Pondering the noble savage

As I was reading about the notion of the noble savage, I could not help drawing a parallel between that and the stereotype fed to parents involved in voluntary relinquishment.

  • Generosity, fidelity and selflessness (She gave up her baby for the good of the child)
  • Innocence (Not always, but often all the failings are heaped on the biological father and the mother comes out squeaky clean)
  • Moral courage (I could never give up my baby like she did)
  • “Natural” intelligence or innate, untutored wisdom (So wise to give her baby a better life)

‘In the 20th century, the concept of the “noble savage” came to be seen as unrealistic and condescending. Insofar as it was based on certain stereotypes, it came to be considered a form of patronizing racism, even when it replaced the previous stereotype of the bloodthirsty savage.’ [from Wikipedia]

Sadly, adoption seems to be largely behind the times. Only relatively recently has the press changed from “bad girl spawning bastard child” to “noble, selfless birth mother”. They had to change with the times. No longer are women susceptible to the “naughty girl, you had sex out of wedlock” admonishment which Suz relates here. No, it is now the concept of nobility and wisdom that is currently fed to young pregnant women. All part of the coercion, the entrapment that makes them so unwilling to change their minds because the noble birth mother who changes her mind at the eleventh hour becomes the evil baby snatcher, tearing the child away from the fine, upstanding, righteous adoptive parents. Fascinating how it is so completely twisted 180 degrees.

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7 Responses to “Pondering the noble savage”

  1. Once the adoption beast enters the life of an expectant mother or father, there is almost no going back. Kudos to those who are strong enough to put the monster back in his cage. I wasnt able to. My bad.
    Indeed, fascinating.

  2. Yeah.

    What’s interesting is both tactics use extremes to achieve their goal. First we were villains. Now we’re heros.

    The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. But the middle-ground is a dangerous place for the adoption industry to let us see, to let us reflect on, to let us dwell in, because it is only when we FEEL in extremes–extremely panicked, extremely shameful, extremely repentant, extremely extremely extremely–that we can contemplate and follow through on the extreme act of severing ourselves from our own children.

  3. reunionwritings Says:

    So many amazing blogs writing incredible posts……Noble Savage, yes I can see what you mean.

  4. I wanted to thank you for the comment you left on my blog about being sorry that I never got to meet my birth father.

    I was thinking about how when I write about him and his life, no one ever commented but you. I realize he had many problems but he was/is still important to me.

    I realize the bond between mother and child is strong but I often wonder why the birthfather seems to get shoved aside.

    Sorry. Just thinking…

  5. Yeah Dan, I wonder that too. I think maybe it is because everyone is mad at us. Will delve into that another time.

  6. I found this blog while researching negative aspects of adoption. My son is a birth father on the verge of allowing his son to be adopted. Without boring you with all of the petty details, would you have some wisdom that I could share with him?

  7. Woah. Hard to be wise in such general terms but what the hell, I will give it a shot.

    For a start, your son is simply a father, at least until his son is adopted. I would urge him to consider his options carefully. Examine exactly why he believes adoption is the right choice for his situation. Once you relinquish, there is no going back. If his son has not yet been born, he absolutely must not sign anything until he has seen and held his son. That is the point at which the enormity of what I was doing hit me and I desperately wanted to backpedal.

    Adoption is the last resort. If there is any way to avoid it, then do. If there is no way to avoid it, seek legal advice and attempt to keep the adoption as open as possible. Never fade away.

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