Treated myself to a pedicure today – I’ll be amongst strangers and barefoot over the weekend, and I can barely reach my feet to do it myself.
There was a telly on in the corner of the salon. Sound was down. Various people, if the occasional printed titles were any guide, were discussing whether bringing a child up vegan was a form of abuse.
Oo-er. I was pescetarian for a few years when our eldest was born. I specifically did not want her never to eat meat, on the grounds that she’d be afraid to try it when older, or to eat it by mistake when out on a playdate. I was never militant about vegetarianism though.
My younger daughter I rarely see, and since she left home she has become vegan. I wonder what she will do if she has children. And I wonder what I think. I don’t know. If I felt very strongly that to eat animal products was wrong, I would resent very much anybody suggesting that I should use them to create the body my child would have for the rest of its life. That’s where I stray into difficult territory vis a vis eg Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions. But the argument about the difficulty of breaking away when one is old enough is a powerful one. I firmly believe that to bring up a child with religion is a kind of brainwashing that constitutes abuse. (I absolutely hated lying to my kids about Santa, which is the only lie I ever told them, until their father buggered off, and I covered for him for a few days while I hoped to get him back and never hurt them with the fact he’d done it.)
All this really to explain that while I watched this silent show, I imagined being on the programme and asked to form an opinion. Put on the spot and asked to know my own mind, and share it. And I felt all the old fear creep back. Part of it is a horror of being thought a fool, or stupid, or arrogant. Like Katie Hopkins, who seems to thrive on it. I suppose it’s a fear of being judged and found wanting. Or simply of not being liked. Pathetic.