Stigmas: Operation Eradication!


#1

How many of us has experienced a stigma from being…

single (whether wanted or not)
lonely (for whatever reason or just “there”)
unhappily married
forcibly divorced (this one is awful :sad_yes: )
infertile while married
spacing babies while married
having lots of children while married
disabled (one or more)
ill with AIDS/illness that shows up on skin
balding
getting older
depressed
suicidal
wanting to do something nice for our Lord
expressing interest in Religious Life
wanting to dress more modestly
wanting to veil
a woman (insert attitudes by men)
a man (insert attitudes by women)
born with both genders
homosexual (not talking about the “act”)
wanting to try out an EF Mass
codependent people
poor people
homeless people
coloured people
learned/speak/know other languages
would rather only take natural medicine
religion (any)

Added by Matrix Refugee, who requested this thread:

Separated/divorced (even for a good reason, such as abuse, adultery, or a spouse just being immature or unrealistic about married life)

Wanting to dress more casually but within reason

Sinful mistakes made in ones past

Education or lack thereof

The kind of job you work at or the number of hours you work (I work grocery retail, and I get people asking me “When are you going to get a real job?”)

Housing status, such as living with ones parents because it’s more economical (another thing I hear all too often: “When are you going to get your own place, MR?” And the cheapest apartments I’ve come across are studio apartments with a remote shared bathroom, in a crime-infested part of town)

What about you? Which have you experienced? What would you add? Let’s all pray and work together to get rid of stigma and discuss this topic so we can comfort and encourage each other. Jesus smashed stigmas to pieces by associating with the stigmatised. Why don’t we?


#2

If it were only so easy!

As a guy who doesn’t act “masculine” (I’ve been called a effeminate by friends, family, it doesn’t bother me in the least) I get the “gay” stigma all the time. I’ve also gotten the “addict” one (sober since Feb 14th!).

I ignore them. I know who I am. I think it’s best we don’t type cast people either. Love them as individuals.


#3

Its not easy to change anything. But the more people that treat everyone with respect and as individuals, then the sooner stigma will be gotten rid of.


#4

Huh? What the heck does this mean. The OP is totally nonsensical.


#5

My husband and I suffered tremendous hurt when we told our families that we were adopting from Ethiopia. We ended up having to change our minds about it because he was suffering so badly about his family refusing to even contact us. It was an awful, terrible thing for us … we are still very worried about what will happen when we become a multi-racial family through foster/adopt. We’re more ready for it now … but having heard comments like, “Why would you want to willingly adopt a black baby?” from people you love is so hurtful.

We are also dealing with people demanding to know why we still want to foster/adopt since we can have biological children (I’m pregnant).

Thanks for giving people a space for this type of thing. You will all be in my prayers.


#6

Pentecostbaby,

You’re welcome. Its wonderful you wanted to welcome an Ethiopian child into your hearts and home. If you’re able to, please do so. There is no reason to think its “odd” to adopt a baby of a certain colour, because our souls are all the same colour. Its like saying “Why would you buy brown eggs when there’s white?” Its still eggs.

Ohh yes… the “you’re able to have children, why bother adopting” line. Others have told me of getting that one by others. It sounds so ridiculous.

Lord bless you for your love. Such loving homes make a difference for children.


#7

You mean “Original Post”, right? If you didn’t understand it, you could’ve read the rest of the thread or private messaged me to ask. Your questions make it sound like you’ve never suffered any kind of stigma before. Have you?


#8

Actually there are people who have never suffered from a stigma but the vast majority of people have at one time or another. Some allow that stigma to run their lives, others choose to move on and let those who stigmatize be left behind!

Brenda V.


#9

Thank you for the contribution, though that was meant for RPP to reply to. Could you explain to me how someone could “allow” a stigma to “run their lives”? You make it sound like a stigma is a bad habit or an addiction.

I’m guessing a stigmatiser is someone who stigmatises another. If I’m right, then I don’t think leaving stigmatisers behind is the answer. That’s just plain throwing their abandonment and issues right back at them. If we show them love, they might eventually come around and learn to love -all- in return.


#10

The Wemmicks

by Max Lucado

 The Wemmicks were small wooden people. Each of the wooden people was carved by a woodworker named Eli. His workshop sat on a hill overlooking their village. Every Wemmick was different. Some had big noses, others had large eyes. Some were tall and others were short. Some wore hats, others wore coats. But all were made by the same carver and all lived in the village.

And all day, every day, the Wemmicks did the same thing: They gave each other stickers. Each Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people could be seen sticking stars or dots on one another.

The pretty ones, those with smooth wood and fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood was rough or the paint chipped, the Wemmicks gave dots. The talented ones got stars, too. Some could lift big sticks high above their heads or jump over tall boxes. Still others knew big words or could sing very pretty songs. Everyone gave them stars.

Some Wemmicks had stars all over them! Every time they got a star it made them feel so good that they did something else and got another star. Others, though, could do little. They got dots.

Punchinello was one of these. He tried to jump high like the others, but he always fell. And when he fell, the others would gather around and give him dots. Sometimes when he fell, it would scar his wood, so the people would give him more dots. He would try to explain why he fell and say something silly, and the Wemmicks would give him more dots.

After a while he had so many dots that he didn’t want to go outside. He was afraid he would do something dumb such as forget his hat or step in the water, and then people would give him another dot. In fact, he had so many gray dots that some people would come up and give him one without reason.

“He deserves lots of dots,” the wooden people would agree with one another.

“He’s not a good wooden person.”

After a while Punchinello believed them. “I’m not a good wemmick,” he would say. The few times he went outside, he hung around other Wemmicks who had a lot of dots. He felt better around them.

One day he met a Wemmick who was unlike any he’d ever met. She had no dots or stars. She was just wooden. Her name was Lucia.

