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Monday, 10 September 2012

The double standard...

Linking an old post on The Lounge topic of the Park - why do people with kids think they own parks? They are for everyone, and in this case, surely big enough to share....

I had planned a really touching post about my near empty suitcase but that will have to wait. I read this article in the Huffington Post and it made me so angry initially I had to jump online and write about it on a forum. I've calmed down now, but my initial reaction to the article has me perplexed.
There is a statue of a disjointed woman with naked breasts, sexting, in the park, and this mother is petitioning to get it removed because her kids use the park - read more HERE.
My anger at this woman, and more the double standard she represents, was based on this: Babies have to be allowed in restaurants, and breast feeding has to be acceptable everywhere but parks apparently are solely the domain of children? Shouldn't children and their parents have to be tolerant and considerate of the other park users? Nature lovers, lovers, old people, unemployed or just people that like to go to parks - don't they have rights? Does our whole world have to revolve around children? In the same week the world applauded the 'cute' and 'considerate' parents that handed out candy to a plane load of passengers asking for tolerance of their twin babies behaviour on the flight, this mother (and those 4,700 people that signed the petition to remove the art work from a public place) showed no tolerance of anyone in society beyond her children (or children in general). In a 300 acre park, I think you could avoid the statue in the future if you didn't want your kids to see it, surely that is the only recourse in protest you have to take?
What it has got me pondering however, after my initial extreme reaction (equally as disproportional to the stimulus as the Kansas mother's): What about the rights of the childless? They're fast becoming second class citizens. They're like the smokers you see crowded around stairwells outside buildings - the areas they enjoy have been altered to accommodate children. It's no wonder the derogatory terms such a 'breeder' occur. By childless, I mean those without children in tow - maybe they never had children, maybe their children have grown to adults.
There's a certain level of hypocrisy in this bullying 'Motherhood'.  If you can post photos of breast feeding on Facebook (and that's beautiful or political or both), surely a statue of a naked breast is no big deal?
Whether you like the art or not, is another thing, but the argument is that it's not appropriate because children use the park...well, so do other people, and maybe they need to be accommodated too. There are probably plenty of childless people who also don't like the statue, but they aren't asking for it to be removed.
For the record, I have three kids, I take them everywhere, I breast fed them (everywhere) and I'm sure I was (and am) at times a total pain to my childless friends. Also for the record, while no art expert, I looked at that statue and saw that it was making a negative comment about the practice of sexting - I did, however, think it was the work of a woman, not a man. I find it quite interesting that I assumed a man wouldn't make a provoking artwork on that topic, that shows concern for the woman and what she is actually doing to herself (but clearly my sexism is topic for another day).
So here's the rub, perhaps my anger is at myself, because I can see my behaviour is at times, even on this issue, a double standard?

31 comments:

  1. wow!! a very interesting topic!! I do see views differently from myself and my friends who don't have children.. and quite often find it hard to explain to them that if they climb up on the top of the frame where they aren't suppose to be and fall off they may break a bone.. just because they drink milk doesn't always make them bounce!! (recent arguement with husbands childless friend who's about to become a dad!)

    #teamIBOT was here to say hello :)

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    1. Well that pre child knowledge vs reality is a topic in itself!

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    2. Was not meaning to be glib there - my iphone edited off the rest (d'oh!) I could make a novel on what I thought I'd do and what I do now, 3 kids in....

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  2. Hmmm, I had a quick look at the statue and think it's ridiculous and probably shouldn't be in a public park. However, that's based more on my subjective lack of appreciation for it. It's not beautiful. It's slutty and while as a piece of art it tells a story, it's not one I want in a playground. Taking naked selfies of yourself isn't exactly something I want my kids to think is ok.
    That said, replace it with a more tasteful piece of booby art and I'll go out of my way to show it to my children.

    So boob art, yes please, the female form is beautiful. Tramp art, no thanks, not around my kids.

