Letter: Leave stereotypes of large families at home

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

Last week, my family and I were walking in downtown Asheville to have dinner. My husband and I have six children. A man walked by me and said very clearly and condescendingly, “What, one wasn’t enough?” Unfortunately, this is a common insult when we are in public. What I find most appalling is that in a society in which we’re expected to be sensitive to others, a man can still say this to a woman and expect it to be acceptable.

In a time when we’re expected to challenge assumptions and teach cultural sensitivity, I want to take a moment to express my frustrations as a woman and a mother and to take this opportunity to address only a few of those stereotypes that I hear from strangers on a weekly basis.

Yes, they are “all mine.” No, my children were not accidents, and, yes, I have “figured out what’s causing it.” Yes, I have a job. I am a full-time university instructor, and so is my husband. Yes, I am educated. We have four graduate degrees between the two of us. No, I do not belong to any organized religion. No, I do not home-school. Will I have more? I don’t know, but what I do with my uterus is none of your business. Yes, I sleep. Yes, my “hands are full.” Yes, I am aware of our carbon impact. Do I care? No, I’m too busy raising children so that they don’t grow up to be jerks who get amusement by insulting strangers minding their own business.

If I am in public, don’t assume that I need your help. The last thing my toddler needs is a stranger picking her up. And, to the woman who stood next to me in line at the bakery while I was getting coffee, I am not a “baby factory.” Forget what’s trending and stick to this rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated, Asheville, and be a little kinder.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been made to wait for a table with the expectation that after waiting for a half-hour that we’ll leave while we watch those who arrive after us seated immediately. Or, when we do finally get a table and people request not to be seated next to us. Consider this: Replace our experiences with others historically marginalized because of their gender, race, and ethnicity and ask yourself if it’s acceptable to be treated in such a way, especially in a town that prides itself as being progressive or open-minded.

And if, by the end of this, you’re wondering: Did I say anything to the stranger? I did. I asked him to repeat what he said to me just a little louder so my husband could hear, which he refused.

— Stephany Davis
Leicester

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55 thoughts on “Letter: Leave stereotypes of large families at home

  1. Sorry, no

    The author comparing her 6-kid-havin self to those who have been “historically marginalized because of their gender, race, and ethnicity” is laughable.

    4 graduate degrees. lol.

  2. Jason

    Please forgive what may be understood as insensitive and judgemental. It maybe (although inappropriate) that this person who made this comment was saying it with regards to your carbon footprint. It’s becoming common knowledge that we who want children need to adopt and take care of who’s already here opposed to adding to the problems that overpopulation are causing….
    Just a thought.

    • Lulz

      LOL but would he say it to the south of border transplants with 4-6 rugrats? Of course not lulz. So why is it correct for them to have large families, more than likely taxpayer subsidized, while this person pays for theirs? Oh lemme guess, because they’re white? And being white in lefty loonville is like an abomination.

      • bsummers

        being white in lefty loonville is like an abomination

        I know, right? Finally us whites get to whine about being the oppressed minority! MAGA! MAGA, gosh darn it!!!

      • Peter Robbins

        The reason nobody ever says mean things about south-of-the-border transplants is because some, we assume, are good people.

      • bully4kate

        Lulz, yep, you’re right. If she were an “immigrant” not of the “preferred color,” she’d not have been told anything at all. Guilty. White entitlement.

      • vrede

        Lulz,

        Sure, a large immigrant family will have a similar footprint to that of Americans, depending on consumption. However, the Immigrants are less like to have have had the education and access to family planning services that Stephany Davis did. So, the culpability is not the same.

        The people in “India” and “Africa” do not use resources and pollute at the rates that Americans do. In fact, American breeders are condemning India and African kids to death due to American gluttony.

        You failed both comparisons. Apples and oranges much?

  3. NFB

    The writer raises some good points but there is another side to this coin. Two in fact:

    1) couples who choose not to have children who get asked “when are you going to have kids?”

    and

    2) single people who are do not feel that they have to be either married or in a relationship to be whole who get asked “when are you going to get married” or “why are still single?”

  4. vrede

    Stephany Davis,

    Don’t be such a crybaby. Actions have consequences, including your gluttony.

    “cultural sensitivity” is great, but not when that culture is destructive by definition.

    If you want a timely restaurant table, get off your butt and make reservations. Your tribe’s sudden appearance is a burden and it’s only your selfishness keeping you from realizing that. You made your choices, the world doesn’t owe you anything.

    You say that you don’t care about your carbon impact. You should, it is making the world a more miserable place and will even more so for our children, including your own. Then, there are all the other resources your family will suck up at an outrageous American rate – 5% of the world’s population, 20-25% of its consumption. Many more kids than you’ve had will die from lack of access to those resources because of your fertility. What you do with your uterus is our business when it’s used as a weapon of mass destruction.

