Enough With Your Opinions Already

Monday, November 26, 2018

Today, I was watching a few random YouTube videos. This is something I do from time to time, a pastime I am sure I share with at least a billion other people.

I came across a talk show segment that was discussing breastfeeding, where a guest was trying to defend still feeding her nine year old daughter, while another was sitting there and apologising so kindly, while tearing the first guest apart, with the excuse that she was simply concerned for the well being of this child she had never met, and who, by all accounts, was a happy, independent, well adjusted kid. 

This post is not about the merits of natural term weaning or whether nine is too old or whether it's strange, or even how it works, or anything of that nature. It is a post about opinions, and why so many people insist on having them and sharing them on issues that have nothing to do with them, whatsoever.

The whole time I was watching this segment, I was thinking what's it to you, lady?
Why is this an issue for you and what makes your input in any way valid at all?

The child would be teased or ostracised for being weird, she said. But would they be? What is weird to kids and who teaches them what is normal and what should be mocked, if not their guardians?

Adults are the ones who set the agenda for what social norms are and for who is worthy and who is shunned. Children simply observe, learn and repeat, until their minds develop to the extent that they in turn become the ones to define what is acceptable.

So is it really strange, or are you making it so simply by holding that opinion. It may not be the norm or the mainstream, but again, why do you feel you have to point your finger and go 'Witch Witch burn the Witch!' basically.  

This woman who felt she had to stop breastfeeding her child the moment the baby was able to verbalise the need for her milk felt it was appropriate to judge someone else for doing things differently to her and allowing her child to stop at their own pace, and for being confident enough in her personhood to be vocal about allowing that. 

She did not seem to me to be a woman who needed breastfeeding to maintain her bond with her child or to feel validated as a parent or even to fill an emotional need of her own, as natural term weaners are often accused of doing. 'They are forcing their children and infantilising them because they need to hold on to their babies,' people say, or 'they are just too lazy to find alternative ways of comforting or bonding with their children.'  

I found her self control in the face of this bizarre 'I am a stranger, but I know what is best for you and your child' narrative incredible. I would have been rather more rude and my tandem breastfeeders are only three years old and seven months old. (to be fair, I do wish the tree year old would stop already.)    

I cannot understand how this kind of breastfeeder shaming is acceptable at all, especially since bottle feeding mums are always banging on about being shamed for their choice to formula feed. 

I though we were past the era of the evangelical zealot trying to validate their existence and opinions by making everybody else share their views, but here we stand, in a world where every issue is like a fence, with zealots on either side, shouting down the other, trying to break them down, usually online.

I respect the right of every person to hold their own views and opinions on whatever issues cross their field of perception, but hold your views, just hold them; don't try to impose them on everyone else. 

No one is the arbiter of another's truth. No one is entitled to belittle another's choices in the guise of 'I know what is right better than you' but some people just can't seem to be able to help themselves. It is really OK if others do not see the world or experience it in the same way you do. the Earth will not explode. 

The reality is that there will always be those who want to impose their world view on others, be they religious extremists, pro-lifers, anti-vaxxers, vegans, anti-smoking, anti gay marriage or Breast is Besters (they aren't immune to this either), you name the issue there is someone out there with a really strong Opinion on it that they insist everyone must share. 

Not only must you modify your behaviour to suite them and their world view, they are quite happy to inculcate those views into law so that they can feel the moral high ground firmly under their feet, even when it is nothing more than sociopolitical astro-turf.

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