An Alternative View Point

No ControverSunday this week, so I have decided to be controversial all on my own. This week I read two blog posts which really got me fired up. I ran across them both via @kellynaturally on Twitter.

These were two very different posts. One was about the Mommy wars and this particular Mom’s recent experience with it and one was about Feminism. More specifically, who should call them selves a feminist based on their relationships. But both, essentially were rants. And fair enough, we all deserve our opportunity to rant sometimes.

I would have commented directly on these posts, but both made it very clear that they were not interested in discussion, debate or hearing out alternate points of view. The Mommy Wars post stated clearly that she would delete anyone’s comment that did not share her point of view on CIO (being that it is, in her view point, indefensible) and the other lashed out personal attacks to anyone who challenged her definition of feminism. I will be honest that I had more sympathy for the post on the Mommy wars then I did the feminism one, but both got me a bit worked up. Why? Because they were both completely set in their belief that their view point was the only defensible view point out there.

The feminist post, essentially suggested that one should not call oneself a feminist if they 1) did more housework then their partner, 2) accepted and was excited about a big fancy engagement ring and 3) took their partners name in marriage. Wow.

I never considered myself a feminist until I had a child. Having a child made me realize that there is a need for better support of women, particularly when it comes to the ability to make our own choices regarding working/staying at home, the kind of childbirth we want to have and what kind of support we receive in the postpartum period. But when I was in university, feminism, as presented by this blogger, turned me off. There is nothing I dislike more then someone who doesn’t know me and doesn’t know my circumstance, implying that I am oppressed and just don’t know it. What gives someone the right to define my experience? To me, feminism is about me having the right and ability to define my own experience. Sure, you may see a engagement ring as a sign of ‘ownership of a man’. I don’t. I see it as a sign of love and a symbol of connection. Actually, the whole debate that ensued in the comments of her post reminded me of the phrase, “If you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t have one.” If you don’t want traditional symbols of marriage, then don’t use them. What I choose for my marriage shouldn’t threaten your definition of feminism.

I can fully support that this individual would want to choose a different kind of partnership then the one I would choose. But to tell someone else they can’t be a feminist if they don’t fall in line to that view point? That kinda seems oppressive to me. Furthermore, this person indicated she was a academic. Oye. So much for discourse and debate. Something tells me there isn’t much of that going on in her classes. It is fine to have a view point, but I totally don’t see how it is appropriate to insult anyone who doesn’t agree with you, as she did in the comments.

As I said, the other blogger I have more sympathy for. She had a very frustrating and confrontational experience where she watched, on a regular basis, parents practicing parenting in a way in which she felt was very wrong, namely not being responsive to their babies cry’s. She said something. Argument and confrontation ensued. That gotta suck. I would have a hard time watching something happen regularly that I was so opposed to as well. And when she wrote her post and said she would not approve any comments which defended CIO, I truly believe it is because she needed a safe place to rant. She was upset and didn’t want to get in a debate, she just wanted to get it off her chest. And I respect that. Sometimes I don’t want to debate either, I just need to share.

Furthermore, if her description of what the other parents where doing is accurate (essentially ignoring their baby’s needs on a regular and continuing basis in a play group setting and talking about using CIO with babies younger then 4 months old) then I would be upset too. (Author of the post, if you made your way over here to read this and you don’t want your view point challenged, then please stop reading now. I respect you and your view point. I respect that you may not want to debate. And I respect that you are a good parent and a caring person. But I am going to proceed to challenge you, just so you know).

Now I wasn’t there. So I am not going to judge whether or not this bloggers perception of the situation matched reality. I don’t know the age of the babies involved (because a 14 month old ‘baby’ is a very different creature then a 3 month old baby). If those parents were neglecting their children, then shame on them. But it is possible, given the post authors strong view point on the appropriate way to parent, then her broad definition of neglect influenced her perception of what she saw. I am not going to judge either way.

