Friday, December 7, 2007

Compassion: Part II -- Caring About Crack Whores

This is a follow up to my Nov. 29 Post. It focuses specifically on women's meanness to women.

“Mean girls don't stay in high school forever. They're at college, at work, and even at church. The hurt from gossip, insults, and cutthroat competition doesn't stop after high school, either. In fact, the kind of meanness experienced by adult women can cut to the core just as quick, if not quicker, than it did when they were teenagers.” From the description of Mean Girls all grown Up: Surviving Catty and Conniving Women by Hayley DiMarco.No longer online is a column from the Orlando Sentinel (Jan 05) "Cliques not Just for Kids: Being Snubbed Hurts Women." But you can still access: “From Mean Girls to Mean Women: 5 Tips to Surviving an Impossible Work Environment: Dealing with Female Coworkers”

Although geared to the work place, meanness, competitiveness and jalousies have no limits. “Woman's Inhumanity to Woman” by Phyllis Chesler makes it clear that women can be vicious tone another in families, and betray their friends. Chesler draws on the most important studies in psychology, human aggression, anthropology, childhood developmental theory, primatology, evolutionary theory, psychoanalytic theory, myths and fairy tales, literature, plays, biography, autobiography, memoirs, and studies of revolutionary movements, including feminism. She also shares the findings of hundreds of original interviews conducted over a period of more than twenty years.

As I mentioned in my previous blog on this subject, it is human nature to look around and say to oneself: "I'm not like him; he has had dozens of DWIs, I've only had one." "I'm not like her, she has slept with so many men she can't even count them" or "I've never had an STD." We do this almost instinctively to feel better about ourselves.

And so -- sadly -- even among mothers who have been so denigrated, shamed, put-down, humiliated, and totally misunderstood by the general public...that mothers put one another down whether overtly or covertly.

Who amongst us has not whispered to a friend, "How could she have..." about some aspect of a mother's story that was not within the typical stereotype? Who amongst us have not said or heard it said that someone was not a good candidate for as campaign to help someone in a contested adoption because her boyfriend was in jail or because she had other children taken from her?

Amazingly, even those working toward family preservation...which by definition means helping families in crisis are picky and choosy about what types of crisis we will dirty our hands - and soil our "reputations" by associating with. Secind to poverty, drugs is the biggest cause of mothers loosing custody. And yet many small trial programs have proven successful in helping such fmailies. Family Preservationists need to let go of their haughty attitudes and embrace our sisters who need our support. Instead, we label mothers "abusers" though many are just as victimized as any mother who "voluntarily relinquished." But our need to feel better about ourselves causes us to categorize and make ourselves "better" than "others."

And our final insult is to call a mother a "Crack Whore" even while we get hysterical if someone else does!

So, as Bastard Nation has taken the worst thing said about adoptees and wear it proudly...as gays have taken queer as their own...I too embrace all so-called "Crack Whores" and beseach my sisters...she amongst us who is without sin, let her cast the first stone. For myself, I spent the 60's doing what most young people alive then did...guess that makes me a Crack Whore!


If you want to celebrate you inner crack whore with me, you can get groovy tee shirts and other goodies at Cafe Press.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Human beings, male and female,can be mean. Is that news? There seems to be some subtext here about an actual incident or incidents where some meany called someone a name, but since it is not clear, this whole little sermon is just puzzling. Sometimes people are mean, sometimes they are have a justifiable reason to be angry of to make judgements on whose cause they support.

Somehow this all seems not for general consumption, not much to do with adoption, and aimed at some unnamed individual. Why not just send a private emai to the offending person? If you are blogging about it, tell your readers what you are really annoyed about rather than dealing in pius generalities.

Suz said...

OMG, sister crack whore here, this post was amazing. True, funny, sad, all at the same time. I also use the term in a sarcastic, ridiculous manner and have embraced it. Doing so, took away the strength of it. It cannot hurt me. I know who I am and those that refer to mothers like me as crackwhores are usually the ones with the drug problem - not me. They have ingested far too much of the hallucingen known as Adoption Koolaid and are unable themselves to see or function clearly.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Self define. Dont listen to the adoption drug addicts.

Parents & Professionals for Family Preservation & Protection said...

Sorry if I was too vague for your taste. I am speaking of those working toward Family Preservation (in actuality, or allegedly) who then make judgments about which families are "deserving" of their help.

Parents & Professionals for Family Preservation & Protection said...

Spoken like a true proud Crack Whore and a bonafide BITCH = Beautiful, Intelligent, Talented, Cool, Happy.

