Epistles of Thomas

January 13, 2018

When is cyberbullying ok?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 14:32
Tags: , , , ,

A. When you write an opinion piece for Canada’s national publicly funding news website, the CBC, and call it shaming.

Kristen Pyszczyk’s title is innocent enough: “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids.” I would hope that in any country with a tradition of free speech readers would agree that sensitive topics need to be open for debate. However, there is a difference between criticizing “parents” and singling out a specific family and justifying the cyberbullying they are currently enduring. Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, are pregnant with their fifth child. This might normally be cause for congratulations but not in the mind of Pyszczyk or the comments in the Us Magazine article she links to. Pyszczyk states that “Shame is a powerful tool for changing behaviour: it’s how we introduce new and existing social conventions. It’s unfortunate that Chip and Joanna bore the brunt of changing attitudes, but let’s learn from the reaction and examine our own actions.” Call it what you want but shaming people online on CBC’s national platform is cyberbullying by another name.

She justifies her actions with the excuse: “Procreation is becoming a global public health concern, rather than a personal decision. So when people do irresponsible things like having five children, we absolutely need to be calling them out.” What about the fact that Canada’s birth rate is far below what is required for a healthy country and we need mass immigration to save our ailing social system? No problem, “we will have a steady supply of smart and talented immigrants.” I’m not sure what country Pyszczyk is living in. It can’t be Toronto, Canada because in Canada families with five children are already in the extreme minority and we have already welcomed millions of smart and talented immigrants to make up for our lack of local procreation.

Let’s call Pyszczyk back to her first principle: “Now, as a feminist, I tend to oppose any cultural conversation that involves telling a woman what to do with her body.” Of course in this case she is willing to make an exception and tell Joanna Gaines exactly what she should be doing with her body. Why is this? It’s because “women have long been told that they need to have kids to have a meaningful life, and they are groomed for motherhood from a very early age.” The deeper meaning in this statement – Joanna Gaines doesn’t know what’s best for her own body because she’s been indoctrinated since childhood to think that having kids is meaningful. I’m not sure how Mrs. Gaines ever managed to put on some socks, get out of the kitchen and co-host a TV show because obviously she hasn’t matured enough to make her own decisions about having a child. She’s needs the protection of feminists like Pyszczyk to show her the error of her ways.

I trust that as a TV personality Joanna has the mental stamina to ignore the bullies and feminists who would rather she have an abortion than carry a fifth child to term. What about the average mother or father who reads about the bullying that the Gaines have faced and sees that the CBC as implicitly endorsed the negative reaction through posting Pyszczyk’s opinion piece? I only have three kids but I have already encountered incredulous reactions. I took my son for his three month vaccinations a few months ago and while I was there I also requested the vaccination records for his sisters. After I had gotten to the third child the lady looked up at me and asked in that tone of voice “How many kids do you have?” It would seem that having even three kids today evokes a reaction. Perhaps it’s because I’m Caucasian and stereo-typically it’s only those smart and talented immigrants who have large families. I was a little taken aback and wondered what on earth made three children so unusual. Thankfully, I haven’t faced the bullying that the Gaines have encountered as most people just want to know how I do it. It’s actually quite easy when you have three wonderful children and you know one of them will grow up to solve the world’s overpopulation woes :).


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