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Slate author: People were so mean and sexist to me after I gave my baby girl the finger online

September 7, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

2015-03-20 10.12.09

Rare photo of author Rebecca Schuman not flipping the bird to her infant daughter

There’s something worse than posting pictures on the Internet of yourself giving the middle finger salute to your sleeping baby.

It’s holding a pity party for yourself after people criticize you for posting pictures on the Internet of yourself giving the middle finger salute to your sleeping baby.

The “yourself” is Rebecca Schuman, grad student in German philosophy, education columnist for Slate, and mother of a 7-month-old baby girl. Here’s what she wrote on Aug 28:

“Wittgenstein said that the limits of his language were the limits of his world, but that jerk definitely didn’t have children, because the limits of my world—and my sanity, and my life force, and my will to continue existing—are the limits of my child’s wakefulness. Sometimes, it takes longer to put the little tyrant to sleep than she’ll deign to remain asleep. It is on those days that I celebrate her hard-won unconsciousness by taking a nice little selfie in which she’s conked out, and I’m flipping her the bird. Then I share that selfie on social media, because otherwise it doesn’t exist. We’ve now got quite a little gallery.”

***

Ookay. While I’m an old-fashioned girl who believes in “parenting decorum” and who doesn’t cotton up to the idea of a “cursing culture”–but who has to admit that the curse words do fall out of her mouth every now and then, such as when she can’t get the pickle jar opened or when the printer jams for the 315th time in a row–I’m all on board with Schuman’s feelings. Another philosopher whom I’m sure Schuman has read, St. Augustine of Hippo, said that babies were “reprehensible,” what with their selfish screaming for Mom’s breast every time they got hungry. And I say: If flipping the bird at your “little tyrant” once she finally gives you some peace makes you feel better, go for it.
***

Schuman gave a whiny interview to her Slate editor titled “Nobody Called CPS on Louis C.K.” (referring to the latter’s famous routine in which he called his 4-year-old daughter an “a–hole”):

“When Slate education columnist Rebecca Schuman wrote ‘Baby Bird,’in which she evaluated the ethics of flipping off her daughter during naptime, she expected some negative comments. What she did not expect was people openly wishing for her and her baby to die, threats to call Child Protective Services, or a multiday flood of abuse and condemnation on her Facebook page and personal website….

“Winter: Sometimes I think the Internet was invented to give people a more efficient delivery system for the message that women should keep their legs closed, except for when they should open them.

“Schuman: Exactly.”

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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3 Comments
  1. Rebecca Schuman permalink

    Please remove that photograph. You stole it from my website and are using it without my permission.

  2. Sorry–fair use.

  3. This report and post is important because it seems to show the cold detachment and selfishness of the mother, to say nothing of her weird philosophical exhibitionism. It reminds me a little of Camus’ stories depicting man’s post-Enlightenment cold detachment from himself and morphing into an automaton who walks through a meaningless world alienated from everyone and everything. (BTW: Fair Use in a public matter indeed)

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