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singsingsing

Bonnie - Babies, White Privilege, and Other Nonsense

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singsingsing

We were discussing Bonnie and her latest pregnancy in the Upcoming Babies thread a bit, but her latest post really pissed me off.

http://www.aknottedlife.com/2018/10/a-response-to-president-emmanuel-macron.html

The president of France apparently said something that implied that women who are educated would be less likely to have huge numbers of children, and Bonnie has taken it as a personal insult. She also displays an absolutely stunning lack of perspective and apparently zero understanding that things outside her bubble of white American middle class privilege can be wildly, wildly different. 

She says:

Quote

Look at us: we are educated - some of us impressively so - and we did choose this. Look at us, Macron: there are women all around the world who have not only educated  our minds but have formed our hearts and consciences so that we understand that life is beautiful, our bodies are amazing, babies are gifts, and love is the greatest resource we have.  We want you to know this, too, Macron, because it is beautiful and joyful and powerful. 

Yes, Bonnie. YOU had a choice. Your other Super Catholic middle class American friends all had a choice. You STILL have a choice. That's wonderful for you. But do you really not comprehend that many girls in poorer, less democratic countries, do NOT have the same choice? Please look an uneducated, abused 16-year-old girl who was forcibly married at 12 and is pregnant with her third child in the eye and tell her that babies are gifts and what's happening to her is beautiful and joyful and powerful.

Look at how many women ~200 years ago had huge families, look at how many women choose to do so now, then look at how many women were educated ~200 years ago vs. now, and you tell me that Emmanuel Macron isn't basically right. The point isn't that educated women who choose to have 7+ children are wrong or bad or stupid - the point is that educating women gives them the freedom to make that choice, and hey, sorry, Bonnie, but it turns out most women don't end up choosing that. The ability to choose to stop at, say, three kids instead of thirteen, can make an absolutely ENORMOUS difference in quality of life for a woman, her existing children, and the community. It can even mean the difference between life and death.

Quote

PS - Fr. Julius would be disappointed in my calling President Macron names in my head and would want us all to pray for Macron to have a conversion of heart and to go to confession. So let's do that, too. 

Lady, are you for real? Why don't you pray that you get your head out of the Catholic Church's butt long enough to realize how incredibly naive and absurd this makes you sound.

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Waffle Time
Hane

Yup. Macron was talking stats and probability. For an “impressively educated” woman, she has remarkably poor powers of comprehension.

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SolomonFundy

Man, did you ever hit the nail on the head, @singsingsing

The Catholic mommy bloggers that I follow on social media were LIT THE FUCK UP about this yesterday. Pretty much all of them are white, solidly middle class (or significantly above), and a considerable number of them are Catholic converts. Meaning they don't even have the plausible deniability of saying that they were raised in this mindset. These are healthy, wealthy, white women who are happily spreading hashtags and smug family photos all over the internet because of a perceived slight on their lifestyle choices. 

It's all the more interesting since many of them are completely intolerant of other peoples' lifestyles, and consider other people's personal choices to be fair game for public criticism or comment.

Ultimately, they are all desperately taking this comment (which to be fair, could have been better expressed), and making it all about themselves. I've only seen one high-profile Catholic momblog personality comment on the actual women whom Macron was referencing (Kendra from Catholic All Year). Even then, it was just to remark how easily women in third-world countries could be given great educations AND have massive families with "truly enlightened aid policies". I guess she's solved the issues of world hunger, rape culture, poverty, war, and political despotism in her spare time. It would be nice if she shared her insights with the millions of women who apparently don't realize how easily they could escape these things.

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NachosFlandersStyle

It is simply fact that women with higher levels of education have fewer children. It's a pattern that has been studied and quantified again and again all over the world and it is remarkably consistent, although of course there are outliers in any trend.

The school she supports in Uganda is, in all likelihood, going to bring down the birth rate for some of its students. If she wasn't so reflexively defensive about her own choices, surely she could recognize that this is what Macron is talking about.

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NachosFlandersStyle
1 minute ago, SolomonFundy said:

It's all the more interesting since many of them are completely intolerant of other peoples' lifestyles, and consider other people's personal choices to be fair game for public criticism or comment.

Bingo. These folks are ready to go nuclear if someone so much as gives them a sideways look while they're at the grocery store with eleventy children, but if someone else's family doesn't seem to fit their ideal model they will be all over it with judgement and broad generalizations.

