Core dumping …

This might not be terribly lucid. Most of today I spent online and pottering around, still distracting myself. Tonight I fired up a search engine and had a look for some of the organisations mentioned in the “Gone to a good home” documentary last night. Here’s an article about the organisation origins. My daughter and her friends have been around today, but one can hardly discuss this sort of emotional turmoil and grief with thirteen year olds.

So I’ll post some links. As I said, it was very affirming to hear other women, adopted children and psychologists describe the pain of adoption. What I feel is real. It is justified. While it may all be in my head, so to speak, that doesn’t reduce the impact and now it is not invalid or imaginary. Whew! Ugh!

Regarding youth suicide…

Many adoptees feel that they don’t belong in their adoptive families, or even that they don’t belong in this world, since they didn’t know anyone who looks like them. Separation from one’s biological mother causes a “primal wound” and results in feelings of abandonment, loss, rejection and powerlessness.

Many adoptive parents have high expectations of the ‘perfect’ children they adopted (and of themselves as parents), and along with “absence of kinship” this may lead to abuse in the adoptive family. When there are both biological and adoptive children in the same family, the adopted children are more likely to suffer abuse.

A Jesuit Priest, who works with homeless young people in St Kilda, said that of the 147 suicides of young people in the area over the past decade, 142 came from adoption related backgrounds. (Melbourne Age,30.6.93).

View full page

And another on the experiences of single mothers. While most of these are much worse than where I was, the homes I was sent to were quite lenient in comparison to these stories, the experiences of physical molestation during medical examinations rings a loud bell.

Many if not most mothers have little if any memory of the birthing process. For many they not only stole their baby’s but also stole their only experience of giving birth. Millions of taxpayers dollars on the other hand, are spent on perfecting procedures to enable infertile women the opportunity of experiencing childbirth which is considered to be the natural right of every female human being. The medical profession involved in the adoption process saw unmarried mothers as being lower than human beings and no better than animals. It wasn’t enough that they stole the babies, by annihilating the essence of a woman treating mothers like they were having abortion, for many mothers they had to steal their only memory and experience of giving life, of procreation. Irrespective of future counselling, there is no recovery from the experience of such a birth and of not having ever one’s own flesh and blood at birth.

Full story….

And if that’s not enough, here’s some detailed discussion of the post partum psychological effects…

She [researcher] compares the separation of adoption to the separation of a child through death. The loss is as irrevocable in terms of relationship.

Borromeo notes that the surrendering mother knows that acceptance back into her family circle is dependent on her ability to “put it all behind her”, and so she is under double pressure to do this and suppress her grief. In cases where this is done it is not unusual to find a severe breakdown in self control occurring somewhere around the child’s first birthday.

And how does such supressed or incomplete mourning affect the mother?

Anniversary reactions are among the most interesting phenomena seen in clinical practice. These reactions are time specific psychological or physiological events which occur or reoccur in response to traumatic events in the individuals past, or in the past of a person with whom the individual is closely identified. The individual attempts to relive or re-experience the traumatic event again in a repetitious way, in anticipation of being able to master the trauma which was not mastered previously.

Freud was the first to recognize anniversary reactions in 1885. Pollock. (1971) describes the anniversary reaction as a response of the mind which is triggered by the anniversary of a personal loss or disappointment. Various case histories are described, indicating that a variety of physical and psychological problems may occur as anniversary responses.

Depressive disorders, ranging from very mild depression to psychotic level disorders, may occur on an anniversary basis. Heart attacks, pleurisy and pneumonia, suicides, and phobic fear are also attributed to anniversary reactions. Pollock (1971) has written extensively on the subject. He believes that these reactions are due to incomplete or abnormal mourning over a personal loss or disappointment.

Hilgard (1953) has written extensively on anniversary reactions. She reports that depression or psychotic reactions may be precipitated as anniversary reactions to childhood sibling deaths.

Various disease processes have been described as somatic equivalents or expressions of anniversary reactions. Weiss et.al. (1957) have described hypertensive crises, irritable bowel syndromes, and coronary occlusion as anniversary responses. Rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headache and dermatologic conditions have also been described as anniversary reactions.

In other words, you’re screwed. Have a read of the whole page about the effects on birth mothers

At this point I’m not sure whether I want to curl up on the ground and howl like a wounded animal or go out and punch someone. Might settle for a beer and do some meditation later. That’s about the only thing that comes close to touching this stuff.

