Anyone can comment on this, the more the better. If you know peole who would be interested link them here.

What are your thoughts on adoption? Where do those thoughts come from?
How much do you know about adoption?
is adoption a social justice issue? If so, how and why?
Anything else you want to say about the issue of adoption?

Go!

(The first video contains some really disturbing and violent images)

I’ve been away from this corner of the blogsphere for a good long time. As I was reacquainting myself with it I stumbled across a whole bunch of women blogging about growing up in and leaving fundamentalist christian groups. And I am gobsmacked that people are talking about experiences that so much mirror my own, experiences that I don’t really talk about because nobody gets it even if they try to get it there’s such a lived reality gap that my experiences growing up in a fundamentalist christian community just never make sense to them, that in the end you just stop talking about it because it’s too emotionaly tiring

So much of who I am, for better or worse, was shaped by the community I grew up in. the things we are taught as children have a massive effect on who we are as adults and even if we reject those teachings it still often feels like we are aliens, exiles, here in the mainstream wider culture.in a culture that doesn’t always immediately make sense to us, we feel like we are speaking a second language. I feel like I’ve been speaking a second language my whole adult life, since I left my church in my late teens and the people who understood my first language or who understood why the syntax of my second language was slightly off have been few and far between, women who know what gets lost when you grow up in a fundamentalist closed community, women who know what is gained but also what is lost when you leave that community.

I feel like I’ve been given a space to rest, a type of homecoming, a place to listen and speak about experinces with women who get it, who understand without me having to give reams of backstory. I feel like I’ve exhaled a breath I didnt realise I was holding.

In her essay Rape, Racism and the myth of the Black rapist In Women, Race, and Class Davis argues that

As the violent face of sexism, the threat of rape will continue to exist as long as the overall oppression of women remains an essential crutch for capitalism. The anti-rape movement and it’s important current activities..must be situated in a strategic context which envisages the ultimate defeat of monopoly capitalism.

And it kind of makes me go “hmmm”. Obviously patriarchy and capitalism are symbiotic systems and I do think that capitalism and the consumerism that is an inherent part of that encourages rape by putting a price on everything, by making everybody but those at the top of the pile consumable by the highest bidder or the one with the most power but I think in a non capitalist society that is run by and for men women would still get raped.

In my last post on mother daughter damage I asked how do we learn to love women when our female caregivers have hurt us so badly? But Susan Griffin in her essay Lesbians and Literature writes:

When you come to a relationship between the mother and the daughter, you come to a relationships inevitably about the daughter and her own self. If she cannot accept the love shes felt for her mother she cannot accept that identification, she cannot accept also the love that she’s felt for herself. We get back here to what i think is the central problem with women’s writing: that is self hatred, hatred of the body, hatred of ones own voice, hatred of ones own perceptions

which for me asks a much more immediately important question, how do we love ourselves if our mothers didn’t love us? Or if our mothers love was so distorted by patriarchy that it was unrecognisable to us as love? we are angry at ourselves because our mothers were angry at us, our mothers were angry at us because they were angry at themselves.

and how do we break the cycle? Can we have a healthy feminist community when women have been wounded by each other and do not believe they have each others best interests at heart?

I dream of a feminist utopia where women mother collectively, where motherhood does not send women crazy through isolation and frustration, where mothers can nurture their own creativity and skills that are not directly related to motherhood, where mothers are not afraid that they or their children will be damaged or rejected by society, where women have not been so damaged that they pass that damage down.

But in the meantime we, the daughters, live with our mothers damage, and I don’t know how we live healthily with that, build healthy relationships with that, love ourselves to the bone with that.

I’ve been reading Angela Davies Woman, Race and class and its unsuprising but still depressing how racist and classist the beginings of feminism were

Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and their colleagues..they never really accepted the principle of trade unionism. As they had been previously unwilling to concede that black liberation might claim momentary priority over their own interests as white women, they did not fully embrace the fundamentals of unity and class solidarity, without which the labor movement would remain powerless….Although Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton persuaded several female labor leaders to protest the disenfranchisement of women, the masses of working women were far too concerned about their immediate problems -wages, hours, working conditions – to fight for a cause that seemed terribly abstract

we can say that they have the excuse of history,of not knowing any better but white middle class feminists are still not taking into account that women who are not them often have different often more pressing needs and fronts to fight on, women who are not white, middle class, able bodied, heterosexual are often denied the right to speak, made so uncomfortable that they don’t want to speak or ignored and belittled when they do speak

Anthony’s staunchly feminist position was also a staunch reflection of bourgeois Ideology. And it probably was because of the ideology’s blinding powers that she failed to realise that working class women and Black women alike were fundamentally linked to their men by the class exploitation and racist oppression which did not discriminate between the sexes

white middle class women often don’t unpack the institutions of individualism and consumerism that are such important parts of being white and middle class and the way that the white middle class need to be an individualist and a consumer is so bad for everybody else and I really believes this damages relationships and connections between white middle class feminists and other feminists

Feminism is important and the basis of feminism is and always should be fighting for women’s liberation/rights but there needs to be an understanding that women who are oppressed often find common cause with men who are oppressed in the same way, an understanding that white middle class feminists do not know best, are not, to borrow a phrase from the SWP, the “vanguard of the revolution”

I love this post. It resonates so deeply with me and really gives me a framework for thinking about my own disabilities in.

