Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ass-ump-tions

It is amazing the assumptions and leaps of logic people make when they read these three simple words “child-free zone”.

I must confess that this phrase was born to be cheeky, thought provoking and perhaps even a little bit confronting but it rarely means what a lot of people assume it means.
What I didn’t realise was how much baggage people bring to a subject. Some of it is passion, some of it is fear and some of it is downright ignorance.

One of the funniest responses I received when child-free zone first entered the public arena was to the logo. I person I was working with at the time looked at it and asked in all seriousness “why does that baby have blood all over it?”
CFZ Logo, where's the blood?
Wow! I had to walk away. I couldn’t think of how to continue having a rational conversation with this person. Sure, part of our logo is red, but blood? Really? Something scary was going on in that person’s brain for sure.

One particularly venomous reaction we get that never fails to amuse me goes something like this “I’m glad you (horrible) people aren’t having kids. Imagine what terrible parents you’d be”. Yeah, well, you won’t raise my ire by agreeing with me ;-)
Do you think anyone will get this joke?
Another reaction, that perplexes me to this day, is “don’t you think that is a bit racist?” Of course there’s no racist connection whatsoever to the “child-free zone” words, topic or anything but yet, somehow, someone’s mind has made it.

Of course the subject itself is very broad and quite complex. You may be wondering why I’ve decided that these three words are the cause of these reactions.

Well, the reason is simple; most people who have these types of reactions have clearly not got past those three words before they go off. Rather than read a bit further or ask us a question they’ve decided, based on those three words, how they are going to react and that is that!

Only last week I had a person respond to my BLOG with the phrase “Your baby hating blog it (sic) just not cool”.

Now, Child-Free Zone always has and always will be about a person’s right to make an informed, appropriate and personal choice about reproduction. It provides the information for the other side of the choice, information which has been traditionally hard to find.

At no point does our web site proclaim or encourage the “hating of babies”. Sure, some people do feel that strongly about the subject and some people do indeed “hate babies”. But that is very clearly NOT what our web site is about. You just have to read beyond the title to discover this.

Wow, if they didn't get the last one, how will this one go down?It is public knowledge that I have no interest in babies. I don’t want one, I don’t want to be around them and I don’t find them interesting but I don’t just “hate them” because they are babies. Our web site, and well, me in particular, will bag adults for making stupid reproductive choices but it won’t “hate babies”. There’s no point, they can’t fix the problem. They’re the product not the cause.

I’m not the argumentative type. But when someone labels me incorrectly you won’t keep me quiet. It is not that I care about their opinion. It is that I care about their ignorance spreading to those I do care about.

ThinkI guess what this is all about is our reaction to unpalatable information. We’ll all encounter it at some time of another. It is us who choose to label it as unpalatable. It is also us who choose when to label it as unpalatable.

It is a tough ask, when our communications channels are catering to our ever shortening attention spans, but please read or listen beyond “the first three words” before you make your judgement on any subject.

I promise to do the same.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Families, who'd have one?

When I co-wrote our book “Child-Free Zone” I had over 80 participants fill out our survey. Participants were also asked to provide anecdotal feedback...their stories...if they felt so inclined.

Some even helped me with media enquiries as the adventure panned out. After all, the media wanted to hear more than just our story.

I met some wonderful people during this time and have been privileged to keep in touch with some and hear how their stories are progressing.

Recently one of our nicest couples and biggest helpers emailed me. We hadn’t heard from them in a while because the publicity and media attention for the book had waned by now.

The email I received from them was nothing short of heartbreaking.
Despite being eloquent, fair-minded, lovely people who simply chose not to reproduce, their family decided to launch a campaign of intolerance and misunderstanding upon them.

Now we all know the media can be, well let’s say, less than accurate when it comes to the facts. Hell, in our experience an article that is 80% correct is a miracle and quotes quite often aren’t! Still, there was nothing bad or out of the ordinary where this couple were involved.

As time progressed the couple’s family grew and despite wanting to be involved in their extended families lives they were shunned. Articles and videos were thrown in their faces as evidence that they are child-haters and bad people. Family events became very uncomfortable to the point where the email to me expressed deep regret that they’d ever been involved or public mentioned their choice at all.

In my experience, public and honest declaration has done nothing but foster understanding and tolerance among my friends and family. In the minds of reasonable people this choice isn’t even an issue.

It made me very sad, and still does, that the family of these lovely people would treat them this way.

