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. I am so pleased that the Australian coroner has finally ruled -… - dorsetgirl
June 12th, 2012
07:21 am
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I am so pleased that the Australian coroner has finally ruled - after thirty years - that a dingo really did take baby Azaria Chamberlain. Her mother, Lindy, was only one in a long line of women jailed for murdering a baby when there was no proof that the baby had even been murdered, never mind that she herself had done it.

My middle son asked why this happens and I could only answer that I simply don't know. Gut feeling says it has a lot to do with male power, and men hating women, but I think it's actually more subtle than that. This is what I think may be behind it:

(1) Barristers, judges, etc, are still of a generation that was sent away to boarding school at a very tender age. Generally it's the father who makes the final decision on this, but the mother goes along with it and so I think these people got it in their minds at the age of seven that their mother didn't want them around, that she must secretly hate them.

(2) Nowadays, to many people who don't have their own children, mothers and babies are so remote from their own daily experience that they are by definition so odd as to be practically alien. I well remember in my twenties failing so completely to understand the mindset that could want to have a baby, that when a secretary brought her baby in to show around the office, I never spoke to her again. I didn't hate her or anything; my reasoning was "I cannot begin to understand anyone wanting a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand anyone who is happy to have a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand this woman. Therefore I cannot begin to think what I might say to her."

(3) As a teenage girl doing my 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels, the subconscious message was extremely strong: bright girls do their homework, get their exams, go to University; they totally do not get pregnant. The rather judgmental - but still subconscious - corollary therefore being: only stupid people have babies.

Thus it seems to me the stage is set for an educated person, especially a man, who was sent away to school, to have it somewhere in the back of their mind that, "Mothers are aliens who are stupid and hate their babies. Therefore if something happens to the baby, it's obvious the mother did it."

I honestly can't think of any other reason why so many people are so ready to assume - and find proven - that people like Lindy Chamberlain, Angela Weston, Sally Clark etc, murdered their own babies, without a shred of hard forensic evidence that they even were murdered.

These women were presumed guilty and had to fight the system for years to prove their innocence.






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From:chamekke
Date:June 12th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
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I was really pleased to hear about the ruling, too. Hopefully this will mean an end to that poor woman's torment.

I agree with your lists of reasons for prejudice against mothers, but IIRC the unfortunate parents were Seventh-Day Adventist and there was suspicion (completely unfair, obviously) directed against them for being members of a non-mainstream religion.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:June 12th, 2012 07:33 am (UTC)
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the unfortunate parents were Seventh-Day Adventist

I suppose for some people it's a logical progression from "different religions have different ideas" to "someone of a different religion is more likely to kill their own child". The moral being, don't expect sympathy or understanding unless you're Officially Normal. And then only if you're male.

Oh hold on, only straight white males are normal. So it comes down to, "Mothers are women. And we all know women are not right in the head."
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From:basaltgrrl
Date:June 12th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Firstly, yes, yay that justice is finally served!</p>

Your statements about motherhood are fascinating to me, in part because they struck such a chord. I wouldn't say that I have no concept about how a woman could want a baby-- I've held babies, I acknowledge their beauty and marvelousness... But I still don't want one, and I'll admit, I still have what I realize is an irrational distaste for how all-consuming parenthood is. I can't spend time with my sister that doesn't revolve around her kids, even when they're not there. And I adore those kids. But I miss my sister.

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From:dorsetgirl
Date:June 13th, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
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an irrational distaste for how all-consuming parenthood is

Believe me, it is an ENTIRELY RATIONAL distaste!

The de-programming, re-programming, whatever, is obviously all done for (a) the survival of the species and (b) the survival of this one particular baby. The odd thing is that once it's done, you acknowledge that you have been re-programmed, but it's possible to resent it quite a lot on one level while simply accepting it and getting on with it. It really is extremely effective brain-washing.

I have wondered if the increase in women not wanting children is more than just the obvious fact that most women - in the "developed" world at least - now have the choice. Because if that's all it was, then most of them would presumably still be programmed to choose to have children, to stop the species dying out. I tend to think nature has something clever going on which assesses the need for everyone to reproduce.
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