We had an interesting discussion in class the other day in which one student related the community involvement and press associated with condemnation in Early Modern times to that of today. Someone mentioned the octuplet mom who is getting all of the negative press surrounding her obvious negligent and outrageous decision to have eight more children that she cannot possibly support. This discussion brought us around to the point that single women are often viewed and discussed with more scrutiny than other women in both societies. Anne Greene and Jane Hattersley made the huge mistake of having children out of wedlock. This was obviously condemned in Early Modern England and probably caused the neighbors and other community members to pay a little more attention to their activity. Does this remind you of anything? Why are we seeing images of the octuplet mom's home and hearing about how often she has manicures or goes shopping for designer clothes? Why is it so shocking that she doesn't have a husband?
As an American I view our society as a more forward thinking one. I consider America to be slightly more liberal than most and it never occurred to me that a husband was a prerequisite to being a good mother. Widows, single moms, and career women who haven't been fortunate enough to find a 'good husband' should not be discounted as people who are not capable of motherhood. It's ridiculous. Yet we question this woman's ability to raise her children without a husband. She seems to have a support system; her father is willing to go back to work to help support her financially, her mother is willing to take on full responsibility of childcare, and she is ready to go back to school to obtain a degree. (It is shocking and disturbing that I know so much about this!)
Of course there are many who condemn her because they say that she is a welfare mom and this very well may be true, but does anyone know the statistics on how many welfare moms there actually are out there? So why do we have to know everything about this one woman? Even if she does use food stamps or get college grants, millions of women in America do the same thing every day, why condemn this one? Why not condemn the system for not monitoring their program better? The fact that she shops for designer clothes and has manicures while utilizing the welfare system is not surprising. She certainly is not the only one. This, much like the credit crunch in which we find ourselves, is our own fault! We buy into the idea that one must own Prada shoes, Gucci bags, and drive expensive cars so that we fit into a society in which everyone must own these things. Are food stamps not meant to supplement your income so that you might be able to have a better quality of life? If not, someone should explain this to America, preferably on television or in a tabloid so that we actually pay attention.