As a mother-hater, my very worst day of the year is Mother's Day. It's awful: all these people paying homage to the women we mother-haters hate the most! So what we've taken to doing is getting together into a maternal cave, and reading things we've written that are so dripping in mother-hate, it's easy for us to imagine it permeating the uterus cave, going through the body public, and causing each and every one of them to die off.
A contribution will be made tomorrow by my friend, Vanessa Vargas-Cooper, who's actually just posted it at the feminist site Jezebel; it's great, of course, so if you're a mother-hater too, please feel free to read: a Toast to all the Brave Kids Who Broke Up with their Toxic Mothers.
I'll be reading some of the things I've written for the Clio's History discussion site. I'm just going to pick a couple at random, as I can't remember a single one where I wasn't fuming at mothers while I wrote.
Then, after enjoying a paleo feast made entirely from ... well, you know, we like to finish the day by paying homage to the greatest mother-hater of our age, the psychohistorian Lloyd deMause.
We could just read random parts from his work too, because every paragraph contains some wisdom pertaining to our faith. But we often tend to go to chapter seven of Emotional Life of Nations, because its one of the juiciest.
What follows is a partial line-up of what we'll be reading about infanticidal mothers, the worst mothers of them all! who do all their villainy for no reason at all other than their being really mean people who take pleasure in others' misery.
THE INFANTICIDAL MODE OF CHILDREARING IN NEW GUINEA
I have termed the earliest mode of childrearing the infanticidal mode
because parents who routinely resolve their anxieties about taking care of their
children by killing them without remorse also convey this attitude to their other
children by demonstrating throughout their lives that their personal existence is not
important to them except as the children satisfy the needs of the parents.
Although anthropologists commonly excuse infanticide as required by
"necessity" and don't count it as part of the homicide rate their informants themselves
report otherwise when asked why they kill their infants, stating they killed them
because "children are too much trouble," because the mothers were angry at their
husbands, because they are "demon children," because the baby "might turn out
to be a sorcerer," "because her husband would go to another woman" for sex if she
had to nurse the infant, because they didn't want babies to tie them down in their
sexual liaisons, because it was a female and must be killed because "they leave you
in a little while" or "they don't stay to look after us in our old age."
Infanticide by mothers can be thought of as an early form of post-partum depression. Siblings commonly watch their mothers kill their siblings and are sometimes forced to take part in the murder. In many tribes, the newborn is "tossed to the sows, who promptly devour it. The woman then takes one of the farrows belonging to the sow who first attacked her baby's corpse and nurses it at her breast." Pigs, by the way, are
commonly nursed by women at their breasts, then often used for sacrificial
purposes and discarded thus disproving the notion that infanticide is made
necessary because of lack of breast milk. Even when the baby is buried, it is often
found by other children: "the mother...buries it alive in a shallow hole that the baby's
movements may be seen in the hole as it is suffocating and panting for breath;
schoolchildren saw the movements of such a dying baby and wanted to take it out to
save it. However, the mother stamped it deep in the ground and kept her foot on it.
Anthropologists often report the infanticidal actions of New Guinea mothers
without noticing what they are actually doing. As a typical instance, Willey reports
in his book Assignment New Guinea that a group of mothers were gathered outside
the police station to protest some government action, yelling, "Kill our children."
Willey says, "One woman in the front line hurled her baby at the police, shouting,
"'Go on, kill my child!' When the senior officer caught it and handed it back to the
mother, she held it up and yelled, 'Kill my baby.'" Invariably, these mothers are
reported as very loving, not infanticidal.
Individuals or groups who murder and eat babies are in fact severely schizoid
personalities who handle their own rage, engulfment fears and devouring
emotional demands by either murdering children to wipe out the demands they
project into them or by eating them in order to act out their identification with
devouring internal alters. Indeed, anthropologists are only reflecting their own
denial rather than looking at the evidence when they conclude that the ubiquitous
infanticide in New Guinea is really a good thing for children because then "children
are desired and highly valued [because] there is no such thing as an unwanted
As one step beyond their need to murder children, infanticidal societies are
commonly found to treat children as erotic objects, again in a perverse attempt to
deal with their own severe anxieties, repeatedly sexually abusing them in incest,
pederasty and rape. It is to this sexual use of babies and older children in New
Guinea that we will now turn.
The Sambia, like most New Guinea groups, have prolonged postpartum
taboos that prohibit couples from engaging in coitus for at least two and a half years
following the birth of each child. Anthropologists always portray these postpartum
prohibitions as unexplained "cultural beliefs," as though there were no personal
motive for them, but in fact they are simply practices chosen to express the mothers'
desire to use their children rather than their spouses for sexual arousal. Since a taboo
this long means women choose to have sex with their children rather than their
husbands for much of their lives, it is obvious that they are unable to achieve the
level of mature love relationships, and instead, like other incestuous individuals,
need to have sex with children in order to counter deep feelings of depression. Like
all infanticidal mothers, New Guinea mothers, unloved themselves in childhood,
feared as polluted by her society, devoid of intimacy with her husband, needs her
children rather than loves them.
Since Poole was the only New Guinea ethnologist who interviewed both
mothers and children, he obtained the most complete reports of maternal incest.
Like infanticidal psychoclass mothers everywhere, Bimin-Kuskusmin mothers
consider their babies to be part of their own bodies, "never permitting the infant to be
detached from contact with her body" and breastfeeding the baby "not only on
demand, but also sometimes by force," whenever the mother needs the stimulation.
