Knock Yourself Up

This book by Louise Sloan has been making the rounds lately. Check out the interview at Salon here, and the mention by Jessica at Feministing here.

Some responses to this book have really surpised me. Apparently women who become single moms by choice are different from other kinds of single mothers, i.e. more morally degenerate. Who knew?

The most surprising bit of mud that has been slung in this debate so far can be found here. The claim is that no woman should choose single motherhood. Single motherhood is a terrible, tragic thing that sometimes happens to people, but no woman should knowingly choose such a life for herself or her child. And the reason? Beyond the predictable canon of moral degeneracies and social dysfunctions, there is this: That a woman who chooses to become a single mother is treating her child like the latest fashion accessory. Immediately, the image of a small underarm dog in an expensive purse springs to mind. Only certain kinds of woman sport these doggie bags: rich women. So this makes me think. Is the attack an assault on liberal ideology and a changing conception of the family, or is it an assault on single women who can support themselves, their families, and their choices? (Never mind that portraying women like Sloan as wealthy princesses is a huge mistake. Sloan devotes an entire chapter of her book to the question of whether or not this choice is an affordable one.)

4 thoughts on “Knock Yourself Up

  1. Well I for one think that comparing the kind of affluent women who become single mothers by choice to the average single mother is completely absurd. And I said as much in the Feministing post — they’re not the same, not even close.

    But I don’t say that because I think that single motherhood is tragic. I say it because in terms of socioeconomic experience, it’s true. Which is why when people say that single motherhood causes crime, etc., it’s absurd. Single motherhood doesn’t cause crime — poverty does, and poverty is correlated to single motherhood. Single mothers by choice are clearly not in this same category.

    I don’t think that working for the women who have these options should really be a prominent goal. There are too many women out there who can’t afford an abortion, or can’t afford to not have an abortion, or can’t afford to feed the kids she has, etc., for this to even be on my radar. But that being said, of course women should be able to become single mothers by choice if they want to. Married or otherwise coupled women can treat their children just as much like accessories — I see it on a daily basis. To anyone who wants to become a mother, more power to her.

  2. I agree. I also think society is changing as is the family dynamic. Change is hard for some people. They want to point fingers saying its wrong…but is it really wrong, or is it just different than what history is used to? I know too many kids with absentee fathers or fathers who aren’t really there. I don’t think its necessary for a well rounded, criminal-free child to have two parents–one of which being male. Is it preferred? Sure (and no, I’m not meaning just a male/female relationship-just a two parent one), but I think more so for the respite. It just makes raising kids easier when there is someone to take up the slack. But I think that in today’s world, single mothers by CHOICE are ok. And I’m willing to bet, 5-10 years down the road, this won’t even make one bat an eye!

  3. I feel very strongly about nature and what is natural. I truly dislike the tampering that we are doing and feel very uncomfortable. What comes naturally is best, it’s the way things should pan out.

    And besides, having both a male as well as a female role model for your children is ideal. However, parents that are not very smart, neglect their kids, or abusive definitely aren’t ideal either, regardless of their sex.

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