Dehumanizing Motherhood



"t the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by which certain other people or collectives of them, are depicted as less than human, as non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to those who do the labeling. Prejudice employs negative stereotypes in images or verbally abusive terms to demean and degrade the objects of its narrow view of superiority over these allegedly inferior persons. Discrimination involves the actions taken against those others based on the beliefs and emotions generated by prejudiced perspectives.

Dehumanization is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil. Dehumanization is like a “cortical cataract” that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human. It makes some people come to see those others as enemies deserving of torment, torture, and even annihilation." - The Lucifer Effect By Philip G. Zimbardo

From the vulgar term, "breeder" to the subtle condescending references to motherhood that imply single mothers as societies burden rather than backbone.  Paula Caplan and Ian Hall - Mc Corquodale (1985) analyzed 125 articles from from nine psychiatry journals found 72 types of psychopathology that attributed to mothers.  This included:

  • Failure to Mourn
  • Arson
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Poor Concentration
  • Narcism
  • Dependency
  • Fetishism
  • Self Induced Television Epilepsy
  • Scapegoating
  • School Drop out
  • Tantrums
  • Truancy
  • Frigidity
  • Scapegoating
  • Loneliness
  • hyperactivity
  • Inability to Separate From Mother
  • Incontinence
  • Incest
  • Isolation
  • Moodiness
  • Avoidance of peers
  • Chronic Vomiting
  • Marijuana Use

In the book "Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis By Paula J Caplan and Lisa Cosgrove", it states:

"Mother Blame has of course always been a favorite psy sport: From the refrigerator mother who is said to cause autism, to the skitzophrenogenic mother to the mother who was said to inspire juvenile delinquency in her young"

Mother blaming has not been contained in the world of psychiatry that has formed the grounds for school yard teasing in its relentless pursuit to label all human beings in hope that one day the world will be dependent on the pharmaceutical distribution to cure perceived illnesses and disorders.  

In the world of politics, we have seen time and time again the battles between opponents over who will solve the burden of young mothers or single mothers.  The media has visually hypnotized the public with the perception that a single mother is a drug addict with a cigarette hanging from her mouth with a baby in the other arm.  In dramas about custody cases, little appreciation is attributed to her endearing sacrifice to her body, livelihood and well-being to give the child life.  Her contributions to humanity is reduced to nothing but a childish tug of war.  Truth be told, that it was never a fight between two equals, but an opposing battle between david and goliath as the struggle of equality for women to be equal to men was not yet won, let alone the rights of mothers who were well behind the status of women.  In nearly all cultures, men over represent leadership in law making, politics, workplaces and religion.  Mothers voices have often been hushed within these realms and the reflections of public perception is the key evidence in the harsh climate for mothers.

The effects of degradation and humiliations consequence ironically spawned the "bad mothers" we see today as the incentives for good motherhood to grow is scarce.  As pointed out in Motherhood

"They were wrong for working and leaving their children, they were wrong for being poor, they were wrong for leaving abusive relationships and maintaining the "status quo" that would have harmed or even killed them, they were wrong for nurturing their children(alienating)."

There is so much work that needs to be done in the area of mothers humanity and dignity.  If we truly value human life then we must value motherhood.  We need to cease blaming others and look for the true causes so that one can endeavor to solve it with integrity.

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