Octomom: Single and So What? March 2, 2009Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Heteronormativity, Just Saying..
Tags: Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Nadya Suleman, Octomom, single mother stigma
The Octomom is almost as sick and selfish as the doctor who impregnated her.
However: the media’s fixation on her single status is just as disturbing. Yes, it’s harder to be a mom if you don’t have a supportive, caring partner. But NPR, CBS, CNN, ABC, TIME, and MSN, among others, are flagging her single status above the facts that she’s unemployed, broke, already burdened with six other kids, and plain crazy. This kind of coverage gives all single moms a bad name, and in fact, it also encourages the stereotype of “single” as innately bad, thereby giving even childfree singles a bad name too!
Why don’t they say “A broke, unemployed woman on food stamps with six kids gave birth to eight more”? That is more indicative of the problem than “A single woman gave birth to eight kids”, which could also refer to an unmarried Octomom living with a supportive, competent cousin and grandmother and making 500,000 a year–someone who would probably be able to give eight kids a good home (ignoring for a moment the side issue of why she didn’t just adopt and help “decrease the surplus population”).
Thankfully, smothered amongst these semi-singlist articles was this thoughtful post by Earl Ofari Hutchinson about how Octomom coverage is further stigmatizing single mothers, even while the Octomom herself rails against the fact that she would be much less controversial if she were coupled. This is true–if she and her husband were both unemployed, broke, and crazy, well, at least the children would be living with married parents, right?? YAY!
What we need to do is stop beating up single mothers and find ways that people can more easily raise children while single. Suggestions welcome! And also, Copious Readers, are you angrier at the Octomom or at the media’s coverage of her? Neither? Both?