sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (go fuck yourself)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Asshole of the Week: Elsa La Rosa. La Rosa is the shitspittle who complained about strollers on the TTC, a complaint they apparently took seriously enough that all local media is yammering today about whether strollers should be banned or limited on transit or parents charged extra for bringing them on.

I suppose this fine upstanding citizen is incapable of picturing the pitiful sight of a mother and her young children, waiting for an hour in the windswept, -20°C wastelands of Scarborough for the next bus to arrive because, well, there were already two strollers aboard the last one so tough luck, lady. La Rosa might be incapable of empathy, but I'm not. I don't care much for SUV strollers either, but the only thing more irritating than having a stroller appear on public transit is being the unfortunate sod in the position to have to bring a stroller on public transit. Generally speaking, if you're hauling one of those fuckers on a bus, you have zero other options.

There is, of course, a strong element of sexism at work—it is still primarily women who are responsible for childcare, and thus it's women that La Rosa would apparently like to see restricted from the public spaces that they pay taxes to maintain. There's an even stronger element of classism. Rich moms don't take the TTC. Any fee or restriction would disproportionately affect working class and impoverished parents and children.

Also, La Rosa is just a selfish douche. She also wants to lower the age for a senior’s Metropass, presumably because she's 61 and you need to be 65 to get the discount.

Lest you think that the Asshole of the Week designation is awarded lightly, our winner was up against some very strong competition. But La Rosa wins it on sheer pettiness.

I should also mention that it's only Tuesday.

(Oh, and that the solution is actually wider buses and streetcars, and more vehicles in service at any given time. But there isn't the political will.)

Date: 2013-01-23 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] monster-grrrl.livejournal.com
Fucking fuck. I took a double stroller with two kids on the Christie bus once (I've done it twice, but the second time was super hard) and it barely fit, and it was a huge pain. The driver was nice enough, the other passengers were nice enough, the kids fortunately were sleeping and/or quiet, but I did get some dirty looks from the seemingly-able-bodied not over fifty folks sitting in the elderly/disabled seating at the front. And I get it, it's a pain. But it was cold and rainy and I couldn't get that thing up the hill in that weather in my physical condition (i.e. quite a bit of pain) at the time. There were enough seats that the folks at the front could have moved back, but they didn't.

Had I been with my housemate L, the driver would have asked those folks to move back so that he could put the seats up to make room for her wheelchair. Strollers are absolutely mobility devices, and yeah, those who are pushing them wish we didn't have to bring them on transit, either.

I have to say, for the most part people are very nice to me when I'm out with kids. And when I'm carrying a baby on my chest, I can be guaranteed a seat and many smiles. Which is more than I can say for older folks who look like they could really use a seat on the subway.

Date: 2013-01-23 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] monster-grrrl.livejournal.com
I meant to mention my large amount of privilege in terms of having people be nice to me. I'm generally right downtown, white, blonde (pink), blue-eyed, able-bodied looking, and similar to the kids I'm with. I look pretty middle class, too, I think.

Date: 2013-01-23 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misslynx.livejournal.com
I have actually seen people give up seats to women of colour with kids, hold doors open for them, help them get strollers on or off the bus or up and down stairs, etc. - sometimes. But probably not as reliably often, and I think it might depend on the area. In most of the neighbourhoods I've lived in over the past decade or two, people of colour tend to be the majority or pretty close to it, so the crowd of other passengers on the bus/streetcar is not likely to be anywhere near all white.

And disproportionately, I think the people who do help tend to be one or more of: a) other people of colour, b) other moms, c) people like you and me who just tend to help people generally. Also, occasionally and strangely, d) elderly people, though maybe that's really a subset of c. "Strangely" only in that, as with you being disabled, elderly people are more likely to need the seat, or have a hard time trying to lift a stroller, but I think they were also raised in an era when people tended to be more polite and considerate of others. Not that that always lasts -- Elsa LaRosa is certainly a prime counter-example -- but apparently sometimes it does.

Date: 2013-01-23 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] springheel-jack.livejournal.com
OH JESUS THE COMMENTS MY EYES MY SOUL

Date: 2013-01-23 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] springheel-jack.livejournal.com
This is big dick privilege

Date: 2013-01-23 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misslynx.livejournal.com
The first rule of news sites is NEVER READ THE COMMENTS. They will destroy your will to live.

