Right off the bat, I am NOT here to pretend I am some great sociological mind. I am just a casual psychology fan trying to figure out the things in my life, and today I am transfixed by anti-vax. And to get anything done today, I have to get it out.
So I think there's a serious element of the anti-vax movement that is rooted in control.
The more the internet exists, and the more information is out there. When it comes to parenting, that is a double edged sword. There's more to help you and learn to take better care of your kids, but there's also more knowledge of the horrible dangers of the world.
And, unfortunately, with all the threats out there, vaccinations are one of the biggest "scary" things that parents feel like they can control. They can't stop kidnappers or erase guns or execute all drunk drivers before they get within a mile radius of their kids. But vaccinations? Those are something they have direct and deliberate influence over.
Now, I will choose not to go into the gross implications of preferring a dead kid over a possibly autistic/disabled one. That's a different societal problem that is multiple levels of ableist and awful. But it is a problem so I'll touch upon it quickly here: being autistic doesn't doom your kid, even if vaccinations did make people autistic (which they don't). So always choose life.
But back to the point.
Faced with theoretical threats aimed at their children, these parents are grasping at straws for possible danger and trying to eliminate it. Even if it doesn't make sense, even if it's ill-advised. Because they are scared for their babies and, even if there's a chance they could be endangered, they don't want to take that chance. Because vaccinations seem a lot more of a direct threat than history-book illnesses (even though that's proven untrue).
But hey, we're trying to think middle-to-upper class parent and the exercise of control they try to put on the world in hopes of the "best interest" of their child.
I don't mean to seem mocking in my proverbial air-quotes, but at the end of the day, while the psychological fear makes sense, it's the fact it stays so short-sighted and reactionary that becomes the problem.
Everyone is so afraid for their children and only want the best for them. That makes sense. Having vaccines put into your kids when they're so young giving you some anxiety, especially after some stories you read on the internet scared you, makes sense. But then basing an entire life ideology around it just feels like a scenario where one is letting the fear win.
It's like if one person read a bunch of stories about kids getting hit by drunk drivers so they never took their kids in a car again and didn't let them get their license. The fear is real and the threat feels real. But tearing your whole life down in the process, and cutting them off from people, doesn't.
In the end, it hurts a kid more than protects them.
I don't expect to change any minds with this little blog, and if anyone finds it, I'm sure it'll probably just be people who already agree with me. Confirmation bias and all. But I can't help but think this is a new, dangerous brand of helicopter parenting that is rooted in uncontrolled fear-based reactions. The feelings make enough sense, but possibly making your kids unable to go to school or possible carrier for diseases that could kills others is just going too far.
People need to see past their own noses and get a glance at the big picture, but when you're scared, staring at this one puzzle piece you feel like you can control is easier. Safer.
Even if its at the cost of your own kid's safety and the safety of kids around them.