Home / Blog / Article




August 2 2013

Lefty Blogger Says There Is a "War on Single Mothers"

Charlotte Hays

After charges against the Duke lacrosse players whose names had been dragged through the mud on bogus accusations were dropped, feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte called their defenders “rape-loving scum.”

Ms. Marcotte is not necessarily a commentator of the first order. So I approached her piece on the “war against single mothers” at the Daily Beast today with a sense of trepidation. But IWF tries to keep abreast of such stories.

Ms. Marcotte’s over-heated commentary was what we have come to expect from her:

It appears that it’s open season on single mothers again. Granted, open season is called on single mothers a few times a year and can be spurred by anything from a politician trying to punt a question about gun control to polling data showing women are frequently breadwinners for their families, so this isn’t unusual.

But this round is particularly aggressive, with George Will actually blaming single mothers for Detroit’s bankruptcy, Bill O’Reilly using the specter of single motherhood to distract from the Trayvon Martin case (even though George Zimmerman did not check Martin’s parentage before choosing to gun down the unarmed young man), and even CNN’s Don Lemon going on a moralizing scold that assumes that women become single mothers for no other reason than to thumb their nose at propriety.

In these arguments, the underlying racial anxieties that often accompany hand wringing over growing rates of single motherhood weren’t hidden at all, creating the distinct impression that these men view black women as a singularly immoral class of human beings who need to be scolded until they shape up—even though decades of conservative freak-outs about single motherhood have only resulted in the rates going up and not down.

It is true that black women are more likely than other groups of women to be unmarried when they give birth, but it’s hardly a phenomenon limited to black women, nor does it mean what so many of these commentators seem to think—which is that fathers are completely out of the picture.

Marcotte--who regards the phrase “out-of-wedlock birth” as “cringe worthy”--seems to think that if you have a live-in, you aren't single. Thus so-called single-mothers may not be married but they still have somebody who shows up from time to time. 

The relationships between unmarried, cohabiting adults are less committed, according to a recent Rand study, than those of married couples. So what Marcotte is touting is households in which the two adults are not fully committed to the relationship. This is not good for children.

What Marcotte sees as vicious attacks on single mothers is really an effort to alert women to the perils of becoming single parents and of the inevitable deprivations children in such households face. It’s not right wingers being mean. It’s sensible people trying to rescue women and children from lives of poverty and instability. It is hardly a war on single women to tell them the truth about what awaits them if they opt for single-parenthood.

Marcotte’s prescription for society:

More than having a legally recognized husband the moment they give birth, women need health care, child care, equal pay, and a society that pays workers a decent wage instead of constantly shifting more wealth to the top 1 percent. If they have all these things, the rate of marriage at birth will probably go up as a result, but make no mistake, that too will be a symptom and not the cause of a more just society.

Marcotte is calling for more of the programs that have loosened the bonds of family. “Decent wage” is her code for raising the minimum wage. That will reduce the number of entry level jobs (Note to Amanda: Hiring is based on cost and the abilities of the person being hired. Is the worker worth of his or her hire? If not, all the minimum wage hikes in the world won’t help).

As for shifting wealth to the 1 percent, I wonder if Amanda is aware that the poor have suffered more under the Obama administration than in the recent past.

To recap: Yes, this is indeed about what one would expect from Amanda Marcotte, Deep Thinker.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us