Thursday, August 06, 2009
love me
I just spent the last hour or so pouring over Maisie Crow's Love Me, a photo essay of a 17-year-old girl growing up in extreme generational poverty in a small town in Southeast Ohio. Crow recently earned a Ian Perry award for her project, which she describes as an exploration of a young girl's "coming of age in an environment that lacks the emotional and financial resources to facilitate her growth into adulthood." To say that the project is unsettling is probably an understatement, but having lived in a poor little town in Southeast Ohio I felt a certain sort of compulsion to peruse "Autumn's" (not her real name) story.

Although they weren't in my circle of friends, I most certainly knew girls like Autumn - thirteen-year-old girls who already smoked, lived on Doritos and soda, bounced from one crappy boyfriend to another, fought a lot, and who already seemed trapped. They scared me at the time, but as an adult what I mostly feel for those girls is sympathy. It's certainly possible to break a cycle of deep, generational poverty, but it's also a tremendously difficult thing to do.

Fortunately, my time in Southeast Ohio was a far cry from Autumn's life - we lived in a fairly nice house, my brother and I attended Catholic school, and my friends mostly came from well-educated, middle class households - but when you live in that part America, extreme poverty is never more than a few minutes in any direction. For a variety of reasons, it's a place I'm happy to have lived, but it's a place that I'm even happier to have left behind.

(Via Jezebel)



Blogger Lee said...

Thank you for posting these, they are so powerful. I was Big Sister to a girl in SW Michigan, her life was (and is) so similar. Lacking "the emotional and financial resources to facilitate her growth into adulthood" is dead straight on.

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