To me, this seems like a fairly dangerous scheme. While I certainly think that it is ideal for a child to have two parents (of any gender) who love each other, a simple "I do" can't create that environment. However, it could bind two people together who are not compatible, for financial reasons, thus resulting in their child growing up in an environment that is anything but love-filled. I am also concerned that such an act could encourage women to return to emotionally, sexually and/or physically abusive relationships *(see footnote). Is a woman to be left out then, if she does not return to such a relationship, or if she carries a child to term as the result of a rape (whether the rapist was her partner at the time, someone she knew, but was not her partner or a complete stranger)? I also find the idea heterosexist.
I was wondering what other peoples' reactions are to this?
*FOOTNOTE: I know that in abusive relationships, it is not always the man dealing out the abuse, and do not intend to imply that such is the case. I simply feel that in this particular case, women could feel encouraged to return to such a relationship.
Oh dear lord. I'll try to respond to this without using Angry WOrds.
I've got to agree with you on this one. Marriage is not a fix-all, and I think a single parent who is dedicated to being a parent, and enjoys being a parent, provides a much better home than an environment where two parents resent eachother and only one is really interested in parenthood. This goes for mothers or fathers.
Children are extremely sensitive to tension in the household, and if the child's parents are in a loveless marriage just because they gain financially from it, I think the child will suffer emotionally.
I know that if I were forced to marry my son's biological father, my son would not be nearly as happy or well-adjusted as he is right now. There was a lot of hatred and resentment between us because of the pregnancy, and this is precisely why we DIDN'T get married.
What this article doesn't address is how well the children of single parents do in school, or how happy they are in general. Just what is wrong with a household headed by a woman? Are they taking into account the number of those women whose husbands have died, or who are divorced? How about single women who utilized sperm banks? Their argument is full of holes, and this whole thing is, as you said, extremely heterosexist.
Ah well, you see, a child of a single mother is certain to turn to drugs and crime before they reach their eighth birthday, whereas any child whose parents happen to be married is a little angel and their life will be filled with happiness.
Honestly, this is scary. It's like the editorial I read in a fairly right-wing British paper the other week on how offering benefits to single mothers has caused women to leave their partners for an extra sixty quid a week and filled the world with criminals. Do these people actually think that money is the only driving force in a mother's life? Or would they just like it to be, because they're easier to control that way?
And don't you love the phrase that this scheme is intended to promote marriage 'among the poor'. That's just lovely. Let's bribe poor people to bump up the marriage statistics, because their lives don't really count, they aren't actually capable of making decisions for themselves and they'll do anything for a handout.
Good grief I'm fuming.
[This message has been edited by BJadeT (edited 02-13-2002).]
Posts: 394 | From: Manchester, Lancashire, England | Registered: Dec 2000
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Katha Pollitt (sp?) had a great essay about this in The Nation a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I can't find a link to it.
In it, she made a really good point. Who are most of these low-income single mothers going to marry? Could it be...low-income men? Face it, the vast majority of people marry folks from their own socioeconomic group. It's not like there are a bunch of millionaires out there lining up to marry single pregnant women. (I'm still looking for one to marry me, and I've got a reasonably paying job and am not pregnant! )
In most cases, the partner of one of the women targeted by the President's proposal is going to be in the same boat as the woman herself--minimally educated, low-income or unemployed, and possibly with drug or other problems. How on earth is marrying somebody who's as bad off as she is (or worse) going to improve her situation?
Besides, there are the issues already brought up, about forcing women into possibly abusive or even just incompatible matches. It's pretty easy to get pregnant with someone, but a lot harder to build a life and a marriage with them, and divorces are expensive and emotionally painful.
I think this proposed policy is an invasion of privacy and an all around Bad Idea.
Gee, do single FATHERS get extra money too?
No? Hmmm, must be only women who are such a threat when they're unmarried. Or maybe it's more okay for men to be single parents, or maybe single fathers children donn't cost anything. How miraculous!
Or maybe a certain government administration needs to stop trying to cloak their personal and religious agendas in public policy.
This is beyond heterosexist, it's just plain sexist. The underlying message clear as day is that women -- not men, women -- most notably mothers, need to be married to men to be good parents. Or perhaps, even "good women." And "good women" apparently deserve more monetary help just for being "good" than women or parents of any gender who need monetary help for the reason they're supposed to: because they have the most expenses with the least income and the job of parenting to boot.
This is just typically vile. Who was it that was going to put me up in Holland again?
My mother-in-law did a fabulous job of raising two kids completely by herself, with precious little child support from the fathers and practically no federal assistance at all. Some extra money could have really helped her out, but considering that both of the men in question were really f@#ked up people (one was and still is a drug addict and an alcoholic, not to mention one of the most nastily abusive people I've ever seen; the other is a religious fanatic who's so busy pounding Bibles and chasing God that he couldn't even bother to call his son on his 16th birthday) it would have been an absolute crime for her to marry either one of them.
And for the record, she was just as outraged over this as all of us have been.
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