REAL WOMEN know who thy are, are NOT victims, and do not need to put-down other women (or men) to feel good about themselves!

REAL WOMEN know the true meaning of SISTERHOOD, compassion and helping others.

Suz said...

Who is your troll? Sounds like someone who knows you but wont say their name and lists themselves as Anon? Dont let that stuff distract you.

The crack whore myth is rampant in adoption and those that profit from the sale of children enjoy perpetuating the myth that all mothers are crack whores. As such, I completely understand why you would put it on your family preservation blog.

And you know what, so what? So what if a mother is addicted to drugs. Does that mean she shouldnt be allowed to have her child?

I have a great deal of personal experience with this situation (a family member who gave birth to addicted twins) and amazingly, and thank god, the state believed in family preservation and after putting the kids in foster care (where my sister was able to see them and became friendly with the fosters) she became clean and attending parenting classes and more. This was 12 years ago. Those babies were raised with their mama not taken away and given to strangers.

Why does a crack whore get her kids back but Stephanie Bennett does not? Something really fucked up there? Why was my daughter taken from a honor student president of student government with such high potential but my sister the addict was deemed worthy?

Should there be a distinction? Is one of us better than the other?

NO! The difference was who was around us to support us at the time. All mothers and children deserve to be together and that includes crack whores. Drug addiction can be a temporary situation and can be overcome. Adoption is lifelong as is the trauma it creates.

Suz said...

And to your other comment - all mothers deserve help regardless of socioeconomic status, education, addiction.

Many of the challenges are life are temporary. Adoption is permanent.

Are you encountering other mothers of loss that are picking and choosing who is deserving and who is not? That would make me so sad. They would then be spreading the same disease the industry infected them with.

How is a mother of loss deciding who is worthy of help and who is not any different from an agency or church deciding who can be a good mother and who can not?

Maybe I am too much of a bleeding heart liberal, but help the mother, help the child. Always keep the child safe (and that means from any problems the mother has) but help them both.

Parents & Professionals for Family Preservation & Protection said...

"The crack whore myth is rampant in adoption and those that profit from the sale of children enjoy perpetuating the myth that all mothers are crack whores."

Yes, indeed. And that is all the more reason why WE shouldn't promote it as well!

We need solidarity, not divisiveness. And NONE of us is "better" than any of us! Are only the stereotypical HS cheerleaders who got pregnant the first time they had sex with the man they hoped to marry worth supporting? If so, an awful LOT of us better step down off our high horses!

This issue arose as a result of a discussion about the documentary "Moms Living Clean."

It's a shame that some of us have such delicate self-esteems - and/or narrow minds - that we fear further shame by association!

Family Preservation is about helping families IN CRISIS. Drug and alcohol addiction are the most common crisis facing families today - that and poverty.

I am very grateful for Sheila Ganz for standing up for mothers in need.

Parents & Professionals for Family Preservation & Protection said...

I have always said, I'd rather have a bleeding heart than none.

It seems to be to all be fear based. It's in some ay like adoptive parents who cannot wrap their minds around the fact that love is endless and one person can love many children, several grandparents, and two sets of parents - or more!

It's as if some mothers think there's a limited amount of help available and they have to fight for who "deserves" it more!

I am also reminded of a story my uneducated - but VERY SAVVY - Dad once told me. I asked why it was that slum lord in NY were immigrants who had had it hard themselves. "How could they," I asked, "be so cruel knowing how hard life is."

My father replied that it was a sad part of human nature to fight for every rung of the ladder tot he point of kicking those beneath you instead of reaching down to help them up to where you were. Fear of there not being room for more than one on top.

That, and fear of "contamination" by association.

Suz said...

Love your dads view. Agreed.

mary ellen said...

Why was my daughter taken from a honor student president of student government with such high potential but my sister the addict was deemed worthy?

Should there be a distinction? Is one of us better than the other?

NO! The difference was who was around us to support us at the time. All mothers and children deserve to be together and that includes crack whores. Drug addiction can be a temporary situation and can be overcome. Adoption is lifelong as is the trauma it creates.


Suz, I wholeheartedly agree! I'm so glad there are programs that intensively work with addicted mothers and help them achieve freedom from addictions, life and job skills towards family preservation or reunification goals.

I've often thought of this too-- for most of us, if we had even a fraction of support, we could have done it. It is totally about who was around us to support us...in our cases, no one.

Mirah.. your Dad got it right.

Anonymous said...

Nice Jesus quote. Yes, throwing stones is hurtful to everyone.

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