Failing Epically

"All My Babies' Mamas"

“All My Babies’ Mamas”

Tina Brown’s Vile Prog rag The Daily Beast:

New New Fatherhood in the Inner City

When 15-year old Andre Green found out that his ex-girlfriend, Sonya, was pregnant with his child, he was living with six members of his extended family in a small row house in Camden, New Jersey. His mother was a drug addict. His father, in Andre’s words, was a “dog” who had never even told Andre that he had several half-brothers kicking around the neighborhood. (The boy found out gradually, when he noticed similar-looking children in school and at the supermarket, and asked them who their father was.) Yet despite his poverty, lack of parental support, and the fact that his romantic relationship with Sonya had ended, Andre was excited—even thrilled—to become a father.

“I was like, “Yes! Thank you, Jesus!” he told sociologists Kathryn Edin and Timothy Nelson. Indeed, within several months of his daughter’s birth, Andre had dropped out of school to become Jalissa’s primary caregiver. He took great pride in keeping her well fed, nicely dressed, and even taking her to church. There, despite his youth and joblessness, Andre was celebrated as a devoted dad. “People say, ‘Oh Andre, you’re doing a beautiful job,’” he told the researchers. “They’re like, ‘Andre, I’m very proud of you.’”

Why isn’t unwed teen parenthood more stigmatized in low-income communities? Eight years ago, Edin and her writing partner, Maria Kafalas, overturned stereotypes about inner-city single mothers with their book Promises I Can Keep. That study showed that many single mothers celebrated and even planned their serial out-of-wedlock pregnancies, not because they were “welfare moms” looking for a government paycheck, but because in neighborhoods in which college, satisfying careers, and financially stable marriages seemed to be little more than fantasies from television and the movies, motherhood provided the crucial, emotionally satisfying transition into adult life.

Now, in Doing the Best I Can, Edin and Nelson have returned to the streets of Philadelphia and Camden to tell unwed fathers’ side of the story. The results, from a seven-year study of 205 men, all earning less than $16,000 per year, are no less extraordinary, calling into question the caricature of the “deadbeat dad.” Like Andre Green, many poor men will overcome daunting personal challenges to spend time with their children, even as they fail to live up to middle-class norms of the father as provider and moral role model.

Poor, single dads have a lot in common with their female counterparts. Both young men and young women in these neighborhoods see forgoing contraception as a key sign of sexual trust and fidelity, and they demonstrate little anxiety about unexpected pregnancy—a surprising notion for many middle-class Americans, who viscerally fear the loss of educational, career, and romantic opportunities that premature parenthood brings. Far from disdaining marriage, low-income single parents have fully absorbed mainstream cultural messages about what that institution should entail: two good jobs, home ownership, and a “soul mate” kind of love. Because these goals appear impossible for people living hand-to-mouth at the bottom rung of the American economy, however, men told the researchers that marriage is generally off the table as a realistic lifestyle. Indeed, they mistrust women, whom they see as enforcers of middle-class earning expectations they cannot meet. The love these men feel for their children is far stronger than any romantic connection they’ve made with those children’s mothers.

There is a bunch more but my blood pressure won’t let me read it.

Let’s not be judgmental. We obviously don’t understand the richness and diversity of inner-city culture. We can’t impose our middle-class Victorian morality on other people. That would be racist.

Take your white male privilege with you when you go.


About Myiq2xu

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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94 Responses to Failing Epically

  1. myiq2xu says:

    I need a beer.

  2. yttik says:

    “There is a bunch more but my blood pressure won’t let me read it…”

    Darn, because I was really wanting to read your opinion. This is probably not the part that caused the high blood pressure, but I really believe that a big part of inner city problems is the destruction of families, especially the father’s role in them.I’m seeing more and more teen fathers rise up, in ways their 30-40 year old counterparts never even considered.

    As to teen pregnancy, not doubt it’s a huge financial, emotional, societal burden, but it’s also a biological reality. Our grandparents actually had more incidents of teen pregnancy then we do today, it’s just that they usually got married. Teen birth rates have been declining ever since.

