Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is the issue one of self-sufficiency versus child exploitation?

"Is the issue one of self-sufficiency versus child exploitation?"

Yesterday an anonymous blogger wrote this in the comment section. I gave this quite a bit of thought. I am sure that when Jon and Kate were first approached to film the hour special that started this whole thing, they were flattered and excited. It is my understanding that the special was a hit in the ratings and hence- "Jon and Kate plus 8."

From there, I believe it was just a matter of making the family self sufficient. And I believe that they did what most other families would have done given the same circumstances. They created a family business.

Is this child exploitation? I don't believe so. I grew up on a farm. It was our family business. As very young children we were up at the crack of dawn (or before in the winter) milking cows and carrying out a variety of other chores before we went to school. When we arrived home we would change clothes and we were back out performing chores and of course milking cows again. I don't need to go into detail but the chores we performed were at times back breaking. This of course being in 100 degree heat or 30 below temperatures. Did we have a choice? No. Were we exploited? No. We were very much loved and cared for. "It was our life."

I believe Jon and Kate do not ask for or want anyone's pity. Getting paid for speaking engagements, signed autographs - plenty of former presidents and current TV stars do the same. They are running a family business and doing a pretty good job of it from what I can see.


Anonymous said...

I believe it has become like a family business for them also and I see nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and balanced perspective here.

I agree with you that the T.V. show, speaking engagements, etc. came their way in little bits and soon they realized they could make a living at it. This wasn't a master plan that Kate set out to achieve five years ago! We have to remember all this has happened in a relatively short period of time. None of us have been privy to the discussions between J&K as they considered each offer that has come their way. Many have chosen to put a negative light on everything they have done and see them as a) greedy b) lazy (not working 9-5) c) uncaring about the effect of all this on the kids. My thoughts are that J&K are in unique circumstances and are doing the best they can. Maybe every choice hasn't been the best one or the one we would make, but I do believe they love these kids with all their heart and believe they are doing what's best for THEIR family. See, it's their family (not ours) and they get to make the decisions for THEIR kids (not our kids).

I will make a small distinction between working on a farm and having your life taped for all of America to see. I understand the concept of kids "working" for the family's overall benefit. I don't think the Gosselin children are working in the same sense. I do agree that the effects of the camera and exposure will become more of an issue as the tups get older and for this reason I do think the show should end in the next couple of years. I think this will probably evolve naturally, however. I just don't think there will be the same interest week in week out in 7 or 8 year old tups as there are in the 3 or 4 year old tups. And that's probably for the best.

Guinevere said...

I wouldn't call it exploitation. Whether it's something that will have a negative impact on any of the kids later in life is hard to say. It depends on their individual personalities. Some may end up resenting the attention. But they may also have resented it if the family were poor because J&K didn't earn enough income to support 8 kids. The kids are benefitting from the show, too.

I think there is a discussion to be had about the ethics of the show (unlike, say, the unsanitariness of brushing hair in the kitchen - that's not a discussion I think is really worth anyone's time). I'm not sure that we can come to any solid conclusions, though - it's all opinion and conjecture. What was done to, say, the Dionne quints was very different than what is going on with the Gosselins. There was both exploitation and abuse there. I certainly don't see any abuse in the Gosselin household (no, denying a child dessert because he hasn't finished his dinner IS NOT abuse). I don't believe there is exploitation. And I don't begrudge J&K for making hay while the sun is shining, as the saying goes.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last comment. You can not begrudge them for what they are doing. Turn off the TV if you don't like it