It is amazing the assumptions and leaps of logic people make when they read these three simple words “child-free zone”.
I must confess that this phrase was born to be cheeky, thought provoking and perhaps even a little bit confronting but it rarely means what a lot of people assume it means.
What I didn’t realise was how much baggage people bring to a subject. Some of it is passion, some of it is fear and some of it is downright ignorance.
One of the funniest responses I received when child-free zone first entered the public arena was to the logo. I person I was working with at the time looked at it and asked in all seriousness “why does that baby have blood all over it?”
Wow! I had to walk away. I couldn’t think of how to continue having a rational conversation with this person. Sure, part of our logo is red, but blood? Really? Something scary was going on in that person’s brain for sure.
One particularly venomous reaction we get that never fails to amuse me goes something like this “I’m glad you (horrible) people aren’t having kids. Imagine what terrible parents you’d be”. Yeah, well, you won’t raise my ire by agreeing with me ;-)
Another reaction, that perplexes me to this day, is “don’t you think that is a bit racist?” Of course there’s no racist connection whatsoever to the “child-free zone” words, topic or anything but yet, somehow, someone’s mind has made it.
Of course the subject itself is very broad and quite complex. You may be wondering why I’ve decided that these three words are the cause of these reactions.
Well, the reason is simple; most people who have these types of reactions have clearly not got past those three words before they go off. Rather than read a bit further or ask us a question they’ve decided, based on those three words, how they are going to react and that is that!
Only last week I had a person respond to my BLOG with the phrase “Your baby hating blog it (sic) just not cool”.
Now, Child-Free Zone always has and always will be about a person’s right to make an informed, appropriate and personal choice about reproduction. It provides the information for the other side of the choice, information which has been traditionally hard to find.
At no point does our web site proclaim or encourage the “hating of babies”. Sure, some people do feel that strongly about the subject and some people do indeed “hate babies”. But that is very clearly NOT what our web site is about. You just have to read beyond the title to discover this.
It is public knowledge that I have no interest in babies. I don’t want one, I don’t want to be around them and I don’t find them interesting but I don’t just “hate them” because they are babies. Our web site, and well, me in particular, will bag adults for making stupid reproductive choices but it won’t “hate babies”. There’s no point, they can’t fix the problem. They’re the product not the cause.
I’m not the argumentative type. But when someone labels me incorrectly you won’t keep me quiet. It is not that I care about their opinion. It is that I care about their ignorance spreading to those I do care about.
I guess what this is all about is our reaction to unpalatable information. We’ll all encounter it at some time of another. It is us who choose to label it as unpalatable. It is also us who choose when to label it as unpalatable.
It is a tough ask, when our communications channels are catering to our ever shortening attention spans, but please read or listen beyond “the first three words” before you make your judgement on any subject.
I promise to do the same.