But this post wasn’t just about this small group of Mom’s in this particular play group. The implication seemed to expand far beyond these individuals and span to all parents who a) don’t respond to every whimper and b) use CIO. Essentially those who don’t use the high touch, high response mantra of attachment parenting. Maybe I am interpreting that incorrectly, but that was what I read from it. What upset me about the post it that is played into that dichotomy of Attachment Parent = good. All others = bad, neglectful and indefensible. And I so disagree with that view point. While I agree that parents need to accept that their life will change with a child, that doesn’t mean the only way to parent is attachment parent. I truly believe that there are more then one good way to parent a child. Furthermore, different children with different parents in different situations call for different approaches. Let’s be honest. There are some things I disagree with. There are bad parents out there making bad choices. But is it appropriate for me to make that call as to who is good and who is bad based on an incomplete snap shot of their life?

Let me be clear, I am not so much trying to promote CIO as I am against the demonization of it. I recognize that some people are really against it and I can respect that. I also recognize that my experience with it and my child is likely very unusual and may not be a good representation of how CIO is typically used. (I have written about CIO before, you can see the posts here and here) But even more then wanting to defend against the demonization of it, I want to speak out against the putting of people in categories of good and bad on the basis of one of thousands of choices we make as parents. How can you take a snap shot of people and extrapolate to judge them as bad? How can you lump millions and millions of people together based on their choice of one parenting method?

Furthermore, putting your want to talk on your phone or chat with your friends ahead of your baby’s need to be comforted (as was presented to be the situation this blogger witnessed) is not the same as limited and appropriate use of CIO with an older baby, nor is it the same as encouraging independent play. Again, I wasn’t there, so I can’t judge which was happening. I disagree with some aspects of attachment parenting (I know, I still haven’t written that post… working up the guts), but I also believe there are some amazingly good attachment parents out there. You can disagree with my use of CIO, but don’t assume that makes me a bad parent.

And if you want to advocate for a particular parent method as being the best one, and encourage and support parents who want to know how to use it, awesome. Yes, we are overly obsessed as a culture with getting our kids to sleep through the night, and not very accepting that this may not be realistic well into toddler-hood. My 16 month old doesn’t sleep through the night every night and I am okay with that. The No-CIO advocates remind us that we need to let our kids go at their own pace, not try to get them to conform to our idea of what is appropriate at what age. I value that perspective and respect if someone does not agree with CIO.

But don’t condemn parents you don’t know based on what method they use, with no information about their child or circumstance.  Just like not every Mom who formula feeds doesn’t do it because she thinks breastfeeding is ‘icky’, not every Mom who uses CIO does so because they want (and think it is realistic for) their 3 month old to sleep through the night. People don’t fit well in boxes. We don’t always know each others stories.

The point being that what we need in both the parent discourse and the feminist discourse is to hear each other out. And to accept that there is more then one definition of a good parent and more then one definition of a feminist. We need to not paint everyone with a broad stroke. People are unique, complex and have different needs. We respond to different things. Different things make us happy, fulfilled, relaxed, ect. To paint everyone who wears a ring as not a feminist is wrong. To paint everyone who doesn’t parent like you do as neglectful is wrong. Life is not black and white. It is all shades of gray.

* Okay, I have said my peace. Now, because I suspect this post could incur some wrath, I am going to just share with you all my theory-oh-comment approval. I will approve your comment, so long as you do not use profanity/ offensive language. Keep it PG. If you want to engage in a discussion/debate with the tone of mutual respect, I am happy to chat with you. If you just want to yell at me because you think I am wrong/evil/crazy , you are welcome to, but I won’t be responding.

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30 responses to “An Alternative View Point

  1. Cheryl August 8, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I wanted to wait to comment until I read the posts you referred to but I can’t. I SO agree with you! I remember telling people I was taking a Feminism in Communications course in university and being labelled a man hater as a result. Ridiculous! My favourite response was to ask if they’d ever looked up feminist in the dictionary. In its simplest form, it is a person who believes in the rights of women and believes in equality for both sexes. How does wearing an engagement ring negate that?

    I think you nailed it when you said, on both the parenting and feminist fronts, we simply need to hear each other out. So many issues come back to that; not judging when we don’t know the whole story and being willing to LISTEN to each other.

    Great post!

  2. clara August 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Yikes.

