White Working-Class Women Should Not Raise Kids Alone

White Working-Class Women Should Not Raise Kids Alone

Recently, I stumbled across an article published in Slate with the shocking and horrific (to the men’s rights believers) title, “White Working-Class Women Should Raise Kids Alone.” Written by two scholars, this essay is an excerpt from their book “Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family.”

The excerpt published in Slate argues, using the  example of “Lily,” that sometimes it’s better for a working-class woman who finds herself pregnant to forego including the father in the picture. Here’s a paragraph that appeared in the beginning of the article:

A generation ago her decision would have seemed narrow, misguided, and difficult to understand. But now we have to conclude that it makes a lot of sense. Although it defies logic, socioeconomic, cultural, and economic changes have brought white working-class women like Lily to the point where going it alone can be the wiser choice. And the final irony: The same changes that have made marriages more equitable and successful among elite couples have made it less likely that marriage will look attractive to Lily.

That women should forbid fathers to be involved in their child’s life is an atrocious idea. That it’s better for the woman to go at it alone defies the incontestable fact that children are much more likely to succeed in life with an involved father.

From a men’s right perspective, this article undermines everything this movement fights for and encompasses. As presented through the Men’s Rights website, men deserve equal standing in the divorce courts as well as an equal presence in the lives of their children.

However, Cahn and Carbone (the authors of the article) argue that oftentimes women should abandon their partner when facing a pregnancy.

The article is clearly written from the perspective of a woman (interestingly, the authors are both females). It talks about the disadvantages for women when they commit to the father of their child. Instead of this article empowering women, it really just amplifies their selfish desires.

Children need fathers. This fact has been reaffirmed in study after study. Here’s some facts regarding this:

–       Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.

–       A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
Source: James, Doris J. Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002. (NCJ 201932). Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, July 2004.

–       Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.
Source: Hoffmann, John P. “The Community Context of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (May 2002): 314-330.

Why does this article ignore these important facts? Because they are only focusing on the mother. For the mother, there are sometimes risks in assuring that the father stays involved.

Maybe he won’t always have a steady job, or maybe he will actually want to request custody and see his child sometimes. Those are “risks” the mother assumes, but for the child, it is clearly better to have an involved father.

Stop looking at what is best for the mother, and look at what is best for the child. Then, you will clearly see that white working-class women should not raise kids alone.

Statistics found on Fatherhood.org.

Caroline Cordell

Comments

  1. Douglas Says: May 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Answer: there is a veritable industry that feeds off this cycle. Sons of these unwed mothers are more likely to end up in the criminal justice systems, and/or become absent fathers themselves. In the “Good ole’ days”, young women that got pregnant out of wedlock were encouraged to enter a “maternity home”, give up the baby for adoption, get on with their lives and live down their mistake. Now, with welfare and a myriad of other programs (WIC, Earned Income credits, etc), unwed motherhood not only doesn’t face social stigma like it once did, it’s SUBSIDIZED at the consierable expense of John and Jane Q. Taxpayer, who work their respective asses off and try to order their affairs if THEY want to start their family and PAY THEIR OWN WAY.
    The system is AFU.

  2. Both this article and the one it’s written in response to are seriously oversimplified, and neither is truly focused on the best interests of the child. Are children better off with an involved father? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Not all fathers deserve to be parents. The exact same thing is true for some mothers. Sometimes a kid is better off without one or both of their parents. And sometimes mothers are too selfish to realize that their kid would be better off with the father involved, even if it means more work, discomfort, etc. for them. The exact same thing is true for fathers who try to shut mothers out. The point is, some parents suck. Some don’t. But even those that are otherwise good parents often seem to focus so much on their own “rights” and grievances as a mother or a father that they lose sight of what is best for their kid.

    • Jean Hardy Says: December 26, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you for speaking so honestly and with the right motivation! Children are not possessions nor loaves of bread to be cut in half. Either (or both) parent should sacrifice if it’s really in the best interest of the child. The one person truly disrupted for years is the child who has to ping pong from one bed to another and back on a weekly basis while each patent settles into their routine bed each night. That is so wrong on many levels. Let the kids have time with each parent each week, but let the kids have stability in mainly one bed.

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