I'd like to direct your attention to a thread over at Feministe, On Hating Kids. I'd also like to point out that the author of the post gets one thing right: that hating kids is quite ridiculous, and it hurts women too. But after that, the post fails to really make the point that children do matter, as do the women that have them. Sadly, it's only the opening paragraph that makes a good point:
Sybil at Bitch PhD is right on the money with this post — the “I hate kids” line is pretty ridiculous, and it’s unfair to expect that kids will never be allowed out in public spaces. Hostility towards children is also, in practice, largely sexist — it’s moms who largely bear the burden of caring for children; it’s moms and female care-givers who are largely stuck inside when children aren’t welcomed in public spaces; and at least in my experience, it’s moms who are disproportionately glared at if their child isn’t perfectly behaved (dads, on the other hand, are considered sweet just for taking the kid out in public).The rest essentially reads, hating kids is bad, but...I'm single and I shouldn't have to deal with other peoples' kids, which sounds an awful lot like "I'm not racist, but" followed inevitably with something that is in fact racist.
Now I'd like to direct your attention to Renee's post, My Child Takes Up Space, which asserts that children are not burdens--they are people. She points out "What really needs to be recognized about children is that they don’t have the capacity to act in the same way that adults do." Yes, they're going to act up sometimes, and often that will be in public. It's absolutely ridiculous to hold children to the same standards of public behavior as adults, who have had the time to be socialized. Treating children as subhuman is only continuing an anti-children cycle.
I will not pretend I'm not annoyed by a child screaming in public, because I certainly am. But it happens, and its unfair to hold all children accountable, and its even worse to expect the parents to be ostracized from public activities simply because their children will occasionally behave like children.
I'm finding that many of my female peers have not only decided not to have children, but are quite anti-children. Now it is certainly their right to not have children, but there is no reason foist anti-children sentiments on women who have had children, or who plan on having children. Several of my peers have even gone so far as to mention to me that the sight of a pregnant woman annoys them. Well, that's just too damn bad. Not every woman will choose to have children, but plenty do, and being hostile to children and their parents helps no one.
I know that when I have children, I will lose touch with several of my friends who not only choose not to have children, but cannot stand it when people they know get married and have babies. I do not plan to censor my conversations because my single friends don't want to hear about my baby. Like it or not, children are people, and they mean something to their parents. Nothing can be gained by exclusion, nor by hostility towards children and mothers, who have the audacity to appear in public.