A foreign leader makes a statement of general statistical probability regarding worldwide birth rates? "He's talking about meeeeee! Stop oppressing me! We'll show him!" *rends clothes*

A catholic convert blogger suggests that anyone with fewer that five children is selfish and materialistic and part of the Culture of Death? "Wow, why are you so offended? Is it because you know it's true? Stop oppressing me with your criticism!"

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singsingsing

I'm also interested in how many of these uber Catholics understand French. I haven't seen the original comment, but Bonnie admits straight off the bat that she doesn't speak French and she may be missing some nuance. It really doesn't matter regardless, because even the way it was written in English makes it pretty obvious (to me at least) what his meaning was. The Catholic mommy martyr brigade is willfully choosing to interpret him in a way that leads to maximum butthurt.

2 minutes ago, NachosFlandersStyle said:

Bingo. These folks are ready to go nuclear if someone so much as gives them a sideways look while they're at the grocery store with eleventy children, but if someone else's family doesn't seem to fit their ideal model they will be all over it with judgement and broad generalizations.

I'll never forget how the "lovely" Simcha Fisher once claimed that vasectomies were emasculating and that men who get vasectomies are not really men. These people are so sanctimonious and holier-than-thou, and they're more judgemental, hateful and petty than anyone else. They're awful.

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ViolaSebastian

Never fear, folks. Kendra wants you to give money to a Ugandan school that educated both boys *and* girls. No word about how keeping a girl in school for an extra 10+ years will decrease the number of kids she has, but here’s hoping, anyway. 

00BAF9F6-94E2-4C6B-A68C-BD4178657515.png

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NakedKnees

How petty to be so up-in-arms about his comment. The nuance of what was meant is clear. Even looking at what was SAID rather than what was MEANT isn't even that bad.

What really gets to me about this type of uproar is how much time and space is dedicated to accusing others of hating kids, family, religion, women, educated women, whatever, when really this whole perspective just boils down to an obsession with traditional* gender roles and the pro-life movement. If bloggers like Bonnie could just admit that that's where they're coming from on this, I'd almost have less of a problem with it, but instead it's wrapped in all these layers of indignation. They know that's more sympathetic than the truth, which is "I don't believe women should have control over their own fertility." 

It's a bit painful for me to type that because Bonnie has wanted and possibly still wants control over her fertility. She just wants to be a martyr even more.

* I should maybe say "traditional" in quotes. I think we know well that women have always worked outside the home and taken measures to control their family size to various extents, but that's not how fundamentalists (or even just moderately conservatives worldviews) use the term "traditional."

Edited by NakedKnees
word choice
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Don'tlikekoolaid
52 minutes ago, Hane said:

Yup. Macron was talking stats and probability. For an “impressively educated” woman, she has remarkably poor powers of comprehension.

I know right. Impressively educated by whose standards?  Her own probably.

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NachosFlandersStyle

Here is the context of Macron's statement, which makes it even clearer that he is not going after smug Catholic housewives: 

“One of the critical issues of African demography is that this is not chosen fertility. I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children. Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.' This is just because a lot of girls were not properly educated, sometimes because these countries decided the rights of these girls were not exactly the same rights as the young man. That is not acceptable."

It does sound like there is space to criticize Macron for paternalistic attitudes towards the developing world, but he is absolutely correct that many women around the world are denied any choice when it comes to marriage and children, and education is the best way to stop that.

 

Edited by NachosFlandersStyle
typo

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singsingsing

I've always gotten the sense that Bonnie is (or at least was) unhappy, insanely stressed and exhausted, but she's painted herself into a corner. Her entire persona and most of her relationships are built around being a hardcore orthodox Catholic. She can't ever admit that there might be a better way to live, to herself or to anyone else, so she just digs herself in deeper and writes blog posts full of righteous indignation about how wonderful and special and blessedly blessed it is to base every single facet of your life on strict religious dogma dreamt up by celibate men.

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akinom
On 10/18/2018 at 9:59 PM, singsingsing said:

 

I'll never forget how the "lovely" Simcha Fisher once claimed that vasectomies were emasculating and that men who get vasectomies are not really men. These people are so sanctimonious and holier-than-thou, and they're more judgemental, hateful and petty than anyone else. They're awful.