Date: 2013-01-23 03:58 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (intellectual hottie (green))
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
It is an utterly ridiculous proposal.

Date: 2013-01-23 04:48 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (intellectual hottie (green))
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
There are always more ridiculous people than we can possibly imagine.

Date: 2013-01-23 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agatharuncible.livejournal.com
Things I believe should be banned from public transportation: listening to music far too loud on your earphones, so that someone sitting to you who also has earphones is listening to your music; creepy douchebags who think it's ok to touch or verbally harass women who are just trying to get home; people who sit or stand too close to you even though there is plenty of space.

Things that should not be banned from public transportation: things that let people who don't have any other option take the bus if they need to get around the city, things that will work as an incentive for more people to take the bus.

Idk, I think that this is completely ridiculous... I'm pretty sure that nobody chooses to take strollers on the bus unless they actually enjoy the hassle, and it's something that people need, unlike unbearably loud metal at 7 AM. Do you think that ban will actually happen? It sounds completely nonsensical to me.

Date: 2013-01-23 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misslynx.livejournal.com
I used to know someone who, in situations like that, would sometimes actually lean over and politely say to a guy doing that "Excuse me, sir, but do you have uncommonly large testicles?" In a very prim and proper tone, so that it couldn't possibly me mistaken for some weird come-on. And when they inevitably got flustered and muttered something in the negative while trying not to make eye contact, she would say "Well then, do you think you could possibly bring yourself to close your legs so that someone else might sit down?"

This was generally when she was on her way to and from work, at a mainstream corporate job, so she looked very respectable, which probably helped with the WTF-ness of it.

Date: 2013-01-23 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silmaril.livejournal.com
You know, should one day a genie appear and ask me for my one wish, I will wish for "Complete empathy. On every human being."

Because that utter inability to imagine what it must be like for [the woman with stroller on public transport/the woman trying to drag three children across the road because there's no good bus stop nearby/the woman buying, horrors, a birthday cake with state assistance coupons] keeps shocking me to the point of staggering, and I would like to not be shocked by that particular ugliness any more.

Date: 2013-01-23 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silmaril.livejournal.com
(True, I did think for a moment about the confusion and upheaval that would result. But... well, I guess I am a little vengeful. And it didn't seem necessary to address that in the comment itself :) ).

Date: 2013-01-23 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misslynx.livejournal.com
Yes - I've already probably ranted enough about this in the comments on your Facebook post, but totally and vehemently in agreement with everything you've said on this. Well, except the "SUV strollers" bit.

I know a lot of people are annoyed by the growing size of strollers and don't understand why everyone doesn't just use those little lightweight umbrella strollers. But there are practical reasons for larger and sturdier strollers - it's not just a fashion statement. Umbrella strollers are rickety and unstable and can barely make it across streetcar tracks uneven bits of sidewalk, let alone through snow. They can pitch over frontwards easily, and unless you're quite short, requiring bending over at an angle that makes any bag you may be trying to carry on your shoulder prone to easily slipping down and falling on your child. Yes, they're light, cheap and fold easily, but that's where their good points end. Everything else about them is pure suck.

The larger sorts of strollers, that have big enough wheels to get through snow and across uneven ground without dumping your kid face-first onto the pavement if they hit a bump, and also enough space to carry some groceries or something, are a godsend for those who don't have a car. Especially for single moms, or moms whose spouse or partner works long hours and isn't always available to help, they can be the only way stuff like grocery shopping gets done at all.

And very much agreed on the classism thing - every time I hear people bitching about strollers on the TTC, there's a chorus of "But why don't they just take the car?" As if everyone has a car. Or "Why don't they just take a taxi?" As if everyone can afford taxis (and BTW, it's actually illegal to take a baby small child in a taxi unless it comes equipped with a proper car seat for the kids' age, which none of them do. Or unless you happen to be carrying one with you, because of course everyone carries around a huge, bulky, heavy car seat with them everywhere they go in case they might have to take a taxi). As you say, anyone taking a stroller on the TTC is usually doing it because it's the only option they've got.

I think [livejournal.com profile] monster_grrrl's solution is best: they should be treated like any other mobility device, and be allowed to use the spots for wheelchairs, at least assuming there are not any actual wheelchairs in them at the time.

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