Comments

  1. jacksprocket says

    If she’s on her period, you don’t get the parasite or anythnig else. But that apart, and not having watched the show yet, I’d just say that they are neither. They are the reason we exist.

  2. psanity says

    In my personal experience, the human embryo is an alien symbiont. Nothing I have learned about these beings in the thirty-odd years since significantly challenges that hypothesis.

  3. says

    I wish I could go with the answer in your wonderfully eloquent piece.
    However, ticks function similarly to embryos.
    Though you are definitely not romanticizing the process, I recoil at the mere attempt to romanticize it.
    It is ugly, it is brutal and if we thought about it long enough, it would quite likely be outlawed if educated women had a say in it.
    Which of course, begs the question, “Why do educated women have babies?”
    I have no clue, truly.

  4. unclefrogy says

    very good and clearly illustrates the phenomena that life is remarkable. I think what some find so troubling is their desire for the “fetus” have intentionality that is different from what a cancer or a parasite might have, when the evidence is pointing to something else. The closer you look at any particular phenomena the blurrier it becomes.
    uncle frogy

  5. says

    It is ugly, it is brutal and if we thought about it long enough, it would quite likely be outlawed if educated women had a say in it.
    Which of course, begs the question, “Why do educated women have babies?”
    I have no clue, truly.

    There is immense social pressure to make babies.

    The first time I went to a gynecologist, I told her that I will never have children. Her answer: “You cannot say such words loudly. God will hear you.”

    When I went to another gynecologist asking for sterilization, she called me mentally ill and ordered me to leave her office immediately. This incident happened over a year ago. Since then I have written a bunch of complaint letters and spoken with several doctors (according to local laws, I am legally entitled to request and receive this surgery). I still haven’t gotten my surgery.

    People also romanticize pregnancy and motherhood in general. I routinely hear people talking about how pregnancy is so beautiful and whatnot. I see countless examples of maternity photo shoots of pregnant bellies. I see this as strange, because whenever I speak with a pregnant woman, she will always complain about feeling sick and being in pain. WTF? And babies don’t get any nicer once they are out of the womb. They scream all the time, they pee, they make shit, they need constant attention. No thanks.

    Yet the society keeps on insisting and reminding and hammering the message that motherhood is the most beautiful and fulfilling thing in the world.

    I have an ex-friend who once told me that all women want children. Those who say differently simply don’t realize their own true desires. If a woman is still childfree by the age of 40, she is bound to be unhappy and miserable. When I objected, my former friend replied that I simply still haven’t realized my true wishes and in a few years from now I will start wanting babies. Obviously, that was the end of our friendship.

    All that crap I hear whenever I say that I’m going to remain childfree by choice is just sickening. I must be abnormal, sick, mentally ill, delusional, etc. After all, there’s no way how a person who happened to be born with a uterus might not want babies.

    What I want is a hysterectomy instead. I still haven’t gotten it. (OK, my main reason for wanting a hysterectomy in a gender dysphoria. But I also really dislike periods and babies).

  6. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    To me, the comparison is less about exacting biological parallels and more illustrating the general principle.

    I am perfectly willing to accept that we should treat even a zygote as if it has some kind of rights. I know many folks disagree and I can see why, but to me, the fetus’ status in and of itself is moot. It’s the fact that it’s in someone else’s body. That makes it morally, if not totally factually, akin to a cancer or a parasite: a living thing that has no right to be in someone else’s body. At the same time, the same principle of bodily autonomy also protects people from having anything removed from them that they do not want removed. They want that organism in them? Then it is morally a symbiote, and it is doubly wrong for anyone else to attack it.

    But I loved the video anyways! It’s useful in response to folks like Inspiring Philosophy who claim to want to just make neutral derivations from the scientific literature. The fetus is 100% human? So’s cancer. So can we remove it, IP?

  7. unclefrogy says

    @5 & 7
    generally speaking if it wasn’t so pleasurable (having sex) we would not have an over population problem social pressure aside.
    uncle frogy

  8. unclefrogy says

    @14 are implying that only men have pleasure having sex?
    you might be wrong in that and if you yourself have trouble I’m sorry to hear that ( I do not want to get too personal here).
    uncle frogy

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    dragonessfredriksson @5:

    Which of course, begs the question, “Why do educated women have babies?”

    First, I don’t think educated women would misuse “begs the question”.

    Second, what does education have to do with it? And what do you mean by “educated”? High school? Bachelor’s degree? Master’s? What more education do you need than knowing women who have gone through the process?

    Third, there are educated women hereabouts who have had babies. Maybe you could explain to them that they should know better.

  10. =8)-DX says

    @jacksprocket #2

    If she’s on her period, you don’t get the parasite or anythnig else.

    It sounds like you’re voicing a common misconception. Sperm can survive up to five days in the female reproductive tract and it is in fact possible to become pregnant from sexual intercourse during menstruation, if the menstruating person has a particularly short cycle and early ovulation.
    =8)-DX

  11. says

    Rob Grigjanis @#16

    Second, what does education have to do with it?

    Statistics indicate that less educated women have more babies than better educated ones. The trend exists worldwide.

    What more education do you need than knowing women who have gone through the process?

    Religions tend to indoctrinate girls from a very young age they God wants them to make babies, that babies are the sole purpose of their existence, that in life they have no other options than getting married and making babies, that pregnancy isn’t a choice but an obligation, that it’s the husband who decides about how many babies he wants and the wife is obliged to obey.