I remember that! I wonder what she thinks of men who turn sterile through illness, or are just born that way? Not real men?

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Briefly

I think that Bonnie is very thin-skinned and over-sensitive.  But I've always gotten that from her blog.  I think she is missing the point entirely on what he said, and she may be doing that by choice.  She is very, very defensive.  I kind of wonder if maybe she never really wanted the life she has.  But if she was raised uber-Catholic then she might have been essentially brainwashed and not felt like she had any other choice.  Just wondering.

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singsingsing
54 minutes ago, Briefly said:

I think that Bonnie is very thin-skinned and over-sensitive.  But I've always gotten that from her blog.  I think she is missing the point entirely on what he said, and she may be doing that by choice.  She is very, very defensive.  I kind of wonder if maybe she never really wanted the life she has.  But if she was raised uber-Catholic then she might have been essentially brainwashed and not felt like she had any other choice.  Just wondering.

I'm not sure how zealous her religious upbringing was. I always kind of got the impression that she became more zealous when she went to college. I remember her telling the story of how she and her husband met in college, but they were just really good friends. I think he was planning on becoming a priest, but then he suddenly had an epiphany that he was supposed to marry her. She posted this in an entry from several years ago:

Quote

In a sense we had an arranged marriage (God the Father was our "Yente") but fortunately for us we also loved and were in love with each other. All that being said, it can still be hard not to feel vulnerable when you step out in faith and date for 6 weeks and then are engaged for 6 months...

She also got pregnant super fast after their wedding. So basically is seems like she decided God was calling her to this, and she dove into it head first super fast and pretty young, having no idea what lay in store for her. And since then it's almost like she's been bending over backwards to justify her entire life.

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singsingsing
4 hours ago, GeoBQn said:

She sounded pretty conflicted over the sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania, but I'm guessing she got over that.

http://www.aknottedlife.com/2018/08/the-pelican-and-phoenix.html

I remember when I read that post in the summer I felt a glimmer of hope for her, especially as she was willing to criticize the Pope and admit that she wasn't sure she wanted her son to be a priest anymore. But she's in way too deep. This quote from near the end of the post basically sums it up:

Quote

[God] is using this broken Church to communicate with us which only seems to confirm that it is His and He is guiding it.

She spent several paragraphs really openly and honestly lamenting the state of the Church, the evil within it, the countless cover-ups, the complicity at the highest levels, fretting about what she can do and how it affects her children. And then her conclusion is, of course, that THIS ALL JUST CONFIRMS THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND GUIDING THE CHURCH.

Bonnie, WHAT?! Are you seriously saying that the rampant dishonesty, corruption, criminality, pedophilia, child molestation and victimization is part of God's plan? Re-read your post again. You KNOW this is bullshit. You know it. Don't lie to yourself and everyone else to preserve a fantasy that's rotten to its core.

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JermajestyDuggar

Jennifer Flanders made a much less defensive post to Macron’s statement on instagram: 

962C05F9-D57E-4BEA-9A61-DA97CDF3831C.jpeg

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

@JermajestyDuggar, I found that post very impressive right up to the last sentence.

Quote

Not only have many smart women chosen to have lots of children, but choosing to have lots of children is itself a smart decision.

(my bold)

Yeah, no. In some cases, I suppose that a large family can be a wonderful thing for some women. For everyone? Yeah....no.

Edited by WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?
riffle

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NachosFlandersStyle

And Flanders' post is still defensive insofar as she's blowing past the important point that many women worldwide are denied education and reproductive choice, and making it all about her own insecurities.

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JermajestyDuggar
8 minutes ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

@JermajestyDuggar, I found that post very impressive right up to the last sentence.

Yeah, no. In some cases, I suppose that a large family can be a wonderful thing for some women. For everyone? Yeah....no.

I would say in some RARE cases, lol. The US just isn’t made for huge families. So it makes life much more difficult. Look at our maternity leave for example. It’s INSANE. I can’t believe how short it is. No wonder so many women choose to have 2-3 kids max. Plus the extra expense. Our minimum wage is so low that women who are getting paid close to minimum wage often can’t afford TWO kids let alone 12! Let’s not forget medical expenses that come along with having children. If you are lucky enough to have insurance through your job, you’ll still have to pay out of pocket for all the medical expenses that come with having kids. She is lucky. Not many women in the US are as lucky as she is. And not many want 12 kids. Thank goodness they have a choice. 

