|Jan 1969||Page 6|
FALLEN WOMEN (cont. from p. 5)
class there was one girl who showed a great deal of interest. We became
fairly close. She was tough, outspoken and very talented. She
came fro a working class Italian family and had al ways wanted
to be an artist. Since this was her second pregnancy (her first was at
she had never finished high school E. told me matter of factly
that her family always figured that she would grow up to be a whore.
It was apparent
that she was not a typical dutiful daughter. She was strong, wilful,
intense, sensual, and could never --she was that straight-say what
she didn't mean. She was also very smart but she believed the whore image
anyway. One thing that E. possessed that seemed rather remarkable
me was a real interest in and an ability to personalize her baby.
Since the girls were all going to give up their babies, there was an
kind of agreement about how you were to handle references to the
baby. Whereas in a normal pregnancy a pregnant woman would complain about
strongly her baby was kicking or how fat and heavy the thing was
getting the unwed mothers spoke only of backache or gaining weight. E.
in her relationship with her unborn. She wasn't going to keep it
but she didn't have to pretend it didn't exist. She told me that she
that she would think occasionally about the. child throughout her
life and this would hurt. She wanted to see her baby when it was born
this need landed her temporarily in the psycho ward of the hospital.
They had to place her there when she couldn't control her reaction
after the hospital staff told her she would not be allowed to see her
Hospital in Chicago has a policy for the preservation of the emotional
tranquility of the unwed mother. They feel it would be too upsetting
for her to see the baby she has already signed over for adoption.
Basically she was disapproved of by her family from the time she was small for the same characteristics they would have applauded in a son. Their whore image of her is so pervasive, especially since it is unanimously back ed by society, that even after being placed in a punitive institution, suffering a subtle torture under the name of benevolent protection, she will continue through life with only a vague feeling that society has screwed her. (ed. note: We would like to print similar articles which point to instances of institutional oppression of women.)