So how was it for the child who was adopted? Did I mention that I’m adopted too? Heh, as I said, I’ve copped this from both sides… Understandably, there isn’t a whole lot of tolerance around here for people who criticise abortion as being unnatural and destructive to the emotions of a woman.

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In Marshall D.Schechter. M.D.’s, (Beverly Hills California), paper on the Observations of Adopted Children. In a series of cases seen by [Schechter] the percentage of adopted children was 13.3 as compared with the national average of 0.134. This indicates a hundredfold increase of patients in this category compared with what could be expected in the general population.

Oh, okay, so lots of them ended up in counselling. What for?

Schechter goes on to say; the striking thing in most cases was that the feature of their adoptive status played a significant role in the underlying dynamics of the problem.

He observed in many of his case studies on adopted children symptoms relating to such things as fantasies and “acting out” regarding the real parents, i.e. their appearance, their names and killing and murder especially toward their real mother.

Observations also included outbursts toward the adoptive parents telling them they would not do as the parents say because they were not their real parents. He also goes on to say that adopted children suffer symptoms of depression, feelings of incompleteness, phobic fear of abandonment, anxiety, aloofness and distancing of them selves which made close relationships impossible.

Schechter also noted hyperactivity and unmanageability in children of a young age. He also observed, particularly with one child, that it had relationships of the same quality with strangers as his parents, namely, superficial and dominated by a driving need to have his impulses satisfied immediately. The child could easily be comforted by a stranger as easily as by his mother.

In the behaviour of young adopted girls Schechter observed instances of such things as sex-play, exhibitionism, seductiveness and regression. He also noted in cases of adopted boys, problems of lying, stealing, and lack of integration with others.

Dr. Povl W. Toussieng. M.D. Dr Toussieng was a child psychiatrist at The Menninger Clinic Topeka, Kansas.

Dr Toussieng suggests that adopted children seem more prone to emotional disturbances than non-adopted children; he concludes that their conflicts are caused by their adoptive parents unresolved resistance to parenthood.

He says that in spite of careful screening of adopted children and their prospective parents prior to adoption, a disproportionately large percentage of these children eventually come to psychiatric or other professional attention because of emotional, educational or social problems.

The fact that sixty one percent of the first and only child in an adopting family were particularly prone to disturbances suggested that they should look elsewhere than in the children themselves for the factors contributing to later disturbances. The children presented at the Childrens Service tended to present many severe difficulties.

Ah-huh. Apparently in one peer reviewed journal the psychiatrists began referring to “the adoption syndrome”. I feel better already.

This one’s from Australia:

ADOPTIVE ANXIETY, RAGE AND GUILT. 1985.

Silverman. M.A. 1985. Discusses in his paper that when adoptive status is foisted upon a child, the child is encumbered with so many problems that he or she is at risk of developing a host of psychological problems. This is particularly so if the child learns of [her] adoption at an early age.

These can be unhappiness, separation problems, difficulty knowing and learning, aggressive fantasies and acts, preoccupation with knives and other weapons, and his feelings of being deprived and robbed.

Adoptive status tends to affect multiple aspects of the developing personality. It interferes with the childs sense of security, the modulation of and channelling of the child’s aggression, the development and resolution of the Oedipus complex, super-ego formation, and identity formation.

To lose a parent early in life, especially when there is a felt element of cruel rejection and desertion, as there tends to be when a child is told of adoption while still in the throes of “sadistic-anal” ambivalence and the hostile-dependent struggles of the reproachment crisis of separation-individuation, mobilizes in tense fear and rage. The rage at the abandoning parents is in part directed toward the adoptive parents.

In part the rage is turned back on the self, contributing to the fantasy that the child was abandoned by the original parents because he or she was bad, troublesome, greedy, and destructive.

Silverman goes on to say “nearly every adopted child or adult I have treated sooner or later has revealed the fantasy that the reason for the adoption was the biological mother died in childbirth, which tends to be depicted as a tearing, ripping, bloody, murderous affair in which the baby gains life by taking the life of the mother”.

(my emphasis, though my words would have been ‘worthless, hopeless and useless.’)