    “gender, race, and ethnicity” are not choices, silly. Your decision to be a breeder was. Clearly, your degrees and are of teaching are not in Logic, even at a middle school level. Does your husband buy all of the apples and oranges?

    Some people are not going to be sensitive to you in public, because you’ve chosen not to be sensitive to the planet and its people. Suck and up and deal with it, you’ve literally made you bed.

    • Lulz

      LOL complains of large families in Asheville, persecutes people here for their carbon footprint lulz. Ignores India with over a billion people. Ignores Africa where many people starve, abuse their resources, lack basic sewer treatment facilities, and burn anything including coal, trees, and animals.

      LOL, is the letter writer a burden to the planet or are the others?

  5. bully4kate

    Hi, I’ve been looking for this letter since Wednesday when I read the print issue. I won’t repeat my comments because all of mine are printed above. Just think, Woman-Breeder, if you’d had fewer children, maybe the Earth would thank you for your lesser imprint on it. Just a thought. I don’t agree, however, in telling you in public what I think about your (mis)behavior. It’s only when you whine about your situation that I may respond.

      • bully4kate

        NFB: Better idea, I wouldn’t have had SIX children in the first place.

        • NFB

          But now that she has had six children which ones does she send back?

          • bsummers

            I find that eenie-meenie-miney-mo works good in these situations.

          • bully4kate

            (Wait, I know I’m feeding your frenzy, NFB, but where does one send back children?)
            Damn, had I known that there was a return policy, I might have bred too. Nah, never. Nope.

  6. Austin Hill

    To the coward street person and anyone else who has a problem keeping their mouth shut: Just like I tell the abortion protesters outside the Planned Parenthood every Saturday. Mind your own business!!!

    • bully4kate

      Austin Hill, but it IS our business that she and her over-educated husband are polluting the earth! What gives them the right to use too many of our decreasing resources? No. Six is too many. Hell, to me, one is too many. But, that’s me.

  7. Tsalagi Sister

    In a world where fingers are pointing at others, often, those doing the pointing forget, they have three digits pointing back at themselves.
    Labels always limit understanding, libelling all of life’s complexities.
    Ultimately, if we seek to impose our will on others rather than just realizing we can only change ourself , we have missed all the beauty in folks accepting we all don’t have to be alike to get along.
    Tis none of my biz what others do as long as they are not harming children.
    Go feed your soul by helping not kvetching endlessly about others.
    We are all human… Be kind

    • Bright

      Kindness won’t be able to be practiced if the population is destroyed because of overbreeding!

    • bully4kate

      Tsalagi Sister, I agree with you, about the pointing of fingers. We seem to be caught in an endless blame-loop this year. However, she did post originally about someone’s commenting on her six children. She invited us in. I’d like to be kind, I practice being kind, however, this struck a note.

  8. Enlightened Enigma

    Stephany, you ran into a vile Margaret Sanger progressive, you know, Hillary’s mentor ? She advocated killing ‘unnecessary’ children.

    • bsummers

      False. But don’t let that stop you from spreading it, Fred “Fisher” Caudle.

    • vrede

      HDS Enlightened Enigma,

      Gee, you would have a point . . . if everything you posted wasn’t wrong.

      Resource conservation rather than gluttony is as much a con issue as a “progressive” one.
      Forced eugenics and responsible family planning are different.
      Margaret Sanger was not “Hillary’s mentor”.
      Margaret Sanger died while Hillary was still GOP.
      Margaret Sanger never advocated killing any children.

      • Enlightened Enigma

        Sanger ‘died’ whilst the hildebeest was a republican ? really ? so what does THAT prove ?

        hillary loves the legacy of margaret sanger, it’s been highly touted for years … did you not know that ?

        • vrede

          Got it, you have no clue what the word “mentor” means. Figures.

          Now, about your other falsehoods?

          • Enlightened Enigma

            maybe I meant ‘idol’ …more fitting probably…hillary idolized Margaret Sanger the promoter of killing blacks…

  9. Enlightened Enigma

    More babies aborted in NYC than allowed to be born, recently reported.

    • bsummers

      False. But don’t let that stop you from spreading it, Fred “Fisher” Caudle.

    • NFB

      More “aborted babies” means less need for “government screwls.”

      Your point?

  10. Peter Robbins

    Children are so cute. They bring out the niceness in everyone.

  11. luther blissett

    Large families are fine. I draw the line at stick-figure decals on the back windshield.

    • bsummers

      Where I draw the line is the ‘Quiverfull’ movement.

      Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
      and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
      As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
      so are children of the youth.
      Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
      they shall not be ashamed,
      but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

      Psalm 127:3–5

      There are people in this country who think it is their duty to have as many children as possible, so as to have more arrows to fling at the devil (or Islam, same thing in their minds I suppose). An SUV passed by me on the highway once with a slew of those stick-figures decals in the window, and a license plate that said something like ‘QUIVRFUL’.