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  3. The art work isn't in a playground, it's on one of the walking trails or rambles. This park is so huge it has dozens of hiking tracks. I agree it's not appropriate for a playground.
    If they argument is that it's not appropriate for a public place - fine. It's about the merit of the art or lack of, or general offensive nature.
    My issue is with this woman thinking the walking tracks must suit her requirements for her children, not all users.

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  4. I think it's entirely inappropriate personally. Not just because children can see it, but because it silently advocates that taking half naked pics of yourself is to be celebrated. It's not just about small children; it's about teenagers walking through that area and getting an idea, or recreating it.
    And there is no comparison in my mind with that statue and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding serves a natural purpose, and can be done in a discreet, beautiful way. That statue is all about sexualisation, and I would have signed the petition.

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  5. I appreciate all comments, and was not expecting many people to agree with me (infact was slightly terrified the trolls might attack). So what I'm about to say is not meant to read as argumentative, but more to clarify a few things.

    I think I've come to my issue with the petition/statue story. (only took me 30 hours to work out what outraged me so much) If we changed the scenario to a person of Muslim faith (and I am picking that randomly - Armish etc also appropriate), for whom that statue is equally inappropriate for, should their demands be met? I don't believe in Australia we would accept that as something that required consideration. Yet if the children demand to be accommodated, we jump all over it. What if the Muslim/Armish said could our public pool demand that people wear rashies at all times (males and females) because the semi nude torso is offensive to us, would that petition be accepted? I don't believe in this country it would. But it is behaviour that a percentage of the population finds offensive and would like to change.

    I've also been polling people on the actual art work and it's about 70 -30, with the 30 being the group that sees it as saying sexting is bad, and women that do it are giving no value to themselves. I was surprised most people I asked saw it the other way (as to me I saw it quite clearly as against, the only part of the body not dismembered is the massive fake chest, and the woman herself is pointing the camera at ONLY that - she cut her own head out of the shot etc - which was also why I thought it was by a woman artist and was really surprised a man did it), so I can also see why it's more offensive to most people. In that case I would say it was valid to remove it for the 50% of women who found it offensive, but not the children issue. (Interestingly, a friend said she thought it was promoting plastic surgery because the only bit of colour is the green shirt that is like wrapping paper/bandages coming of the 'new set')
    Lastly, to clarify the breastfeeding comments - when FB took down some breast feeding photos, there was a political protest campaign of women taking downward pointing photos of them feeding their babies, and you could see everything. I don't think they were discreet in anyway, nor were they taking into account anyone who felt uncomfortable (for religious or personal reasons)by seeing those photos.
    But I appreciate all the comments, and I guess the artwork itself is clearly controversial, as Voltaire said 'I may not agree with a word you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it'. :)

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  6. Interesting article. I don't know which side I and on. I keep changing my mind and then swinging it back again. Rachel xx

    #teamIBOT

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  7. For anyone interested, the statue in full looks quite different to the upclose photo. http://bugbytesdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/20120606-1431301.jpg (I find the turned around hip piece a little distracting myself! Someone on another site pointed out to me that it's a lot like Dali's women)
    & gald it makes you think...whatever you think is fine with me :)

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  8. The universe sent me my revenge - my son is one of 8 boys in a class of 20 girls. Their class dance for the school concert was decidedly girly. I was a little annoyed that they couldn't have picked something a little 'cooler' for the boys, and then realised, by my own argument above, they shouldn't have to cater to the minority, when it's bringing enjoyment to a larger group of their society. HA! (so anyone who thinks my post was out of line, enjoy my 'punishment'. I can't have it both ways!!)

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  9. Families face far more serious issues than some pert metallic boobies in park. I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over this art work. Nevertheless I'm slightly uncomfortable with it as it displays a sexual act. I got me thinking, so I guess its served its purpose.
    Thanks for presenting an interesting viewpoint.
    Mumabulous@mum-abulous.com

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  10. I think you've probably hit the nail on the head that the purpose of this sort of piece (of art) is to get people thinking, rather than a work of beauty. :)

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  11. Art has always had boobies in it, and nudes in every which way, shape and form. I've taken my kids to art galleries where they have seen paintings of bare breasts, and none of us were offended. So I'm sure there would be no offense with outdoor art either!

