I think Bindi Irwin is a beautiful girl and that her family has done a tremendous amount for raising awareness for animals – particularly in Australia. The Australian Zoo is on my short list of absolute recommends for any of our overseas friends who come here to visit.
But she irritates the hell out of me.
There are lots of very successful people in the world who were exposed to the business of their parents and who developed their skills and then went out in the world and made a name for themselves. I could see the Irwin children working alongside their dad, learning about the animals and then dedicating their life to the preservation of wildlife in some form or another. I could see them then being recognized for their work and becoming spokespeople by virtue of that work.
That is not what happened.
The Irwins took Bindi out into the public eye from day one, to be on stage. They did things with her that made Michael Jackson’s baby dangle from the balcony as he waved to fans, disappear in comparison. Every word that comes out of her mouth is so “performed” it is hard to even watch her because she is never “off camera,” just being a kid.
Still, their choice, their life.
I am sure she knows much more about animals and wildlife than I will ever know. Her television shows and worldwide Wildlife Warrior efforts are admirable. They have also helped to ensure her and her family a very nice income and a life of great privilege.
I don’t object to her having an opinion on other important matters.
I object to her taking them public, using her fame and authority in one area, to suggest she knows what she is talking about. Over Population and poverty are incredible complex and serious matters that are almost impossible for a child to fully comprehend. I object to her mother “complaining” about other adults in media “censoring” those types of comments when they are doing what she should be doing as her mother, and protecting her from making a fool of herself. I actually think, if she was censored, it was a very kind thing for those people to have done. Bindi talking on population control takes away from her stellar wildlife crusade. She is only 16. Sometimes the kindest thing we do for our kids, is listen to them, encourage them to keep exploring the subject, and not hold them to or forever memorialize words spoken/written before they can completely understand. There are some subjects that are sensitive enough, it is probably important for the writer to have experienced a little bit of life before they comment. Childbirth would be a good example. Until a woman has gone through it, I am not really interested in hearing her “advice.”
Bindi Irwin wrote a piece on Population Control. Of course it was put on You Tube for everyone to hear her reading it. She was invited to write a piece on WILDLIFE CONSERVATION for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-journal. Instead Bindi wrote a piece focusing on Population Control. Later, she withdrew it when she says her article was “altered for publication.” They made an issue of what was probably nothing more than a typical scene understood by many writers. You are asked to write something, if what you write is not what they are looking for, it is scrapped or heavily edited to produce what was asked for. Hillary had asked for an article on Wildlife NOT on population control. If she wanted an article on Population Control, I doubt she would have asked a barely 15 year old Australian girl who is known for her wildlife efforts. I am not a big fan of Hillary but she has a daughter and I know she loves strong women and I am just wondering if perhaps she too was a little concerned about having some of Bindi’s words forever memorialized on this subject.
In Bindi’s defining of “conservation” she neglects human rights which allows for people to self determine. They have a right to their own cultures, and their beliefs. We don’t get to decide for other people how they live their lives from our vantage point of privilege. In fact, telling people what to do and how to do it never works in the long run. If you really want to help people you have to be as committed to understanding as you are to being understood and what you do is give people the tools they need and empower them to decide for themselves. YOU are only the expert of your own life, not the guy standing next to you and certainly not “the poor people” in some third world country that you are insisting on speaking for. I am quite sure if someone asked them who they would like to represent their needs – it would not be Bindi Irwin touting population control and likening their horrific suffering to them showing up for a party at her place and there not being enough gift bags to go around.
I am quite sure that as Hillary Clinton was travelling the world and seeing the devastation of the actual “poor people” to which Bindi referred, she too was concerned about such a frivolous representation of human suffering.
“How can the poor have any improved lifestyles with more people to share fewer resources?” Lifestyle? I think they would be happy with some food and shelter and clean running water. They would appreciate some education. Those are not “lifestyle” choices, those are basics. Why are only the poor going to be sharing fewer resources? OH, you mean us rich people aren’t going to go without a damn thing right? Maybe the question to ask is, “why, with all our privilege and advantages are we so incapable of managing the earth’s resources in a more equitable way for earth’s population?” “Why do we need another cell phone or another designer dress when we have those things off the blood and sweat of those “poor people,” who are not even paid a decent wage for their efforts? ”
I don’t think anyone is taking this subject “lightly.” I can remember people discussing it when I was in elementary. Unfortunately the same answer is put forward – “Get rid of the poor.” “Sterilize the poor.” “More birth control for the poor.” We just aren’t as committed to ” feed the poor.”
In subsequent interviews regarding the subject Bindi suggests that putting implants into 11 year old girls so they can’t have children until they are 18 is the way to go. Does she think 11 year old girls choose to be sexually active or that they have a choice in getting pregnant? There are far more complex issues here than a just turned 15 year old girl understands or can even speak to.
She wants clean air and “lots of wildlife” but just not so many people. She wants it for the “future children.” Just not all THEIR children. I am not reading anywhere that she plans to forgo having a child as her contribution to the whole thing. And to say that “planting a tree” can help, in a paper done on population control, again trivializes the whole issue and demonstrates that perhaps privileged 15 year olds should not be writing about such a serious subject on a world stage.
I know my taking on Bindi Irwin seems a bit like bullying and you are right. We make allowances for her inappropriate representation of this issue because of her age. That same concern should have applied to having her take this public and promoting it. She is 15. It is not appropriate for her to use her celebrity and platform with wildlife to tackle this subject. Now instead of respecting her work with wildlife, it is suspect to me because it is apparent that while she claims great compassion for mother earth, clean air and water, her lifestyle etc … she has none for her fellow man.
Anyone who believes that doing away with the population is going to solve anything has no idea what is going on. I guarantee you that when her 104 year old friend was younger with less people on the planet, there were still “poor people.” I hate that term. Let’s call them “unfed” or “forgotten” but not “poor” because it is a term used to suggest that not only do they not have money, that they are not worthy of help and that all the blame goes on them. I guarantee you that even if we somehow eliminate two thirds of the population as per Bill Gates and his friends agendas … we will still have the unfed and forgotten because really people … the problem is you and I and our incredible talent to point our fingers off in the distance and insist other people are the reason for the mess we are in and that somehow “they” don’t matter as much.
In a world where people are waking up to realize how duped we have all been, and how connected we all are to each other, and to mother earth, I am saddened that such a brilliant minded, beautiful young woman, like Bindi Irwin, would post this essay . . . anywhere.