    Once women get education, they finally realize that they actually do have a choice and they can be free to decide for themselves. Education helps them to counter religious indoctrination and society’s pressure. It also empowers them to be financially independent, which also gives them control over their own bodies.

    Third, there are educated women hereabouts who have had babies. Maybe you could explain to them that they should know better.

    If an educated woman freely chooses that she wants children, that’s her choice, and I have no problem with her decision. I only have a problem with women being pressured to make babies against their will.

  12. John Morales says

    What do you think? Are embryos tumors or parasites?

    I think it’s not an applicable question regarding oviparous embryos.

    For mammalian ones, obviously it’s functionally a parasite. It’s an organism feeding and growing inside another organism. Also, tumors aren’t organisms.

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    Andreas Avester @18: Of course there is a statistical correlation between literacy and birth rates, but dragonessfredriksson’s position seems to be that the women who choose to go through the process at all (whether only once, or more) are either uneducated, or simply haven’t thought about it enough.

  14. says

    @#15
    Re: ” are implying that only men have pleasure having sex?”

    LOL
    O sure women get some pleasure, however would you really think 9 months out of your life plus the whole birthing event was worth a few moments of pleasure?
    Seriously, here.
    Men get the easiest most pleasurable job in this transaction & then walk away.
    Women are physically saddled with the repercussions.
    I can’t believe I need to point this out.
    Honestly.

  15. says

    @#5
    I do find it interesting that no one has attempted to argue against my comment, “It is ugly, it is brutal and if we thought about it long enough, it would quite likely be outlawed if educated women had a say in it.”
    The fact that educated women do not have full autonomy over their own bodies and when & how it reproduces does not seem to bother anyone, whereas my contention that men make out far better in this deal than women do, does seem to ruffle feathers.
    O well.

  16. says

    dragonessfrediksson

    It is ugly, it is brutal and if we thought about it long enough, it would quite likely be outlawed if educated women had a say in it.

    Yeah, just what women want: people who regulate their bodies and what they can do with their bodies. I bet the trans men can’t wait for this wholly new and unprecedented concept of other people deciding about our reproductive health either.

    Which of course, begs the question, “Why do educated women have babies?”
    I have no clue, truly.

    Like, because, they want to have children? That was my personal reason (does a master’s degree count as “educated”?) and seems to be the predominant reason among the mums I know.

    O sure women get some pleasure, however would you really think 9 months out of your life plus the whole birthing event was worth a few moments of pleasure?

    You are maybe aware that there are people who get pregnant wholly without PiV sex? And that most pregnancies nowadays are planned? I have had a lot of sex in my life, but the times I had sex to get pregnant was less than five. Having the baby was the prize that was worth the price, because you’re right, no sex is that good.

    I do find it interesting that no one has attempted to argue against my comment, “It is ugly, it is brutal and if we thought about it long enough, it would quite likely be outlawed if educated women had a say in it.”

    1) Well, there’s no arguing about the brutal part, yet there are many other things that can be rightly called “brutal” that people are still allowed to do.
    2) People have jobs. Oh, and kids.
    Now, maybe you can explain what’s wrong with me? I mean, am I not educated enough? Or did I not think about having kids long enough (especially when I had a second kid, knowing all the gory details of childbirth AND of kids who puke)? Come on, tell me.

    The fact that educated women do not have full autonomy over their own bodies and when & how it reproduces does not seem to bother anyone,

    As far as cis women are concerned, educated women are actually those with the most control over their bodies as they have the most options, but it is very telling that you only seem to be bothered about the bodily autonomy of educated women. The second part is, of course, simply not true, as the people on this blog are staunch advocates for bodily autonomy, which is why we’re calling bullshit on your assertion that childbirth would be outlawed if only “educated” women thought about it for long enough, for obvious reasons.

    whereas my contention that men make out far better in this deal than women do, does seem to ruffle feathers.

    Yeah, like one commenter who mentioned that women also like sex. Whereas no one commented at all on your bullshit that educated women would outlaw childbirth. None at all.

  17. Jazzlet says

    dragonessfredriksson @#24
    So you don’t have any reasoned rebuttals to Giliells points? Ok.

  18. consciousness razor says

    Pick a solid point I have not already addressed.

    Let’s start with this: it’s not likely to be outlawed. The probability is very close to 0%, if educated women have a say in it, that it would be outlawed. That’s not likely.
    And we shouldn’t only let “educated” women participate in a liberal democracy. If all women have that right (and not only ones you get to select to accord with your preferences), the probability is even lower.
    So, alright, you’re just plain wrong about that…. But what about the unlikely event in which it does happen? It would not be a stable society over the long run, if reproduction were outlawed. So that would be tossed out again in due time, in this kind of oppressive regime you’re proposing, where people can’t choose whether they will reproduce. Maybe “educated” people would learn something from the experience … I don’t know, you’d have to tell me.

  19. says

    Hey Miss Numbers are people

    I am always happy to see you reply to my stuff.
    It makes me laugh each & every time.
    Thank you!!

    You’re welcome.
    Of course everybody can see your idiotic wankery for what it is. But I think a lot of people have already said everything that needs to be said.
    So, have fun convincing people that you * should be the one in charge of people’s bodily autonomy
    *Because, when we get down to it, that’s who you mean by “educated women”.

  20. Onamission5 says

    Always enlightening to discover, as I have in these comments, that the only reason I have children is because I’m too stupid– sorry, “uneducated”– to know better. Delightful, truly. Nothing like a little casual misogyny paired with classism before dinner.

