In this day of hyper-stylized political sensitivity and outrage over perceived “income gaps” and “gender inequality,” it is truly appalling how willingly society turns a blind eye to the terrible plight of a huge portion of our American population. I refer, of course, to babies. These silent sufferers are objectified, victimized, and discriminated against on a daily basis. How long will we ignore their high-pitched cries? If the following list of outrages moves you to tears, please consider signing this petition.
STOP THE MASS EXPLOITATION OF BABIES!
We, the undersigned, urge the Government of the United States to CEASE its SHAMEFUL conduct toward the infanta americana, colloquially known as BABIES. We hereby protest the pervasive and unjust treatment of this valuable people-group as demonstrated in the following abusive societal trends that are TO THIS DAY unrecognized by those in power:
1. Babies are victims of sizeism and unfair beauty standards.
Our society professes to accept alternate shapes and sizes, yet babies are glaringly absent from this dialogue of tolerance. If you are unfortunate enough to be an American baby, you live under crushing social pressure to be “chubby,” “roly-poly,” or a “butterball.” Woe to the skinny baby who just wants to drink green juice! A baby who does not conform to our outdated, narrow-minded beauty standards (characterized by offensive adjectives such as “cute,” “squirmy,” “squishable,” and “drooly”) experiences blatant discrimination, while his/her chubbier compatriots receive the preferential treatment that has characterized the privileged class from time immemorial.
2. Babies are denied access to higher education and better-paying jobs.
There is a shocking dearth of federal laws in place to protect the educational and employment rights of babies. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin–yet what of the ambitious baby who applies to Lehman Brothers? No law prohibits discrimination against him. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older–yet even this so-called “progressive” law turns a blind eye to the plight of those 2 years of age or younger. The situation in colleges across the nations is much the same: while it is federally forbidden to discriminate against a college applicant based on disability, race, gender, or a host of other qualifiers, Harvard has existed for 377 lauded years without once admitting a baby.
3. Babies are forced to learn the dominant language of the privileged heteronormative white Western male.
Generation after generation of monolingual Americans have ignored this issue for long enough. It is time to implement the study of Baby in language programs across the United States. Not even Rosetta Stone has addressed this problem.
4. Babies are objectified by the Adult Gaze.
Babies are presented in film, music videos, Anne Geddes photo shoots, and family gatherings as little more than passive, to-be-looked-at objects. The figure of the baby is fragmented into “tiny fingers,” “squeezable cheeks,” “dimpled thighs,” etc., fragments whose sole meaning is derived from and dependent on the viewing pleasure of the despotic Adult. Babies are clothed in useless accoutrements such as headbands (when they have no hair) and socks that imitate shoes (when they cannot walk). What benefit does the baby receive from these shallow signifiers of adulthood? They are nothing but tools to advance the scopophilia of the Adult Gaze.
5. Babies are subject to a restrictive, reactionary dialectic w/r/t “crying.”
When a baby screams or cries, society reacts as it has for millenia: by naively assuming that the infant is expressing a basic human need. Politicians, social theorists, psychoanalysts, and biologists have purposefully and consistently refused to give the matter the scientific and academic attention it deserves. Perhaps a baby’s cry signifies more than the prevailing patriarchal/matriarchal interpretations of “hungry,” “tired,” and/or “dirty diaper.” Perhaps these babes in the woods are shrieking in existential terror as they gaze into the depths of the abyss.
6. Babies are forced to be nude in public.
Societal outrage abounds at the unethical actions of Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel, who infamously demeans his models. But when a baby is placed naked on the beach by his or her parents, the world blinks nary an eyelash. We demand that the baby is first consulted about his/her willingness to appear nude, and then asked to sign a Nude Model Release and Agreement contract. This exploitative parental behavior must be stopped.