Saturday, August 10, 2013

Whatever Happened to Daisy and Violet Hilton? The 'Christian Stigma' of Children Born with Disabilities Examined! (Photos)

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The story of Daisy and Violet Hilton is an Odyssey
of tragedy, success, celebrity, discrimination, 
determination, rejection, abuse and 
subjective acceptance.
Their story is also, in part, and very significantly the story
of millions of children born with birth
defects throughout the centuries in Western civilization.

Daisy and Violet Hilton were born on February 5, 1911, in the 
U.K. to an unwed barmaid.
Born with a common pelvic bone, Daisy and Violet were labeled "Conjoined Siamese twins".

Joined at the hip, they shared no common organs, and were
otherwise intact, separate people. 
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In early western culture, 'Christian' dogma taught that children born with "defects" were impure, demon possessed
and/or the work of Satan. 
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"Defective" children were
the cause of shame and embarrassment to their
families and typically hidden away.
Crippled infants and children were many times
left unattended in fields to die.
Others were driven from their homes to fend
and forage for themselves. They became thieves
and beggars in order to survive.  
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First in early Catholicism, and later through Calvinist
and other "Christian" reformations, through the centuries
 these children were the subjects of rejection, ridicule,
curiosity, hate and abuse.
In the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, 'deformed'
children and children with disabilities were labeled
"curiosities of nature" and "freaks of nature".
They faced social, cultural and religious separation
from other human beings.
These attitudes and beliefs were of the
creation and became the products of
Christian ideology.
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In 1911, Daisy and Violet Hilton were the victims 
of this "Christian" value system.
In their early years they were tucked away in
the house. Out of sight. 
When their mother married, Daisy and Violet were
required to refer to their mother as "Auntie" and her 
husband as "Sir".
When they were 4 years old their mother "sold"
them to a friend who saw potential in the girls'
value as circus 'side-show' performers.
"Curiosities-Freaks of Nature".
Daisy and Violet were musically trained on several
instruments, and found some success on the piano
and saxophone. They also had some singing talent
and appeared on the vaudeville stage for a 
number of years after they broke away from
the side-show circuit..
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Both women were married,
but produced no children.

Daisy and Violet were born into an intolerant
world, and died in that world in 1969.
As older women, they found themselves back
in an incarnation of the "freak" show circuit.
Abandoned by their manager in Alabama,
they found work as cashiers in a food store.
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But when they did not show up for work after
several days of absence, a security check was made to their residence and they were found dead.
Test results determined both died of Hong Kong Flu,
with Daisy dying 2 to 4 days before Violet
succumbed.
In life, Daisy and Violet Hilton found some
categorical acceptance from their fellow man.
"Subjective Acceptance".
Unfortunately, the majority of their counterparts
and millions before them did not.
The "lucky ones" in the last century found work and 
camaraderie in side show/freak show jobs as a
means of support and social acceptance.
Here are some of them in photos,
excerpted from the motion picture
"FREAKS (1932)":
Today, in western culture, 'developmentally disabled'
people enjoy measures of understanding and 
civilized care,
despite the ignorant, superstitious intolerance of
our "Christian" roots. 
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J.

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