I was absolutely blown away by the number of hits this blog got after I posted my “Lazy shrew and breeder pig” post. I had no idea how many people Google the Duggars and the Gosselins. Especially the Gosselins. Especially Kate Gosselin, whom people (mainly women, from what I can see) apparently love to hate. The statistics program that tells me how people find my blog revealed a staggering number of searches for Kate+Gosselin+shrew, Kate+Gosselin+lazy, Kate+Gosselin+insane, and so forth.
Off-line, out in the real world, I got a visceral reaction to a casual remark about Kate Gosselin recently. I had taken my children to the park and there was a woman there who had twins somewhere between one and two years of age. We talked a bit, and I mentioned a friend of mine who had triplets a few years ago, and said something to the effect of, I know it must be incredibly hard, but just imagine what it’s like for those families with quadruplets or more, like the Gosselins with their twins and sextuplets. The woman at the park immediately retorted, “Those people are insane. No one should be having that many kids. I mean, it’s crazy. Don’t you think it’s crazy?” I didn’t say anything, because the only alternative to having triplets or sextuplets or whatever is to have selective reduction, and like Kate Gosselin, I wouldn’t have done it, would have taken my chances with the sextuplets despite medical advice to the contrary. From her reaction, I got the impression that perhaps this woman’s twins had started out as a larger set of multiples and she and her husband had decided (or their doctor had convinced them) to undergo selective reduction. My friend who had triplets was pressured by her doctor to reduce, and so was Kate Gosselin, as the Gosselins relate on their website. Another woman I know did undergo the procedure, allowing her doctor to abort two of her quadruplets so that she could carry twins to term. The twins were fine, but the mother later attempted suicide, and I cannot help but think that looking at her children and asking herself, “What if the needle had gotten this one?” might have contributed to the despair that drove her to try to take her life.
Obviously, there are a lot more people who hate Kate Gosselin than there are women who have undergone selective reduction of multiple pregnancies. Much of the antipathy stems from other causes: Kate’s a TV star and those women aren’t; Kate makes a lot of money off her kids and other women either think it’s exploitative, or wish they could make some cash from the kids themselves; Kate got a free tummy tuck as a result of the TV show, and the rest of us are just living with the ravages of childbirth; Kate gets testy and loses her temper on camera, and since nobody’s filming the rest of us, we can be sanctimonious and pretend we never do asinine things ourselves.