      For some people, Handmaid’s Tale is a damn fine documentary.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiverfull

  12. The Real World

    Stephany – very sorry you have to endure such obnoxious and inappropriate interference in your life. Asheville being an open-minded place is a myth. It’s “open” only in politically-approved ways.

    If you defy one or more of the dictates the “progressives” have rec’d from their Wash D.C. masters, you will hear about it. For that crowd……independent critical thought = forget it; the courage to buck their prog masters or their own robot friends = forget it; knee-jerk, hyper emoting = they’re all over that; the deep need to off-load all of their self-hate = all over it. There it is. No hyperbole. That’s why you get the comments.

    They are very unhappy people virtually always looking for a fight and to diminish others. At this point, I think you deserve to simply tell them to F&^%- off.

    • bsummers

      There it is. No hyperbole.

      Wow I’m glad you said that, because it was starting to sound like hyperbole.

  13. Stan Hawkins

    Many years ago, a Chinese Christian watchman – Nee, who was persecuted for his beliefs for nearly 25 years, ; held a few simple beliefs about persecution. He stated, “ I will never respond or make a defense against criticism because those that criticize will not trust you, and those that trust you will never lead with criticism.”

    Our time is most likely more valuable, just saying.

    • bsummers

      Is that directed at the letter writer for complaining about her ‘persecution’, or at those who responded?

  14. Tourist

    Thank you Stephany for contributing to global over-population (the root of most problems on earth). No, I do not condone what that man said to you BUT having 6 kids is just your way of satisfying your over-bloated ego. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF ME!

      • Bright

        Read posts above. It’s called having the presence of mind (one hopes) not to have kids in the first place. Then (surprise) you won’t force yourself into having to make such a decision. Duhhhhh

  15. Able Allen

    Well, this letter is certainly stimulating a lot of opinions and expression. It is healthy to debate the merits and pitfalls of having a higher than average number of children, however a trend of these comments seems to be a lot of projection, name-calling, sniping, assuming the impossible, and harsh personal criticism about the letter writer and your fellow commenters. Although I am trying to leave comments with substantial points when they are not overpowered by harsh personal attacks, I have already had to delete a heaping handful of comments and I want to strongly encourage you all to take this opportunity to treat each other respectfully and debate fiercely without being hateful and ugly to one another.

    If we can’t talk to each other about this without resorting to just assuming anyone who disagrees with your opinion is an idiot or malicious, we are lost. This is supposed to be a platform for people to have honest, open and respectful debate. Please take it easy on your fellow people at the other end of these computer terminals.

    Thank you.

  16. Meagan Murphy

    Hi All, Many large families reuse more things, live in the same size spaces that smaller families do, and are more frugal in their use of resources. Many larger families are greener than smaller families. And for the women who are leaving replies, instead of criticizing the letter writer, consider supporting your fellow woman, as opposed to modeling exclusionary practices. Maybe we should all be a little kinder, promote love and support instead of reinforcing stereotypes and resorting to juvenile name-calling. It seems, maybe, some leaving critical comments feel inadequate and defensive. In other words, maybe those folks are critical not because they think less of the letter writer but instead they are covetous of what she has and they don’t. And, as for the letter writer, good for her for standing up for herself and being courageous enough to publicly post her name, as opposed to others who reply, and hide, using pseudonyms. And finally to my fellow commentators, especially you all who feed on the negativity that this letter has created and those who are fostering a mob mentality, this isn’t something I will continue to engage in online; I have a life to get back to. Peace to all, Meagan

    • The Real World

      Well said, Meagan, and I concur. There absolutely is a deep, underlying self-loathing and generalized envy from the crowd that wants to tear people down. Don’t know how much you read this website but, this is not unusual.

      Can you imagine if she had happened to mention her race? If she was white, even more vitriol would have been unleashed and, God forbid, if she’d had reason to say what part of town she lived in and it was a wealthy area like N Asheville or Biltmore Forest –they would have doubly savaged her. But, if she had defined herself as black or Hispanic, the majority of these comments would not have been made at all. Now, how do figure that? Are there separate expectations/rules depending on skin color? That would be racist, wouldn’t it? Rhetorical question, yes it would.

      Welcome to Ashetown — where the rules for YOUR life are whatever the crazed mob tells you they are.

  17. jason

    As long as you can pay for them without assistance, I say reproduce all you want. Just don’t expect me to give a flying crap about when you can’t feed, clothe and house these minions.

  18. vrede

    bsummers,

    Those are the funniest posts I’ve ever read!
    ***well, maybe a little hyperbole ;-) ***

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