(I’m referring to the comments, not the original post, which was actually quite great.)
Jill wrote about how it’s stupid to hate kids, and it’s mean and oppressive and ageist to believe that kids don’t belong in public. She also quite reasonably discussed how annoying and uncomfortable it is when you go out in public expecting to have a peaceful, nice time and an infant is screaming for 20 minutes straight, and the parent or caregiver doesn’t take measures to ensure that his/her/their child isn’t causing upset to the other restaurant patrons, shoppers, etc.
Reasonable people would agree that if your child screams and cries and wails in public, and he or she doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon, and there isn’t a way to quickly solve the issue, that the parent or caregiver is responsible for taking the child out of the establishment and taking care of the issue there. Or, using other methods which don’t require causing everyone else in the room pain and headaches and other minor suffering.
While making the choice to start a family isn’t an easy one, and parents and caregivers sacrifice a lot for their choice, it is, ultimately, a choice. And with that choice come responsibilities. A person’s responsibility to be a respectful public citizen doesn’t end the moment their child is born. And people who aren’t the parents or caregivers of children are absolutely not required to treat parents/caregivers with more respect than non-parents/caregivers because of their decision.
Children are a vulnerable class of people. They are entirely dependent on their parents or caregivers for food, shelter, and socialization. This is why we cannot treat them like they are 100% autonomous beings like we treat adults. The children’s parents become responsible. If the parent allows a child to violate common, expected societal behaviors, then they are responsible for the consequences of those behaviors, which can include anger from other people and mean, nasty looks. I expect those same looks if I “act out” in public. It’s what stops me from being a total asshole at a restaurant when the kitchen doesn’t know that “extra, super, really, really well done” means “not fucking pink at all.” It’s what stops me from screaming at someone who can’t STFU in a movie theater. It’s what makes me understand that I shouldn’t go into a restaurant or store when if I’m having a heated argument with someone that others might hear and be made uncomfortable by.
It’s not terribly difficult, really. We could all stand to be a little more understanding, and we could all accept that in public, we all have certain responsibilities. I’m pretty certain that the only reason that comment thread turned into what it did is because 1. it is on the internet; and 2. people can’t shut the fuck up and try to understand where other people are coming from for a second before they open their mouths.
Ahh, the internet.