I’m more than a little bit over female travel Facebook groups.
Recently someone shared an article about how some airlines are flirting with the idea of offering child-free flights.
Some background: I love this idea. I don’t hate children. I don’t hate families. I support the family vacation and I’m happy that things are now getting a bit more affordable. My family moved to Europe shortly after I was born and I flew a lot as a kid. However, I’m at a stage in my life where if I can choose not to be around lots of children I’m not acquainted with I’ll choose that option. I’ll gladly pay a premium for that option.
I commented as such on the post and promptly got attacked by a woman who, after essentially telling me all the ways I suck, said that if I wanted a plane without kids I should charter private and that my opinion was going to destroy the affordable family travel industry.
While I’d love to get into why childless travel options are great, that’s another post. This, essay? rant?, is about why I’ve had it with female travel Facebook groups.
The idea sounds beautiful. Females supporting females! Share our successes! Support each other! Have awesome discussions about topics that mutually interest us in a respectful way! Unfortunately, I just don’t think that’s where we’re at in society.
Imagine you’re running in a race and you see people in front of you. Do you push yourself a little bit harder, or do you grab at the backs of their shirt and push them down? Doing things like attacking people for their e-reader/physical book preference, packing too much makeup, or even going to a damn Starbucks is a lot more reflective of the latter.
I think back on my first solo trip- a European youth bus tour. I was eighteen and devastatingly excited. I see people posting about how they’re excited about similar trips only to be berated with comments about how they’re “going too fast” or that it’s not “real travel”. I would have been absolutely devastated about my trip and, at that age especially, the retrospect would have soured the memory of my experience.
This isn’t new, we’ve seen the traveller/tourist debate go on for ages. Now we’re having it in our living rooms while safeguarding or identities and senses of good self behind a screen. That mom who attacked me? She said she wasn’t the type of parent who excused kids reaching behind seats and pulling hair, stepping on feet, or just assuming everybody wants to be around them all the time by saying, “oh but they’re just a child!” Hopefully, she wasn’t. I wouldn’t wish the “could your kids maybe turn down the volume on their game?” “Oh! They’re just children!” conversation on anyone. It’s a bit like talking to a broken record. I really hope she wouldn’t talk to anyone in real life the way she talked to me behind a screen.
I don’t know if non-gendered travel groups have the same problem, but I can’t imagine them being any better. When did travel become an opportunity to push people down instead of bringing them up?