Why did The Times, on Thursday, see fit to give a huge amount of space to a person who refers to parents as “breeders”? I find this term deeply derogatory and demeaning, up there with any of the familiar unsavoury racial or religious slurs.
The piece penned by Hannah Betts was the predictable trashing of families as they attempt to go on holiday. I read something very similar last year, only not as nasty. The usual stuff, such as how single people “facilitate” parents taking holidays at this time of the year, children are ‘boring’, and how singles will be now left to hold the fort, yet can still party on.
I understand editors need this kind of copy to shift papers. In reality a piece on, ‘I like my children, do not want to see the school holidays shortened and plan to have a nice family holiday’, will not have the same impact. However, using a pejorative term such as “breeders” to describe families and parents is something that I believe should be consigned to the dustbin of prejudice.
What is my problem with the term breeders? First, I have only ever heard the term used an insult. Secondly, breeding is nearly always used in the context of breeding animals, not people. One breeds horses or livestock not babies. Parents do not breed children – they raise them.
Thirdly, I believe it has subliminal links to having a lack of self-control which is why the term it frequently used when insulting those who have large families. In fact slave owners did like to “breed” their female slaves in order to increase their “property”. Any children born of course belonged to them.
So The Times sees fit to give space to a person who views families not as those who raise the next generation of children but something akin to livestock owners.
In the piece there were the usual clichés about Ms Betts being delighted that the prams will be off the street, and restaurants free of obnoxious parents. There are obnoxious parents of course, but we are not all like that. There were plenty of anecdotal stories of how parents are dreading the holidays. One “colleague” allegedly states: “It’s a sad fact, but my children are every bit as boring and attention-seeking as my colleagues.” Lovely.
Clearly, there is a woman out there of such immense talent that no one – not her work mates nor her children – can stimulate her mind. One wonders if this person is curing cancer or doing whatever the modern equivalent of splitting the atom is, but somehow I doubt it. Word of advice – it is not your children or your colleagues who are boring. It is you.
Anyway, we will have to prepare ourselves for a month of whinging about the holidays. And no single friends you are not “facilitating” a family holiday. There are plenty of parents out there who work very hard all year to pay for their holiday and they are entitled to take time in August just as everyone else is. If you have a problem with it then take it up with HR.
So I wish to offer a counter. I do not find my husband or my children boring so I am quite looking forward to our two weeks in Ireland. It will not all be bliss of course – I am sure there will be arguments. But there will also be time together, decent time as a family. The children will get to see their grandparents and cousins. We can catch up with friends. Having “chippies” on the beach will be a highlight and no one has ever complained about the sand.
Hannah Betts is looking forward some “alcohol-based social nihilism.” Good luck to her. But next year leave the insults at home.