“Single Mothers and the Blame Game”

I give you a woman who appears to makes a living off a single phrase (“how dare you say that?”).

Never mind if it’s true.

You just can’t say that.

It appears that it’s open season on single mothers again. Granted, open season is called on single mothers a few times a year and can be spurred by anything from a politician trying to punt a question about gun control to polling data showing women are frequently breadwinners for their families, so this isn’t unusual. But this round is particularly aggressive, with George Will actually blaming single mothers for Detroit’s bankruptcy, Bill O’Reilly using the specter of single motherhood to distract from the Trayvon Martin case (even though George Zimmerman did not check Martin’s parentage before choosing to gun down the unarmed young man), and even CNN’s Don Lemon going on a moralizing scold that assumes that women become single mothers for no other reason than to thumb their nose at propriety.

via The Daily Beast.

Amanda Marcotte is so much fun. Her arguments sound so great until you put them into context.

But let’s misbehave, and speak the unspeakable* – just for the sake of violating taboos:

UNSPEAKABLE ASSERTION: Single motherhood* is in fact both directly and indirectly related to Detroit’s dysfunction.

  • Directly in that unsustainable welfare rolls are a real problem in Detroit – welfare rolls that are problematic because too many children are born out of wedlock.
    (Hint: a man signals his intention to procreate by marrying the woman he intends to procreate with. If he ain’t married you, he doesn’t intend to make a baby with you.)**
  • Indirectly in that the same philosophy of gimme gimme gimme – detached from any corresponding sense of responsibility or obligation – is what killed Detroit.

UNSPEAKABLE ASSERTION: Maybe if Trayvon Martin had been raised right, he wouldn’t have responded to George Zimmerman by attacking him and Zimmerman wouldn’t have had to kill him in self-defense?

UNSPEAKABLE ASSERTION: Single mothers require that we give them unearned resources
“or else the kid gets it”. That means we are absolutely within our rights to examine how much their own negligence (with or without deliberate intent) plays into their heavily subsidized misfortune.(Before “liberation”, we used to teach women how to take responsibility for their own lives – and that included the reality that your fate is going to be tied to the man you make babies with, so it’s very very very important to choose wisely…)

“Before you take a man and say I do now

Make sure he’s in love with you now

Make sure that his love is true now

I’d hate to see you feeling sad and blue now

My momma told me…you better Shop Around….”


*I actually bear single mothers no ill will. It’s the people who defend single motherhood that drive me nuts.

They are not doing women any favors. Not at all.

But it remains true that single mothers owe it to themselves, their children, their families, and their communities to own up to the fact that single motherhood is not something that happened to them. It’s something they did. They bear as much responsibility as anyone.

Of course we all make mistakes – that’s why I blame the people who defend single motherhood (as if it were harmless) instead of blaming the mothers. But we gotta change our policies so that single women aren’t riding on a wave of freebies. We gotta start with the assumption that they want and deserve the chance to earn their own way – that nobody wants to be a welfare mother.

How come we’re not supposed to be allowed to notice that all the reliable forms of birth control go into the woman’s body? Barring rape, a woman can make sure a man is wearing a condom. But a man is not in a position to make sure the woman is taking her pills or shots properly. He comes across as dictatorial and untrusting if he demands the right to check her innermost spaces to see if sponges or devices are applied properly. It is her body, her choice – so why isn’t it her responsibility? Hello? Am I allowed to say that?