    I agree with you. I mean, to me, I shouldn’t even have to say I agree with you because how could you *dis*agree with the concept that people are individuals and have individual experiences that lead them to make the choices they do? And yet, people do. Disagree, I mean. And judge each other and each other’s choices. You know, for the good of “the movement” or “the baby.”

    It all makes me tense. So I move on.

    • amoment2think August 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      Yeah, it makes me tense too. But for some reason I don’t stay away. I just find this view point so pervasive on the internet, and I think we need other voices other there.

  3. Alan August 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    “What upset me about the post it that is played into that dichotomy of Attachment Parent = good. All others = bad, neglectful and indefensible.”

    I think her view is not that sweeping–she just thinks CIO is particularly heinous. Did you read this post?

    http://freechildhood.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/owning-your-parenting-choices/

    • amoment2think August 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks for the link. I am not a regular reader of that blog, so I had not read that post. Often when people rant their words can have unintended meaning which may be different from what they think and convey in post that is less of a rant. As with parenting, there is always more to the story then just one choice or one blog post.

  4. kelly @kellynaturally August 9, 2010 at 5:59 am

    I, for one, am particularly interested in this post: “I disagree with some aspects of attachment parenting (I know, I still haven’t written that post… working up the guts)”. Where is it?! 🙂

    As a mom of two, just about six years into parenting, who found solace in Dr. Sears where no one else helped, its hard for me NOT to recommend his books, and parenting style, namely, Attachment Parenting. My first child was colicky for months & months (til around 9 mo or so), and high needs (still is to this day, only now people say “strong willed”). So when you say that you’d never recommend, and in fact, would recommend completely ignoring his books (because you felt they are judgmental), its really strange to me, as I found his books a HUGE help – particularly in the early months. His Baby Book uses gentle language, scores of different techniques & ideas, based on real experience, to help baby feel comforted. Particularly a baby who escalates discomfort when crying (I’m so glad you mentioned that differentiation on your other post!!!)

    Yet, the fact that we so disagree on the Dr. Sears book speaks towards your point here that each person follows their own beat. Every parent is different, as is every child.

    What I believe is that every child should be honored with responsiveness (At the very least) from their parent, regardless of age. Every human has an intrinsic worth, from the youngest infant to adult. To ignore anyone – child or adult (though particularly a child who is to young to speak), isn’t kind, empathetic, or humanizing.

    There are many paths to take in parenting, and while I agree with you, not everyone needs to be “attachment parents”, all the good paths DO honor children as full humans.

    Those parenting techniques that don’t take into consideration a child’s feelings and interpretation of the world, are less than stellar techniques. Even if they come from a good place.

    Unforttunately, far too many parents cling to methods which reduce children to behaviors to be controlled instead of the people that they are developing into. This is, unfortunately, because babies & their parents are judged based on behaviors (quiet, obedient child = good child = good parent), not on personhood.

    Parenting is challenging. I believe that being responsive to your child always is the right way to go. You may not always know how to help your child (nor should you have to), but your child should always know you are there, to help them through what they are going through. Accepting the challenge, and realizing that its the most important challenge you’ll ever take on – that the results will last beyond your own years – takes a strong, resiliant, and giving person. Not everyone should be parents.

    Overall, I agree with your post, from the standpoint that we should be accepting of different types of people/behavior/parenting. Yet, there are certain behaviors that just aren’t acceptable. When confronted with less than stellar parenting, there are ways to help people who are in trouble without being judgmental. Offering a helping hand, for example. I always was much less receptive to people who stood back issuing comments, criticism, advice than someone who reached out & helped.

    Thanks for mentioning me, and letting me know about your post. 🙂

    • amoment2think August 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your comment. I think there are a lot of things we agree on. I totally agree that children need to be valued, honored and that we need to take into account their feelings and view of the world. And I agree that parenting methods that are about controlling behaviors are not my preference either. And I tam totally with you on accepting the challenge of parenting. We need to have realistic expectations of our babies and children. I do think we need to question ourselves when we are engaging in a parenting method because we think our baby/toddler/child ‘should’ do something by a particular age (sleep through the night or potty train as examples). I feel the better approach is to be aware of our child and help them along their timeline, not ours.