Now that knife thing is really weird. Though I’ve wondered if my bio-mum is still alive, I don’t think I’ve worried that she died being torn apart. Though it really rides me that she’s never made any attempt to find me. As a kid, though, the knife thing was really weird. There are some other details that might influence that, but let’s stick with the links…

Here’s the full article about adoptive children.

The two things that seem common, well, three really, in these experiences are anger, depression and the mention of “Borderline Personality Disorder”. This is worth a mention, well, guess why? Bingo. I’m in therapy right now. Well, not right at this minute, I’m distracting myself typing away at this thing… but you know what I mean.

Here’s more ringing bells…

ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IN ADOPTEES. ADOPTED CHILD SYNDROME.

Kirshner.D. Nagel.L. 1988.

Is there a distinct pattern of presenting behaviours and symptoms among adopted children and adolescents referred for psychotherapy? Some clinicians and clinical researchers whose day to day observations strongly suggest that such a pattern does, in fact exist. The senior author has observed extreme provocative, aggressive, antisocial, and delinquent conduct much more consistently among adoptees than their non-adopted counterparts.

Behind the recurrent behavioural and personality patterns there have emerged emotional and psychodynamic issues specifically linked to adoption.

Schecter, Carlson, Simmons, & Work (1964) looked at adopted and non-adopted children in a psychiatric setting and found a much greater occurrence of overt destructive acts and sexual acting-out among adoptees. Menlove (1965) used a similar sample and found significantly more aggressive symptomatology among adoptees. Although several predicted differences were significant, adoptees had significantly more hyperactivity, hostility, and negativism, and significantly more of them had passive-aggressive personalities.

What then is the adopted child syndrome? On the behaviourial level, it it is an antisocial pattern that usually includes pathological lying, stealing, and manipulativeness. Fire setting is sometimes seen and promiscuous behaviour is common.

Typically, the child seeks out delinquent, antisocial children or adults often of a lower economic class than the adoptive family. Provocative, disruptive behaviour is directed toward authority figures, notably teachers and parents. The child often threatens to run away, and in many cases repeatedly does so.

Truancy is common, as well as academic under-achievement and, in many cases there are significant learning problems. There is a typically shallow quality to the attachment formed by the child, and a general lack of meaningful relationships. The child reports feeling “different” and “empty”.

Fuck, I never knew any of that and yet so much of it could be describing me. And were my adoptive parents told that this was likely? The original studies were done before I was born, so this research could have figured into direction to be given to people adopting children… Could have. If anyone gave a fuck. Heh, now I’m angry.

Two years after I gave birth to my eldest daughter, there was a Human Rights Commission into the effects of adoption on birth mothers… It might have been helpful to hear about some of that, particularly when I was in the midst of my first breakdown.

Almost all the women reported they had received little or no help from family, friends or professionals. Over half of them had used alcohol or sedative medication to help them cope after relinquishment. Almost all reported that they dealt with their distress by withdrawing and bottling up their feelings. One third had subsequently sought professional help.

A most striking finding in the present study is that the majority of these women reported no diminution of their sadness, anger and guilt over the considerable number of years which had elapsed since their relinquishment. A significant number actually reported an intensification of these feelings especially anger.

Watson. K.W. : Birth Families: Living with the Decision. 1986. Birth parents who place children for adoption are expected to live a lie the rest of their lives. The adoption eliminates the public record of the childs birth, and the birth parents are counselled by family, friends and social agencies to go on with their lives as if the pregnancy never occurred. This socially sanctioned denial not only interferes with the resolution of grief, but intensifies the parents’ poor self-image by reinforcing the idea that what they have done is so heinous that it must be concealed forever.

If you read further in the article, it is mentioned that the fathers of these children also experience deep emotional trauma, similar to that of having a still-born child.

This might be the note on which to finish. From 1993:

Sue Wells, giving extracts in her presentation to a conference in Amsterdam based on her research into post traumatic stress (PSTD) which is defined as the development of symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside of the usual human experience. Serious attention is now being given to the trauma attached to the separation and loss of the mother and child through adoption, and the profound and long term effects this can have on both of them.

A survey conducted on 300 birthmothers suggested that the loss of their children constitutes a trauma which may be life long. Almost half of them say it had affected their physical health, and almost all say it affected their mental health. This in turn has affected their interpersonal relationships with family, partners and the parenting of subsequent children.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many birthmothers say they split themselves off from their trauma as a coping mechanism. This avoidance as a strategy is one of the key symptoms of PTSD which Allison says may be caused by the trauma being internalised to avoid immediate pain. Many say they escaped into drugs and alcohol or precocious sexual activity, especially in the year or so after relinquishment. Most say they felt numb, shocked, empty, sad and many said they felt the same way many years later.

