even your parents are breeders? Hmm, how did you get here then?

My biologicals aren't my parents.

I guess I should start to look at the word breeder in a different light from now on, since apparently it has a long history of being used as a negative. My peers & I have always used for it's... what? literal meaning? medical meaning? Not as a put down.

I know I live in a bizarro world to most of america. in NYC it's a lot more surprising to find someone who doesn't have a passport than someone without babies.

It's like that in Toronto too, at least in the circles I travel in. On the rare occasion someone we know decides to start a family everyone is all "Really?? You're kidding, right?". It takes a few moments to be convinced they're really going to do it :D

I just really really wish you would back up your claims with hard evidence so that I can finally accept that there is a childless-person witch hunt going on this site that I've somehow managed to miss despite nearly daily reading...

If I'd said there was a witch hunt I would feel obligated to provide you with linkage, but I didn't. I believe the one example I mentioned was from a thread within the last year, a gay marriage thread that turned quite insane, so you could maybe find it yourself. I have no vested interest in lying to you about it or in having you believe me.
posted by zarah at 4:26 PM on April 7, 2006


vacapinta : "I'm sure many male mefites can relate to the experience of being in high school and having zero interest in spectator sports."

I was totally thinking of using that as an example earlier. I didn't, because I didn't want to trivialize the issue, but now that it's come up...

Gator, I don't know jack about Syria, so what I'm saying might not apply there. But your logic, "I would think, in a culture where [X] is so much more the norm, that it would be considered terribly rude and hurtful to draw attention to a [person's possible inability to X] in such a way" sure doesn't apply there. If you have asthma, you can't participate in sports. Sports are a big, big deal in Texas. But it's not considered remotely rude or hurtful to press someone on why they don't participate in any sports. If you press them and they say "asthma", you say "That's too bad", and you drop the topic of conversation. If you press them and they answer "I don't like sports", it doesn't click with your way of thinking, and you keep pressing.

My experience has been that, the more people generally agree on something, and the more weight they put on it, the less questions about it are considered rude or hurtful. The more people disagree on something, or the less weight they put on it, generally the more questions about it are considered rude or hurtful.

zarah : "Outside of one aunt none of my family are breeders"

beth : "Not even your parents are breeders? Hmm, how did you get here then?"

bugbread : "Adoption."

zarah : "My biologicals aren't my parents."

Bugbread shoots, Bugbread scores!!

zarah : "I guess I should start to look at the word breeder in a different light from now on, since apparently it has a long history of being used as a negative."

To my knowledge, it is used as a perjorative term by homosexuals to refer to heterosexuals (probably adopted to level the playing field, because heterosexuals had a plethora of perjoratives to use against homosexuals). This is the first case I can remember offhand where heterosexual non-reproducers used it to refer to heterosexual reproducers.
posted by Bugbread at 4:37 PM on April 7, 2006


Are probing questions like that not considered rude in the Middle East?

No, they are not. And apparently not in Romania either.
posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM on April 7, 2006


you might want to rephrase what you initially said, because I've read it, and I'm under the impression that I understand what you're saying

Very well then, I'll clarify further. As I said, it is not about thinking that you won't change one's mind. Of course you might change your mind. Duh!

That others feel the need to point out something so blindingly obvious to you as if it were a deep insight is insulting. To consider a mere understanding that one can change one's mind evidence of introspection is setting the bar pretty low.

The issue is not whether you will change your mind. The issue is not even whether you will end up regretting having made the choice you made; of course you might. The issue is: if worse comes to worst, can you live with the consequences of your decision? Can you put aside the potential regret and find fulfillment anyway? Do you know yourself well enough to answer that question?

Returning from the kind of soul-searching required to make a decision like permanent sterilization, only to be told you shouldn't do it because "you might chang your mind" as though you were a child unprepared to accept the consequences of your actions, is like returning from the Hajj only to be warned by a passing stranger that the first mile is a real killer. You know that already; you've gone far beyond and come back.

