Not a Human but an object, a C even

A Facebook friend shared this video on her wall and I was moved by it. As a female who grew up being the “chubby smart girl”, I can relate to the feelings of inadequacy alluded to in this video piece.  My sisters were the beauties. I was not. I was reminded of that by my family and society – daily.

After viewing the video I shared it on my Facebook and now feel the need to share it here not only for its overarching message but for something that is said during it that reminded me, strongly, of adoption and how mothers who surrender their children are viewed by both the prospective adopters and later, their very own children.

View the video first and perhaps you will catch the words in question on your own. After doing so, read the rest of my post and see if you agree. When you finish viewing, you can click more below to see the rest of this post.

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“… But turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person. We see this with racism, with homophobia, we see it with terrorism. It is always the same process. The person is dehumanized and violence then becomes inevitable” – Jean Kilbourne

I would offer, as many have before me, that we see this in adoption as well.  Expectant mothers are dehumanized and as such agencies, prospective adopters, even the mothers own family members can look the other way when the actual dismembering of mother and child takes place. Mothers are not human beings with feelings and rights. They are objects, monsters even, from which their child must be saved.

And that point brings me to my next, sort of related, yet not, point. 

Several mothers commented that they could relate to my experience outlined in the post About That Note. While I found comfort in that (I really did), I could not help but reflect on something that was once said to me years ago.  An adoptive mother, with whom I had become fairly friendly with (she had adopted through Easter House) remarked during a conversation we had (wherein I was sharing some details mentioned in About That Note) that the fact that I could not speak up for myself “like most humans do” was proof that I was not capable of raising my daughter and therefore abandoning  (my word not hers) her to strangers was a good thing and she was better off.

Yeah, really. She said that. I must admit at the time it stung (and things usually sting because I have some internal belief there is some truth to them) but nowadays I look back and say “WTF? Are you kidding me?”. That statement, that suggestion, to me is along the lines of telling a rape victim she deserved to be raped because was not strong enough to fight off her attacker.

Finally, another person informed me that I was not my daughters mother but rather I was the c–t (nasty word for female genitalia) that had pushed her into the world.  Not a human, not a mother, not even a female. Just a c.

Nice, eh? Nice and dehumanizing for sure.

Suz Bednarz

Mother of three - first child surrendered to baby broker in 1986 and found online in 2005. Family preservationist and supporter of open records. Founder of ehbabes.com a search and support site focused on family members separated by the Kurtz network of agencies. Chronic hair colorer, lover of silver gothic inspired jewelry, writer, feminist, activist, socially anxious Gemini.

15 Comments

  1. This video does a nice job of showing how women are objectified and the line of thinking here can certainly be extended and applied to what happens to women who are lured into taking the path that leads to adoption. Interestingly I just shared an essay on this very topic with the teenagers I teach. It was titled Beauty vs. the Beast. The beast is the media and its image of ideal beauty. The unrealistic images created by the media negatively affect teenage girls by creating unattainable standards. And of course then the inability to meet standards that can not be met leads to making less than optimal choices for ourselves and others.

    Gail

  2. I watched the whole movie, Killing Us Softly IV, at a Girl Talk Teacher Training. The idea is to get a good idea of how the media affects all of us, and well, our girls. And, as you point out, how we can look back and see how it affected when we were young and vulnerable.

    There were so many things within even this short clip that resonated with me. We are shown perfection (profiles of prospective adoptive parents) and we try to become the perfect image that they (agencies, lawyers, prospective adoptive parents) sell us. Part of this has become “normalized” in the sense that we are all trying to make ourselves appear better than what we are. Except, that this particular media plot is selling us adoption, as a culture, and also as a means of getting us to be perfect (and making the perfect choice of adoption) to attain some kind of perfect image.

    I could go on and on…..

    • Heather – OMG. So true. You hit on even more points I had overlooked. Boy was I obsessed with being something I did not need to be (or already was) post surrender. Convinced the ONLY way I could have children and keep them, be socially acceptable, was to BE what I had been told the perfect parents were – adoptive, and full of cash, and education and fancy things. Imagine my shock to find Easter House adoptive families that had mortgage their home to acquire their children, used lottery winnings, and were far from perfect. Such a mess of lies and deception.

