Pulp fiction

Do you find it as agonizing as I do to confront the proliferating choices at the grocery store? All I wanted was to buy some orange juice. But because some child somewhere wouldn’t drink orange juice if it actually contained tiny bits of orange known as ‘pulp,’ a whole industry responded.
Pulp fiction

Now I have to decide between some pulp, no pulp, and extra pulp. What is regular orange juice? and why can’t a kid just drink it as it is? Come to think of it, who is responsible for the absurd varieties of any given product? Was it you? Or was it me on some weird food trend? Read Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice and you will understand why going shopping nowadays engenders debilitating self-doubt and dread.

We live in a kid-centered culture, where most restaurants provide ‘kid menus,’ where the child is idealized and where the need of the child trumps all other priorities. My question is how do we know what a child needs? Is it the same as what the child wants? Sure, she refused to drink the juice with pulp, but if she had no choice she eventually would have swallowed those pesky bits. Doesn’t she need to learn to tolerate some discomfort? I know I do. I go to yoga; I meditate; I torture myself in a variety of ways just so that I can experience the freedom that comes from being able to tolerate some discomfort. Do I want to take that away from my child just because it is easier to please her?


2 thoughts on “Pulp fiction

  1. I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m fascinated. I also watched the trailer of your film and I think it looks amazing. I run a feminist mothers’ discussion group and I will have to think about whether we have the where with all to buy your film for a sceening here in Australia.

    When I read this post I bristled a little at the ‘kid-centred culture’ comment – as you probably know, this sort of argument is used a lot against mothers. If children aren’t welcome in restaurants then by implication neither are their mothers. Unless you can afford paid childcare or have lots of family support then mothers are joined at the hip to their small children. Mothers (particularly with infants or very young children) are already marginalised, how do you respond to this unfortunate by-product of your worthy arguments for “there is more to life than children and their wants”?

    Hope I don’t sound critical, am genuinely interested.

  2. Hi Blueish,
    not at all critical. I’m all for conversation, not promoting one narrow view. I checked out your blog, loved it, and especially enjoyed your rant on ‘girls will be girls.’ I understand what you mean about excluding mothers when children are excluded. Our culture should include both of course. But, here is where I may disagree with you: Our children need to adapt to other people’s needs too. Yes, they should be welcome at restaurants but so should adults who want to have quiet conversation. It is often possible to accommodate both, though it is challenging for mothers of small children to be sure.

    Philosophy plays out in the details of how we educate our children. Do we giggle when they scream or do we give direction? Does it change according to environment? Do we teach them that our sleep is as important as theirs, or do we teach them that our needs are negligible? pump the blue milk or let them take it in, including all the joy that we experienced on our night out?

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