On Father’s Day I saw an ecard that not only acknowledged fathers but single mothers as well. I shared the card because I thought it was cool that someone thought to recognize single parents on the holiday. I have single parent friends who acknowledge me on both holidays and thought the card was very nice for recognizing the extra effort of single moms.
Shortly after posting the ecard on my Facebook wall, a single, childless male friend questioned why this card existed when he had never seen one for fathers on Mother’s Day. I responded, informing him that I only knew two men who were solely responsible for their child/children and that I had, for years wished them a Happy Mother’s Day. Both chimed in shortly after I responded acknowledging that I did, in fact, always send them a message in May and both publicly wished me a Happy Father’s Day.
My friend, who made the initial inquiry about the lack of ecards for fathers in May said that didn’t really answer his question. A female friend of my then posted a link, citing that out of 13.7 million single parent household in the U.S., 80% are run by women. There was then a thirty comment debate between three or four people about whether these statistics were accurate. After determining that the stats were at least close, we finally agreed that the reason he didn’t see cards like this for dads was due in large part to the fact that women comprised most of the single parent demographic. He said it still seemed silly; it was suggested he make a card for dads and the conversation ended with some resolution.
The next morning, I woke up to a new comment on the thread, from a guy who I am not fond of Mr. “I can’t think of anything I would like less.” It read, “Maybe women should just keep their legs closed.” I deleted the comment and went about the rest of my day wanting to punch him in his stupid, sexist, ignorant face. And thus starts my rant and the partial basis for yesterday’s post.
It bothers me that someone could be so cavalier about something as serious as single parenting or the struggles that face individuals trying to provide for a family alone, but what really bothers me about the comment is the simple fact that he is faulting women and women alone for issue of single parent households. This is insulting and exactly the mentality that will continue to allow men to opt out of their obligations to their families.
If women didn’t have sex then single parents wouldn’t be nearly the issue it is. Women can inseminate themselves, after all. [Insert eye roll here] The reasons women are forced to raise children have nothing to do with men having sex or shunning their responsibilities. The reason a woman has to raise a child on her own is simple. Women are irresponsible, immoral sluts and if we could simply refrain from having sex then single parent households would cease to exist. The men wouldn’t have to pay child support/be a parent or avoid paying child support/avoid being a parent because some irresponsible woman had a baby. It is an ignorant and misogynistic viewpoint that implies that men are faultless. His assertion is that it is solely a woman’s fault this issue even exists.
Women and men from all walks of life can find themselves being to only provider in a single family household. Unplanned pregnancy, divorce and death of a partner are just few reasons this happens. Not all single parents are in that position due to promiscuity or carelessness. I don’t know any single parent, myself included, who woke up one morning and thought, “I think I will trick some poor, poor man into getting me pregnant today and then I’ll spend the next 18 years and 9 months making him pay for that child or busting my ass to make ends meet.” (Because it is really only my fault I am in this situation to begin with.)
I am not a huge fan of anyone who likes to indulge in the idea that they are victims. It is the menatlity that allows such silly logic as, “Everything happens to me, not because of me.” I like, every other single parent accepts and understands why they are in the situation they are. Most do what is necessary to provide for their families. I believe a lot of individuals in that situation didn’t plan on raising a child alone but for some reason that is what they are doing. That is not because a woman opened her legs. It is because TWO people decided to have sex and for whatever reason, callous or circumstantial, both parents aren’t there now.
Men like this need to own up their participation in an issue that leaves individuals in the, often difficult, situation of raising a child/children alone. That doesn’t happen because women are sluts; it can happen for a whole myriad of reasons. Sometimes, just sometimes, it even happens because a guy should have just kept it in his pants.