    If at all possible would the commenters who are oh so much smarter than me please make a note of the fact that it is pretty easy to discuss why one’s own self doesn’t want to have children without denigrating* those who do.

    *Sorry about the big word. I only have a three year college education. Did I use it good?

  21. says

    Sorry, Onamisson
    The appropriate level of education is “when you completely agree with dragonessfredrickson”
    Them’s the rules.
    Though I think she may be the one woman to whom “penis envy” apparently applies.

  22. says

    My new friend is in the same category of the people who care so much about me that they want to save me from having abortions.

  23. DLC says

    Giliell @ 33 : Your new “friend” is someone who lives under a bridge.

  24. says

    Giliell @#31

    Though I think she may be the one woman to whom “penis envy” apparently applies.

    I recommend not using the term “penis envy.” Even if some person was rude towards you and you want to escalate the discussion towards an exchange of insults, “penis envy” still is better avoided, because it causes splash damage.

    There are FTM transsexuals and queer people who were female assigned at birth and who have gender dysphoria, and Freud’s idiotic and offensive concept of penis envy trivializes and stigmatizes their problems.

    Then there were also cis women who were happy with their bodies, but dissatisfied with the lifestyle choices given to them by a patriarchal society. Historically, the term “penis envy” has been used to mock, insult, and discredit their totally legitimate complaints about women’s role in the society.

    The history of the term “penis envy” has been ugly enough, therefore we should abstain from using it, even as an insult.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @36: You’re assuming Andreas Avester is a guy. Can’t always go by ‘nym.

  26. chigau (違う) says

    Giliell
    It is by no means clear that Andreas Avester is a “guy”.

  27. says

    Giliell @#36

    Thank goodness there’s a guy who can explain the term to me…

    If you believe that the term “penis envy” isn’t insulting, you are welcome to make your argument.

    If you believe that people can use the term “penis envy” as an insult without causing splash damage, you are welcome to make your argument.

    If you want to derail the discussion by claiming that I’m incompetent to discuss this topic due to having whatever gender or genitalia shape, then that’s ad hominem and such a discussion would be a waste of everybody’s time. I shall remind that personal facts about somebody who is making an argument are irrelevant when it comes to assessing the validity of the point they made.

    @# 36, 37 and 39 (chigau and Rob Grigjanis and Giliell)

    It is by no means clear that Andreas Avester is a “guy”.

    I prefer being referred to with male pronouns. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the extent of any necessary clarifications.

    @# Giliell

    Unfortunately, it seems like some people aren’t satisfied with that, they have to know the specifics about how my genitalia and reproductive organs are shaped just so that they could apply their pre-existing stereotypes to me (and use those as a justification for why I’m incompetent to discuss some topic). Fine, I’m female assigned at birth. I still haven’t obtained the surgery, because of transphobic doctors routinely kicking me out of their offices. Other than that, I prefer to live as a guy.

    Incidentally, in this discussion thread I haven’t said anything rude or denigrating. If you disagree, then that’s your interpretation (or should I say, imagination) rather than anything I have actually said or intended.

    Here’s the problem with subjective personal feelings—simply knowing that other people feel differently about the same topic doesn’t change how I feel about it. I know that there are trans women who would love to trade bodies with me (the feeling is mutual, by the way); nonetheless I feel like living with a female body sucks. I know that there are people who want babies and perceive them as cute; nonetheless I see babies as disgusting screaming bundles of stinky bodily excretions. If you are a happy parent, great for you. I couldn’t care less about what reproductive choices somebody else makes, that’s none of my business. If you dislike me calling babies disgusting, then that’s your problem not mine. I’m aware that there are people who consider babies cute. I have no problem with them disagreeing with me. I have no problem with somebody talking about how cute and adorable their child is. After all, it’s just subjective and individual personal feelings. Just as I accept that there are people who like children, you might as well accept that there are also people who, unlike you, dislike babies. Me stating that I perceive pregnancies and babies as disgusting and undesirable in no way implies that I’m looking down on other people who choose to have babies; in fact, I don’t care what others do with their bodies as long as they leave me be and don’t try to force me to make babies against my will.

    I believe that all the points I have made in this comment thread about social pressure to make babies are valid. Consider this one: whenever I need to visit a gynecologist, each time I sign up for a new doctor. I do so hoping that maybe this time I’ll accidentally run into a more liberal doctor who will spare me the sermon about how God wants me to make babies and who won’t consider me sick and crazy. The way how doctors treat me limits my access to health care. I believe that is a valid complaint about how our society behaves.

  28. says

    Rob

    Giliell @36: You’re assuming Andreas Avester is a guy. Can’t always go by ‘nym.

    You’re assuming I haven’t met Andreas before. I didn’t know he was a trans man, but I think he made it reasonably clear that he’s male. Actually, I think you simply saw an opportunity to play gotcha.
    Andreas
    You’re right about the term penis envy, I shouldn’t have used it. I am sorry for that and apologise.
    Having said that, this is also completely unacceptable:

    I see babies as disgusting screaming bundles of stinky bodily excretions.

    Right, some people like babies or kids, some people don’t, and I’m very happy when people who don’t just don’t have any, but calling a whole group of humans disgusting things for characteristics that they all share yet are completely outside of their control just like their bladder is absolutely dehumanising.