      I think that value can be found in all parenting methods. I found Dr. Sears book to be a very hard read and if someone asked me if I would recommend reading his book, I would probably say no. But if someone read his book and found it helpful I can certainly respect and accept that. I just think we should take all parenting theories with a grain of salt. I believe in fitting your parenting to your unique child and not to a theory. Dr. Sears does have some good techniques and ideas which many parents find helpful and I do feel there is value there. I just don’t agree with ‘pure’ practicing of all of his techniques and I found the tone in which he presented it off putting. And yes, I will get working on a post to explain my views, as I am being intentionally vague because I would rather think through a whole post then get into it in the comment section.

      I should also say, though I respect that what some/many parents are doing when they use CIO is to ignore, as you say. I feel that I don’t ‘ignore’ my child. I listen. I evaluate. I consider her perspective. And then I do what is best for her and what I feel she would want. My child is unique (as everyone’s is) who really does prefer to be given her space sometimes. I learned from a lot of trail and error that if I constantly went into her room to sooth her during the night, she had trouble falling asleep. She used to scream and arch her back when I tried to rock her to sleep and when I put her down and gave her space she would fuss to sleep. There are many times when she wakes up in the middle of the night and I often go to her to make sure there is nothing she needs. Often, what she needs is just a bit of time to relax and fall back asleep. Again, I recognize that she is probably not like a lot of children, and so, as I have said, I don’t recommend CIO as the “go-to” method for helping a child to sleep. But I also don’t agree with the demonization of it, because I think there are some (possibly few) children out there that respond like this. I see some crying as a natural and acceptable way for a baby to release tension. I want to provide a safe space for my child to express those feelings when she needs to, while still being there to provide comfort and anything else she needs. I don’t use it as an excuse to ignore her, I just evaluate before I go and pick her up. I follow that philosophy day and night.

      I also agree with you that there are ways to help people who are engaging in less then stellar parenting without being judgmental. But I do believe the first step is to respect their choices, point of view and good intentions, especially when you just can’t know their whole story. You strike me as someone who engages with this level of respect. I don’t think that one can be very helpful when one looks upon a huge group of parents with disdain and disgust based on one parenting choice, whether or not it was a good parenting choice.

      Thanks again for your comment, I really do appreciate your perspective! I will let you know when my AP post is up, because I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

  5. Perpetua August 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Your post on CIO (where you quoted from elsewhere regarding the difference between stress increasers and decreasers) really helped me way back when. I actually felt strange about NOT using CIO and being TOO responsive, but you helped me realize that, for my particular kid, CIO would never work. But it’s very possible that, if I have another kid, it would work. So thanks again for that post. 🙂

    I just read the mommy wars post, and while, like you, I obviously can’t dispute something I didn’t witness…well, here’s the thing. I’ve been parenting, and paying attention to parents, for almost 16 months now. And I’ve NEVER seen parenting like what she describes. We don’t exactly live in the crunchiest of places, either. So I can see why seeing that sort of thing over and over again would make a person grumpy…I don’t know what I’m trying to say. But I do know that if a stranger confronted me about my parenting, I’d probably lose it. We really have no idea what goes on in other peoples’ homes, and intervening in a situation we don’t understand probably isn’t going to end well.

    • amoment2think August 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you, it means a lot to me that you found that post helpful. I got that ‘tension decreaser’/’tension increaser’ concept from Ask Moxie– who is fab in my opinion.

      Yes, I had that same feeling reading that post. I am sure there are parents out there that are neglecting their kids, but I have never seen it. I can sympathize with how that blogger may have felt, given her strong feelings on ‘the right way’ to parent, but I have a hard time imagining seeing what she described. I have seen parents do things I disagree with, but never to that extreme. We have talked before in ControverSunday as to if we would every say something and I have said it would have to be pretty extreme and even then… I don’t know.

      I also agree, if someone confronted me about my parenting I am not sure I could hold my composure and act anything other then ‘psycho’. I get looks all the time because I let my 16 month old climb up and go down the slide all by herself. You’d think I was letting her play with fire. And if someone went so far as to confront me on it…. I don’t know.

