I have been noticing a disturbing trend in media in recent years, but it finally really caught my attention just the other night as I was re-reading one of my favorite book series. The disturbing trend I have been noticing is that characters are basing their sense of self and sense of worth on their parents. I think I first noticed this when I watched the musical “Mama Mia” and watched as the main character is searching for her father because she wants to know who she is and feels that the only way to find this out is by finding out where she came from. Just recently, I was watching “Man of Steel” with my best friend and when Clark finds out that he isn’t really who he thinks he was he’s crying and asks Pa Kent “Can’t I just pretend to be your son?” I think Pa’s words were right on the mark when he said “You are my son.”
You see I am one of those kids who was adopted at least on one side. My biological father was never in my life until I finally met him when I was almost 30. My dad who adopted me when I was in 1st grade is the man who raised me. Now if I was how the media tends to portray people like me, I would have been trying to find my biological father so that I could find out who I was. I call BS on this though. I have always known who I was and it has nothing to do with a parent I never knew. YES there are a lot of things that my biological father and I have in common. We have the same sense of humor, we both like red heads, and we both like the same types of movies for the most part. Considering how long it was without me knowing him it’s kind of scary how much we have in common, but I have never once thought that knowing this man would give me some odd insight into who I was or thought that my self-worth would be greater if I ever met this man.
So it kind of disturbs me when I see reality shows that have kids with perfectly good families who are out searching for their father simply because the father was a sperm donor. WHY?!? This man means nothing to you and has nothing to give to you. He’s NOT your dad. It also disturbed me when I was reading and one of my favorite female characters suddenly started saying she had no idea who she was when she found out her dad wasn’t her biological father. This was made especially more disturbing to me because of the fact that in this book series, her race can’t have kids with humans so while they may love and marry humans it was common practice to find someone of their own race for a night of fun to create a kid if you wanted one but weren’t in a relationship where you could have one. So to mention this several times in several books and then to suddenly have it happen to the main character who knows it’s common and to have her take it so hard it made me wonder about it.
You see my father wasn’t in my life and honestly in my mind it didn’t matter. To me, anyone can be a father, all it takes is one moment to become a father. However NOT everyone can be a dad. I had a great dad who chose both my mother and me. If I had to say who I looked to for an idea of who I am it would be my Dad.
There are only two times lately that I have seen this story line where it actually made sense to me. Once was in Mortal Instruments series and once was in Percy Jackson but both times it is more because until they found out who their dad was they were literally living a lie not knowing at all who they were. In the other cases these people are like me, they have a sense of who they are. They have made a home for themselves and have a personality already in place and don’t have some oddness like Magic or Demi-god status that is being withheld from them. In these cases, I think the author does a huge disservice to their character by making them reliant on someone they don’t know to define who they already are which is ridiculous.