Bad press slows adoptions of boys

This is a pretty sad thing to see:

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) said that at one of its “hard-to-place” agencies, 63% of cases were boys.

The BAAF is concerned that people are put off adopting boys by constant negative portrayals in the media.

An ICM poll for the BAAF found more than half of those asked felt boys were portrayed in an overly negative light.

Already I can hear the sounds of people claiming that this is not really a problem. I can hear the claims that the situation is being overblown and that boys who remain in foster care suffer no real damage. Soon unrelated issues like body image problems for girls and unfair social expectations will be mentioned and the discussion will shift to the dire needs of the 37% of girls who could not be placed and that impact that will have on their self-esteem.

All that is well and good, however, I still think it is rather sad that someone has to explain this to people:

David Holmes, chief executive of BAAF, said: “Too often anti-social behaviour, violence, crime and gangs are associated in our minds when we think about boys.

“We all need to remember that boys are children and young people first. The findings of this research concerns us as we are worried that some prospective adopters might be put off adopting boys because of negative perceptions.

“In reality there is little evidence to show that boys really are more difficult. We would urge people to remember that boys need adopting too.”

Again, I can hear the claims about males committing more violence and the distrust being justified and the claims of boys whining over nothing. That too is all well and good, yet I doubt the people inclined to make that argument deal with children stuck in foster care limbo. While technically an appeal to emotion, it is quite something to sit there and watch a child as he comes to believe nobody likes him and nobody wants him. It is something to watch a child grow up thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with him.

However, it is another thing altogether to realize that it is literally what you are that makes you undesirable and unlovable. While females may face their own set of issues, in this culture they do not face the above. Nearly every male I know has at some point experienced the presumption that he is dangerous because he is male. It is not amazing that, having been inundated with countless stories about boys being nothing but violent, aggressive, murderers, sexual predators, selfish and controlling, people would find boys wholly unworthy of adoption.

While feminism certainly has played a major role in reinforcing these notions and creating all new ones, it alone is not responsible. These notions have existed for thousands of years. The difference between our present views versus those of the ancient Greeks or Romans is that we do not find boys even slightly redeemable. There is no attempt to make boys, as they are, acceptable. Instead, they get treated as beyond hope and the only options offered are drugging, locking them up or exchanging their maleness for feminized androgyny.*

The startling thing is that people seemed to agree that boys were being unfairly portrayed, yet the adoption rate for boys remains low:

[…]the BAAF commissioned the ICM poll to investigate what underpins the problem and to start discussion on the issue.

The poll found 53% of the people surveyed said they felt the media portrayed boys in an overly negative way.

Men felt this more than women, with 55% of men agreeing, compared to 50% of women.

People aged 18 to 24 were most likely to feel that the media portrayed boys in an overly negative way, with 67% agreeing with the statement.

Older people were the least likely to agree with the statement, with only 48% agreeing.

It is difficult to say what that implies. Perhaps people agree that boys are not the evil little monsters they are commonly portrayed as, but on some level those same people do believe negative views. It is also easy to overlook the flip-side of this issue, which is that girls are viewed as wholly innocent and pure. People may simply be adopting girls based on that unfair assumption about.**

Nevertheless, this is a good example of the affect misandry has on society. It filters its way down and hampers children from getting one of the most basic necessities of life: a family. Certainly someone will come up with justification for the rejection of boys and it will probably involve a lot of equivocation. Personally, I cannot see any justification for boys being left in limbo. That may simply result from my being around teens and boys and seeing that they are not the uncontrollable masses of danger they are often made out to be. I would hope that others would at least take the opportunity to see that as well, but not many people are inclined to do that.

* The androgyny is a coincidence based solely on the fact that the individual is male. The true intent is to render the boy into a girl.
** One could argue that this is a female privilege

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One thought on “Bad press slows adoptions of boys

  1. Pingback: Stuff I looked at today « 3 By Sea

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