  6. Cheryl August 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I just read the Mommy wars post and am, apparently, much too pregnant and emotional. Bad day to read that. I feel judged and criticized and I don’t even know these people!
    Am I bad mother? No. Would someone so attached to AP and so against car seats, strollers, etc, think so? Quite possibly. Had she been in my house when I had to resort to rocking my son in his bucket seat just to get him to sleep, would she have confronted me? Maybe. But had she been there two hours prior, she would have witnessed me wearing him for who knows how long to get him to sleep. I’m a believer in doing what works – not selfishly what works for me, but what works for us. And that’s what I did.
    Having said that, somehow, reading that post has made me question the choices I made with my almost three-year-old and what ones I will make with baby on the way. I am both annoyed and saddened that a rant on a blog could make me question myself in this way. But perhaps that’s my deal, not hers.

    • amoment2think August 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      Cheryl, I know you are a great Mom. I think it is always good to evaluate ourselves and our choices. BUT you shouldn’t let someone’s rant make you feel bad. Really. Besides, your new baby is going to be different form your first and so you may find yourself doing different things and then again, maybe not. Regardless, I am so totally with you on the whatever works. I find that some proponents of AP really seem to paint everyone else as making selfish choices… its that ‘martyr Mom’ tendency in our culture right now. But a Happy Mom has a happy baby. You have to balance your needs with the need of your child, or it is mighty hard to provide for your child emotionally. Anyway, give your pregnant self a break. Really, you are an amazing Mom. I know this 100% for sure. One of the things I admire about you is your calm, cool and collected approach 99% of the time (we all have our moments!).

  7. janetlansbury August 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Kathleen, I couldn’t agree more.

    Whether you agree with her or not, the Mommy Wars woman is so abrasive and has such a chip on her shoulder that I’m surprised anyone would listen to her. But her post seemed to encourage others to vent their “mom against mom” frustrations…kind of sad…and the last thing any of us need.

    The first rule for dealing with a parent who we deem abusive is to be considerate and comforting. A truly abusive mom who feels shamed takes anger out on her child. So when we insult other parents, we risk causing harm to a child.

    What I’ve noticed is that the parents who are the most judgmental of others, least inclined to hear an alternative point of view and quick to attack when they do, are the ones who feel insecure about their parenting practices. Their inner doubt makes them defensive.

    Kathleen, I’m looking forward to the post in which you dare to question AP. We should all try to have an open mind, an ability to question ourselves, and an acceptance of differing opinions, as you do. And that makes you a great model for your daughter.

    • amoment2think August 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you Janet. I always love your comments because you have such a gentle way and a unique perspective. I agree that when we feel insecure we get defensive. And I think you make a great point about risking harm to a child by insulting other parents.

      Yes, my AP post is almost ready to go. I am terrified. 😉

  8. Ginger August 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Maybe it’s our ControverSunday posts, but I have a really hard time anymore with anyone who is so adamant that there is a right and a wrong within parenting styles. Every child, parent, family is different and has different needs and personalities, and I just don’t understand how there are people so tunnel-visioned to not see that. I hang out with any kid other than my son and I can see it–they react differently, they act differently, so why wouldn’t I parent differently?
    I think there’s something to learn from all parenting styles, but demonizing other parents for using a style different than yours seems…to quote Clueless…way harsh.

    I won’t even get into the feminist post because that one gets me riled up.

  9. Briana August 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Very nice post! I especially liked your point, “People don’t fit well in boxes. We don’t always know each others stories.”

  10. Alan August 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    First off, I agree with Kelly about how great the Dr. (and Martha) Sears books are. Sometimes I wonder though if people who denounce his books have really read them. They are extremely moderate in their advocacy of AP, very careful not to step on any toes (certainly more cautious than I tend to be in my own advocacy, and really more so than any online AP blogger I can think of).