But, as I said, my impression is probably wrong. I'm sure most people don't actually think as shallowly as they appear to.
posted by kindall at 5:19 PM on April 7, 2006


Kindall: Ok, I was understanding what you were saying, but it was a two part deal (folks saying "foo" not having self introspection, and folks (in general) not realising that the possibility of changing ones mind does not preclude one from action, but requires the ability to make decisions, and accept that those decisions may be wrong, but one must have the gumption to live with those decisions). Cribcage was disagreeing with the first half (which, as you've said, you may be wrong about). I dunno that it indicates that he didn't understand what you were talking about, though, as I understood your two gists, and I understood cribcage's, and cribcage's was about the first part more than the second, and doesn't really conflict with it. I take it, though, that your central thesis was the second part, and the first part was more incidental.
posted by Bugbread at 5:26 PM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, the first part was prelude.
posted by kindall at 9:10 PM on April 7, 2006


The lack of introspection comes in when you go to step 1 but not step 2, 3, 4, 5...
posted by kindall at 9:11 PM on April 7, 2006


I don't understand why the "you'll change your mind" thing needs a lot of discussion. Saying such a thing to anyone in almost any situation is rude. It doesn't matter if such a prediction can be factually justified. It's insulting.

"i do know that strangers or casual acquaintances who think that my 'barren' state needs comment from them pretty much get an automatic write off as completely hopeless."

I don't and haven't ever seen this attitude personally, but I've heard of it enough to believe that it's pervasive. But it sort of blows my mind, nevertheless.

And what happens is that two different groups I feel an affinity with are at each other's throats. It would never occur to me to question someone's decision not to have children, but I like children and would like to have children and I can relate to other people who feel similarly. I can also relate to most of the people I know who don't want children because, other than how they feel about children, they're a lot like me.

I heard gay people refer to straight people as "breeders" many years before I heard it used in this context. And it is slightly a put-down in that context, but it's more defensive than offensive—a sort of in-joke and not usually said with much, or any, rancor. But from the childfree there's a real sneering tone to it when used in the context of having this sort of argument. It makes me feel defensive, it's just a few steps short of calling me an animal, and generally has the same judgmental tone that the procreative people have when they're questioning the decisions and lifestyle of the childfree. Two wrongs don't make a right, but in this situation it's not even the initiating antagonist that's getting it back—it's someone who's mostly an innocent bystander.

So I guess I'm saying that if you're going to give back what you've been getting, you should pick the right targets.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:06 PM on April 7, 2006


> from the childfree there's a real sneering tone

"Childfree" itself drips of sneering tone. It's drawn from the same meme-cloud as roach-free and disease-free and parasite-free and so forth. Bear in mind the times you live in: that you intend no offense has nothing to do with the issue. If anyone happens to take offense, you're automatically in the wrong.

posted by jfuller at 5:02 AM on April 8, 2006


What is wrong with the tone-neutral "parents" and "non-parents"?
posted by Justinian at 5:06 AM on April 8, 2006


"Childfree" itself drips of sneering tone

Didn't they themselves choose that moniker? I may be misremembering, of course. In any event, it doesn't sound "sneering" to me, or rather any sneering is at the child (implicitly compared to a disease or other negative phenomenon) rather than the person who doesn't want one.

What is wrong with the tone-neutral "parents" and "non-parents"?

"Non-parents" are simply people who are not parents. That's not what we're talking about.
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2006


I think that's the point, it is a sneering term towards 'breeders'.

I think the thing about 'child-free' as a movement is that it is a negative identity. My friends who don't want kids don't consider themselves "childfree"; they just don't want kids. But it's like not having a pet or something - it's just something they don't want, and only becomes an issue when they're in a relationship with someone with different goals. But again, I think that's 'cause I live in NY, where not having kids is a pretty normal choice (having kids is also a pretty normal choice once you hit about 30; a 20-something having kids is an unusual, though certainly not unheard of, choice).

