. @JanelleMonae is everything
This hasn’t had a go ‘round in a while. It’s too beautiful to forget. #OpAntiBully
Once you get past the total crap acting, it’s really something. #OpAntiBully
I form opinions in a very straightforward manner. I receive information - a statement, a photograph, a newspaper article, a weblink. I filter information - I garner the facts & speculate a multitude of circumstances, filtering it through both my related knowledge & what life has shown me, then hit it with Occam’s razor. I process information - I take what remains of fact while leaving room for circumstantial differences, if applicable, and I formulate my opinion. I take nothing at face value and attempt to not run with assumption. I do my best to not be the accidental bearer of misinformation and very often succeed. I also do not agree or disagree with others based solely on my opinion. I often find myself arguing a position opposite my own based on general purpose. Religion, for instance. I will almost always defend religious people & their beliefs when I am an absolute nontheist.
Today, I am met on Twitter by a well-intentioned Tweeter on a link spamming crusade. She’s advocating against child abuse, which is perhaps the most noble of causes. She was spamming links to the most atrocious of acts against children, presumably in an attempt to make people more aware of the way our most precious are so grossly mistreated. Then there was just one, miscellaneous link amongst her dozens that drew my eye & I felt the need to defend the hypothetical.
I am a very specific & peculiar person. Since I do not want to be a vehicle for misinformation or accidental demonization, I feel that others should be as vigilant in their pursuits. The fact that this all blew up on Twitter should be of no surprise. How much can you really convey in 140 characters while tweeting at a bajillion people?
Perhaps I should learn my lesson once and for all…people can only handle an all or nothing approach. If you try to offer a differing view, whether your own or merely hypothetical, people will almost unilaterally take it as such an offense & argue with you as if you’ve attacked literally everything they’re fighting for or against.
The link was about a woman who held her three year old down as he was tattooed. It held no further information as to why the hell you’d tattoo your three year old or why would a tattoo artist agree. I don’t know what the tattoo was of or anything at all really about the situation. All I know is that a woman held her three-year-old down as she had him tattooed. As far as I’m concerned, that’s simply not enough information. Sure, tattooing a kid is wrong…isn’t it?
I wager it’s not that simple.
First disclaimer: I would never tattoo my child. Second disclaimer: My child has no tattoos. Third disclaimer: This is unsourced, but I will see if I can dig up any proof regarding pre-internet society & try to source it later.
When I was pregnant with my daughter and in her formative years, there were all sorts of things propositioned in order to “keep your child safe”. Among these things were RFID chips & small tattoos to be used as “identifiable features” in the event that someone were to abduct your child.
I think a new parent is the most terrified during pregnancy and for the first 5 years of life. This is a good window of opportunity for capitalism to exploit those fears. Either way, I was presented with a number of cute, tiny tattoos that I could have tattooed on my child. If I remember correctly, it would have been on her ankle, but I could be wrong. The idea was that as she grew, the tattoo would shrink, and it would be a way for law enforcement to more easily identify her & bring her home to me were she abducted. I thought it was absurd…still do.
I also remember that my birth plan included that I would not use an internal heart monitor as I felt the fact that it would literally screw into my child’s head was entirely too barbaric. That was until they could no longer differentiate between her heartbeat & mine. While her father grew angry that I renegged on the heart monitor part of our plan, my baby’s heart stopped…something that would only have been discovered with that internal monitor. Otherwise…I wouldn’t want to know the outcome.
I read all sorts of horrific information while I was pregnant about vaccinating my daughter. I was told that I was neglectful for taking prenatal vitamins as they cause miscarriage & birth defects. I was told that I was abusing my child by deciding to have her vaccinated. I ignored that crap and my daughter has had all of her vaccinations. That was good because in having relocated to PA, I would have been charged with child abuse had I not vaccinated my daughter.
As she’s gotten older, however, these vaccinations have been more and more against her will. I am shamed by the degree to which I feel like I am abusing my child when getting her vaccinated. She is 11 now, and at her last appointment she was given her TDAP & MCV4 vaccinations. It took me and two nurses to hold her down & force her to take her shots. It’s been like this at every appointment where she’s required vaccinations & also that time she had to get stitches in her face. She looks me in the eyes as if I’ve betrayed her and her tears begin to roll down her cheeks. I stare in horror at half strength because I can’t believe I am holding my child down for her to be hurt. How can I consider myself a good parent if I am participating in torturing my own child? No matter how much I know that I am doing what I should be doing as a parent, it shakes me to my very core. I simply stare back at her while my tears burst through my casual “it’s okay, honey” mom exterior. As she gets older, the nurses scoff at her behavior. I can only assume that she’s phobic, but at the end of the day it’s of no consequence. We leave the doctor’s office as she starts to feel better while my stomach still churns.
While all my friends ran out to get their infants’ & toddlers’ ears pierced, I winced. I’d determined I was going to wait until she really wanted to have her ears pierced. My grandmother took her at age 8 against my wishes, but those closed. I took her again at age 10, what I deemed a reasonable age. I had my own ears pierced at 7 & though I cried & cried, I found myself happy at the end.
Now to the matter of circumcision. Since I don’t have the relevant equipment, I’ve always decided that should be the decision of my mate. My fiance is a proponent of circumcision and if we ever bring a baby boy into the world, it will be his choice while I cry and squirm and freak out in another room or with my eyes closed.
An allergy panel requires that a child be scratched or stuck repeatedly by a number of needles along their arm. The purpose is to determine allergens by way of skin irritation.
That brings us back to the idea of tattooing your child. In my hypothetical, this is done for the purpose which it was presented to me for - to somehow further protect the child from abduction or to bring them home sooner. Obviously, if this woman did it for kicks, she’s an evil bitch…but…I’m offering an alternative in a situation where it is possible.
All of these things inflict pain on a child…period. Vaccinations & allergy panels are absolutely for health benefit. Circumcision is for health benefit with some degree of super scary risk. Ear piercings are purely cosmetic. That leaves the tattoos…
As a parent, I understand why one would make decisions that cause temporary harm to serve for the betterment of the child or the child’s life. It can be said that I agree with vaccinations & allergy panels, am a little wishy washy with circumcision, and disagree with ear piercing & tattoos.
However, in each instance, I would understand a parent making a different choice based on what they believe is best for their child. I’ve put this whole tattoo business through that same filter and I strongly feel that if she got this tattoo because she thought its benefits outweighed its harm, then I’ve no business judging her as a parent based on this single action.
The reality is that tattoos hurt no more than these other examples unless they are really big tattoos. I wouldn’t personally subject my child to a tattoo, but I can at least ascertain that it doesn’t hurt much worse than basic & trivial childhood injuries. It’s a far cry off from “torture”. I will again state that I have no idea why this woman tattooed her kid, I’m just offering a possibility that doesn’t paint her as a monster.
The only counter I’ve received to this scenario is female genital mutilation. If you think you can even compare FGM or the reasoning behind it with a tattoo, you are grossly minimizing FGM on every level. For that reason, it is not relevant to this topic and is a different monster all its own.
Good parents make difficult decisions based on what is best for their children in the long-term, sometimes at the expense of the short-term. While I might not agree with some things, I also don’t feel that I’m in a position to judge a parent trying to do the very best for their child, whether or not I agree with their parenting.
We could extend this to parents raising vegan children or any number of things that we can’t individually understand or have been conditioned to think a certain way about. At the end of the day, intention does count for a lot. Each parent is guilty of torturing their child in one sense of another, but what factor differentiates this torture from abuse?