    @Ginger: As I pointed out in my earlier comment, the blogger cited in this post only really has a hard line about three issues: CIO, spanking, and circumcision, all of which she (and I) think should be categorised as child abuse and thus illegal. When it comes to various other issues that legitimately can be thought of as different “parenting styles” (formula vs. breastmilk, crib in nursery down the hall vs. cosleeping, babywearing vs. baby bucket, etc.) she fully acknowledges that while she has a strong preference, she knows reasonable people can disagree.

    But when you say that you think every family should be able to raise their children as they see fit without being criticised for how they do so, you don’t really mean that. Maybe you think it’s a legitimate choice to spank, but what about “whupping” a child with a belt, or a stick? Maybe you think CIO is okay for sleep training, but what about knowingly leaving a baby lying in a soiled diaper for hours? There are people who do these things, and they will insist to you that they love their children.

    The point is, we all have our own beliefs about where a line is crossed from a “parenting style” you wouldn’t practise personally but don’t consider any of your business if someone else does it, over to abusive or neglectful parenting that we believe should be illegal. And guess what? There is not widespread agreement as to exactly where that line is. So when stuff gets near that line, we’re inevitably going to have some people say something like CIO is a “parenting style”, while others see it as emotional abuse or at least neglect.

    • amoment2think August 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      @Alan I think you totally nailed the thorn in this issue- we don’t all agree on what is the line. So my question is two fold. 1: who gets to decide what the line is and based on what? Consensus? A vote? Who is louder? Who sites more studies? Who scares us more? Who has more money behind them? Twitter followers? 2: How appropriate and effective is the way we advocate for where we feel the line is? As you know I have strong feelings about how we advocate and the scaring, guilting and negativity are not my preference. They just bring out peoples defensive reactions and turn people off the message.

      • Alan August 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        @amoment2think:

        You raise excellent questions. I think there are multiple “lines” involved here. When societal consensus is strong enough, we might reach the point where there is a bright red legal line that is drawn. But on the way to that consensus, there are many milestones along the way, with their own lines. But progress along these milestones always starts with a vocal minority loudly challenging the status quo, and refusing to bow to reactionary pressure to stop challenging the conscience of the majority, refusing to stop making them uncomfortable.

        This process can be best seen by using three examples that are at different stages of this process: child labour, corporal punishment, and CIO. A century or a little more ago, it was commonplace for children in low income families in urban areas to work long hours in dirty, dangerous factories. A group of (mostly female) reformers started kicking up a lot of ruckus about this, and highlighting the plight of these poor kids, and social attitudes changed, followed by changes in the law.

        It was only a few decades ago that few people would vocally object to a parent’s right to beat their children with a belt or a stick; schools commonly used wooden paddles to punish errant children. Today, the process of reform is not yet complete, as spanking is still tolerated; however, a parent who uses a belt or stick is likely to get into legal trouble, schools don’t dare strike children, and the last bastion left (open hand spanking by parents) is under increasing pressure of negative social opinion.

        CIO is clearly at an earlier stage than these other examples. But just a couple decades ago, parents could easily go about their lives without ever being confronted by those who consider CIO immoral. Nowadays, if they want to avoid being confronted with this kind of disapproval, they had better stay off the Internet and stick to a narrowly proscribed social circle. This is a positive change, not a negative one. Some commenters here say we should back off, let parents make their own decisions about CIO without being pressured or criticised. I say just the opposite: these complaints show we are having an effect, and if anything, we need to turn up the heat, tighten the screws! I want parents to feel that if they CIO, it’s going to be something they have to feel nervous and at least a bit guilty about.

      • amoment2think August 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

        @Alan All I am going to really say to this is that I 100% disagree that CIO is similar to corporal punishment or child labour. We just are not going to agree on that one. As I have said, it may not be the best choice and it isn’t something I would recommend as the go to method, but I do not believe it is child abuse or neglect. There likely are some parents who use CIO in a way that is child abuse and neglectful, but one does not equal the other. I know you disagree and I can respect that.

      • amoment2think August 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm

        Just to clarify. When I say some I mean a few. A very few. Like not very many at all.

    • Ginger August 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      I’m not going to get in a back and forth with you about this, but my larger point is, you don’t know my child. Just like you don’t know the situation of most parents on sight. You actually don’t know how I parent, and whether I do CIO or AP or anything else, you just assumed from my statement. And that’s my point–you don’t know.

