This is not a post about homebirth...
This is not a post about homebirth. It's a post about the way people argue on the internet.Let me make this clear from the very beginning. This is not a post where I argue about whether or not women should or shouldn't have, or be allowed, to choose a homebirth. I have my own beliefs and feelings on the subject, and for the purpose of full disclosure, I had both of my daughters at my local hospital. If you want to discuss whether or not you believe women should birth babies at home please do it somewhere else as that is not what I want to talk about. This is a post about the way people argue about homebirth. It's been sparked by quite a few articles I've read over the last few years that do nothing to further or add value to the debate and aim to simply sensationalise, demonize and pit woman against woman, for the sake of clicks to their websites.
The way in which people argue about homebirth, from both sides of the coin, fucking shits me to tears! There is no bloody reason why the "homebirth debate" has to have such vile, negative language. In some circles (yes, I'm looking at you Mamamia, that cesspool that used to be a halfway decent blog 6 years ago) people who choose to homebirth are regarded with as much respect and disdain as those who choose not to vaccinate their children.
In both cases, whether you agree with vaccination or homebirth or not, the language used to discuss these two things needs a radical overhaul. There is a way to make your point, and argue a point of view without being a condescending asshole about it. I don't give a shit if in your head you think people who have a homebirth, or people who choose to not to vaccinate their children are uneducated fools who have no clue. But when you choose to discuss it in a public forum, such as online, please show a little freaking respect for your fellow human beings!
It happens on both sides of the debate. Those who believe that no woman, ever, should have the choice to homebirth talk about those who do homebirth as if they are the world's biggest narcissistic idiots. And there are those that are so in support of homebirth that they think anyone who chooses to give birth in a hospital is a conformist numpty. Neither of these assumptions is right, and treating people in this way is not going to do anything for whichever side of the fence you're sitting on.
People are much more likely to listen and consider another point of view to their own if it is presented in a calm, non-condescending manner. If you get all alarmist and start spouting tales of woe and horror about how this homebirth went wrong, or how this hospital birth was an act of torture, all you're going to do is stop the person who's hearing this from listening. Because they will get angry. They will feel insulted. And before it's even started, the discussion is shut down and nothing will ever be resolved.
I've had it with the way people argue with each other on the internet about all sorts of things to be honest. In so many places on the internet the discussions are just a reflection of the kind of trash confrontations we see on shows like Today Tonight, ACA, and dare I lump them together, Jerry Springer. However I can tell you now, he who shouts the loudest is not the one who's right. Just once I'd like to read a story or article discussing an issue that doesn't imply that anyone who isn't of the same opinion is an uneducated fool.
On a site like Mamamia, so often one of the ways people with a differing opinion are shut down is the old "please provide links to the study on (insert respected medical/scientific journal's name here) to back up your argument" chestnut, or the whole shtick of the quoted study being taken out of context. I'm not big in to the whole "Big Pharma" conspiracy, but I am also not naive enough to take any study that appears to support certain arguments at face value. Many medical and scientific studies can have pieces of data picked and chosen to support whichever side of the "argument" you are sitting on, and can often have enough data in the one study to support either cause if you find the right pieces.
The people who conduct medical and scientific studies have to be paid by someone, and that can have an influence on the bias and/or findings of the study. Not every study is affected by where the money comes from, but not every study is free of bias towards the source of funding either. So please don't shut down debate about something by screaming "show me your data" and thinking that just because you've read a few studies whose findings support your point of view that you must be right and everyone else is wrong. Because there may be just as many studies out there that support the other sides point of view. But if you're only of one opinion then you're only going to be reading the studies that fit your view, aren't you. In fact I'd wager that when it comes to a lot of things, you can find a "study" that will support any damn point of view you want!
And why is one person's "google" research that supports their side of the argument any more valid than the "google" research of those who hold an opposing view or belief? I could search PubMed and find articles that support both sides of an issue, but if I'm on the wrong side to you then my research is automatically discounted and believed to be not as good as yours. Argh!!!! Give me a fucking break. Unless you're an actual doctor or scientist who works in the field then please don't shut others down with that kind of nonsense. What makes some people think they can read and comprehend better than any other Tom, Dick or Harry?!
But I digress. All I want is certain topics to be able to be discussed without people getting all het up and nasty and negative and judgemental and condescending towards those who don't agree. You'll catch way more flies with honey, believe me.
And for the record, I don't know a single woman who's had a homebirth that did so without doing a lot of research and without considering all of the options, all of the pros and cons, and talking to a lot of medical professionals, both those for and against homebirth. Every woman I know in offline life or through the internet that has ultimately chosen to have a homebirth has, 9 times out of 10, been a hell of a lot better educated on the realities, risks and processes of labour and birth than many women I've spoken to who chose to give birth in a hospital.
Those that think a woman who chooses a homebirth does so without being fully aware of what they are getting themselves in to, and believes that they are stupid or don't know anything about birth, really has no business putting others down for that choice as they have clearly not done any broad research themselves. I wouldn't call a woman who has worked as a midwife in government hospitals for many, many years, attending hundreds of births, who chooses to homebirth their own children, ignorant or uneducated, would you? And yet there are many women who fit exactly that description who have chosen to birth at home, rather than in a hospital. A better question for the whole homebirth "debate" should be why that is, not whether or not it should be.
When people talk about hot button issues on the internet it would be so lovely to see people writing calm, rational and respectful comments. It would be nice if the comments could centre solely on the topic or issue, with no aspersions cast on the people who hold an opposing view.
But sadly I reckon that's about as likely as an internet argument actually having any real impact on the issue being argued!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT this fine Tuesday morn!
But respect and decorum? On the internet? HA! Good luck! x
Have the best week !
'Criticise the argument, not the person' is my mantra. And even then I don't like criticising much (think I was born a wuss!)
Great piece. :)
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