    • myiq2xu says:

      We have incentivized teen single-parenthood in poor communities.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      they usually got married.
      Cause Dad had his big 20 gauge Shotgun 😆

      • myiq2xu says:

        And the husband was pressured to find gainful employment to support his wife and unborn child.

        • yttik says:

          I think one thing that has gone wrong in both the black and white community is the unwillingness to sacrifice for the benefit of the children anymore. We have this idea that you can’t stay together for the sake of the children and yet that’s kind of the whole point in having two parents tied to each other. There’s a higher purpose involved. But economics, especially our government’s attempts to “help” the black community, by making it economically more desirable to remain single, has really damaged the idea of two parent families. When you can’t support a wife and children as well as welfare can, it’s really demeaning.

        • wmcb says:

          yttik, I used to say “staying together for the kids” was dumb. I have changed my mind on that over time.

          Now, if the relationship is abusive or truly hateful or something, that is one thing. But if it’s just a question of emotions and not being in love anymore, or “feeling fulfilled in this relationship”, then grow the fuck up and stick it out. Have separate bedrooms if you want. Hell, have a discreet lover on the side if you want. Make the relationship more like a child-raising roomate partnership if need be. But yes, our society would be better off if people made the effort to stick it out and raise those kids. It’s not about feelings.

        • myiq2xu says:

          The idea of virginity, courtship and “saving it until you are married” was intended to ensure that you don’t end up tied for life to someone you can’t tolerate.

          Now it’s “Hi, my name is ______, wanna fuck?”

        • yttik says:

          “It’s not about feelings..”

          Oh boy, if people, women especially, could just grasp that point, their lives would improve dramatically.Feelings are not supposed to run our lives, that’s why we were given a rational brain.

        • wmcb says:

          myiq I have also seen a few studies done in India and other places that indicate that arranged marriages, on the whole, are not any more likely to be happy/unhappy than marriages for love. My 20th century Western mindset recoils at that. And I’m not saying I want to bring it back. It can easily be a form of oppression, if corrupted.

          But the coolly neutral part of my brain has to admit that my older and wiser self could tell you whether my various kids and nieces and nephews relationships were going to be good matches or not. Most older family members can do this: you shake your head and just KNOW that he/she is going to break his/her heart and end in disaster. Or you go “Yeah, that one might be a keepr.” Or you say: “I think they are a great person, like them a lot, but those two are going to kill each other. They won’t be able to function in the same house together.” I could do this partly because of age and experience at evaluating strangers, and partly because I had watched these kids grow up from infants, and I know them well.

          Maybe the Yentas and old-crone matchmakers in many traditional cultures actually evolved for a reason in those societies.

          • myiq2xu says:

            In societies where men “buy” wives from their fathers it provides a way to determine both the sincerity of the would-be husband and his ability to provide. It was not slavery. If the wife returned to her family (or ran off with another man) the husband was entitled to a pro-rated refund. I know this is true because it happened to a Hmong friend of mine.

        • yttik says:

          Speaking of arranged marriages and feelings, people today seem to believe that they must serve their feelings, as if they were helpless victims to what they “feel.” The truth is, you can control your feelings, even be happy in the worst circumstances. Feelings are almost always proceeded by thoughts. You control your thoughts, so you control your feelings.

          I caught a few moments of Jerry Springer and he had this abused girl on who kept protesting,” but I have feelings for him!” Poor girl, but honestly, we are not slaves to our feelings! We have been teaching people that life is all about following your feelings and it’s kind of self centered, but also often very self destructive.

        • 1539days says:

          An arranged marriage is the old-fashioned equivalent of computer dating. Basically, it’s finding all the qualities that make two people compatible (values, family, interests) and then looking for a spark. It’s probably better than wandering around looking for sparks with someone and then jumping into a relationship based solely on chemistry.

