The Social Stigma Argument Against Some Couples

Over in this Incest Thread there have been multiple posters who supported some version or another of this claim. I’ll grab the first one I saw as an example (I’m not trying to single out Sierra Indigo for pitting, but the argument)

This excuse gets trotted out time and again to chastise people who are in relationships that society doesn’t approve of, always as a pussyfooted qualifier to someone proclaiming their own cultural tolerance. “I have no problem with two consensual adults doing whatever, but they are evil for forcing their kids to have to deal with social intolerance”

I say that this argument is bullshit. It was bullshit when people said it about interracial couples, it continues to be bullshit when brought up in reference to gay parents, and it’s bullshit in this case, too. Yes, those kids will have harder lives. Some of them might have trouble making friends. Some of them might get beat up. In extreme cases, they might get seriously injured or killed. But the morality of the choices their parents made is not determined by the intolerance and hatred of the rest of society.

When the KKK lynched an interracial couple and their kids, we do not cast shameful aspersions on the parents. When bullies taunt the kids of a gay couple, we shouldn’t tell them that it’s their fault for being gay and wanting to have a family. And if anyone does anything to the little girl of the incestuous couple, it will not make their relationship wrong.

That’s not to say that there is no such thing as an immoral relationship. Maybe the increased risk of birth defects makes it immoral. Maybe the fact that it’s just plain icky does. I’m not really sold on either of those, but a case could be made. But if you can’t come up with any reason for these relationships being immoral besides the fact that their kids will be mistreated by society, then stop your pissant mewling about the children. It’s fucking society that’s immoral.

This is a very interesting rant. I’ll have to give it some thought. I think you are right at least in the sense that some people would argue for “protecting the children” when in fact they themselves are squicked out by the adults’ lifestyle but don’t want to admit it.

But I disagree that these same people will admit society is evil. If push comes to shove and they had to make a public judgement, they would say what the couple is doing is evil, or maybe just wrong.

Me? I get to keep my intellectual detachment and muse over those crazy humans.

Isn’t that enough though – that the relationship will screw up the kids?

Interracial and gay couples are a good comparison, but I don’t think those taboos were ever as prevalent as the incest taboo. There were places where you could go and be accepted (or at least tolerated) as a mixed or gay couple, but where in the world has it ever been acceptable to marry a parent or have a sexual relationship with your children?

I can’t see incest ever becoming an issue relating to social justice. If we aren’t going to protect and nurture our children, then why don’t we just eat them, or sell them? They’re ours, after all. We should be able to do whatever we want with the little buggers.

Children of inter-racial couples can be judged on sight. Not so for children of gay couples or incestous ones. I don’t see the similarity. Other than judging anyone is chicken shit.

But it’s not the relationship screwing up the kids. If someone wants to argue that they’re mentally unbalanced, or that kids are unstable when raised by a sibling/parent, then go for it. But you’re not. You’re saying that other people will screw up the kids because of a grudge against the parents, so how dare those parents have kids.

It’s only very recently that it’s been acceptable to marry a person of a different race, or of the same sex. Are you arguing that, if society were less tolerant of gay couples, it would be immoral for them to have children?

What?! This has nothing to do with this case, except maybe to be a good example of the disconnect from reason that seems to be happening by those who make the pitted argument. The parents aren’t taking any action against their children. They’re just having children and trying to live their lives.

Now yours is a newsletter I’d definitely subscribe to! :smiley:

Most of the things we learn about how to be a functional person in society, what’s ok and what’s not ok come from our family relationships that have previously internalised them from the greater social mores that abound. And sure, over the years and generations, issues that were once ‘taboo’ have changed (like interracial marriages and gay relationships). Such taboos, as has been mentioned, were NEVER universal, unlike incest (particularly parent/child incest even without offspring…sibling I’m less fussed about personally, provided there are no kids involved).

For the kids in this family unit (as linked above), they’re getting two very strong (and totally mixed) messages about what’s ok. Would the older children feel it’s perfectly fine to play serious doctors and nurses together when mum and dad get it on every night? If the ‘adults’ in this family have justified their behaviour as loving and natural, what’s to stop them including the kids in the equation? And would they feel a ‘natural’ revulsion or would it be just an extension of the big, happy family scenario?