Anyway, to have an identity based around something you don't want seems to inherently project a negative tone toward whoever wants that thing. I realize it's in response to a dominant culture, but it still does come across as kind of condescending.

that piece on european birthrates was pretty interesting. I didn't realize how low they were in some countries.
posted by mdn at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2006


"Didn't they themselves choose that moniker?"

Yes. It's their preferred term. There is nothing at all negative about it. In contrast, "breeders" is most certainly not how the procreative self-identify.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2006


My biologicals aren't my parents

Yeah, I'm too stupid to ever consider the existence of the concept of adoption.

I'd consider adoptive parents to be honorary breeders, anyway. I mean, they want children, they raise children. Most of them would do the biological emission of offspring part themselves if they could. I don't think it's absurd to suggest that they share the breeder mindset.

And "biologicals" are still family in the DNA-passing sense of the word.

Every damn one of us is the result of a looooong, unbroken chain of breeders, going back to the first archaic cell. That's all I was getting at.
posted by beth at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2006


> Yes. It's their preferred term. There is nothing at all negative about it.

The negativity and opprobrium is toward children and those who have them. Imagine a community that advertises itself as "Negro-free."

posted by jfuller at 11:37 AM on April 8, 2006


jfuller,

I'm a bit confused. EB says that the self-described "childfree" are often disrespectful to folks who want to have kids. Your comment indicates that you believe that by doing so, EB is being disrespectful to kids. Am I reading you right?
posted by Bugbread at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2006


I think that's the point, it is a sneering term towards 'breeders'.

Ah, I may have mistaken the original point. In which case, never mind.
posted by languagehat at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2006


> Your comment indicates that you believe that by doing so, EB is being disrespectful to kids.
> Am I reading you right?

Oh no, EB is always entirely civil as far as I've ever seen. I was just disagreeing with him, because he believes "There is nothing at all negative" about the term. As I say, compare the karma that would attach to "Negro-free."

posted by jfuller at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2006


Ah, ok, got it.

I suspect when he said "there is nothing at all negative", he meant "there is nothing negative towards the group it is used to describe". I don't think he meant "there is nothing at all negative towards any groups".

EB said "childfree folks use the word 'breeder' in a sneering way".
Your response, "isn't 'childfree' also sneering?" sounded to me, and apparently to languagehat, like you were saying that EB has used a term to disparage the folks who he's complaining disparage others. I realize that isn't what you meant, but given that I, and possibly lh, read it that way, I wouldn't be surprised if EB read it that way as well.
If so, EB's response, "there is nothing at all negative" probably meant "I didn't use it to in any way disparage those folks who don't want kids".

Basically, I think there's just a bit of disagreement about the scope and interpretation of "in any way".
posted by Bugbread at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2006


"Oh no, EB is always entirely civil as far as I've ever seen. I was just disagreeing with him, because he believes "There is nothing at all negative" about the term. As I say, compare the karma that would attach to "Negro-free.""

Sorry, that's just retarded. First off, you're going out of your way to use a pejorative. Child != Negro. Second, "child-free" has much more in common with "sugar-free" than it does with "negro-free." You might have glommed onto that had you not let Georgia overwhelm you. To equate the two is to admit to either fairly pronounced racism or amazingly moronic logic. Take your pick.
posted by klangklangston at 3:04 PM on April 8, 2006


Yeah, I stupidly thought you meant that the term was insulting to the childfree. But it's not, they chose. Whether it is insulting to the procreative is another matter. I see your argument that it's somewhat insulting but I think your comparison to "negrofree" and the like is very strained. The reason it's different is because, in general, if there's any animosity, it's from the childfree against the procreative, not their children. So the implication of negativity specifically toward children as persons is lessened.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2006


klangklangston wrote...
First off, you're going out of your way to use a pejorative. Child != Negro

I see now. I will start advertisting my gated as community as "African-American free", instead of "Negro free". I'm sure that will make all the difference.