  3. All of this resonates within me, especially your related point. I recently told my son at our reunion how I felt then and now (after he asked about the circumstances of his surrender), and what I had been told then and during the years following his surrender, and it matches almost word for word what you and other mothers were told and made to think about themselves. He was indifferent, I’m certain because he has been told the same lies I was. After 20 years those people still treat me like a non-object.

  4. Yes. And the thing that really bugs me is that adoptive mothers don’t stand up and decry the sexism–the misogyny–that is launched at first mothers. Because when one mother is demonized, all mothers are demonized (demonized, dehumanized–same diff.). The fact is that what goes around comes around and if you let your child’s mother be harshly judged (let alone if you harshly judge her yourself) you are just asking for it.
    Women being treated as vessels for the babies of “better” women is a travesty that affects ALL women negatively. So many adoptive mothers come to adoption via infertility and all over the Internet you can read about the damage that infertility does to a woman’s sense of self because of society’s expectations for that unattainable feminine perfection. You would think, having gone through that kind of stupid, unfair, hideous judgment would make such women sympathetic to women going through similar stupid, unfair, hideous judgment for different–but certainly related–reasons.
    The fact is our society hates mothers and loves to blame them for everything that ever goes wrong–and blame them for any of their own suffering, for sure. Just because some mothers occasionally get a pedestal of sentiment once in a while–in some mother’s day card poem or other nonsense–doesn’t mean they don’t hate us. And we can’t afford NOT to stick together.
    Sorry. I could go on all day about this.

    • Shannon (HI!) – Thank you for this. I agree completely and it something that struck me early after surrender. I do want to blog on this topic more and welcome your talking and commenting. Go on, gf! as Led Zepplin says “ramble on!” (okay, maybe they meant something else but it sounded good).

      More to come on this topic.

      • Hey Suz, being a bit of a Zeppelin nut, here’s what the song ‘ramble on’ is all about: ”
        Robert Plant’s lyrics were inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of The Rings. The references are to the adventures of the Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he goes to “the darkest depths of Mordor” and encounters “Gollum and the evil one.” Plant later admitted in an audio documentary that he was embarrassed by the Tolkien references. “

  5. This Video is an eye-opener to all women fantasizing to have a body like models…well, I just hope young girls saw the negative side of it…just be thankful and take good care of what you have :)

  6. Eye-opening and sad. As a mom of a 12-y-o girl, I am glad to say that we’ve talked with her all her life about what counts most is what’s on the inside. And that “Who” you are is not “What” you look like. Kudos to Kate Winslet for speaking out against this atrocity against women! And thank you for posting this video here. I will share it with my daughter, too.

  7. i read with interest the part about adoption to take a baby from a mother is theft there is no other words for it …..it is child theft the baby is taken from their mother who birthed them then to take the baby from the mother is an act of theft….its not good adoption doesnt cut it….govt sanctioned kidnapping thats what adoption is…..its child theft…..if you take a baby from a mother what are you doing …..time to think deep about that……also the law does not allow a mother to give her child away as thats child abandonment adoption allows that too……so we are out to abolish adoption us mothers who had our children stolen from us …..australia is going to abolish adoptin so babies get to be with their mother and family they are born into….couples after children will not be serviced with childrenanymore…….their needs for children were never to be pandered to ……it was never meant to be used to procure children for the childless……it left the mother childless….to take a child from their mother because they coudlnt have a child…….and they called it adoption…..its supposed to be there for a child in need not for couples in need of children…….they payfor them huge money and the courts and judges are allinvolved in it they have beenexposed in australia and i am sure the rest of the world will follow……i will be so relieved when babies get left with their mothers they are born to……no one has the right to take a baby froma mother……they can all go have their own childrenlike other women taking a baby from a mother isnt good just because theycouldnt have their own they took someone elses and called it adoption……hope that makes sense to you all……

  8. Powerful post, in so many ways. I’ve got so many things swirling around in my head lately, having caught part of PBS’s Half the Sky documentary film earlier this week. I do see adoption as a symptom — one of many — of our culture’s lack of esteem for women.

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