        • Internal Exile says:

          One of the reasons that pressuring the baby-daddy to find gainful employment wouldn’t work these days is that too much of the gainful employment has been shipped overseas, where corporations can get away with paying coolie wages.

          • myiq2xu says:

            Do people overseas support their children?

            Perhaps the alternative is to convince these unemployed wannabe baby daddies to abstain from fathering children?

        • Internal Exile says:

          Try all you like to convince them, Klowny.

          You’re only going against, oh, several million years of evolution. 🙄

        • votermom says:

          We have been teaching people that life is all about following your feelings and it’s kind of self centered, but also often very self destructive.

          Absolutely true.

          Attraction is about “chemistry” but love is an act of will. First you decide to love someone.
          Another thing we fail to teach is that feelings of caring come with acts of caring.
          If you do good things (caring for, providing for, nurturing, etc) for another person, you will start feeling attached and protective of that person.
          The recipient does not necessarily get the same feelings though; in fact if the caring acts are one-way the recipient can start feeling that they owe gratitude, and that can create resentment.
          “It’s better to give than to receive.”

        • Jadzia says:

          Hear, hear. (To daddy being pressured to find a damn job.)

  3. 1539days says:

    It only took a generation to prove Dan Quayle right.

    • angienc says:

      I was just thinking that same thing the other day. When the Murphy Brown brouhaha happened, everyone was saying “A single woman who can provide for a child on her own (such as the character Murphy Brown was portrayed as being — a wealthy news anchor) shouldn’t be stigmatized for making that choice.”
      Now it’s become ANY single mother — regardless of her financial circumstances — shouldn’t just not be stigmatized, but poor/teen aged ones should be celebrated & glamorized as they are in such shows as Teen Mom, etc.
      I’m against branding a young girl with a scarlet letter for getting pregnant and keeping the baby, but for the love of fuck, there is a huge difference between acceptance and encouragement. We as a society in the media and through government programs are well into the “encouragement” end of the spectrum.

      • wmcb says:

        Exactly. We jumped from demonizing the outliers(which was bad) to proclaiming that everyone being an outlier would be just peachy (stupid).

  4. 49erDweet says:

    There is, btw, a good chance a careful and honest assessment of the other face of that coin would produce a similar – or even more populated photo – of each of those young women standing with the males they had bedded.
    What a sad waste of life.

  5. yttik says:

    “The love these men feel for their children is far stronger than any romantic connection they’ve made with those children’s mothers.”

    I have to call BS on this one. When people create a child they are bound to each other. They may not like it, may not admit it, may create new names for each other like “baby mama” or “baby daddy,” but it’s an unavoidable reality. You simply cannot care for your child and not care for the other parent, at least on some level. The other parent is half of the child. Once you father a child, you can’t compartmentalize love. I know people try all the time, but biology is reality. If and it’s a big “if”, they truly love their children, then they can’t reduce their feeling about the mother to simple romance. Which is why we have terms like “baby mama,” because we know there’s a relationship there, whether we want it or not.

  6. myiq2xu says:

    Throughout most of human history there was a de facto division of labor. Women specialized in nurturing and men specialized in providing and defending. There was a lot of overlap, as men helped with nurturing and women helped with providing and defending.

    The nuclear family should be part of a larger molecule and the molecule part of an element. Family-tribe-clan-village-country-society.

    Everyone is supposed to contribute what they can. Nobody got a free ride for life.

    The modern welfare state has eliminated the male role in society.

    That evil old Patriarchy defined the roles of men as well as women. That includes duties and obligations as well as privileges.

    Many of our morals, customs and laws are based upon men taking responsibility for their children. If they won’t do it willingly they are compelled to do so. Sexual mores were intended to control sexual intercourse BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE BABIES COME FROM!

    • 1539days says:

      The welfare state had denied the male role in society. Replace would imply that is an equivalent substitute.

      The libertarian types would argue that without these programs, charities and self-reliance would kick in. People would be aware of the consequences of their actions and avoid them if the cost were high enough. Liberals would argue that people often find themselves in circumstances not of their own making and it is better for all of us if the government could help them out. The problem is, both of them are right.

