20 August, 2018

A few good lines for the childless

This morning I saw an article noting that a river cruise company was going adults-only. There was a comment in the article (I think, or maybe it was on Fbk) – I can’t find it again, so don’t know who said this – stating simply, 
“Not every space needs to be family friendly.” 
That isn’t unreasonable, is it? But of course, asking that reminds me of the conversations we had in the ALI community about adults-only spaces seven years ago. I’m hoping that the fact that these occasional adults-only space haven't resulted in a dramatic increase in places that are restrictive of children has eased the fears of some of those commenting back then. After all, not every space needs to be adults only, and not every space needs to be family friendly, and I for one (as well as all my friends and family who don’t have children, and also those who do) am very grateful for the variety.

This article* coined the phrase “reproductive harassment” as a way of explaining all the questions we get about whether we have children, have we thought about adopting, etc.

And Jody Day wrote an article here, including this great line:
“I long for the day when it becomes as unacceptable to casually ask a woman about her plans for her uterus as it is to ask her about her plans for her vagina.”

* Thanks to Loribeth for the link.


  1. Unreasonable, no. Discriminatory, yes. So I can't celebrate it, any more than I can celebrate "whites only" water fountains. If the activity was exclusively adult -- such as river cruise that was alcohol-themed -- I would feel differently. But when it's an activity that COULD include anyone and chooses to exclude children as a policy, then I think what we have is age-based discrimination. And I don't want to be discriminated against when I'm elderly, so I don't support it against another age group. That's not to say that I always want to be around little kids, but I definitely don't want businesses choosing whom it will serve.

    1. I really think these are false equivalences, Mel. I know we will never agree.

  2. This debate is one that likely will continue until the end of time, but given that I have seen so many abuse situations that are not as kid-friendly by bringing their children and allowing them to destroy the venue, I’m in the camp that actually supports this practice.

    I grew up in an era where fancy restaurants, black-try events and anything that contains breakable objects meant people either got babysitters or missed the function all together. The children that did attend usually were exceptions and even if their behavior was impressively good, it usually wasn’t something they had a lot of fun at. I guess I still have that mindset because I want my kids to know that they need to earn their way into certain spaces and preserve some milestones for growing up. That and the fact that most adults need these limits too, otherwise they will ruin it for everyone else.

  3. I am all for adults-only cruises and resorts. There are plenty of places that cater to families, to young families in particular (in terms of child age), and so why shouldn't there be places that cater to people without children? I think about all of the articles from childfree people who are harassed or made to feel unwelcome at parks or playgrounds or child-centric places because they don't have children. It may not be explicitly stated (although in many cases it IS explicitly stated) that childless adults are unwelcome in these spaces, but that is increasingly the case. I feel like an adults-only cruise is no different from a bar where it's expected there's no children, or movie theaters that do not allow children into R-rated movies. I can imagine there are parents out there who would love to go on a vacation where they would be surrounded by adults only, with no children running around reminding them of the responsibilities (or guilt) left at home. No problem with that whatsoever, and I love the phrase, "Not every space has to be family friendly." I mean, there's cruises meant just for seniors, and I guess they don't say "no young people allowed," but if I had signed on for a Golden Years Quiet Cruise of the Mediterranean and a group of twenty somethings came on and wanted to party loudly every night I'd be ticked. I feel like maybe they need to say "Not every space needs to be family friendly" because increasingly families with young children do not take those social cues that some places simply aren't child-friendly, and don't need to be, either.

    Ha, reproductive harassment is a great term for the constant prodding. And I love Jody Day. That would be a great comeback, to say, "Now that we've covered my uterus, would you like to know what my vagina's been up to?"

    This post is going to provoke some excellent friendly controversy, I think! :)

    1. I love your suggested comeback! I'm going to share that with Jody.

      And of course, I totally agree with your comments on adults-only. I won't revisit all the arguments I made in my original linked post, except to say that they still apply. Also, children grow up (usually), so an adults-only space isn't always off-limits to them. Sigh.

  4. You can add me to the chorus that supports adults-only venues. I do that just the same way I support pet or smoking free hotels/resorts, with the knowledge that what is precious and enjoyable to one person may not be to another.

    I don't believe there are many (any?) places where age discrimination against children is illegal. Protected classes are typically those over 40 in the US. Under 40, not so much. In housing, discrimination against those with families is an issue, but I see a difference between a basic necessity of life (e.g., a place to live) and a luxury (a cruise), and I don't see why families with kids should be a protected class for those luxuries. Or families with pets. Or smokers!

  5. Dear Mali, I agree with your argumentation about childfree venues (also with your first article 7 years ago). I don't really understand why there is a debate, as such "rules" are already existing. I just came back from Italy where the hotel I stayed in was very children friendly. But it had a sauna which was forbidden to children under 14, for safety reasons and also to enable other guests to enjoy a quiet environment.
    In Germany, there is a "law for the protection of children" stating where children are allowed only under restrictions: cinemas, clubs, casinos, bars... the idea of this law is that the protection of children has priority over the liberty of parents. Of course we cannot say that children are endangered when they are taken to a posh restaurant or a luxury hotel, but I think we can all agree that they would rather go to other places where they will not get bored...
    Anyway most parents will avoid such places with their children, so if some private companies feel they need a rule to prevent a minority of parents from bringing their children to inappropriate places, why not. Doing so they will also enable people (parents and non parents) who want to spend time without children to enjoy it.

  6. I agree. I don't see any reason why some places and experiences should not be reserved for adults -- as Cristy said, give kids some milestones to look forward to and privileges to earn. I do think if more parents used common sense as to where and when they should bring their children along, we wouldn't be having this conversation/argument. But of course, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil everything for the rest of us...!