Social aberrations and freaks do happen, and in the case of sibs or first cousins or whatever, I’m happy to live and let live. What you do in the bedroom is none of my business: just don’t tell anyone and don’t have kids.

But parent/child incest is NEVER ok, and even moreso when in this case it is being justified as a legitimate lifestyle choice to the kids who are THEN being told by society at large that it’s abhorrent.

I can only speak from my own experience, but I’m half of an interracial marriage (me big fat white guy, 6’4", 300lbs., and wifey little Korean woman,maybe 4’10" and 100 lbs. soaking wet), and I’ve never felt any real disapproval here in the US. In Korea, however, there was some but not nearly as much now as 10 years ago…

No children yet… but have you ever seen any half-Asian half-white people? They’re GORGEOUS!

I’ll personally sit on anyone who treats our theoretical children badly.

These two snippets are conflicting- why shouldn’t two consenting adults choose their sexual partners freely? It doesn’t affect me.

Now, you may have a point about increasing the chance of birth defects for your child being an immoral act. These two people may be doing their kids a disservice (although even kids who are the product of sibling incest only have genetic conditions something on the order of twice as often- does anyone have relevant statistics?) but you might say the same of people who choose a partner in spite of a family history of mental disease, heart attacks, bad eyesight, or even bad teeth. What level of risk is it acceptable to assume for your children?

The OP brings up a good point; I’m impressed.

As I mentioned in the other thread, in the case of a parent/child sexual relationship, the notion of ‘consent’ goes out the window. In the case of siblings and/or cousins I am prepared to be convinced that two adults can give meaningful consent to such a relationship.

However, because of the power differential*, the age difference** AND the previous roles this couple played as father and daughter (even if for many years there was little contact) consent here is nothing more than a symptom of a pathology.

(* & **: btw, I am not assuming that the father necessarily co-erced the daughter into this relationship whether overtly or by prior grooming. The roles may well have been reversed for all I know). Whatever the intricacies of the situation, parents should never fuck their kids and should NEVER NEVER have a relationship as husband and wife.

I´ve heard argued that a mixed ethnicity offspring benefits from better genetical variety and healthier life and better looks.

Whatever the case what is certain is that close inbreeding does in fact lead to genetical disorders fairly often, so yes, an incestuous couple is putting their children at risk just by that.

There´s not just a cultural reason for incest to be taboo, there´s also a very sound biological motive too.

Why should the notion of consent go out the window? Why can’t a 25-year-old* consent, assuming she (or he) is sober, sane, and not financially controlled by the parent? Is this purely a social angle, or would you object to a child adopted away eventually meeting and marrying the parent? Does that stand even if both parties had no idea of what happened?

*I haven’t read about the situation that brought this up, but you phrased it as an absolute and I disagree that it should be treated that way. Certainly there are parent-child relationships that shouldn’t happen because the child has been groomed for this or is otherwise

Why is this in the pit? It’s spirited but not heated, and no one’s calling names. Seems like a GD to me.

This is a non-argument against incest. If this were a valid reason, we should be screening all non-incestuous couples and denying permits for everyone who shows high risk for genetic disorders.

Yep. If you know that a lifestyle choice you make will have a serious adverse effect on your children, what kind of parent are you? “Society’s just wrong, honey, now get your butt to school, so I can I get daddy-grandpa’s breakfast.”

Let’s take interracial and gay relationships out of the discussion. Sure, those are choices people make that might affect their kids because of society’s judgment, but incest is a whole 'nother thing entirely. I can’t see that parent-child incest will ever be acceptable or that it should be. It’s not a civil rights/equality issue. I don’t see any rational argument that it should be accepted. “They’re consenting adults” doesn’t cut it, not when children are involved.

No argument here.

I find the idea of an incestuous couple really skeevy as well; however at 42 I’ve also learned not to put too much weight on what I feel is skeevy… my prejudices are exactly that: mine.

I don’t approve, but then again that I don’t recall that couple asking my opinion either. shrug

Would you use this argument against a missionary couple who takes their child to a third-world country?

What? :dubious:

Of course not. What’s the adverse effect? Exposure to disease? A new diet? Hearing another language? Kids get that at the mall.

Lower standards of education and exposure to disease would be the two that first come to mind.

That’s what immunisation and distance education are for.

Next stupid analogy?


You truly are a fucking moron.