      Whatever is happening now is not working. Giving money to the poor was supposed to stop stealing and crime. Instead, it created people dependent on checks and unwilling to snitch in any way that would stop those checks.

      • wmcb says:

        It’s hard to find the balance, but I think returning a lot of the govt function end of things to as local as you can might be part of the solution. Not so much less total govt as more localized control.

        I remember reading somewhere that in (I think)Switzerland, the local canton has veto power over whether an immigrant’s visa is granted/extended. So the local community they are living in helps decide. Gee, think that might make them try really hard to ingratiate themselves to the locals and assimilate?

    • The modern welfare state has eliminated the male role in society.

      Not true. It freed him up to take on the role of parasite, which, if you think about it, is the highest evolved state. You don’t have to work (much) for your food as a parasite. We see this from Wall Street to Walker Street, Philly, USA.

      Not to say all men are like this, ftr. Just responding to your blanket statement with my own.

    • wmcb says:

      IMO, many of our problems in society tend to be related to an improper understanding of the Bell Curve. We make the mistake of applying the general to the individual, or vice versa. That curve exists with everything. There is the large middle, then there are the outliers on either end. Almost anything you can name about people distributes along a bell curve.

      Social mores developed as general rules that functioned the best for the largest number of that society. The hump in the curve. The problem comes with the outliers. Your system has to allow for the outliers to have a place to fit in. The mistake our culture made was not in affirming that it’s generally better to have two monogamous parents, that moms are generally better at nurturing an infant than dads, etc. That was fine.

      The problem was that we mistreated or tried to eliminate the outliers (single moms, the promiscuous, gay people, people who actually needed to divorce, women who wanted to work, men who wanted to cry, whatever) We tired to apply rules for what is good for the general population to every single individual. That caused backlash, which then attempted to tear that whole culture down.

      Societal norms are good. I’d say even necessary. Turning those norms into unyielding hard absolutes that allow zero deviation is the problem.

      • myiq2xu says:

        IMO, many of our problems in society tend to be related to an improper understanding of how things got the way they are.

        I have seen feminists describe The Patriarchy as a male plot to enslave and abuse women. Rather than fix the problems with it they want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

        I once asked Violet Socks where love and sex fit in with feminism. She never gave me a straight answer.

        • wmcb says:

          A culture is an interlocking system with many parts. You cannot suddenly and dramatically try to change huge chunks of it without affecting the other parts. There are actions and reactions and a ripple effect.

          The change may be needed. I’m not arguing that. At all. There may be bad rot and disgusting mold in that wall of the house. Just saying that if you start hacking away at it willy nilly, without looking carefully at what it’s connected to and proceeding with some common sense and caution, you can bring the whole damn thing down around your ears.

        • Internal Exile says:

          In my rather frequent moments of nihilism, I suspect all social systems, of which The Patriarchy is only one, of being plots by some talking apes to enslave and abuse other talking apes. 👿

        • 1539days says:

          Most creatures want to be led to some degree.

          Except cats.

  7. SHV says:

    “Now it’s “Hi, my name is ______, wanna fuck?”
    Nothing new. I heard that line in 1972…”Have your ever fucked a 5 foot tall Italian???”

  8. angienc says:

    The love these men feel for their children is far stronger than any romantic connection they’ve made with those children’s mothers.

    Not strong enough for them to do anything about putting food on the table & keeping the lights on, though.

    Yeah, I said it.

  9. HELENK says:

    I come from a different place than most of you. being in foster homes gives a different perspective on a lot of things. I saw and was one of the throwaway children.
    It taught me that whatever I had to do to give my kids a decent home it was done. For them to have a chance to make the best life they could was my ultimate goal. What they did with the chance was on them. They had to learn to stand on their own feet, in case there was a time when no one was there to help them.
    Young kids having babies with no idea of a future for themselves or the children is one of great loses of our country. You have a generation that is being taught that they will never be a success in life and I do not mean a monetary success, they will not have any expectations to be better then they are.

