Saturday, April 24, 2010

Take the power back!!

ANOTHER friend of mine was tweeting that she was getting a hard time from a family member about her upcoming (any day now squeeeeee!)homebirth. It got me all pissed off again.

Women are trained (most of us) from an early age to conform, to not make a fuss, rock the boat or draw attention to ourselves. We must look and act a certain way. Heaven forbid we question something or point out that things can be done differently.

This is done to a lot of people from birth. You cry, no one comes. You are loved one moment and ignored the next. You are not trusted to know when you are hungry or tired or not tired. You are called manipulative and controlling because you seek out comfort in human touch. Then you are praised for giving up and being compliant. .

Then comes school where you are just a number and the aim of the game is compliance and being average. Ask too many questions and you may be labeled as disruptive. You need permission to use the toilet and there are time restraints on what you can learn. A bell rings and it's time to move on. In most cases you must even dress the same.

Children are controlled with praise and punishment. You are constantly seeking approval in the form of a gold star or looking to avoid being punished. You are encouraged to "be good" at all times-which means compliant.

We are led to believe that without help we are setting ourselves-and our children- up for failure. Failure to birth, to breastfeed, failure to create healthy adults Even failure to live. We need drugs, schedules, routines, teachers, artificial milk, cesareans and star charts if we are to succeed. We need to be compliant and not ask why we need these things. We are not to ask fro help. We are taught to fear our own bodies and that to be successful we need to look a certain way as well as act it.

Is it any wonder that when we question being told what to do that we make other people twitchy? That they are offended by choosing something different because then you are accusing them of being wrong. Stepping outside of the "norm" is too far out of people's comfort zone to imagine.

Here is what I wish we were taught.
Trust your own intuition and how to live your life. Trust your body to birth, breastfeed and nurture you child. Trust your own knowledge of your own children and choosing to send them to school or not. Trust your body to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Trust in your ability and motivation. Trust that eating well and moving your body will mean health regardless of size. Ask for help when you need it. Ask questions if you need to know things. Going against the tide is not always a bad thing. Nurture yourself and the rest will follow.

In the words of Rage Against The Machine "we gotta take the power back!"
(Oh yeah 90's rock wooooooo)


Confessions of a Girl said...

Awesome! I totally agree, we are brainwashed and manipulated from day one it seems, or that's what society wants. It's ridiculous. And anybody that dares question it is a 'lunatic' or a 'hippie'. Gah.

Sif said...

Oh, you totally forgot to mention how when you grow up and seem out alternative fora to support your "out there" choices, you either told you cant joining because you still like you knOb who is supportive of your vbac choice, or your only a really aware human being if you choose to reject formal schooling, even if you WERE rejecting it until your children asked to join the "sameness mill" and become a "number", and because you respect them as human beings who know their own mind and can make their own choices you support their choice only to find out you NOT ignored children find something to enjoy about that horrid place called school, despite your own misgivings... Oh where was i, oh yeah, the bullying and intimidation that goes on on fora that tell you to rid yourself of your IGG, but depend wholly on your IGG to make you conform to their world view, although you may only agree with parts of it (which apparently means you're oppressed by the patriarchy, even though you don't feel oppressed, and also that you're a "feminist hater", rofl, even though you are everything feminists claim to be...

Gosh, i understand what youretrying to say here, but in an attempt to get your anger across you lumped everyone who makes certain choices, whatever their motivations, into the same oppressed "victim" status, and all that does is undermine your own argument...

Even as women homebirth, breastfeed, homeschool etc their children, they are conforming to some sort of philosophy, often to fit in somewhere. The evidence of this is often found in the language that reveals disdain for other peoples choices and the writing off of those choices as being as a result of some sort of oppression, because there is only on right way to experience personal truth...

shae said...

"Trust your own intuition and how to live your life"


Sif said...

Great quote, and I live by it...

Doesn't really give you (or anyone) the right to then wholesale dump on everyone else's intuition, does it? Something to think about, maybe.

Kate said...

I've opened and closed this window so
many times today trying to find the right words.

I appreciate that you're trying to make a point about making our own choices and living with integrity, but to be perfectly honest as a school parent and as a teacher I find some of what you've written pretty offensive.

I've heard home/unschoolers bemoan the ignorance of the 'masses' many times with regards to misapprehensions about home/unschooling (lack of socialisation etc etc, I'm sure you know the claptrap better than I do lol) and yet you've made some pretty broad statements about schooling here from a similar position IMHO.

As a parent, I know that my school child is far more than just a number in the system. I know this because of his relationship with his teacher and others within the school community. I know this because of my own relationship with his teacher. I know this because he loves going to school generally. He feels safe and secure in his place in the world there.

As a teacher I can tell you unabashedly that my
last class of grade 5's contained 30 individual, unique personalities each of whom deserved and got the best I could give them in terms of empathy and compassion as well as educationally. Those children were never numbers.

I've heard the whole 'yeah but some teachers...'. But yk what? Some parents... Some people... But not most, and certainly not all.

I've railed at the system myself from within before. I don't think anyone could ever claim that it is perfect. But I do think until you've been in a classroom yourself and seen what the majority of teachers do and ARE at the cold
face of it, making general statements about why schooling sucks really does you a disservice.

I'd never make judgement calls about homeschooling or unschooling in general because I don't do it and I don't know. It would be nice to extended the same courtesy, unless you are speaking from a position of experience or knowledge.

JMHO. Live and let live :)

shae said...

Thanks for the discussion

I was trying to get across the point that we (as a western society) need to trust ourselves more. Trust our kids more. We are often encouraged to go with the flow even if it is not what our intuition tells us to do. Whether that is school-or not, hospital birth-or not etc. Bowing to the ideal of an alternative type group is no better either.

Kate-apologies if my generalized statements were offensive to you. I totally agree that home/unschooling is not for everyone.

I re read my post and can see how my (crappy lol) writing didn't quite get the point across how I was planning.

I don't change any of my beliefs but I could have worded it much better. Bloggers huh? Opinionated assholes lol

Kate said...

All good, just wanted to get another pov across :)

YK I've been thinking today how really just having the ability/means to choose homeschooling is no
mean feat in and of itself.

IE I know a lot of the school/kinder parents drop
and run off to work... Even if their preference was to homeschool it simply wouldn't be an option.

It's given me pause to be grateful again that I can be at home while my kids are little and even though my big two are at school and kinder, being able to be there for
them at both ends of the day (and obviously for Tom all day lol) is a pretty great gift.

Anonymous said...

You have to start somewhere, you have to start sometime, what better place than here, what better time than now. R.A.T.M

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