Second, "child-free" has much more in common with "sugar-free" than it does with "negro-free."

Actually it has more in common with "(living creature)-free". That is, "pest-free" and "roach-free" and the like.

But, while you're displaying your great wisdom on this topic, could you please explain to me why "dogfree", and "catfree" are not necessary terms for people who don't keep pets? The only place I can think of where the free suffix is applied to humans would be "drugfree" or "alcohol" free. I'd love to hear some other examples.
posted by tkolar at 4:18 PM on April 8, 2006


tkolar : "I'd love to hear some other examples."

carefree
homefree
carfree
meatfree
homeworkfree
worryfree
posted by Bugbread at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2006


footloose & fancy-free

Or is that insulting to those with feet? Tight feet? Fancy feet?
posted by occhiblu at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2006


I don't think homefree a) is a word, and b) is applied as an identifier to humans. Unless that's what the Bush administration has decided to call homeless people.

Same for homeworkfree.

However, thank you for the other examples. I had forgotten that you can take any noun and take free on the end of it. Right now I'm shoefree.
posted by tkolar at 5:11 PM on April 8, 2006


take ---> tack
posted by tkolar at 5:12 PM on April 8, 2006


tkolar, you're right about home free. Whoops.
Homeworkfree I remember using when I was in my school days.
But, I agreed very very very lightly at the start that "childfree" had a negative image, but the more "[X]free" words I came up with, the more I realized that the [X] is almost always something bad, at least from the perspective of the person saying it (meatfree, used by vegetarians, and carfree, used by bicyclists, being examples of [X] being negative from the perspective of the sayer)
posted by Bugbread at 5:29 PM on April 8, 2006


"Home free" is actually a phrase, and it means out of jeopardy; assured of success: We had our hardest exams first and were home free after that. I always think of it in terms of criminals escaping, maybe because of "scot free." Once you get away you're home free; if you get caught, you could get off scot free.
posted by occhiblu at 5:33 PM on April 8, 2006


Occhiblu: correct, it's a phrase, but it isn't a word.
posted by Bugbread at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2006


I'm not sure that makes much difference, given the original question.

Basically, you use -less to describe your state if you're implying you'd like to be -ful. So "childless" to me implies that you might want kids, despite not currently having them.

You'd use -free to imply that the lack is a good thing. "Childfree" implies childless by choice, not circumstance.

But it does not impugn children, or parents, or anyone else. It's simply a declaration of intent, either an intent to be in that position or an intent to stay in that position. I'm sure it can be used sneeringly, but so can every other word on the planet (including "parent" or "childless" or "bread").
posted by occhiblu at 5:42 PM on April 8, 2006


(Especially since "alcohol free" is not one word, either.)
posted by occhiblu at 5:43 PM on April 8, 2006


I thought about mentioning the word/phrase thing, but I felt the essential point about -free being a commonly used concept had been well made by others and decided to ride with it.

"home free" is different than the others though, in that all except that one can be read "free-of-X"

free of drugs
free of care/worry/fancy
free of children

"free of home" doesn't work really. Well it can, but it's different from what "home free" means.

Nonetheless, given meatfree and carfree, I'm not surprised that people encountering "childfree" with no surrounding context would take offense.
posted by tkolar at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2006


Except that "fancy free" is actually more "free to pursue one's fancies."

My general point here, in any event, is that it's kinda hard to put all this negative intent on the "-free" construction.
posted by occhiblu at 6:03 PM on April 8, 2006


Except that "fancy free" is actually more "free to pursue one's fancies."

Whups, missed that.

My general point here, in any event, is that it's kinda hard to put all this negative intent on the "-free" construction.

I dunno. I'm still waiting for someone to explain why this particular negative definition is a good idea. It seems like the whole concept could be better served by a positive.

