Everyone is talking about Dolce and Gabbana. And not because of their newest accessory: fox-fur headphones that cost a measly $8,000 (we’ll get back to these later). No, instead people are talking about their comments to Italy’s Panorama magazine regarding “non-traditional” families. Some of the quotes include:
“We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.”
“No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
Having children should be an “act of love.”
“You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be.”
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue.”
“I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents.”
“A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother.”
There’s outrage, understandably, from every side of the equation here. But I have to admit that I wasn’t angry when I read the comments. Perhaps I’ve grown immune to the stupidity that escapes people’s mouths when referring to alternative family building options. After all, I’ve heard enough remarks directed at my own family composition that make some of what these two are saying look tame in comparison. I wasn’t necessarily shocked, either. “Amazed” is the word I’ve been using to describe my reaction. Amazed and . . . confused.
For starters, I can’t understand why, at this point, we are still trying to tie “DNA” to “good parenting.” Have we learned nothing as a society? DNA equating to good parenting makes about as much sense as me being able to make excellent pasta because I come from an Italian family. (My pasta-making skills are horrendous. FYI.) This mentality demonstrates to me two things: 1) a lack of understanding about what it takes to actually BE a parent, and 2) a lack of understanding regarding alternative family-building options, such as adoption and surrogacy. (Side note: When it comes to adoption, I’m a firm advocate for keeping families together — WHEN the situation makes sense. But I think all of us who’ve been touched by adoption in some way will agree that it DOESN’T make sense in all situations. Nothing with adoption is a one-size-fits-all mold.)
I also can’t wrap my head around why anyone still thinks that you need a mom (woman) and a dad (male) to raise a child. Has this world not seen enough incredibly well-adjusted, intelligent, creative, inspiring individuals raised by single parents? Raised by a grandparent? Raised by same-sex couples? I mean, D&G said it themselves: having children should be an act of love. So, maybe that doesn’t exactly mean the act of the sperm meeting the egg. Maybe it means a grandmother caring for her newborn grandson because she loves him and she’s capable of nurturing him. Maybe it means a same-sex couple adopting because they want to share the overwhelming love in their hearts with a child. Maybe it means a single mom or dad raising their kids without many means but with an amazing sense of care and compassion. Plenty of kids grow up “outside the box” and turn out perfectly fine.
Ultimately, though, should we care about what Dolce and Gabbana think? I don’t. Maybe this is why it never made me truly angry to read those things. What do these two know about me? What do they know about what it takes to become a parent when you can’t the “non-synthetic” way? About the amount of money it takes to go through multiple rounds of IVF when you’re just an average, middle class citizen? About the ethical considerations that take place when you’re deciding between adoption agencies? About what it takes to try to become a parent when your marriage is barely recognized by your nation’s government? About how to raise a child who doesn’t look like you? About how to raise a child with special needs? What do they know about the amount of LOVE and patience it takes to care for another human being?
Okay, so they DO know about making expensive clothes. I’ll give them that. Obscenely expensive. They know about placing those expensive clothes on extremely skinny, attractive, white individuals and parading them on runways and on magazine covers to make people believe that this is how they should look in order to appear pretty. They have the ability to discern what goes together and what doesn’t. They know what’s “in” and what’s “out.” They apparently know that there is some kind of market for $8,000 fox-fur headphones. Where this market exists, I’m not sure — says the person who has spent that much money on only life’s necessities: a child, an education, a home, a car. I admit that I don’t know the first thing about fashion or important accessories.
But I do know this: one day we are going to wake the fuck up and realize that between these two choices — 1) convincing people they have to spend $8,000 on a pair of fox-fur headphones to be cool vs. 2) building a family in a non-traditional way — only one of them is legitimately detrimental to our society. And I’m telling you right now: it’s not me and my “synthetic” family.