Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Miscellanea

Some things to think about, which I may or may not expand upon at a later date:
  • I haven't written anything about the recent spate of fail issuing forth from Amanda Palmer because it's surprisingly depressing to me. I'm not a huge fan, but I always admired (some of) her music and her attitude from a distance, and for some reason I always thought of her as a feminist type. But her recent douchey behavior has cured me of that misconception, and it's all a little too depressing to rehash, so I'll let you Google it on your own if you haven't been following the discussion.
  • Lately I've been thinking a lot about how daycare and elementary school teachers refer to all of a child's peers and classmates as their "friends." I get the idea behind it, but it seems really misguided to me. When my stepdaughter was still in daycare I was informed one day that she had punched one of her friends. They wouldn't tell me who, and couldn't tell me what events had preceded the conflict. On the way home, she told me it was the kid in her class who was notorious for picking on the other kids, and that he had pulled her hair, knocked down her tower of blocks, ruined her painting, and stuffed sand down her jacket on the playground. By late afternoon she had had enough and punched him. But no amount of this kind of bullying makes the teachers drop the "everyone is your friend" script. This script is continued at her elementary school, and the teachers in my daughters classroom at daycare do the same. So it's clearly a trend in educational theory and practice. But it seems like another Lie We Tell Our Kids, and counter productive in the whole How to Help Kids Deal With Bullies project, and it dilutes the meaning of the word "friend," in my opinion. I mean, a kid who treats you like that is not your friend, and you should be free to see it that way, and say it, and avoid him or her. Am I overreacting?
  • I read this morning that a number of movie theaters have started offering sensory-friendly showings for kids with autism in which the lights are not dimmed all the way, the volume is lower, and kids are free to move around the theater. This seems like a nice example of a way in which we as a society can make adjustments to make life easier for those who aren't neurotypical instead of simply continuing to act like they're a bunch of problem children who should learn how to function like we naturally do. And since this is Autism Awareness month I'm sure there will be more discussion of ways we can change our neurotypical-centric practices coming soon.
  • There's a fairly good article on CNN today about the benefits of breastfeeding that manages not to be mother-blaming and actually points to the total lack of social support for breastfeeding moms in our culture. I'm always sort of surprised that the fact that breastmilk is healthier than formula is still a headline news type of thing, but am glad it didn't turn into the typical mom-bashing extravaganza that these things often do.

Your thoughts?


  1. Shannigan4/06/2010

    My nephew is autistic, and they went to one of the sensory-friendly movie screenings, and I heard it was great for the whole family. He has several food allergies too, and they were allowed to bring in their own snacks.

  2. Anonymous4/06/2010

    It seems to me like most feminists totally avoid the topic of breastfeeding anymore, which is tragic because there are so many important issues surrounding it. I know it's a really contentious issue and lots of flaming happens whenever it's brought up, but I don't think we should be afraid to tackle the hard stuff.

  3. Michael4/06/2010

    The calling everyone friends phenomenon goes along with the everyone gets a trophy trend I think. A lot of people have critiqued the practice of not keeping score in little-kid soccer and tball, and its a similar situation in that you're creating a falsely positive environment that kids probably see right through.

  4. Anonymous: it is a tricky topic, but I've seen a fair amount of conversation surrounding it. I know a lot of people feel that you can't advocate for breastfeeding inspite of the unquestionable advantages of it because that curtails the choices available to women, but I think that oversimplifies the debate and stops us from having discussions that are important.

    Michael: agreed. I remember being very skeptical about the whole "think positive" thing when I was in middle school and it became the trend. It was presented as this magical thing that would suddenly make things, even very improbable or totally impossible things, happen. And I think kids much younger than that can see through this kind of well-meaning propaganda as well.