Personally I describe myself as "born to be an Uncle", but that's still describing things in terms of children. Must be a better term....
posted by tkolar at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2006


Now that I think of it, before I figured out the place in evolution for uncles, I used to refer to myself as an "evolutionary cul-de-sac".

"cul-de-sac" has a great ring to it. Much better than "childfree".
posted by tkolar at 6:21 PM on April 8, 2006


I'm still waiting for someone to explain why this particular negative definition is a good idea. It seems like the whole concept could be better served by a positive.

Because if you don't have X, and you don't want X, then it doesn't ever occur to you to define yourself positively by the lack of X, because X doesn't ever particularly factor in your everyday life.

I'm going to assume that you don't knit, but that you have nothing against knitting. Do you find it necessary to have a word at your disposal to describe your "I'm OK with knitting, even if I don't do it myself" stance that does not define you by your lack of knitting inclination?

No, you don't.

And you don't because "I'm a non-knitter" will probably never come up in your conversation except when you happen to be talking about knitting to people who do knit (or possibly in a "For god's sake, what's up with everyone knitting all the time???" conversation with non-knitters). It's just not enough a part of your daily life for you to have to find a "positive definition" for yourself based on it, in the same way that I don't wake up every day and think "I don't skydive" or "I'm a non-mountain-biker."

People who would call themselves childfree are pretty much just not concerned with their procreative status on a daily basis, I think. So why bother defining themselves by it?
posted by occhiblu at 7:30 PM on April 8, 2006


People who would call themselves childfree are pretty much just not concerned with their procreative status on a daily basis, I think. So why bother defining themselves by it?

wait, what? how is calling yourself "child-free" not defining yourself with regard to your procreative status?
posted by mdn at 7:52 PM on April 8, 2006


My point is that that particular phrase is only going to come up when talking about kids, which isn't going to happen all that often if you don't have kids and don't want kids.

Like I said, I can define myself by my non-mountain-biking status, but it's not something I'd mention when someone asks what I do. If someone asks if I mountain bike, however, I'd say I didn't. Same with kids. If someone just asked about my life, I wouldn't mention kids, because I don't have any. I'd only mention them if asked directly about them. My "negatively childed" status only occurs when the question of children is brought up. The rest of the time, it doesn't exist for me.

On the other hand, someone with kids is presumably thinking about them a fair amount of the time, and is likely to define themselves as a "mother" or as a "father," even when the subject of kids hasn't been brought up. It's a part of their self-identity.
posted by occhiblu at 8:05 PM on April 8, 2006


That is to say, being a mother or father is part of their self-identity in a way that my *not* being a mother is not. So I don't need a "positive definition" for not being a mother, because it's not a category that exists as part of the way I indentify myself.
posted by occhiblu at 8:06 PM on April 8, 2006


"But, while you're displaying your great wisdom on this topic, could you please explain to me why "dogfree", and "catfree" are not necessary terms for people who don't keep pets? The only place I can think of where the free suffix is applied to humans would be "drugfree" or "alcohol" free. I'd love to hear some other examples."

Because there's no societal expectation to own pets? I mean, duh.

As far as "childless," that implies that the normative state is "childful." For people who disagree with the idea that having children should be a normative state, "childfree" makes more sense. And it's only "insulting" or "offensive" to people who believe that having children is a normative state that society should enforce. Ergo, only people who make someone else's reproduction their business. Who should, in right liberalism fashion, fuck off.
posted by klangklangston at 8:45 AM on April 9, 2006


woo, thanks for explaining this.

i'd always wondered, but now i know.
posted by knapah at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2006


Childless is also insufficiently descriptive. It covers the 'don't have 'em', but more traditionally referred to the 'for medical reasons' crowd than the 'don't want 'em' crowd.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:49 PM on April 10, 2006


New phrase:

"Kids: Eh, Not So Much."
posted by cortex at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2006


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