I recently ran across a piece of child-hate (no, I’m not telling you where) that said, in part, “Sure, I think children are people, but their parents need to make sure they act like it in public! People in restaurants don’t crawl on the floor or dance between the tables!” Really? Because I’m pretty sure what you were talking about just then was a person who was, in fact, dancing between the empty tables.
Dancing between the tables: on the personhood of children
This is but one example of the widespread phenomenon of child-hate disguised as simply a “concerned citizen”: children are OK in public, as long as they don’t in any way attract an adult’s attention. It usually comes with a hefty dose of mother-blame (which is a type of misogyny, remember), in the form of “she should control her kids, or keep them at home!”
I don’t really want to get into a discussion of what level of behavior is appropriate to allow children in public, though: what I want to talk about is the message behind these kinds of statements (and the fact that the discussion is about allowing in the first place).
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