March 09, 2007

Ouch! That Hurts

No big surprise. There has been some negative feedback to the article that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle last Sunday. Last night, I met Valerie Francescato, our new Purple poster girl, who was featured in the story. She coordinates a childfree social group using the MeetUp software (at her own expense, it's not free to use the software). My husband and I wanted to meet her and she was hosting an outing in the City last night, so we went. Lots of topics came up, and there was a lot of buzz about the recent article.

Almost everybody liked it; however, a conservative Republican blog has taken exception to the lifestyle we represent. Apparently, the photo of Valerie
holding her cat in the her kitchen was lifted, (not sure that doesn't infringe on the publisher's copyright), re-posted on this site and a string of mean-spirited comments ensued.

What alerted Valerie was that fellow MeetUp organizer said he had to de-list from her MeetUp group because it was doing weird things to his own site's stats. Well, this peaked her curiosity, so she had to investigate.
She Googled her name.

We know that like the man from Texas, who was quoted by Laura L. Shawne (author of Baby Not on Board) in the article,...

"I did a lot of radio call-in shows where I was called a lot of names," she said. "One man in Beaumont, Texas said my husband and I deserved to die alone."
...not everyone approves of our choice to remain childfree, regardless of our reason for being so. I feel sorry for the infertile couples who come up against this attitude in real life. I guess after they tell their story and clarify that they are really "child-less" they get sympathy, or pity, not anger.

Not sure which is better. See for yourself at FreeRepublic.com: mean comments that won't be repeated here. We've got rules in the side bar!

The photojournalist came to my home too, took similar pictures of me holding my cat. Now I am glad they weren't published. (Probably because I don't live in the city proper.)

Purple Women
TM what say you?

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12 comments:

AlphaGirl said...

It comes with the territory of being in the media....there are going to be detractors, no matter what.
I did a news segment some years back that aired locally. I was in the store a few days later when a woman came up to me and said, "Oh, your're the ones who hates kids!"

I ignored it. To engage an unarmed person in a battle of wits is futile.

MomnPop said...

I just read those comments and am completely, utterly floored. To realize people think such horrible things about us is scary. Those people are raising children!? Yikes!

I do feel left out of the mommy culture by not having kids, but had never thought about my choice (and it just not happening) in such a negative way. It's like our lives are worth nothing without procreating? Woa. What do these people think? How is it such a huge achievement just to breed? Are pregnant teenagers on welfare more successful than someone who decides not to have kids and do something else with her life? Extinction? Aren't we a ways off from having to worry about that?

I found out about your blog from reading that SF Chron article, and was so happy to discover it. I thought that picture was really cute. Now I'm even more relieved to find this site.

Teri said...

AlphaGirl - LOL!

"To engage an unarmed person in a battle of wits is futile."

MomnPop - It's nice to know there are people like you out there.

And, yes, the picture was really nice of Valerie...but her cat did not like the photographer. I do not know many cats that like photo sessions. Some don't even like to be picked up, let alone be subjected to a stranger with a camera.

I love her kitchen, and I bet she wishes she had picked up that coffee maker from her floor...

Thanks to you both for these great comments.

emeraldwednesday said...

Wow. To degenerate into such low-blow personal attacks based upon a decision not to have children... My first thought is that these commenters have issues.
My second thought is that rational discussion and debate is a compliment, and they do not deserve it.

Valerie said...

Hi, Valerie here. I just posted a reply to the FreeRepublic web site and it has been "submitted for review". Let's see if they post it. Bottom line, as I have said over and over again, is that I just can't figure out why anyone cares so much whether or not I have kids! To the credit of one poster on FreeRepublic "Old Possum" posted some very articulate and nice defenses of me. I'll let you all know if my post gets approved. Alphagirl, you are right, but I felt I needed to defend myself, at least a little!

Valerie said...

Update: My faith in the human race has been restored. I posted my reply to the FreeRepublic site, and much to my astonishment, many, many people leapt to my defense, agreed with me, and invited me to come back and join in their future discussions. What a shocker! They have drowned out those nasty comments with their support. This has been a great learning experience for me. It has reminded me not to generalize too much, especially about people who are different than I am.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

I know I'm a few days behind on this, but I've been traveling. A couple things. First, great article and way to gain visibility for such an important issue.

Second, outside the obvious snarks and head-shaking at the people on the other side of the tracks who are judging those of us who choose to lead a child-free existence, there was at least one sentiment expressed with which I agree:

Unfortunately, there is an apparent bit of reverse-Darwinism at play here with with respect to the population numbers. Borrowing from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

"One things sure and nothings surer, the rich (and intelligent) get richer and the poor (and lesser intelligent) get children..."

-The Great Gatsby (parentheticals added)

Anonymous said...

Hello? Someone "disapproves" of the childfree lifestyle? So I guess they approve of people who reproduce endlessly with no thought as to how they will support and raise those children?

The choice to be childfree is NOT an issue!!!

Elise said...

It's also good to keep in mind that entrenched power tends to scream the loudest right at the point before its power is about to disappear.

Reliable birth control has now been around for almost 50 years. I think historians will look back at 1960 (and the late 1900s in general) and see it as a time of pivotal importance in human history, as the decisions of when (or whether) to bear children became realistic for the first time (at least for vast swaths of humanity in the Western world).

Of course, there are "special interests" who are invested in the idea of procreation for everyone. The idea of sex without procreation (for women, in particular) is something that really, really bothers some people --- either because they're upset that they didn't have those choices (or, perhaps even worse, had them, but didn't acknowledge them), or because they're invested in the "you play, you pay" model of *female* sexuality (often, a double standard for men is still no problem for these neanderthals).

The party is just about over for these folks...and not a moment too soon for the welfare of the planet and of humankind, either.

Julia Buckley said...

I'm absolutely staggered by this. I've never had any desire to have kids, but it's never felt like a big deal. I turned 30 early this year, so I'm at a time when a lot of my peer-group have young families. No one's ever seemed to have any objection for my choice though - I can't imagine why anyone should.

I live in Britain - maybe things are very different the US?

Tiara Lynn said...

And folks wonder why we feel the need to band together for support. Juvenile commentary like that makes me so sad; I'm relieved that Valerie was able to feel vindicated by those who rallied to her support, but I'm still saddened by the response.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I think it is very nice how many people here are sensitive to the fact that rampant, thoughtless pro-babyism affects the infertile as well as the childfree by choice. Unfortunately, often we do not get sympathy and so on as you suggest in this post, but suggestions that we did something wrong to deserve it, are not trying hard enough, or simply don't want a child enough. Or that we should "just adopt", as if that's a simple exercise that should be done without serious thought. People genuinely seem to feel they are fertile because they are better than and want it more than people who are not. How that explains teens that get pregnant by accident and then abuse the baby, I don't know.

I am leaning towards embracing a chidlfree lifestyle because we have decided that my health and sanity, which could easily be damaged by our remaining choices, are more important to us than children. Many people do not think that is a legitimate choice and see me as every bit as selfish as a childfree by choice woman for not draining every last desperate medical option.

Although I know not everyone in my situation does, I always defend the childfree by choice when the need arises - there are more than enough unwanted children in the world and I applaud those who have made an educated choice not to have them. Good luck to you all.