To me the problem isn’t with the couple, it is with the family members who choose to shun them, believe the media and make assumptions rather than trust what they have experienced with them first hand.

I experienced this with people I didn’t even know. It was like they could tell everything about me from a paragraph in a newspaper or a 6 minute spot on TV. I’m sorry, but no matter how you cut it, and with media inaccuracies thrown in, I am far more complex than can be conveyed in any means other than knowing me in person.

Yet people are quick to judge when they have their own agendas and family are often happy to be more vocal and critical than strangers. This can be very hurtful.

The tragedy here is that this lovely couple have been forced to go back into hiding and denial about their choice. They asked me to remove their names from all past and future editions of our book, our web site and never mention their names again.

I have to say I was uncomfortable with this. I wanted to help them not erase them from history. Of course I obliged. I didn’t want to cause them any more pain. After all, they’ve got family being painful enough.

The lesson for me here is that, family or not, you don’t have to put up with this crap. You have to be you and if people don’t like it divorce them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Childfree Election


Every time an election comes around the babies are trotted out.
They are kissed, pandered to, subsidised and generally occupy a disproportionate amount of attention from our politicians and the media.

Funny thing is, babies can’t vote and their parents represent a dwindling proportion of the voting population.

Julia Gillard, notable for being barren and unmarried it seems, has suddenly started puckering up and paying out. She loves babies now but she doesn’t have one of her own or ever want one. Wow, is that a third face she has now? Abbott is no better. They don’t call him the mad monk for nothing.

Sure we all know politicians can’t lie straight in bed and wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them (thanks Mum for those pearlers) but do they have to be deceitful to our faces?

The “family” based rhetoric is dusted off as well. This really annoys me because, as far as I can tell, everyone on the entire planet belongs to a family, but this is not how the politicians use the word.

They use “family” based policies to disenfranchise, to divide and conquer, and to put “us against them” and they do it on purpose. It is a sure fire emotional catch-all. When a politician says “family” they don’t mean us.

You see, if you are single, married without kids, married with kids who’ve left home...let’s face it anything but a mum and dad with a baby... you can go to hell when election time comes around. You can’t say anything bad about families though and if you do look out!

The politicians want these policies to sound like they benefit everyone when really the only people who benefit are those with a baby right now! This is a very small percentage of the population and relatively short period in most people’s lives.
This is short-term vote buying at the expense of the planet’s future. Global problems caused by growing populations are fine to talk about outside of election time, but come time to vote we’d best start buying votes and breeding like rabbits. I am yet to see an economy on this planet NOT geared around population growth. It is a pyramid scheme by another name and subject to the same rules of collapse.
Rest assured having a baby for personal short-term financial gain is a bad idea too. Do you know how much a child costs its parents over its life? Estimates are now hovering around $1 million.

In 18 years when your child is still living at home and the baby bonus long ago spent, Gillard and Abbott will be curled up in retirement, living a life of luxury on our coin and not the slightest bit accountable or caring for your plight.
There’s actually a lot more to the future than just children so vote accordingly. After all, it will be your kids, not mine, living in the world you voted for.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dick Smith's Population Debate

I want desperately to chant “Dick Smith for President” but I think he’s better off not in politics.

The best things about Dick are that

a) he is persistent

b) he will transcend politicians

c) and he will outlast the three year terms they fight over.

When our current crop of muppets have f***ed off Dick will still be around keeping the new ones on the back foot (nearly said honest then realised how stupid that would be).

My feeling is that while there is a band wagon to jump on leading up to this election we’ll see an exciting level of discussion on this topic.

Once the election is over it will be back to business as usual.

We can’t trust politicians or big business to do anything but look after their own interests.

No policy or number or incentive or penalty will make a difference to what people do.

Waiting for infrastructure (geez that argument pisses me off) fixes and improved technologies (of any sort) won’t make any difference.

The only way to make a difference with the population issue is to do something yourself.

We, the child-free, already have.

The general population needs to learn that they have control – just stop breeding people!!!!

It IS that simple.

But, they won't until it hurts them or their back pocket.

I've said it before and I'll say it until I am dead, it ain't our kids living in the mess we leave behind - we don't have any!

David

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welcome to our new Blogger powered web site

Welcome to our new web site.

Using the facilities of Blogger we'll be invited selected friends and trusted CFZ posters to contribute to this site.

In the meantime please browse around and enjoy the content that is already here.

Regards,

David Moore