Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Semantics And Insults

You know, there are times when we all are silly and childish. Regardless of our age, we all still have that impulse to stick out our tongues and yell "neener, neener" at our foe du jour. But sometimes, it gets past childish and into ridiculous.

For that reason, and because I am just worn out from living a busy and eventful life, of late, I backed off from posting for a few days. But now I want to address some terminology. Would that it were unimportant and just a matter of semantics. You know, to-may-to/to-mah-to and that sort of thing? But, some language matters and here are a few terms that are in a state of contentious debate.

ADOPTER: It is on the legal papers and in the textbooks for social workers. It is not an insult. It merely means "someone who adopts." And, it is a bit easier for many of us natural mothers to say rather than "parent/mother/father." Why should we acknowledge a legal and emotional attachment when our natural bond is ignored and belittled?

BIRTHMOTHER: Coined by Pearl Buck and adjusted by early CUB members, it became an insult and still IS an insult. It relegates us to the realm of pure biological function, faceless and without feelings that should be considered, a convenient womb. It is used, pre-birth, to define a woman who has yet to surrender in order to lead her in that direction and diminish her motherhood. It's also a bit cutesy and saccharine, say, when used on a Facebook page called "Birthmom Buds." It's hurtful when used to isolate us, again, such as in "Birthmother's Day."  GAG! I cringe whenever I hear a woman introduce herself as a "birthmom" and wonder if she really thinks so little of herself. But, again, that is how I and quite a few others see the term. You can call yourself a purple dildo or whatever floats your boat as long as you don't call me a "BM."

ABANDONER: A person who abandons a child, does so by leaving that child where it can be found or, by just leaving the child, period. A mother who turns her child over, with legally-approved process, to the false promises of an agency or social worker after being convinced that she would be a toxic parent with no future is NOT abandoning that child. She is doing the only thing she feels she can do to assure her child's survival and well-being. Her back is against the wall and she is without hope. Yeah, yeah, I know about feeling abandoned, but you can work that out with counseling. Meanwhile, you respect us, we respect you. I am not an abandoner and I don't play one on TV. Plus, unlike "adopter," abandoner gets spell-checked as a non-word.

ANGRY: Well, what? If it bothers you, then don't be angry. I don't fear an emotion because I am in control of what I do with it and how I express it. And that's all anger emotion. I don't see being called "angry" as an insult. My anger energizes and directs me and some expressions of anger can be very stress-relieving (some close friends know what I mean, here, heh heh). Stress makes one sicker than a bit of anger ever did. Sorry, but being angry is not a character defect.

EMS/BSE: The Era of Mass Surrenders, aka, the Baby Scoop Era is a real, historical and shameful part of our American past. I will not argue time parameters. But I will argue sheer numbers of women treated like criminals for being pregnant. While not all mothers from this era were coerced, we make up the vast majority. Not only coerced, we were isolated and punished as if we were delinquents. Then, to save our souls/psychological health, we were relieved of our newborns. It happened, it was real, it WAS.

STINKA-PADINKA: My favorite pet name for my dog. I just thought I would throw that one in there. And I and Mr. Einstein say, "Have a nice day. Neener-neener."


Unknown said...

I agree with all you said. I would add one more to this lesson in pop psychology. When did Victim become a slam instead of an acknowledgment that a person has been through a terrible experience? People have this kneejerk reaction to Victim and immediately correct with the term Survivor. Well, in order to be a Survivor, one must first be a Victim. It is not a dirty word! It is not a slam. It is what it is. Quit morphing language to suit you!

Birthmother, Adopter, Victim, Abandoner! I agree, Robin, I agree!!!

Von said...

Yep I'm with youse and I'm a bastard!

Lori said...

May I link this? I met someone today - a surrogate mother - and it made me think.

Robin said...

Certainly, Lori. Go right ahead.