      • Alan August 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm

        Ginger, I never said I did know how you parented, and I never said you did CIO. I was well aware from what you wrote that you might well be someone who doesn’t do it personally, but also doesn’t think we should tell others what to do. I specifically referred in my post to “where a line is crossed from a ‘parenting style’ you wouldn’t practise personally but don’t consider any of your business if someone else does it, over to abusive or neglectful parenting that we believe should be illegal.”

        But in any event, why is it your point that I don’t know how I parent your child? That frankly doesn’t seem like much of a point! LOL I also don’t know the colour of your hair, or whether you cheat on your taxes. So what? I don’t see how that has any relevance to our discussion. I believe CIO is wrong, whether you do it or not, whether I know anything about you personally or not. If you argue that I shouldn’t denounce CIO, then you and I have a disagreement, regardless of what you personally do with your child.

  11. The Disgruntled Academic August 10, 2010 at 5:15 am

    The post from Clarissa’s blog makes me see FIRE! “Feminism” isn’t a fixed idea, the whole point is that feminism can and does operate differently for different people. This is why feminism has had waves, the first being suffrage at the turn of the 20th century, the second go-round in the 60s largely excluded queer folks and women of color. Why? Because of what they thought the most important issues were: escaping the kitchen, equal pay for equal work, and reproductive rights. The approach to these issues largely ignored the fact that homophobia, racism, and sexism are inextricably linked.

    What’s amazing about this “feminist blogger” is that in her unwillingness to recognize differences amongst women, she’s actually passing on the systems of oppression she claims to resist, preventing any real and lasting change. The irony is that she is in fact becoming an actual agent of said oppression.

    The suckiest thing about this blogger is she’s probably a teacher! Boo.

    • Fearless Formula Feeder August 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm

      Bravo, D.A.! I couldn’t even touch that one, it made me so angry. Thanks for expressing what I couldn’t… I had to refrain from commenting, b/c all that would’ve come out is a giant expletive.

  12. Sarah August 16, 2010 at 7:21 am

    oiy. I posted on the feminist blog. I can’t even bring myself to post on the AP Parenting one. The parenting one comes off as soo freaking judgemental. (Ok – the feminist one does too). But the feminist blog is someone who has no idea what they are talking about, and is easy to dismiss as such. (Is she married? because if she is, she has a very unhealthy view of what marriage should entail.) The Parenting post was more “I’m right, you’re wrong” – and it sounded like she instigated the fight. That and I was very put off by her CIO=neglect=horrible. I agree that the CIO they way that they all describe it sounds awful. But I have never seen anyone put into practice what they seem to think CIO is. So I feel like they are jumping to conclusions when they hear the term CIO that aren’t true.

    I dont know. Just my two cents. I’m curious to watch the feminist blog, because her ideas are so laughingly silly and immature. The parenting one just got my heckles up, and made me get pissed off at her abrasive way of writing.

    • slackerinc August 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm

      Clearly, you and I disagree about CIO; if you’d care to debate the issue you’re welcome to come to my blog (just click on “slackerinc” above). I agree completely about that feminist blogger though: I’ve been checking back as well, and currently I’m getting into a bit of a flame war on the comment thread of the “Eat Pray Love” post.

      Alan

    • amoment2think August 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

      Sarah, I totally agree with you. I think part of the reason I get my feathers all ruffled when I see that “CIO=neglect=horrible” message is that my experience with it was so totally different then what is described by those against CIO. And I also feel that my daughters temperament played a big part in why it was the best way for her to fall asleep. But I can understand parents who’s kids have a different temperament and therefore had different experience with their crying baby becoming frantic if they were put down for even 30 seconds, might not be able to understand how I could do ‘that’ to my child. Their ‘that’ and my ‘that’ weren’t the same thing. I remember hours and hours of her screaming and arching her back while I tried to rock her, sooth her, feed her, cuddle her or walk her to sleep. I put her down in her crib and gave her some space- she feel asleep with a lot less distress. I just followed my instinct on what she seemed to need.

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