Mothers, Poole says, constantly masturbate the penes of their baby boys, while trying
not to let their incest get out of hand:
No better description can be imagined of the infanticidal, incestuous mother
using her child as a poison container to handle her depression: mother wants to
annihilate her inner tormentors, she kills her child; mother needs sex to counter her
depression and deadness, she masturbates it; mother is angry or sad, she twists and
hurts his penis.
Children are experienced by mothers as extensions of their bodies, and any
separation or independence is seen as rejection of the mother, as reminders of the
severe rejection of the mothers' own childhood. Mothers do not allow others to nurse
their children, saying their milk is "poison," and even do not allow their one- to twoyear-olds to visit their relatives for fear they would "poison" them. When a motherdies, often the "infant would be buried with her even if perfectly healthy," and if the infant dies, "the mother remains secluded with it for days, wailing, attempting to nurse it," blaming it by saying "I told you not to die. But you did not hear me! You
did not listen!" When infants begin to show any sign of independence, they are
either wholly rejected and ignored or forced to stay still. Typical is the Wogeo child,
who Hogbin describes as often being "put in a basket, which is then hung on a
convenient rafter...or tree" and "discouraged from walking and not allowed to
crawl...[forced to] sit still for hours at a time [and only] make queer noises" as he or
she is immobilized to avoid even the slightest movement of independence from the
mother. Anthropologists regularly see these ubiquitous New Guinea baskets and
net bags in which the infants are trapped and in which they are often hung on a tree
as "comforting," even though it means that the infants often live in their own feces
and urine and can neither crawl nor interact with others. Only Hippler describes
them as a function of the mothers' pattern of "near absolute neglect" of her child
when it is not being used erotically.
This emotional rejection and lack of verbalization has been widely noted
among infanticidal mode parents in simple societies. When the baby stops being a
breast-object, it simply doesn't exist. In my New Guinea childhood files, for instance,I have over 1,000 photos from books and articles showing adults and children including one book of over 700 photos of Fore children taken randomly so as to
capture their daily lives. Virtually all the photos capture the adults continuously
caressing, rubbing, kissfeeding and mouthing the children's bodies, but only two
show an adult actually looking at the child.
So difficult is it for New Guinea area mothers to relate to their children as
independent human beings that they are unable to feed them regularly once they are
off the breast. Like contemporary pedophiles, they do not so much love their children
as need them, so when the parents' needs end, the child can be emotionally
abandoned. When still on the breast, New Guinea children are constantly being
force-fed, so that nursing "becomes a battle in which the mother clutches the child,
shaking it up and down with the nipple forced into its mouth until it must either
suck or choke." As soon as they are off the breast, however, the mothers no longer
need them as erotic objects, and they have difficulty understanding that their
children need three meals a day.
Throughout the New Guinea area, children are "not only turned loose for the
daylight hours but also actively discouraged from returning to the parents" and so
are forced to join "a transient gang." As is usual in gangs, the older children "lord it
over" the younger, often beat them and make them their servants, particularly their
sexual servants, since they were used to constant sexual stimulation by their parents
as studies have shown, "incestuous children are uncommonly erotic...easily
aroused...and readily orgasmic." Malinowsky was one of the first to report sexual
intercourse beginning at age four in the Trobriand Islands, where "children are
initiated by each other, or sometimes by a slightly older companion, into the
practices of sex," including oral stimulation, masturbation, and anal or vaginal
intercourse. Others since then have confirmed the pattern:
New Guinea men fear women as incestuous,
engulfing mothers whose "menstrual blood could contaminate and kill them." By
raping boys, these pederasts reverse their own being passively used as erotic objects
and instead actively use the boys sexually. Thus the boys become sexual objects
devoid of the mother's frightening configurations, while restaging the maternal rape
of their own infancy. Both the boys and the men recognize the rape as being like
breast-feeding, rationalizing it as necessary for growth, telling the little boys, "You all
won't grow by yourselves; if you sleep with the men you'll become a STRONG
man...when you hold a man's penis, you must put it inside your mouth-he can give
you semen...It's the same as your mother's breast milk."
The notion that boys must be given semen to stop them from growing into
females has a certain logic to New Guinea people. Like all maternally incested
children, they feel that being used sexually by their mothers "pollutes their blood"
and since the boys consider themselves responsible for the seduction they feel "full of
women's pollution" and need semen to "get mother's poison" out of them. Since as
infants they were used erotically by always being rubbed against the mothers'
bodies, they were intimately familiar with her menstrual fluids, remaining with her
in the menstrual hut, and so an explicit association is made between menstrual
fluids and poison
The ritual both demonstrates "we are all bleeding, polluted mothers here" and
tries to undo the feeling of being polluted by cutting the boys with the razor-sharp
leaves in their nostrils and the cane-sword down their throats. The boys
understandably "tremble, urinating and defecating in fear" during their torture. Yet
the feeling of still being incested, polluted maternal sex-objects remains with them,
since so many continue to bleed their noses, tongues or penises periodically the rest
of their lives.
There's no doubt about it -- Lloyd hates mothers more than any of us, which is saying something, because I've argued in public that the reason for all our current problems is that we stopped burning witches. He is beyond redemption, by even the most wizardly of opponents, who'd have us see him as actually wretchedly full of love for these vile beasts!!! This is why he is our god, our protector, our all. Be with us tomorrow, our one and only ... we'll need all of your delicious hate to make it through the day!