Border Gimps usually have some capacity to stand, likely even to walk, in one mode or another. Our bodies are usually all intact, just not 100% functional. Our issues are usually more related to the pain surrounding mobility in general. We go to doctors when the problems begin. This is often a long, multi-layered journey, at the end of which modern medicine provides little to no solutions for us. We usually have a mixed status officially, as in we probably won’t qualify for any sort of governmental disability assistance,… Some days, we might appear completely “normal”; others, our young or middle-aged bodies betray us into the stance of the very elderly. Likely, we have no control or way to predict what “status” any given day will bring. We spend our days on the border between “capable” and “handicapped”…

…When you are a border gimp, one of the first things you’ll realize is that you are never enough of any one thing to please anyone. You can walk, perhaps with a decisive limp, but you CAN do it, appeasing those who are concerned that you will need special accommodations. When you walk, pain is always apart of the decision so you get really good at hiding it, a relief to those who are made uncomfortable from your mere presence. You find convenient excuses not to travel so long or so far. You learn to always have everything at hand. When you do move, you do so slowly and carefully, holding your body as firm and as erect as you can. You keep close to walls and other stable objects to catch an unexpected fault in your stride….

I live in an increasingly disabled body that is currently without a diagnosis and a lot of the time I feel like a fake, like I’m not sick enough to consider myself disabled, like somehow my disability is inauthentic because I dont have a peice of paper to prove it. A lot of the time I feel weak, like if I was just stronger I wouldn’t have the pain, the mobility issues, the tiredness, if I was stronger I could be Normal just like Every Body Else.

Well meaning people give me advice constantly about exercises I should try or suppliments I should take. After every hospital apointment they ask me if the doctors know whats wrong with me yet and if they can make me better as if doctors are Gods who can cure anything, as if sometimes our bodies don’t just break and can’t be fixed but have to be lived with. People suggest that I loose weight and somehow that will make me well again without taking into acount that the pysical issues started way before I got fat and without taking into acount that most kinds of excercise cause me pain.

I love the idea of being a “border gimp” I live my life across boundaries and borders, I’m bisexual, adopted, not entirley gender normative, I dont live in the country I was born and grew up in. living across borders makes sense to me, to my fluidity of self and “border gimp” gives me a way of thinking about myself on the days I don’t feel disabled enough

“A womans place has always been in the home, but during the pre-industrial era, the economy itself had been centred in the home and it’s surounding farmland. While men had tilled the land (often aided by their wives), the women had been manufacturers, producing fabric, clothing, candles, soap and practicaly all the other family necessities. Woman’s place had indeed been in the home – but not simply because they bore and reared children or ministered to thir husbands needs. They had been productive workers within the home economy and their laubour had been no less respected than their mens. When manufactturing moved out of the home and into the factory, the ideology of wommanhood began to raise the wife and mother as ideals
Angela Davies Women,Race and Class P32

I grew up in a very repressive religious environment that had very definate ideas about womens position in society, namley that women shouldn’t be part of society, women shouldnt be leaders and women who had children shouldnt work, a womans job was to look after her man and her children. There was an underlying belief that we should go back to the traditional values of 1st century palestinian womanhood without actualy having any idea what 1st century palestinian womanhood entailed. Pre industrial “womens work” was far more labour instensive but also far more communal and creative that the faux “traditional values” that the church was harking back to.

Of course pre industrial life wasn’t some feminist utopia but women had marketable skills and they would not have been isolated in the same way mothers often are today, they would have worked with other women, daughters, sisters, cousins, in laws, neigbours, to produce what the family and the comunity needed. Demanding that a womans place is “in the home” in a society where the privacy and primacy of the nuclear family is sacrosanct, in a society where it is cheaper to buy than to make essentials, leaves women with no agency, no marketable skills and stunts their potential and their creativity. Which I’m pretty sure is one of the aims of repressive religious communities, to strip women off all sense of self, but pretending that it is “historical”, traditional” for women to be isolated from each other is clearly just bunk.