    Me stating that I perceive pregnancies and babies as disgusting and undesirable in no way implies that I’m looking down on other people who choose to have babies

    This is, of course, a complete contradiction in and on itself. If pregnancies and babies are “disgusting” and not just something that is absolutely not your thing, then of course it logically follows that there must be something wrong with people who make different choices.
    It would be similar if I said (which I never would) “Pregnancies and babies are the natural function of bodies assigned female at birth and no such person is complete without having children, but that implies in no way that I’m looking down at people who choose not to have babies.”
    Now, while I couldn’t care less about how you see my personal choice as because I’m a pretty privileged person, I see your stance within a wider context where especially women, especially poor women, especially of colour, are denigrated for having kids and where kids are denigrated to the level of things. This means that in turn there is less support for families and less protection for children against abusive families.
    While I understand that this is a very personal subject for you, you are also causing splash damage. Because the issues that children face qua children have a lot to do with how they’re viewed in society and right now the overwhelming attitude is NOT “very vulnerable human beings with specific characteristics”.

    I believe that all the points I have made in this comment thread about social pressure to make babies are valid.

    I absolutely don’t disagree with you there. I work with kids. i work with a lot of kids whose parents should not have had children.

    Consider this one: whenever I need to visit a gynecologist, each time I sign up for a new doctor. I do so hoping that maybe this time I’ll accidentally run into a more liberal doctor who will spare me the sermon about how God wants me to make babies and who won’t consider me sick and crazy.

    I’m absolutely wishing you good luck with that. Honestly and sincerely. Choice must be paramount and control over our bodies absolute.

  29. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @42:

    Actually, I think you simply saw an opportunity to play gotcha.

    Well of course! That’s what I do.

  30. says

    Giliell @#42

    This is, of course, a complete contradiction in and on itself. If pregnancies and babies are “disgusting” and not just something that is absolutely not your thing, then of course it logically follows that there must be something wrong with people who make different choices.

    No, it doesn’t follow. At least I don’t see why it should follow. People express their aesthetic opinions all the time. When I say “I perceive this artwork as beautiful,” I’m not implying that there’s something wrong with everybody who disagrees with me. When I’m saying “I perceive this artwork as ugly and disgusting,” I’m not making any other implications, I simply express a personal and subjective aesthetic preference. I know that other people’s tastes differ, I know that majority of humanity disagrees with most, if not all, of my aesthetic opinions. I’m OK with that, I never imply that other people ought to agree with my aesthetic preferences.

    I express aesthetic opinions all the time. When I say “hairless cats are ugly,” “breast implants are ugly,” or “snakes and spiders are beautiful,” I don’t intend my statements to be in any way offensive to everybody who has the opposite preferences, and I also fully acknowledge the subjective nature of my opinions.

    It would be similar if I said (which I never would) “Pregnancies and babies are the natural function of bodies assigned female at birth and no such person is complete without having children, but that implies in no way that I’m looking down at people who choose not to have babies.”

    That’s not how I perceive it. Me saying “I perceive pregnancies as painful and babies as disgusting” would be more similar to somebody else saying “I perceive pregnancies as beautiful and pleasant and babies as cute and adorable.” The latter statement would be simply an expression of one’s personal aesthetic opinion. It wouldn’t imply that there’s something wrong with people who dislike pregnancies and babies. When somebody says “I perceive babies as cute and adorable,” I have no problem with this statement. I don’t feel that this person has in any way implied that they are looking down on people who prefer to remain childfree. All they did was expressing a personal and subjective aesthetic opinion.

    The statement “babies are cute and adorable,” differs from “a woman cannot be complete without having children.” The first is a personal and subjective aesthetic opinion about what somebody perceives as likeable. I’m OK with people expressing aesthetic opinions that differ from mine. The latter is an attempt to establish a prescriptive norm about how women ought to live. That’s something I’m not OK with.

    calling a whole group of humans disgusting things for characteristics that they all share yet are completely outside of their control just like their bladder is absolutely dehumanising

    Ok, fine, I should probably tone down my language. Instead of “for me babies seem disgusting and irritating” I might as well say “dirty diapers seem disgusting,” and “baby screams seem irritating.” The latter is actually more accurate.

    My problem is how our society has created a narrative that everybody likes babies. Any opposing aesthetic opinions get censored. If somebody dares to loudly say that they dislike babies, there’s a moral outrage and the offending person gets labeled as sick, sociopathic, loveless, cold, selfish, inhumane, etc. I have a problem with this kind of narrative. Firstly, it creates false assumptions. People assume that everybody must like babies, because, after all, nobody dares to loudly express opposing opinions. Secondly, it stigmatizes those of us who dislike babies. Some years ago, when I first realized that I don’t want children, I started wondering what’s wrong with me and whether I am abnormal. Thirdly, this kind of dominant narrative makes it harder to obtain voluntary sterilization and pressures people to have children regardless of what they actually wish.

    Here is an interesting podcast about voluntarily staying childfree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJQ2DyB5_D0
    Between 9:02 and 15:35 there is an anonymous letter from a woman who is a mother but wishes she were childfree. I recommend you listen to that one (although this podcast is interesting in its entirety). That story is just so sad. The dominant narrative says that if a young woman accidentally gets pregnant, once the baby is born she will be happy and enjoy the motherhood. This narrative is a lie in the sense that it’s not the case for every woman.

