Let me say right up front that someone will have very cogent arguments for each one of these things (well, cogent to themselves). Some of them are things that MOST people wouldn’t find fault with. Still, they cause me to see red!
1. Beauty pageants. This is child exploitation, pure and simple. No, it’s not “helping your daughter learn poise and self-possession while she competes for valuable ‘scholarships.’” It’s teaching your daughter (or your son, for that matter) that it’s what she looks like that matters, and that if she looks “better” than another little girl, then she IS better than the other little girl.
2. Leashes. Look, I get it that some toddlers are like greased lightening and they will be flat GONE if you take your eyes off them for even a split-second. I had to call for a lock-down in a local grocery store not once but TWICE when Jack was little, because he could disappear while I was blinking – so yes, I get it. I don’t care. You might as well go all the way and put a collar on a child as a leash. It is humiliating and dehumanizing to the child. Hold his hand, belt him in the cart, or leave him at home.
3. Letting your kids be disruptive in public. Again, I get it: you may not have a sitter, you may really need to get out, or you may think your kid is old enough to see the movie/ eat in the restaurant/ go to the school concert. If your child is screaming or crying or running around in any of these venues, it may not be your fault that they're fussy, but it is your fault that you are not controlling them. Take them out, walk them around a bit; maybe they’ll calm down and be ready to try it again, maybe they won’t and you’ll have to take them home. Either way, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your child doesn’t bother the people around him when he’s in public.
4. Circumcision. This one is a hot topic, and I hesitate to even bring it up, but with the recent flap-doodle where the American Academy of Pediatrics came out FOR “female genital cutting” and then reversed their decision after the public outcry – not to mention the outrageous “research” being done at Cornell University - and I warn you, don’t click that link unless you’re prepared to be infuriated - it has to be said. I firmly believe that this is a decision to be made entirely by a child’s parents, but in my opinion, genital mutilation is genital mutilation, whether it’s done to a girl baby or a boy baby. Babies are perfect as-is, and I think that we should leave the to-cut-or-not-to-cut choice for them to make themselves when they’re adults.
5. Earrings. Speaking of ritualistic disfigurement, what on Earth are people thinking when they get infant girls’ ears pierced? Surely they are gilding the lily – what can be more beautiful than a baby girl? What is the point of taking them to a crowded mall, restraining them bodily while a total stranger drives bolts through their heads, and then subjecting them to six weeks of cleaning, twirling and fussing – not to mention the likelihood of infection? People! Don’t poke holes in your kids, and don’t get parts of them sliced off! If you want to make your kid an original, dress them funny or give them any weird haircut they ask for (hair grows back).
Besides, if you pierce a newborn’s ears, how will you bribe her to get straight A’s when she’s nine?