September 02, 2007

Grateful for a Flame-Free Blog

I was reading a guest post titled Childless at Work published in the On Balance work-life blog of The Washington Post. It was written earlier this year by a childless woman who felt she was discriminated against when she was told by her future employer that she would be allowed to telecommute a couple days a week, only to find out later that only women who were mothers had that "luxury."

Her situation is not unusual. Many such stories have been posted here and on other childfree sites. What was unusual was the nature of the comments posted in response to this guest blog. Almost all of the comments where dismissive, unsympathetic, or blatantly cruel.

Some might think that flaming and blogs go hand-in-hand, but I beg to differ. I think you can encourage dialogue and debate, and allow people to express their diverse views, in a flame-free environment.

Proof that it is possible can be found here.

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Lynn said...

I skimmed through most of the comments and I was appalled by most of the posters. The attacks were blatantly personal and/or unjustified. One in particular (and yes,she said she was a mother)told the guest blogger to go get her coffee. Nice.
It's worrying to think the nastiest remarks came from parents, some of whom seem to think the childfree are the ones who are immature. I beg to differ.

Anonymous said...

How disappointing! Throughout my life, I do what I can to support women individually for the decisions that they have made that are best FOR THEM. When discussion leads to the fact that my husband and I are not having children - and worse yet, have chosen such a "sorry" state - I'm met with looks of disgust. I'm asked about what I do for a living (because obviously my job must be consume my identity) - or when at work, it's understood that my schedule can surly be more "flexible" and 50 hour workweek become the norm (and this idea coming from my boss who is male and has a child at home).

I had no idea that my lifestyle would be so scrutinized. I'm sorry that I can't be afforded the same respect I have given to women and men who choose to be parents.

SUEB0B said...

I believe that making things fair for everyone makes things better for everyone. For instance, some companies who offer domestic partner benefits also offer the same benefits to people without domestic partners but who live with a relative, so that their employees can choose to offer the benefits to a parent, a sister or brother, etc. And why shouldn't we stretch the definition of what a family is to include all types of families?

Same with this issue. The benefit should be extended regardless of reproductive status, and that should be no skin off anyone's nose.

I think with a little flexibility and compassion, we can accomplish great things.

Angry Grrl said...

I wish I were surprised at the level of hate being spewed in the guest blogger's direction. I agree with some of the childfree commenters over there that a good bit of it was probably thinly-veiled jealousy on the part of parents who wish they had the freedom that we childfree folks do.

And yes, the guest blogger's job situation sucked, and she deserved to gripe about it -- I would have, too!

As I'm approaching the big 4-0, and my sister has two kids, there's not so much pressure on me these days to reproduce as there's been in the past. Still, we childfree have to stick together. :)

RMS said...

I think it's the general tone of this blog that discourages flaming. The Purple Women & Friends blog encourages us to discuss at a higher level, to treat each other with respect. I can't imagine many flamers coming here and getting all riled up. There just isn't the negative energy for them to feed on. This is because Teri, Lauras and all the other posters and commentors speak in such a positive way, even when disagreeing. My thanks to you all for creating such a welcoming and warm place in the blogsphere! I always look forward to reading here even though I rarely comment!

Britgirl said...

To be honest I blame the blog owner. And I agree with RMS. Which is why I blame the blog owner for allowing not only a blogger but a guest blogger to be insulted in this way. The owner must set the tone, and if they do, commentators will comply. It's possible to disagree and still be respectful and polite. I know, as I've set the tone and atmosphere I want on my blog. I rarely delete comments and I don't moderate, however if people feel they must personally insult another poster through their postings then they're going to have to find another blog on which to do it. It won't be mine.

The comments probably show the the parents in a bad light, but Flaming isn't necessary and it can only flourish if the blog owner sanctions it. If I was that guest blogger I'd complain to the blog owner. And never be a guest there again.