Adoption is a violent act, a political act of aggression towards a woman who has supposedly offended the sexual mores by committing the unforgivable act of not supressing her sexuality, and therefore not keeping it for trading purposes through traditional marriage. . . the crime is a grave one, for she threatens the very fabric of our society. The penalty is severe. She is stripped of her child by a variety of subtle and not so subtle manoeuvres and then brutally abandoned. How many are set free? How many (birthmothers) remain trapped inside an emotional nightmare with unresolved death as a lonely companion? (Shawyer.1979).

Sexual mores? Oh, that might mean getting pregnant when you aren’t officially the property of one particular man. There’s a church voice in that… Is not being property still such a threat? To Sydney Anglicans? I dunno. I’m beyond trying to make anything lucid of this, at this point. Prolly best to have a beer and go cry myself to sleep. But at least someone else out there knows what this is like. At least I’m not alone.

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Gone to a good home.

The documentary about adoption practises in Australia ‘gone to a good home’ screened tonight on SBS. After watching it I must say I feel quite desolate. Empty. Stunned perhaps.

It was really interesting to hear women tell their stories and share their feelings about the process itself and the child they were separated from. It felt validating to hear them speak. One woman said something that particularly resonated with my own feelings, that in this instance single mothers were treated as being less than an animal. You wouldn’t expect an animal to be parted from it’s own offspring and not feel anything, yet these women were expected to give up a baby and simply carry on with life as if nothing had happened.

The other thing that is sitting with me is the mention of just how many mothers and children experienced devastating psychological effects from the separation. Many have committed suicide because they couldn’t deal with the emotional trauma. I feel a bit vindicated hearing that. To know that other women have experienced those symptoms of PTSD on account of the adoption. I guess I feel a little less alone in what I feel about all this. I’m not the only one who had a bad experience of adoption.

Later as I was walking in a bit of a daze around the local shopping centre, beginning to let this all sink in, the thought occurred about the judgment implicit in the whole process. The idea that a single young mother should adopt out a child rather than raise her/him herself because a married couple can give the child “a good home”. That is really telling the young woman that there is something deeply, dreadfully, horribly wrong with her. That she is unfit to raise a child that she concieved and bore from her own body. It’s an incredibly negative message.

No doubt this will all continue percolating in my mind and unconscious for the next days and weeks. Hopefully some of it will be cathartic.

Rattling the past.

As some of you may be aware, yesterday there was a partial eclipse. Such things are interesting because of the effects they resonate throughout the energy of the Universe… Or something like that. When it comes to astrology I’m pretty much a sceptic, but a curious one. People like Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking and Max Planck study the substance of the universe and the energy that surrounds us for decades and they still don’t fully understand it or it’s origins. So gazing at the stars and planets doesn’t seem so fruity really.

Anyways, there was this eclipse, see, and it’s supposed to be a time for past issues coming up to be dealt with. Like you needed an eclipse for that? Well, any incentive can be good when you’re moving forward in life, I suppose.

Today I’ve made a big step. Finally I’ve made contact with some folks who may (or may not) be able to assist me in discovering what my own origins are. I’m adopted. I’ve never met my birth parents and they don’t seem to have any desire to contact me. However, my family appears to come from mostly rural and outback areas… and I’ve always felt very strongly drawn to the land and Indigenous culture. It would be very nice to resolve once and for all if this is a physical inheritance or a spiritual resonance with the land in which I was born.

If you’ve always known where you come from and who your folks are, this might seem an odd preoccupation. It would be a very strange shift indeed to go from being a wanderer on the face of the earth to having a solid connection to the oldest culture on the planet. I live in hope.

With any luck this will finally move forward. Intermittently following possible leads, filing for certificates with little if any relevant info and hitting brick walls in this critically emotional area is frustrating to say the least. To get somewhere at long last and have some, any, answers as to who I am would be positively delightful. I live in hope.

Now that I think of it, having started Facebook and finding it kinda fun, I might have a squizz for other adopted peeps who are searching. Then we can all cry in frustration and despair together.