    Silencing the voices of everybody who dares to loudly say “I hate kids” is harmful for the society. I’m not sure how blunt language you are willing to accept from people who dislike babies, but if your upper limit are phrases like “babies aren’t for me,” then you are creating a one-sided narrative by silencing everybody who dislikes children. This kind of narrative harms unsuspecting prospective parents who don’t realize what they are getting themselves into (after all, nobody is allowed to talk about the negative aspects of parenthood). It also harms children who grow up in loveless families.

    I want a different narrative, I wish for social perception to change. Currently it is: “Parenting is something everybody enjoys.” Instead I want it to shift towards: “Parenting is something that some people enjoy but others absolutely hate. Before making a baby, it’s highly recommended to consider whether you really want one. Remaining childfree and disliking babies is totally normal and a valid lifestyle choice.”

    In order for social standards to shift, we need people to dare to loudly say “I strongly dislike babies.” Otherwise we only perpetuate the current prevailing opinions about how everybody loves being a parent.

    Both of us wish for people to have a choice about whether they become parents or no. I believe that, under current circumstances, making the choice that goes against society’s expectations is hard. I have chosen to speak out my mind and loudly admit that I don’t want children. That has resulted in me experiencing a shitstorm. I know many other people who are childfree by choice but choose to hide this fact and instead invent fake stories about being infertile or having failed to find the right partner. I don’t like this kind of situation. Instead, I want people to be truly free to choose whether they want kids. I believe this will be possible only when the society stops silencing and censoring everybody who dares to loudly admit that they dislike babies.

    I see your stance within a wider context where especially women, especially poor women, especially of colour, are denigrated for having kids and where kids are denigrated to the level of things. This means that in turn there is less support for families and less protection for children against abusive families.

    This problem doesn’t exist in my country. Here we have a very low birth rate (Latvians are sort of dying out). Thus there is some existential fear (from nationalists, obviously) and lots of people demand that everybody who has a womb must make as many babies as possible. The state financially supports parents and heavily subsidizes all sorts of things that are childcare related like kindergartens or food for kids. I understand that the situation differs in other countries, but my personal attitude towards childfreedom is heavily influenced by local circumstances and all that criticism from people who have claimed that people like me are to blame for Latvians dying out. (Personally, I couldn’t care less if Latvians died out due to low birth rates, I’m not a nationalist, and I don’t think that the world needs more white babies.)

    While I understand that this is a very personal subject for you, you are also causing splash damage. Because the issues that children face qua children have a lot to do with how they’re viewed in society and right now the overwhelming attitude is NOT “very vulnerable human beings with specific characteristics”.

    “Vulnerable human beings who need society’s support and protection” is how children are viewed where I live. There’s also the assumption that the state must pay for majority of childcare-related expenses. I’m perfectly OK with this attitude, I also share it, because I don’t want any child to suffer. Just because I personally perceive babies as disgusting doesn’t mean that I want them to suffer. They are innocent and vulnerable and they deserve all the protection the society can possibly provide for them. I am perfectly fine with paying taxes so that other people’s kids can get free kindergartens, free education, free medical care, free food, etc. I don’t have anything against babies; I simply don’t want to be that person who is stuck with the responsibility of changing their stinky diapers. I also don’t want any babies near me, because their screams are irritating. As long as they are far enough away from me, I don’t mind supporting them financially. I also prefer all children to be happy and taken care of.

    Again, I am aware that cultural perception of childcare and state’s role in supporting kids varies by country. I know that it’s much worse in some other countries.

  31. says

    Andreas
    Well, I think a main problem is that we aren’t talking about aesthetic opinions, but human beings. When you say “babies are disgusting”, you don’t say “I don’t find the general physical characteristics of babies visually pleasing”, you say “this group of humans has a characteristic that makes them revolting”.
    You don’t have to find babies cute. I don’t find most of them cute either. I don’t even like spending much time with babies that are not my own who are thankfully no longer babies. All that is different from “babies are disgusting”.
    I absolutely don’t get why you keep going on about this being a question of aesthetic opinion. Babies are human beings not artwork.

    My problem is how our society has created a narrative that everybody likes babies.

    Believe it or not, I absolutely agree. Children and babies are a huge responsibility, they are small vulnerable humans and not a cute accessory.

    Thirdly, this kind of dominant narrative makes it harder to obtain voluntary sterilization and pressures people to have children regardless of what they actually wish.

    Again, no disagreement here.

    The dominant narrative says that if a young woman accidentally gets pregnant, once the baby is born she will be happy and enjoy the motherhood. This narrative is a lie in the sense that it’s not the case for every woman.

    We’re on the same side here. Motherhood regrets are something that is even more taboo than saying you don’t want kids in the first place. I love my kids, I chose to have them, I absolutely do not regret having them, but i also know that I will never stay pregnant and have another kid, no matter how much people see us as the perfect family to have one more.

    Silencing the voices of everybody who dares to loudly say “I hate kids” is harmful for the society.

    But here you’re off again. How is that different from “I hate black people” or “I hate gays”? I get all the frustration with the social pressure to have children, but to turn around express it in hatred against children is simply wrong.

    but if your upper limit are phrases like “babies aren’t for me,” then you are creating a one-sided narrative by silencing everybody who dislikes children.

    I’m pretty much OK with “I don’t like children”. I am pretty aware that children have specific characteristics that make them different from adults and that there are people who don’t like those characteristics. But children are also part of society, as a group and as individuals they are very vulnerable and they are also a group against which violence is still very much accepted.

    It also harms children who grow up in loveless families.

    And publicly declaring that you hate them is beneficial?