It wasn’t that people didn’t try to give her stickers; it’s just that the stickers didn’t stick. Some admired Lucia for having no dots, so they would run up and give her a star. But it would fall off. Some would look down on her for having no stars, so they would give her a dot. But it wouldn’t stay either.

'That’s the way I want to be,'thought Punchinello. ‘I don’t want anyone’s marks.’ So he asked the stickerless Wemmick how she did it.

“It’s easy,” Lucia replied. “every day I go see Eli.”

“Eli?”

“Yes, Eli. The woodcarver. I sit in the workshop with him.”

“Why?”

"Why don’t you find out for yourself? Go up the hill. He’s there. "

And with that the Wemmick with no marks turned and skipped away.

“But he won’t want to see me!” Punchinello cried out.

Lucia didn’t hear. So Punchinello went home. He sat near a window and watched the wooden people as they scurried around giving each other stars and dots.

“It’s not right,” he muttered to himself. And he resolved to go see Eli.

He walked up the narrow path to the top of the hill and stepped into the big shop. His wooden eyes widened at the size of everything. The stool was as tall as he was. He had to stretch on his tiptoes to see the top of the workbench. A hammer was as long as his arm. Punchinello swallowed hard.

“I’m not staying here!” and he turned to leave. Then he heard his name.

“Punchinello?” The voice was deep and strong.

Punchinello stopped.

“Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and let me have a look at you.”

Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the large bearded craftsman.

“You know my name?” the little Wemmick asked.

“Of course I do. I made you.”

Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench. "Hmm, " he spoke thoughtfully as he inspected the gray circles. “Looks like you’ve been given some bad marks.”

“I didn’t mean to, Eli. I really tried hard.”

“Oh, you don’t have to defend yourself to me. I don’t care what the other Wemmicks think.”

“You don’t?”

“No, and you shouldn’t either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They’re Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn’t matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special.”

Punchinello laughed. “Me, special? Why? I can’t walk fast. I can’t jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?”

Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. “Because you’re mine. That’s why you matter to me.”

Punchinello had never had anyone look at him like this–much less his maker. He didn’t know what to say.

“Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.

“I came because I met someone who had no marks.”

“I know. She told me about you.”

“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?”

“Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.”

“What?”

“The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“You will, but it will take time. You’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.”

Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground.

“Remember,” Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door. “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”

Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, “I think he really means it.”

And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.


#11

I liked the story. The woodcarver is quite a heartwarmer and seems to be a representation of God in this story.

However, not believing in someone’s mistreatment of you doesn’t seem like a solution. I don’t see why that’d cause the stigmatisers to stop. I don’t think Jesus would do this technique.

What I generally do is thank them for the compliment and give them a nice compliment in return and go on my merry way. Its odd that they get baffled over it. scratches my head in confusion Oh well.


#12

For some reason, I read this not as stigma, but as stigmata. Sorry about that.

Well, basically you suck it it up and deal with it. For my part, I have been divorced twice.


#13

Spacing births.

This one really sucks. threefold.

  1. People like to assume you are contracepting immorally, and judge you accordingly. or that you are spacing births for purely selfish reasons and are part of what is wrong with the world, and judge you accordingly.

  2. You face the natural pangs of being childless, when you want nothing more than to have babies!

  3. People make it clear that “you aren’t REALLY married until you’ve had kids.” Way to put us down, jimbo. :frowning:

I suppose the same could be said for those who are infertile too. I really feel for those people. :frowning: Although I guess what you could call me is a mix of temporary infertility, coupled with spacing births.


#14

Stigmas can be good and bad.

They are bad when people are stigmatized for something that either is not wrong or something they have no control over, such as being an only child (like what am I supposed to do about it - find a TARDIS and go back in time and hold a Glock to my dad’s head and force him and mom into bed?). Another is growing up in a dysfunctional family situation where another family member is an alcoholic or other addict.

However, some stigmas can serve as a way of society either reining in or expressing disapproval of bad behavior; in fact, society is in the sewer due to the lack of some stigmas. In the past, sexual promiscuity was at least frowned upon in public; in these cases, stigmas are necessary and should be resurrected in order to fight the tide of people acting like rabid cocker spaniels in heat. The same for divorce for stupid reasons (not related to abuse, abandonment, or infidelity) as well as cohabitition.

But like any situation, on needs to find the whole story first - for example, parents could be childless due to medical conditions rather than using ABC, and women could be single mothers because their husbands died in Iraq as opposed to being fornicatrixes.


#15

What I mean by allowing it to run your life is, let’s use the example of being single - you allow those around you who see your being single as a bad thing and thus they start to avoid you for fear that it will rub off on them, you then start to feel the same, you let it make you depressed or angry or both. Or you see it for what it is, a state of being you have little control over and take joy in your state of life (single-ness in the example), you talk with joy about what you are doing, you enjoy time with friends and they then stop seeing it as a stigma, or they continue to want to drag you down because they do see it as a stigma it is then that you leave them behind and move on.

Perhaps I am not understanding what you mean by stigma if this does not explain it.

Brenda V.


#16

After some thought, I believe eradicating many stigmas is a very bad thing. Social pressure is very important. For example, the stigma of being an unwed mother or an illegitimate child is virtually gone in American society. As a result, we have an explosion of in this socially destructive behavior.

No, do not eradicate stigmas.


#17

Seems to be an epidemic in the USA today - people use words and do not know what that word means.

From the tone of these posts, perhaps the OP means “prejudice or preconcieved notions”.

When you understand what the word stigma means, you will see that the term fits some of the situations you describe, but not all and it is not very accurate in many of them: From dictionary.com (the other definitions are medical or scientific in nature)

1.a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.

6.Archaic. a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.


#18

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