    This is not written as a poor me story, It is just a different perspective

    • yttik says:

      No, it’s a really good point helenk. Often those who have a difficult childhood work the hardest to ensure that their children have a decent home.

      Unfortunately, that’s also sometimes the motivation for teen parenthood, trying to re-create the family life they didn’t have themselves.

      • It depends on the level of difficulty and there’s also a direct correlation with security. That’s why the welfare state is such a big problem. It addresses security without addressing difficulty. No one is saying that a 12 year old of a single mom in the ghetto does not have a difficult life, but he or she does have some security (housing, food, to some extent healthcare), thanks to the welfare state. Helen, and I might add, myself, had no security (I lived in group homes & foster care from age 13-18) have a different set of values, and that’s how we both came out prizing, seeking, and securing better lives for ourselves. We had deficits in both, and found that unacceptable. We also had, I suspect, certainly I did, exposure to people from other classes. Ghettos don’t generally allow for that.

        • HELENK says:

          yes I did have more exposure to different classes. Also did not like be treated like a second class citizen. Too much pride the priest would say. another reason i can not understand those who want a welfare lifestyle

    • wmcb says:

      Often people who didn’t have the ideal family end up valuing traditional family the most if they can finally get it. I know Lola-at-large has talked about this.

      • Absolutely. Building on what yttik said earlier, with the culture promoting juvenile POVs, it’s like a 14 year old boy who likes a 14 year old girl. He really, really likes her, wants to get her. If she shuns him or rejects him, he hates her, stops trying. Same dynamic in play. Neither the boy nor the underclass people who are reactionarily rejecting what they perceive they can’t have understand that their reactionary natures hurt them further. Quitters never win.

        • wmcb says:

          I agree. And a huge part of the problem here in the USA is that rather than the larger society understanding but discouraging that reactionary rejection, and working to mainstream people to the SUCCESSFUL culture, we are in loony land where that reactionary stupidity is applauded.

        • Jadzia says:

          +1. This is one of the many reasons why my husband’s 7 1/2 years of mostly voluntary unemployment has me sitting on a volcano of rage. (He does have a job interview on Monday, though, so there’s that. I had to threaten to divorce him immediately to get him to apply for that job.) Because when you’ve grown up with nothing, it makes you crazy seeing (or, uh, being married to) people who were given ALL the advantages, but aren’t paying them forward to their own kids.

    • HELENK says:

      It makes it very hard for me to understand the ” you owe me” generation..

      • yttik says:

        The other side of entitlement or thinking people owe you, is a belief that you are completely incapable of providing it for yourself. That is what real racism is, creating dependence under the disguise of compassion.

        • wmcb says:

          This is one reason why I am in favor of work programs for govt cheese: maybe along the lines of the WPA. Not just because they might learn a skill, even if it’s just the skill of showing up on time.

          I want that because most human beings need to feel they contribute, that they earn. It’s a source of pride. Pure dependency is flat out infantilizing and horribly corrosive to the soul.

          Added benefit: It separates out the needy but willing, from the pure selfish leeches. One of our current problems is that those two groups are all lumped together. I don’t mind helping the needy or the down on thier luck, at all. But the pure parasites who would whine that they are too good to pick up city trash for their welfare check can just suck it, IMO.

        • Jadzia says:

          I would really favor a new WPA. The problem with welfare-to-work, if done wrong, is that you’re taking away that trash-collection job (which often is a decent working-class-wage job with some benefits) from somebody who has already demonstrated a desire to work and has earned that job, and giving it to somebody who is essentially doing it for a lower wage. That doesn’t seem fair to me. (Of course, this example doesn’t apply if you are in a city like, say, Detroit, which looks like a bomb hit it and you probably wouldn’t be taking an existing, paid rubble-clearer’s job.) That said, the US has got such an infrastructure problem that a new WPA could potentially modernize large portions of the country AND give people solid work skills and experience. I guess the costly nature of such an enterprise, though, would probably prevent it from getting off the ground today.

