A feminist collective in the people's republic

Is this ok?

I love PostSecret. Have been a fan for a while and try to remember once a week to log on and check out what people have sent in. They raise lots of money and awareness about mental health issues and all round give people a space to just be themselves. Which is why I was really taken aback to see the above on the site this week. (Picture is a screen grab).

I’m not talking about the secret – that of itself is no different to many other that have been on the blog. It’s the message they posted under it from another person, who like me, reads Postsecret avidly.

And all I can think is – what if the woman who wrote the secret logs on and reads that message. As if she’s not in a difficult enough position, she now has some woman begging her keep going with the pregnancy so she can adopt the child.

The writer of this secret made a choice. And that choice is valid. Postsecret, I think, have gone completely against their own ethos by posting a message which aims to invalidate that persons choice – indeed questions that persons secret.

And I feel really uncomfortable about it. But then again I’m not immune to my own biases. I’m adopted and pro choice and generally feel very uncomfortable when people equate adoption and abortion as exclusive choices – as if women who choose abortion could just have easily chosen adoption but were ‘too selfish’ (is usually the undertone) to do so. We need to respect that women who choose to have an abortion do so because they do not want to parent and they do not want to  go through the adoption process. The idea that someone is be convinced otherwise is just deepingly demeaning and patronising.

This is where I’m going to stop because I feel like I can’t really articulate what it is I’m trying to say – but I do know this – Posting that woman’s message underneath this secret – is not ok with me.

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Comments on: "Is this ok?" (2)

  1. Not okay with me either!! Publicly guilting this woman because one emailer can’t have children. Pretty sick if you ask me. This surpasses passing judgement, it’s blatantly condemning this woman’s choice.

  2. Great post! I’m a big Post Secret fan too, been reading them since the very start, so figured I’d share my thoughts.

    The comment definitely made me feel uneasy. I feel it was silly of the commenter to think that her wanting a baby should change the secret-holders decisions on a whim like that. Lots of people want a baby, so what?! The secret-holder obviously knows that adoption is an option, but decided against it, and it is patronizing to imply that a woman ‘may as well’ endure a pregnancy and then giver her baby up for adoption, like it’s a small favour. I think it was super insensitive of the commenter, though I’m sure she meant no harm. If anything it looks like she was clutching at straws during what is a sad time for her too.

    But I don’t have a problem with the comment being published. Lots of secrets are published which make people feel uncomfortable, and often the comments underneath have the same effect. We know they are not the views of Post Secret, even as we accept that they choose which ones to display -but I think they make an effort to display comments that are unique or thought provoking, while not malicious. In fact, given the amount of people who view Post Secret, I wouldn’t be surprised if another woman elsewhere in the world who’s considering adoption does contact that woman -it could happen. And the fact the commenter received hatemail and subsequently realised she was was wrong to make that comment is interesting in itself, to me. I hope it changes her attitude the next time she encounters a woman considering abortion, that’s for sure.

    As for how the secret-holder might feel if she logs on and sees the comment.. well yes, it might make her feel bad, or it might not. But I’m sure I’ve seen secrets such as “i never answer my mom’s annoying phonecalls” and a comment underneath such as “I would give anything to have one more phonecall with my mother” etc… I know it’s not the exact same, but we expect the views expressed on Post Secret to sometimes challenge us, or make us question things, even feel guilt, but never in a malicious way, and I just feel like that’s life, and life doesn’t come with trigger warnings.

    Well this wasn’t supposed to be so long-winded!
    -also, I hope someone who mailed the commenter pointed out that there are tons of older children in the US who need a family, but so many people want a ‘baby’.

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