    “Parenting is something that some people enjoy but others absolutely hate. Before making a baby, it’s highly recommended to consider whether you really want one. Remaining childfree and disliking babies is totally normal and a valid lifestyle choice.”

    That’s something I can get behind, but it’s also completely different from “I hate kids and babies are disgusting”.

    This problem doesn’t exist in my country.

    I call bullshit on this. You’re trying to tell me that childhood poverty isn’t a thing in Latvia and that children are never abused in Latvia? Latvia is place 27 of 29 concerning childhood welfare in industrialised nations.
    Also one third of Latvian children are abused by their parents and despite this being illegal, the state does not seem to give a fuck.

  32. says

    When you say “babies are disgusting”, you don’t say “I don’t find the general physical characteristics of babies visually pleasing”, you say “this group of humans has a characteristic that makes them revolting”.

    As long as a baby is clean and not screaming, I don’t feel that much emotion towards this child. Yet the moment they make shitty diapers and start screaming, they do revolt me. I feel a desire to distance myself from a screaming baby in shitty diapers for the exact same reason why I feel a desire to distance myself from a particularly stinky public toilet.

    I have already been informed that my desire to stay away from irritating noises and stinky diapers means I must be sick, loveless, cold, and evil. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep on living as an evil person. /sarcasm tag

    I absolutely don’t get why you keep going on about this being a question of aesthetic opinion. Babies are human beings not artwork.

    True, human beings aren’t artworks. But this doesn’t stop me from feeling what is essentially an aesthetic reaction when I see their bodies, or hear the sounds they make, or sniff the smells they have. I perceive some human bodies as very beautiful. I perceive some human voices as beautiful. And then there are baby screams and stinky diapers. Those also cause in me an aesthetic reaction which can be summed up as “don’t like.”

    But here you’re off again. How is that different from “I hate black people” or “I hate gays”? I get all the frustration with the social pressure to have children, but to turn around express it in hatred against children is simply wrong.

    Actually, I’m not certain what exactly causes my revulsion towards babies or pregnancy in general. I do have a theory. I have no way of knowing how true it is though. Anyway, here it goes—the probability of getting pregnant scares the shit out of me. It’s related to my gender dysphoria. I have come to terms with my body being somewhat feminine, but the probability of it getting any more feminine than it already is freaks me out immensely. For example, I keep my body pretty thin not because I worry about getting fat on my stomach, but because the prospect of my breasts getting any bigger freaks me out (as women gain weight, their breast size tends to get larger). Pregnancy scares me immensely. It messes up women’s bodies in ways that I couldn’t live with. Simply imagining that this might happen with my body makes me think about killing myself. Here’s the scenario that freaks me out—I have very irregular periods (due to having PCOS), what if I don’t notice that I have gotten pregnant before it’s already too late to get an abortion? I know that this scenario is extremely unlikely. But I also know that birth control isn’t 100% reliable. So here I am, being so immensely scared of something that’s very unlikely to happen. My theory is that my revulsion towards babies is partially caused by my immense fear that my body might go through a pregnancy against my will. If this theory is true, my revulsion towards babies should lessen after getting my surgery, because then I would finally feel safe that at least my body isn’t going to get any more feminine. I know that I should fix my body as soon as possible, but: transphobic doctors who keep kicking me out of their offices.

    Of course, stinky diapers are also part of my dislike for babies.

    they are very vulnerable and they are also a group against which violence is still very much accepted

    I didn’t know that violence against children is accepted. Spanking them was illegal even 20 years ago back when I was growing up.

    And publicly declaring that you hate them is beneficial?

    Are you suggesting I censor myself and keep my mouth shut instead?

    How much of the ugly truth am I allowed to reveal? Using words like “hate,” “repulsive,” or “disgusting” is forbidden right? Am I at least allowed to say “dislike”? What about “don’t want”? Or should I live in a closet and not dare say a word about my attitude towards babies at all? I hope you at least won’t tell me to fake it and pretend that I like babies.

    You’re trying to tell me that childhood poverty isn’t a thing in Latvia and that children are never abused in Latvia?

    The real underlying problem is “poverty” rather than “childhood poverty.” The former isn’t that simple to fix. Kindergartens are already heavily subsidized, food is free for kids in many regions, public transportation is free for children, education (including universities, in many cases) is free, all parents are given money from the state every month, there are plenty of attempts to support families. When the limiting factor is poverty is general, there is no magical miracle solution that could fix all the problems.

    Also one third of Latvian children are abused by their parents and despite this being illegal, the state does not seem to give a fuck.

    Back when I was growing up, the state did seem to give a fuck. There was a toll-free phone number that any kid could call and ask for help. I also remember seeing countless advertisements in public places and on TV reminding parents not to spank their kids. I don’t know about the current developments though. I have had no need to follow up on the topic, as it doesn’t directly affect me.

    Either way, how does me censoring myself or putting on a fake smile and proclaiming that I love babies could possibly help any child who is being abused by their parents whom I don’t even know? I never in any way advocated spanking or any other forms of child abuse. I only said that I don’t like babies. My statement in no way justifies abusing them.

  33. says

    There’s one thing I forgot to make clear: I always separate my emotional reactions to things from my (hopefully) more rational opinions about them. My dislike for babies is purely emotional. It’s just a visceral reaction. There’s nothing rational about it, just like some of my fears are also completely irrational. I cannot do much about my emotional reaction to babies, because that’s just how I feel. They simply cause a negative emotional response from me. I cannot control my emotional reactions to various stimuli.

