Apr. 3rd, 2010

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I work with adolescents who have fallen through the education system and I cant ignore the fact that the adolescent boys I work with, One has been so damaged that he only makes sense about 40% of the time, one of them cant afford new shoes even though the ones hes wearing are split along the seams,and one is on the autistic spectrum. They do not have and will never have the privilege and chances and choices that the middle class university educated women who are big noises on the British feminist scene have. Yes they have more privilege than the adolescent girls I work with have but its still crumbs.

The more I interrogate my adoption issues the more I come to terms with the effect class had on my life, the effect where I come from had on my life and how its shaped me, and the shaming attitudes and prejudice towards where I come from that I received from the middle class adults all around me during my childhood and adolescence and most feminists I've ever met have no fucking Idea what that feels like, or what it feels like to be hungry, homeless, or stuck in a psych unit.

as I've said before feminists have dropped the ball on issues surrounding motherhood and repro justice, but those feminists who want to be parents often have no problem riding roughshod over other women's reproductive rights if it means they get a child out of it.

there's an assumption that the system largely WORKS because it works for THEM, because it works for middle class, able bodied, white, cis, hetero women then it mostly works it just needs tweaking here and there, they dont see how it doesn't work for others, how it causes systemic violence and hardship to others

I am so fucking sick of discussions about body hair and make up, I dont care what some one looks like or who they fuck, I'm not interested in peoples individual choices about things like that too often that turns into a feminist circle jerk of "I'm more feminist than thou" and doesn't take into account intersecting oppressions or life experiences.It's what people do in the wider sphere that interests me, I really dont think standing on street corners protesting is going to change anything. the people I work with and a large chunk of my religious community are making way more difference than most of the feminists I know, they are doing the hard graft ground work of supporting oppressed marginalised people and making resources available for them. None of them would dream of calling themselves feminist, they just do this shit because it's important because someone needs to do it.

I am sick of the invisablising of lives that arnt theirs, the silencing of voices that arnt theirs, the disbelif of experinces that arnt theirs, the dumbass middle class femmininity reaction of "but why do you have to be so meeeeen?" or "anger never got any one any where" bullshit when they are called out on any of this stuff.


but what do I call myself instead - "are you a feminist?" "no I'm a community weaver" doesnt really work

Witness

Apr. 3rd, 2010 10:47 pm
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I think one of the reasons adoption damage goes so deep is because we have no one to acknowledge our pain. So very few people are willing to hear us, or willing to acknowledge our grief and loss our trauma. Nobody wants to know that adoption hurts and damages adoptees.

The very first time I said anything about how much I hated being adopted and how fucked up everything was was on a cross triad forum. It was an adoptee support section of the forum but I still got ripped to shreds, not only that but the thread with my words, with my pain, with the very first time I'd ever said "this is not okay, this is fucked up" got moved to the debate forum so they could discuss weather or not it was appropriate for me to blame adoption for my pain. Luckily another adoptee (Addie I think) scooped me up and took me to another forum that is the only adoptee centric, adoptee focused forum on the web where we can say our truths without getting shouted down for being bitter, angry, ungrateful or misguided (and I learned my lesson about "triad" forums and websites, they are always for adoptive parents really) If I hadn't been pointed to the adoptee forum i don't know what I would have done, I think I would have clammed up and never ever talked about my adoptee pain ever again, i don't even want to think how many adoptees that happens to. We adoptees witness and support each others pain but I think to heal more deeply we need other witnesses, witnesses who have not been scarred by adoption, witnesses who can say "I haven't been through what you've been through but I can see and understand how damaging it was"

In my off line life although all my friends know I'm adopted I don't usually talk about my feelings around it much at all because even most people who love me, care about me, don't get it, because people do refuse to witness my pain. But one day I just blurted it out to one of my friends. We spent quite a lot of time together getting drunk and talking utter crap and telling each other things we may not have done if we had been sober so maybe that had something to do with it. I can't even remember what we were talking about or why the issue came up but she said something about adoption and i took a gamble and I said "yeah actually I'm not a big fan of adoption, I think there are lots of issues there." which was clearly softening greatly how I really felt about it. I was gobsmacked when she, a real kid, agreed with me, she referred to it as "an act of violence" That was a really powerful moment for me. I always felt that my adoption was a physical trauma but I'd never heard anyone describe it as violence before. and it is violence, to children, mothers, families, communities. I'm sure I bore her to tears talking about adoption politics but its so refreshing that i have someone in my of line life I can talk about it with without having to explain or apologise to.

There are other people in my life that get it now but that's after I've educated them on it, she was the first person offline I ever met who was totally right of the bat affirming about the way I felt about it and understanding of how damaging and oppressive it it, she was my witness and that has been incredibly healing and afirming for me

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October 2010

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