The other week some crappy current affairs show ran a story on adoption, how it allows single mothers to have the baby and then get on with their lives. As if. As if you could have a child grow within you for 9 months, go through all the medical violations, bear the child and then simply shrug it all off. Bastards. My eldest daughter was born when I was 15 and it is definitely not something you can survive and simply shrug off as if it never happened. Mothers are supposed to have a strong bond to their children for good reason. Breaking that bond does irrepairable damage to both. Not to mention the psychological consequences for those who’ve felt this bond broken. What do you do when such a bond is broken at such an early age? What if you never can find your birth parents, or worse, find them as an adult and are unable to reconnect what was broken… Such questions go on and they are not popular among those who’ve grown up in regimented, punitive, stoic Anglo culture.

Another, less crappy show on SBS is running a story on Friday “Gone to a good home” about what they’re referring to as the other stolen generation. Children who were adopted out by single mothers under pressure from church and government bodies… That’s me. Heh, no wonder I’m tense about all this, I copped it from both sides.

Good thing some clever person invented yoga and meditation or I’d be a complete wreck by now rather than simply a blogging fiend.

Not this might deserve some spiritual/magical assistance. BD

Deadly car culture

This little gem has annoyed me so much I’ve blogged about it twice now. Once on my cycling blog but now let’s get stuck into the misogyny inherent in the story.

A report this morning about a hit and run driving accident, in which a man hit a woman pushing a pram across a pedestrian crossing, appeared in the online paper. According to the article the man has been arrested and charged with “negligently causing serious injury”. Why not attempted murder? Did he think the pram was full of cans and therefore it was alright to drive right over the top of it and the woman pushing it? Did he not see the pedestrian crossing and think she was fair game?

Australia has been a very masculine oriented culture right from the beginning, when the white population was mostly male convicts. These days, as I blogged yesterday, there are more women than men, yet women still manage to be described in media and culture as somehow secondary to real humans, those being men. The male experience and perspective on life is still considered to be “normal” and of course much more important than “female” things like having babies, providing sex and looking like a blow up doll in order to appease the male populace.

For those men who think this is going too far in describing Aussie culture, consider the treatment of women who opt out. One of those idiot women’s magazines ran an article last year about gangs of men who rape lesbians to make them straight. Then there’s the cultural annihalation of females over 40, unless they reinvent themselves as desperate housewives.

In the case of car culture, things go even further. The car being naturally an extension of the male appendage, which is also used as a weapon to enforce masculine dominance, reporting of major accidents such as this one reveal a great deal about the attitudes inherent in Australian culture. First note the use of passive language.

Charlene Cavanagh, 31 was crossing a pedestrian crossing on the Princes Highway in Norlane with her two-year-old son when she was hit last Saturday.

Hit by what, I wonder? A gumnut? It’s almost as if she’s responsible for the accident by being on the pedestrian crossing, getting in the way of the driver.

While we’re on the subject of victim blaming, here’s some other stunning examples from recent reporting.

Assaulting a woman while she was breastfeeding her child in a shopping centre women’s lounge had this young man in court yesterday.

His lawyer, Zarah Garde-Wilson, said her client had suffered a traumatic episode as a result of his partner’s abortion.
He made apologies for his conduct and had spent 27 days in pre-sentence detention.
Ms Garde-Wilson said her client had suffered “ridicule” in custody and notoriety in the community following media reports about his arrest.

Somehow all of a sudden this has centred on how he feels, how he has suffered and the time he has done. Well, at least he’s active in something in this story.

Here’s how the same incident was reported by a woman in a tabloid…

A TEENAGER has pleaded guilty to groping a breastfeeding mother at a shopping centre.

Groping??!!! But wait, there’s more!

Prosector Sgt Kevin Ellis told the court Mr Chkhaidem had “invaded what was an intimate moment between mother and child”.
He said security footage showed Mr Chkhaidem loitering outside the changing room before the assault.
“She was fearful and felt she may have contributed to the incident,” Sgt Ellis said.

I’m still googling to find the reporting on the original incident, but the searchwords keep finding me millions of articles on women’s breasts before and after feeding, and some idiot groping ‘fakes’ at a fashion show.

The young man hung around the mothers’ lounge, approached this woman while she was feeding her child then after harrassing her for some time, he physically sexually assaulted her. This is, in the Australian press, reduced to groping.

