Monday, September 13, 2010
Demonizing Natural Mothers
It never dawned on me before, but a perfect example of the "good" adopter versus the "bad" natural mother can be found in the movie "Aliens." In this second chapter of the 'Aliens' saga, our hero, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to the planet where the first alien monster was found. While there, she finds Newt, an orphaned little girl who has been hiding in the duct work of the ravaged settlement. Instant bonding (unrealistic) and they go on to struggle for survival against the very hideous, vicious monsters.
Newt is captured by the aliens and cocooned to act as a host for one of the alien infants when Ripley, armed with flame-throwing tommygun, finds her. The queen alien, the natural mother, is busily doing what her species does...reproducing. Ripley frees Newt and holds off the alien horde by threatening the precious eggs of the mother/queen alien. As Ripley backs away with Newt in her arms, she reconsiders and flames the eggs and aliens and runs for it. Naturally, the mother screams (that is not just fury but pain...those are her children), magically detaches from her reproductive system and heads out after the hero and her adoptee.
What follows is a classic for lovers of the sci-fi genre...the battle between Ripley in a souped-up, robot Hyster and the Alien queen. As the Alien tries to capture Newt, Ripley emerges from the bay in her Hyster suit and grinds out, "Get away from her, you BITCH!" Ripley manages to fight the monster off long enough for the android assigned to the expedition to rescue them. There is more mayhem and a final expulsion of the Alien into the vacuum of space and Newt cries out "Mommy" as she is gathered into Ripley's exhausted arms. Then the adoptive (human/righteous) mother and her cute little girl settle down to sleep until their ship can be found by rescuers.
I wonder if anyone else but me felt a moment of sympathy for the Alien Queen as her infant ova were being turned into barbecue? The fight scene was called, by one critic, "the battle of the mothers," but the adoptive mother was a long-legged, strikingly attractive human and the natural mother was a hideous, slavering monster with acid for blood. Maybe I am reaching, but the subliminal message here is not a nice one. For me, it is an all-too-true analogy for the exalting of the adopter while demonizing natural mothers. A lot of those who haven't walked in our shoes wonder what kind of unnatural creature would give up her own flesh and blood?
I think that I have mentioned before that a lot of adult adoptees and adopters are dismayed, when the mother and her adult surrendered child are reunited, to find, for the most part, normal, everyday women, some accomplished, intelligent and very respectable. They are looking for the crack whore Alien. It is very hard for many of our adult children to understand the pressure we were under from society, our families and the, then, infant Industry. They can't understand that, while we sacrificed our parental rights under duress, we never stopped being mothers. When they want to treat us as the lesser "others," many of us rebel at that.
I guess we do look like alien demons to many an adopter. We have lurked in the dark back rooms of their psyches from the time they took custody of our children. We frighten them. It is their own fear because we are not wanting anything but a chance to know our child. We went deeply into the lair of the beast to save our children from what we were told would be certain tragedy and dysfunction. Funny but there is dysfunction in adoptive families. Adoption makes for dysfunction. There is no perfect family. But they didn't tell us that when they were appropriating our children.
If we were the evil entities that many say we are, it would probably be easier for the adopters to fight us. But they might as well look in a mirror. Most of us are just normal, natural.........Mothers.