I read a Twitter thread and it really annoyed me and so I am going to unpack it here.
This is the first tweet:
Not having children is a form of privilege, and it's one we don't talk about nearly enough.— isaacs (@izs) June 26, 2020
He goes on, over way too many tweets that I am kind of embarrassed I took the time to read and then review for the sake of a rebuttal that he will never see nor care about but I need to get off my chest, to describe how the job of parenting is a burden and people who don't have kids get to live in blissful ignorance to this and yet children are needed for society to continue so... privilege.
Here's where he has a point:
1) Raising kids is really hard work, and seems to have gotten harder as the years go on and we learn more and more about the 'best' ways to raise kids. Also, parents often feel alone, isolated, and unsupported in this hard work and that's a very real problem.
2) The patriarchy means that this work still mostly goes to women. This is also a very real problem.
3) We may feel a love for our pets that seems akin to love for children, but ultimately, pets are not children.
4) Just because people often choose parenting doesn't make it easier.
Great. That's out of the way.
Here's where he is effing ANNOYING:
1) The whole choice thing. Yes, procreation is necessary to the furthering of our species, and on an innate, evolutionary level that's probably a big part of your drive to have kids, but really, you wanted kids because you had strong feeeeeelllllliiiiiiiings. (I realize that many people don't feel they have a choice in the matter. This is a problem, for sure.)
2) I don't think privilege generally is a thing you can opt into our out of.
3) Speaking of choice, there are people who can't have kids (by birth or adoption) for a number of reasons who desperately want them. They may have more free time, but they may also live in deep hearbreak. Where does their privilege lie?
4) Parents are, indeed, less happy than their childless/childfree counterparts while their children are young, but then once their kids are adults they are actually much happier than others. So I guess parents with adult children are the ones with privilege???
5) In fact, as children age, the challenges decrease and the boons increase. I am not sure privilege is usually a thing that waxes and wanes?
6) Societal scorn is a thing. If you are a parent, you have now done "the right thing" according to society and are generally seen as a better, more responsible person.
7) I know for a FACT that there are companies out there who only give raises to people when they get married and have kids. This is all kinds of wrong and probably illegal, but it happens. Often subconsciously. I don't think people get, "you still don't have kids!" promotions.
8) People also get laid off or fired because they don't have kids and therefore it's "less bad" for them to be unemployed. Doesn't privilege usually HELP you make career gains???
9) He says that people without kids need people with kids. Ummmm, people with kids also need people without kids to help them. It's called community. We all need each other.
10) He says that if society really cared about people having happy, full lives we would do more for parents. Yes. We would do more for EVERYBODY if we cared about people having happy, full lives. This includes the many issues faced by people who don't have kids.
11) He says "So one group has to work harder than another for the same result, and society is structured in such a way as to reward one group to the disadvantage of the other. That's what privilege is, in a nutshell." Except that you aren't working harder for the SAME RESULT. You are working harder for a result that provides you current gains (feelings) and future gains (even more, better feelings + someone to navigate getting your old age pension fixed when it effs up). PLUS my ability to get drunk any ol' Wednesday I want isn't a societal advantage. Society really is built around families.
12) If a politician or religious leader is of "a certain age" and doesn't have kids, this often raises questions of their character or ability to lead. Having children only makes people question your ability to lead if you're a woman. (Of course, if women don't have kids their ability to lead will still be questioned. Society just still doesn't like women all that much.)
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