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Baxter

It's easy for Jennifer Flanders to say that having 12 kids is great and she's happy with her choice. Her husband is a doctor. They live a very comfortable life and have all the resources to support all those children. She also has access to proper medical care. She completely misses the point that for women and girls (especially in developing countries but other places too) they don't have much choice. They might not have the wonderful education that she had the opportunity to get. You really don't have a lot of options if you have to leave school as a teenager or earlier, get married and start popping out babies. But of course, that goes right over these people's heads.

No one is saying if you are educated and want to stay home and have a large family that you are an awful person. I'm contemplating staying at home after our second child is born. But that would be completely my choice. I also don't want 12 children because I like my sanity. But people like Jennifer and Bonnie blow any statement way out of proportion and forget that not everyone has a choice like they did.

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Waffle Time
mango_fandango

Macron never said that educated women don’t have kids FFS!! 

Also, reading a Guardian article, he talks about “chosen” fertility. Women in poor African countries tend to be married insanely young and have zero access to condoms, the pill, whatever. Poor African countries tend to have worse healthcare, and thus diseases like HIV/AIDS are far more rampant and have a much worse effect. So not only do these women have zero choice about kids, they also risk contracting a deadly disease. This isn’t America where many with HIV can live normal lives thanks to antiretrovirals. It is also a fact that those women are much less likely to be educated in the academic sense, because patriarchy. Again, that is not their choice, they are flat out denied education. 

There may well be smart women who’ve chosen to have many kids, but having many children isn’t a smart decision. Some women have medical issues that make sustaining pregnancy difficult; they may be able to have one or two but beyond that would be dangerous. And so on. I would like kids one day, but I’d make the sensible choice to stick with two or three because otherwise I’d be run ragged. We may get maternity leave/pay in the U.K., but that only goes so far. It’s still expensive as fuck to raise kids. Once that maternity leave ends you’ve got to pay for childcare, and if you don’t go back to work and become a SAHM then you lose an income stream. If you earn big bucks then cool, but many many families have to watch every penny and budget super carefully. 

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JermajestyDuggar

I want to throw something out there that I’ve noticed in the last decade. 

Wealthier people tend to have more kids than average. The upper middle class families and the wealthy families I know and know of are more likely to end up with 3-5 kids instead of 1-3. Most of my middle class friends have 1-3. We have 2 and we are done. I know this isn’t true for all wealthy and middle class people. But I think being able to afford 5 kids in the US is starting to become a status symbol of sorts. This is just my observation. So there actually are quite a few educated women in the US having more children than average. But they aren’t having 12! That’s just nuts. I’m kidding. Sort of. 

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elliha
1 hour ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

I want to throw something out there that I’ve noticed in the last decade. 

Wealthier people tend to have more kids than average. The upper middle class families and the wealthy families I know and know of are more likely to end up with 3-5 kids instead of 1-3. Most of my middle class friends have 1-3. We have 2 and we are done. I know this isn’t true for all wealthy and middle class people. But I think being able to afford 5 kids in the US is starting to become a status symbol of sorts. This is just my observation. So there actually are quite a few educated women in the US having more children than average. But they aren’t having 12! That’s just nuts. I’m kidding. Sort of. 

I think this is true. Being able to afford a good life for a bigger family is a status thing. Most middle class families cannot do that with more than 2, at the most 3 kids but if you are rich there is no burden to have 4-5 kids and you can still give them at least the same as the middle class family with two and often more. Having 4 kids and barely having enough money to feed them doesn't give status but affording them designer clothes and I-phones may. 

 

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Lurky

Here in the UK, the benefits that used to be paid for all children now only count for the first two children of a parent - so Prince William having a third child (eg) suddenly becomes a symbol of wealth and privilege, because the message is that 2 kids is the "correct" number.  Never mind that someone who is using contraception that fails, eg, get as punished as the mythical mother who only has children to get benefits (she's a total media fabrication, but she still is the reason this policy is in place) - and the real people who suffer are the children who grow up in poverty.  So a 3 children family, which used to be super-common, is now a luxury here.

(Still, at least we have mandatory maternity leave, at the moment.  It's one of those hypocrisies of the Evangelical pro-life movement, that they're not campaigning against the US' embarrassing stance on maternity leave...  but we all know that once a child is born, it's not important...)

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