    The fact that I feel certain emotional responses towards children in no way influences my rational opinions about them. I strongly oppose child abuse, spanking, or any mistreatment of children. I believe that children must be protected and taken care for. I would never advocate child abuse. Nor am I trying to excuse it. Nor have I ever personally hurt any child (I prefer to just stay away from them).

    I only stated my emotional reaction towards babies. I never meant to imply anything other with that. I draw a line between my emotions and my rationally formed opinions and choices. I never base my attitudes or opinions on the emotions I may feel. Just because I experience a negative emotional response towards babies in no way gives me rational reasons to advocate their abuse. In fact, I have numerous rational reasons to care for the well being of children. I want all people to have good and happy lives, regardless of their age or any other criteria. The simple fact that, on an emotional lever, babies seem repulsive for me, in no way justifies me to form any negative attitudes towards them.

    I extend this attitude towards all people in general. For example, on an emotional level, I may strongly dislike transphobes, but I would never advocate any actions that could hurt them. As far as I’m concerned, the concept of human rights overrides my emotional reactions towards any group of people. I want all people on this planet to be treated well and have good and happy lives. How I feel towards any of them is irrelevant for the opinions I have rationally chosen to adopt.

  34. says

    Giliell

    Having said that, this is also completely unacceptable:

    I see babies as disgusting screaming bundles of stinky bodily excretions.

    Why? It’s true — babies are screaming shit-factories. Now, most of ’em grow out of it, but, uh, that doesn’t make Andreas’ observation any less true.

  35. says

    How much of the ugly truth am I allowed to reveal? Using words like “hate,” “repulsive,” or “disgusting” is forbidden right?

    Oh, it’s not forbidden. It’s like always: you can totally say that, but you also have to live with the consequences.
    If you go on and publicly proclaim that you hat a group of people, think they’re repulsive and disgusting, others will form an opinion about you and judge and treat you accordingly. That isn’t censorship or oppression.

    I never base my attitudes or opinions on the emotions I may feel.

    This absolutely makes no sense given what you’ve written. It doesn’t make sense about human beings in general either. “Babies are disgusting” is an attitude and an opinion as well.

    WMDKitty

    It’s true — babies are screaming shit-factories.

    Well, most babies grow out of it, you keep doing it on the internet.
    Oh, wait, was that not nice? Though luck.

  36. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @49:

    If you go on and publicly proclaim that you hat a group of people, think they’re repulsive and disgusting, others will form an opinion about you and judge and treat you accordingly.

    That goes for people who tell others that their feelings about things are “unacceptable” as well. I’ll take emotional honesty over your brand of preachy judgmental bullshit any day. You’re an obnoxious ass.

  37. says

    I don’t think that I’m hurting anybody by openly expressing my emotional reaction to baby screams or stinky diapers. I don’t see how my words could potentially lead to some child getting spanked by their parents. Nor do I see how me staying silent about my emotions could potentially save any child from parental abuse. During my everyday life I simply distance myself from children. I’m not hurting any of them.

    I never base my attitudes or opinions on the emotions I may feel.

    This absolutely makes no sense given what you’ve written. It doesn’t make sense about human beings in general either. “Babies are disgusting” is an attitude and an opinion as well.

    “Babies are disgusting” is my emotional reaction to them. That’s how I feel. Me feeling a negative emotional reaction towards babies justifies my decision not to have any children of my own. It also justifies my decision not to apply for any childcare-related jobs. When it comes to my personal life, I just make lifestyle choices that allow me to stay away from children.

    “Babies have human rights, they deserve to be taken care of and be protected” is my political opinion. I strongly oppose any forms of child abuse. I believe that states ought to support children and families. I want all children to have good and happy lives. Those are my political opinions. My emotions and personal feelings do not influence the political opinions I have. Me disliking babies on an emotional lever does not mean that I support any forms of child abuse.

    It’s impossible for humans to turn off their emotional responses to various stimuli. I happen to feel disgust whenever I sniff stinky diapers. I cannot make myself stop feeling this way. I cannot rationally command myself to stop feeling some emotion. That’s not how emotions work. For every human there are things that cause negative emotional reactions. In my case, there are a lot of things that I perceive as either ugly or disgusting. For example, I perceive it as disgusting when during sex a guy ejaculates on a woman’s face. This means only that I won’t personally engage in this particular sex act. I have no prejudice towards people who love ejaculating on other people’s faces. Nor would I ever advocate passing a law that bans this sex act. Nor would I ever demand that people who like this sex act ought to be discriminated. My political opinion is that everybody is free to engage in whatever sexual activities they like (as long as it is consensual). I’m perfectly OK with other people doing or liking things that I personally perceive as disgusting and would never want to do.

    This is the line I draw between my personal emotional responses to various stimuli and my political opinions. I see no problem with me feeling disgusted by some things that other people do. That’s just an emotional reaction. I never abuse or discriminate other people just because something about them or their actions causes a negative emotional reaction from me.

    If you go on and publicly proclaim that you hat a group of people, think they’re repulsive and disgusting, others will form an opinion about you and judge and treat you accordingly.

    Apparently our tolerance for honest expression of aesthetic opinions differs. I’m perfectly OK with people saying that my artworks are ugly. I’m OK with being told that the visual appearance of my body is disgusting. I’m well aware that there are people who don’t like some things about me. I’m OK with being informed about this. What I’m not OK with is discrimination—I would be pissed off if somebody denied me things like employment or medical care just because they don’t like something about me.