Naturally, being a good little fem bot, the mother concerned has internalised responsibility for the assault. “She felt she may have contributed”. How exactly? By being there? By being female? And this said by a police officer involved in prosecuting the offence. What hope does this woman have? What hope do any of us have, if we are still, in the 21st century, considered responsible for men violating our bodies simply because we’re female? Talk about convict culture.

Another interesting point is the manner in which men are blogging about this story. Do a search in technorati and have a look at the way the man’s ethinicity come into play. How dare some non-white boy touch our women! All the possessiveness of your average, garden variety neanderthal.

In the original report in the tabloids the ethnicity of the perpetrator was the focus of the story, and the mother was quoted as saying

In a feeding room doing something natural, feeding your own child, you should be able to do (it) in privacy and peace

The mother goes from being shaken and embarrassed to feeling responsible. Possibly because a prolonged assault was considered nothing more than a groping in the press? A breast grab…?

This is a perfect example of the way crimes against women are reported in a passive voice, so that men are not seen as being responsible for their own actions, and also the tone of the language might well be a script for a p0rno!

Tigtog has blogged a timely piece about passive/aggressive use of language in rape reporting.

But this accused rapist pleads guilty would have to take the cake for the latest piece of turning the male rapist criminal into a victim of the crime.

If a woman expresses feelings of humiliation or depression after she is raped by a man, she’s accused of playing the victim or told to get over it. It seems that even as victims, men are more legitimate human beings than women.

Some months ago Germaine Greer appeared in a tv show interview in which she commented on the way most women don’t realise how much men hate them. Do they really hate you? The interviewer questioned. These articles would be a fairly good depiction of the fact that if you’re an honest woman, you only have to open your eyes to see that men really do hate you.

I am so angry right now!

Women defining women

Two stories caught my attention this morning in the online press. Firstly an article about the Muslim women’s magazine Azizah. The front page for which, I must say, looks fabulous.

“For centuries, particularly within Muslim majority countries, women have been defined by men” If Muslims believe they have been unfairly maligned by Islam’s association with the terrorist acts of a zealous minority, then its women are the most visible targets of misunderstanding.
“In Muslim majority countries and elsewhere, the Muslim woman is seen as a victim, either the victim of men or the victim of religion,” Taylor said.
Taylor, a Canadian of Caribbean descent who converted to Islam at the age of 15, said that in this environment, the hijab had unfairly become an “alien marker” signifying restriction and restraint. Yet increasingly, young Muslim women saw it as a “statement of womanhood” and an acknowledgement of intelligence over physical appearance.

Well, women defining themselves, including a preference for intelligence over looks. That deserves applause and support.

Not that I’m about to convert to Islam. I’ve done my time with patriarchal and organised religions, preferring a mother Goddess these days, however a woman exercising freedom to live and define her own life and validate her experiences is a wonderful thing. Blessed be, sisters.

The second is an opinion article asking where all the women superheroes are?

As a kid in the ’70s, I loved watching Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman. She was tall and powerful: an Amazon woman who deflected bullets with golden bracelets and wielded a glittering lasso. She was beautiful, of course, with an otherworldly figure, but she was dignified and serious, with little time for romance.
Thirty years on, you’d think there’d be female superheroes everywhere in kids’ films. But the best Hollywood can now offer is Jessica Alba. In The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, this superhero spends more time worrying about her wedding than the coming Armageddon. She uses her special powers to make a zit disappear on the big day.

Apparently a male blogger observed that Alba’s role was, well, sexist.

Karen Healey would love it!

The article continues with discussion about various women comic characters in movies in recent years and notes the mother-like character in The Incredibles, and of course Buffy who is still a stand out hero.

The only problem is that we’re still caught up in a world of violence and murder, creating enemies and villains, not really getting anywhere as a race. How many women are out there doing heroic things on a day to day basis, that aren’t defined as “heroic” according to our woman-hating, brutally regimented culture? The ancient Aztecs considered a woman who gave birth to be a hero on a par with someone who captured an enemy alive in conflict. The dearth is in our cultural definitions as much as our characters, and the portrayal of such stereotyped characters perpetuates the images of dominance and abuse of power in our culture.

Here’s a real hero for you. A single mother who daily copes with two teenage children and successfully defends her family from the sociopathic intent of malicious politicians in Canberra! Now that’s a hero!