The #childfree flamewar – the final chapter?

Before we go on, take note: this post is in no way about being Childfree, or making reproductive choices, or anything like that. It’s merely about the last stages of a flamewar that has been in equal parts entertaining and educational. It’s also about a few of the leading players in that flamewar.

So, let’s start on December 5, when this happened (note Caryn69′s offending use of the term #childfree):


And then, quickly afterwards, this happened:


The rest, as they say, was history. Well, history if you happen to live in Perth and also happen to be on twitter. The summary of events will be different depending on which side of the fence you’re on (Perth vs. the Flying Childfree Nutcases). If you’re on the Perth side much offense was taken at some random twitterite suggesting that a hashtag was reserved for the exclusive use of a particular ‘subculture’. Now, if there’s one thing you don’t tell people on Twitter, especially those in Perth, it’s how to use Twitter.

In the best Perth twitter fashion there followed a couple of days of, mostly, Perth twitterati finding creative ways to frivolously inject the term #childfree into their tweets, or simply using the term #childfree as and when the desire arose.

Regretfully, I must say that an equivalent level of wit was sadly lacking on the part of the Flying Childfree Nutcases. Much of the commentary revolved around why parents were stupid, or must be busy neglecting their kids otherwise how could they possible have time to tweet, or how parents/kids were contributing to the imminent destruction of the planet.

Somewhere amid the vitriol there was a genuine point about why we shouldn’t be using #childfree, but that particular bit of communication got lost along the way (though do see my previous blog post for a few links covering that).

Now, the Perth participants are really too numerous to mention, but on the Flying Childfree Nutcases side there were two key players: @juliewashere88 and @Gogiknitter. I myself had the pleasure of engaging @Gogiknitter on the morning of December 8. Having decided he/she (?) was probably insane I then proceed to open up a dialogue.

This was a mistake.

My attempts to get @Gogiknitter to provide a response, retort, rebuttal, or some sort of point of view that I could include or link to from my own blog post were met without outright suspicion:


In a genuine bid to try and present a balanced view I tried to hunt down the original tweets that had started the flamewar (I wasn’t here at the beginning, you see). I asked Gogiknitter to link me to the tweets so I could be sure we were talking about the same tweets, but only got more paranoia. When I went on to explain that Twitter’s search tool was notoriously flaky, hence my inability to quickly find the original tweets I got this:


Yes, apparently I had been – what? – deleting my own tweets? Be sure to remember this, as it’ll be important later on.

Anyway, I ended up reading a few Childfree blog posts and getting a handful of tweets from Childfree people who weren’t actually crazy. I eventually came to the conclusion that @Gogiknitter and @juliewashere88 didn’t actually represent the Childfree majority: if anything they were doing their cause way more harm than good (hence the term Flying Childfree Nutcases) as a lot of Perth tweeters probably now had the opinion that if you are #childfree you must also be some sort of reactionary, parent/child-hating moron. This clearly isn’t the case. However, with this in mind – and with absolutely no intentional irony on my part – I tweeted this over the weekend:


Yeah, it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but not much. I actually forgot about until I found this response on Monday morning:


(You’re right, this is the same person I’d labelled as ‘eloquent’ on my previous post). Let’s just recap what’s happened here:

  • I’ve suggested that someone stop using the #childfree hashtag
  • That person has told me to ‘get fucked’

Is anyone else getting a case of deja vu here? The irony is beautiful, and I still feel bizarrely privileged to have evoked such a response from someone I’ve never even met.

However, just to ladle on an extra, final serving of irony, guess what happened later?

… @juliewashere88 deleted the tweet….

Update 13/12/11

It turns out @juliewashere88 didn’t delete her tweet after all – it can be found here. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I was getting “You’re not authorized to view this status” and often clicking on the link just takes me to her timeline. I guess it’s just twitter.It would be enormously hypocritical of me to edit my article now, so I put this here as an admittance that I was wrong.

I’ve not bothered explaining this to @juliewashere88 as she’ll accuse me of being a liar whatever I say. Nor am I going to apologise to her as I’ve received nothing but hate and abuse from her during this whole affair – for example, I’m clearly the ‘idiot’ referred to in this tweet and deemed not ‘capable of anything intelligent’ in this one.

I don’t honestly think I need to say anything more on the matter…

  • Miss Sharon

    Bahahaa! I’m vehemently childfree and let me tell you: Juliewashere88 is unhinged. She would have fit in with the old BratFree board. I started out on there, and couldn’t take the overwhelming negativity. For me to say she’s over the top? Says something.