  38. says

    I have already clarified the exact nature of how babies make me feel, to repeat myself:

    As long as a baby is clean and not screaming, I don’t feel that much emotion towards this child. Yet the moment they make shitty diapers and start screaming, they do revolt me.

    and

    Instead of “for me babies seem disgusting and irritating” I might as well say “dirty diapers seem disgusting,” and “baby screams seem irritating.” The latter is actually more accurate.

    My distaste for babies stems from some typical behaviors they tend to engage in. I don’t really have any prejudices against a child as such.

    If somebody believes that there’s something wrong with feeling disgusted by stinky diapers, then that’s a matter of opinion. A lot of people perceive the smell of poop as disgusting. There’s no reason why baby poop ought to be sacred and adorable. It’s still poop and it stinks.
    It’s also common to perceive loud and disturbing noises as irritating. For me baby screams qualify as one of the irritating noises.

    If somebody assumes that I’m some sort of anomaly and exception and the only person on the planet who feels this way about babies, then that’s very wrong. When two people who are childfree by choice have private conversations, some interesting things get said. The kind of things that humans fear to loudly admit in public, because everybody is supposed to adore stinky diapers and baby screams (or else they will suffer repercussions for daring to be honest). I’m far from being the only person who feels a negative emotional response to certain behaviors that babies tend to engage in. Disliking babies is more common that one might imagine. I believe that it’s normal and that I’m neither sick nor evil because of how I feel about babies. I’m definitely not alone. I personally have talked with other people who feel strong negative emotional responses towards babies.

  39. chigau (違う) says

    Andreas Avester
    Have you ever been to a farm?
    How do you feel about old people?

  40. says

    Oh, Giliell, keep on projecting!

    We all get it — you love kids. Yay. Good for you. Nobody is saying you shouldn’t, or that you have to feel a certain way about babies.

    You, on the other hand, are in fact trying to dictate what Andreas feels about babies and calling him a bigot for stating an objective reality about babies. Poop, snot, vomit, and other bodily excretions are not only gross, but they also are a biohazard, and nobody is obligated to like (or handle) said substances or the organism exuding them.

    But hey, this isn’t the first time you’ve tried to dictate how I “should” feel about something.

    PS: I’m not the one throwing a fit over people not liking babies. Grow up.

  41. Kreator says

    @WMDKitty — Survivor:

    Poop, snot, vomit, and other bodily excretions are not only gross, but they also are a biohazard, and nobody is obligated to like (or handle) said substances or the organism exuding them.

    Good thing that Giliell is not trying to force you to come in to contact with those, then. You just shouldn’t discriminate people for the things they don’t have a choice over, and if you do and don’t want to get criticized for it, keep it to yourself. Paraphrasing chigau @53 a bit, some old people and people with some medical conditions periodically and unintentionally excrete all sorts of stuff too. Is it OK to hate them for it as well? If not, where’s the difference?

  42. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kreator @55:

    You just shouldn’t discriminate people for the things they don’t have a choice over

    You mean like feeling revulsion about certain things? That’s not a choice either. Neither is it discrimination. There’s nothing unjust or prejudicial about feeling sickened by a smell, a taste, a sound, or a texture.

    …and if you do and don’t want to get criticized for it, keep it to yourself.

    So follow your own fucking advice and put a sock in it.

  43. Onamission5 says

    Babies are, however, human beings. Is it okay to hate human beings solely for their stage of development or other immutable characteristics?

    Note that “I don’t want to have or raise children” and “I hate children” are different things with drastically different implications. It’s a wonder to me that here, of all places, we have people actually defending– as if they’re the ones being persecuted– the hatred of an entire segment of the population simply for existing while undergoing what is the most vulnerable stage of their life. A stage we all go through and many don’t survive due to the abuse and neglect from people who hate them. Children are not alien invaders from another planet. They are us. They are every single one of us. We have all been children, we all relied on being able to put our trust in people with all the power in the world over us, we all scream and cry, we all shit, vomit, and urinate. No one should be required to parent, nor to be a nurse, nor any kind of caregiver of other humans who need help taking care of themselves, if they aren’t up to that task. Hatred of another person’s helplessness, however, is destructive. Why on earth are people defending hatred based upon traits they have no control over, based on their age? Would it be okay to say “I hate elderly people because they are irrational, sometimes violent, and shit their pants?” No, because that attitude harms them. Hatred of a group is tacit permission for them to be reviled, shunned, mistreated. Is it okay to say “I am not suited to be a caregiver for elderly people?” Absolutely. But hatred and disgust implies they should cease to exist or be hidden away regardless of their humanity. Why is an attitude of contempt and revulsion okay when it comes to young, vulnerable human beings? Why are they the exception in a way that human beings who have already passed through that stage but still need extra care and attention aren’t? Are only adults worthy of basic respect?

    Do children not have humanity?

  44. Rob Grigjanis says

    Onamission5 @58: What a load of dishonest legalese crap. The word “hate” was used, so you jump on that and say it’s qualitatively the same as racism or homophobia, even after Andreas Avester made it perfectly clear, at some length, that is not what they meant. Being in the presence of shitting crying babies causes him revulsion, and makes him want to leave. That’s it. He’s not advocating the imprisonment or banishment of babies, FFS. Get off your fucking high horse.

    The problem is telling other people that their revulsion is unacceptable.

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