Going Public

October 26, 2013

Just a little while ago, I posted something to I Support Youth Rights, a short tumblr post about some Australian mother who sold her daughter’s One Direction concert tickets as punishment, complete with bragging about it on the sale page. Honestly, I hesitated before sharing, despite the piece explaining why this mother is a pile of shit being a good one. Why? Because asshat parents like these get enough attention as it is.

In fact, the more attention we give them, the more this will happen.

And it happens so so much. That mother who sold her son’s car. That father who shot his daughter’s laptop. I can’t even count how many times now some parent had made their child stand on the side of the road with a sign detailing their transgression, whether lying or bullying or dressing like a tramp or some stupid crap. There was a coach in Utah who suspended the entire football team because some of the players were apparently cyberbullying someone. Setting aside the question of whether cyberbullying is really any of the school’s business (that and the nature of the cyberbullying was never specified), why is the entire team being punished for what only some of the players are doing? No matter. The coach has been applauded for this.

For taking a stand against bullying.

That’s another thing. It seems all these people need to say is “bullying” and even the most progressive will jump on board and believe any action is justified. That a dad making his 8-year-old son stand on the side of the road with a sign saying that he’s a bully is perfectly okay, despite the fact that the dad’s and kid’s names were given and that this kid will have to live with this for life perhaps. I guess being a bully means he should be punished long-term? I’m not defending bullying, but then again, it’s become one of those terms that has become so broad that what they’re calling bullying could be nothing. But whatever bullying here may be, it’s pretty damn clear that the kid is a bullying victim, by his father, by the media and internet commenters sharing and condoning the story, and after all this, probably by other students at his school, who see that the adults are treating him this way so it must be okay for them to do it too. Good job stopping bullying, you stupid assholes.

And then the football coach who suspended the team, made them all do community service, because some of the players were bullying. Collective punishments are abusive. This is guilt by association. But who cares? He’s stopping bullying! Hell, expel them all for it. All the progressive Facebook pages won’t be able to churn out supportive image macros fast enough.

What was the result? Fifteen minutes of fame. We all know the names of the coach and the school. Of the “tough” parents. In fact, I noticed in a number of cases, when the parent’s occupation is given, they are in some way self-employed, whether a small business owner or freelance worker or the like.

So with these public humiliation discipline stories cropping up, what message does that send? It tells parents everywhere, particularly those who have a business or product they want to promote, that they’ll get instant fame if they only publicly discipline their children. Bonus points if it’s for the purpose of stopping bullying, and all the anti-bullying crowd will fall all over themselves trying to elevate them to sainthood.

That’s why even when as youth rights supporters we’re denouncing such behavior, it seems we’re still promoting them, as it’s an “any publicity is good publicity” situation. And still supporting the news sites that share these things, because they know it’s click-bait and will then help their ad revenue, thus encouraging them to continue promoting abusive parenting.

That’s why I was hesitant to post that link. Because that’s what they want me to do.