    I do have rant to follow on with your comment, "Nature lovers, lovers, old people, unemployed or just people that like to go to parks - don't they have rights? Does our whole world have to revolve around children?" Because I completely agree! Only my rant is to do with pram herds (is that what you'd call a gathering of women with prams?) taking over the walking paths when I'm trying to roller skate past them. Seriously! Show some footpath etiquette and keep left, and let other people use the foot paths too!

    Rant over... :)

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  14. You really shouldn't encourage me - I also have a pram etiquette gripe. If there are 2 adults facing an oncoming pram, then they move round the pram BUT if there is an adult with numerous little children, the pram should give way to the children (as wrangling run away toddlers is harder than moving a buggy). I have watched women with a new born roll their eyes at the flustered mother of tots and stop aggressively as if they're being wronged by the woman who is trying to hold 3 or more hands at the same time. My kids are older so it's not even my issue anymore, but it does make me want to intervene (like the clearly crazy lady that I am)....And don't start me on lovers that can't stop holding hands even tho it means they're hogging the path!

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  15. I don't do controversial posts at all. I reckon it's because I'm such a fence sitter. No idea where I'd stand on this. If it really offended me I'd possibly go to a different park.

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    1. I rarely do, but tomorrow's ibot maybe....

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  16. LOL - I love how you have posted multiple replies as you have thought of more things to add !!! Or in reply to issues raised by other comments !
    I will have to have a think about where I sit on this one - I'm thinking I would be against the petition !
    Have the best week !
    Me

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  17. I am fascinated by your two deleted posts on 28 September. A sure sign of your inner conflict when you are moderating yourself twice!

    It's fine to be outraged and - to give you credit - you are trying to rationalise why.

    I try not to rationalise too much, though. Whenever I do that sort of thing, I come to the view that everything I like and believe in must be wrong and that whatever someone else says must be right. Squeaky wheels and all that, I suspect.

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    1. Hate to say, was probably more likely bad typing than moderation...ha! iphone autocorrect gone mad.

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  18. I think this whole situation illustrates the pervading culture in our society of loud, righteous complainers being rewarded for their politically correct, right-wing views. She sounds like a Coalition voter...oops, did I say that out loud??? Thanks for linking up Lydia!

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    1. That just made me laugh out loud (and I'm in a lecture)

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  19. This reminds me of an article I read a few years ago about a woman starting a petition against farmers allowing breeding animals in the paddocks near roads as it meant she had to explain to her child what the cows were doing. I'm not sure if it's a cotton wool approach to children or passing the blame to others if our child is exposed to something that we aren't ready to expose them to...

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  20. On that theory, I might petition to stop boys wearing jeans so low that you can see they're whole butt and undies/boxers, because I get tired of telling my son that if he does that he'll look like and idiot and his father and I will NEVER stop telling him he looks like a dickhead.

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  21. If a statue bothered me that much, I think I'd just go to a different park. I am admittedly lucky to have six within walking distance of my house, but still, there are ways to show your opinion without having artwork removed from a public place just because it upsets you. (And what happened? Is it still there?)

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  22. This is really thought provoking. I don't think the statue would worry me. I love public artworks and love being able to talk to my kids about them - even if they're challenging. On the other hand, one of our favourite parks currently has a humongous F word painted across the rocks - now that's a public nuisance! I agree with you though that parks are for everyone, not only those with young families.

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  23. Same as Em above, if something bothered me, I'd simply switch parks. I checked out the article and admittedly, I don't really like the sculpture but art is subjective. It's important for kids of all ages to be exposed to art as it is one of the things that shapes culture. I wonder if it's still there as well? Cheers for linking up with #thelounge. Robo X

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