  10. HELENK says:

    does anyone else feel like there is a War on the younger generation?
    dumb them down with poor education. teach them that they are not responsible or accountable for their actions. teach them that they are owed just for being born. then when they do not get the life they want tell them it is someone else’s fault.
    Think about it, how many businesses would be bothered hiring them. the business world is not a charitable institution, they are there to make a profit. May sound hard but that is life

    • HELENK says:

      now young girls are taught that feminism is being a receptacle for any passing penis. you do not need brains , you have a vagina. if you get pregnant you get an abortion or keep the kid and get welfare. self respect is so yesterday. hey the government will pay for birth control. not sure if they pay for sexual transmitted diseases.

      • 49erDweet says:

        There’ are classes everywhere on how to apply for “benefits” and which ones require what eligibility factors. It’s become a dynamic industry. Probably will outdo GM soon.

        • Jadzia says:

          IIRC, until they were shamed out of doing so, WalMart used to basically do this–explaining to its associates how to apply for food stamps. (I believe they pay better now, but it’s still not great — my little brother, who has a master’s degree, works there.)

        • wmcb says:

          Oh, the Mexican government conveniently offers brochures etc on how to apply for US benefits. I shit you not.

        • leslie says:

          ^True story^, wmcb. I work with a woman whose parents are still in Mexico. Just before her parents returned to Mexico from their recent US visit, the woman assisted her mother to apply for social security benefits here. I was dumbfounded.

    • 1539days says:

      The war’s been going on for a few generations, it just started as the “War on Poverty.” It took this generation for the bad guys to start winning.

      Businesses everywhere are creating “zero-training” models for employees. Stick them at their station, show them how to press a few buttons or put parts in a box, and get to work. If they leave, bring in another low-skilled worker and give them the same 20 minute training. The reality is that the employee is given more and more tasks with less training. Still, once you have a job, it’s hard to get a different job.

      I worked a succession of assembly jobs for years until I hit a place that knew what to do with someone with an engineering degree.

    • Jadzia says:

      Not to mention the virtual elimination of grant-based financial aid for hard-working, smart college students, in favor of five-figure student loan burdens that will follow them to the grave and can never be discharged in bankruptcy. (I’m sure Angie can say more about that.) It’s not the Millennials who decided that it was a good idea to raise the tuition at my alma mater to a breathtaking $36K/year (twice what it was when I went there, and it still took years to pay off the debt), or for IN-STATE tuition/fees/books at a PUBLIC school like UCLA to run $23K a year even for students who live with relatives! Even the smartest, hardest-working, most willing-to-live-with-mom-and-dad 22-year old is going to have trouble paying more than 90K for a bachelor’s degree, no matter how many jobs they work. My mom scooped ice cream in the summer when she went to a public university (and lived in the dorms) — and she was able to make enough $ to put herself through.

      • leslie says:

        It is such a huge burden – college tuition. I’d still be paying my loan for my master’s after more than 20 years, but I paid it off by rolling it into my (then) new mortgage. It’s the only way I could figure out how to pay it off. I don’t know how today’s students will manage. I don’t know how my son managed either. And he attended a very local public university. In fact, all my kids graduated from in-state public universities. But their debts are enormous. I’ve suggested they do the same as I and take out larger mortgages for pay off those loans. We’ll see what they do.

        • Jadzia says:

          I am wondering — in the worst case scenario — if you do that and then later go bankrupt/get foreclosed, does the portion of the loan comprised of the student loan roll-in go away? That’s the thing that scares me the most about student loans these days — they will garnish your Social Security and hound you to your grave because of the non-dischargeability. I think.

  11. myiq2xu says:

    Our ancestors didn’t know shit about genetics but they understood the consequences of inbreeding as well as the effects of hybrid vigor. Tribes would trade children because they had better luck with healthy grandkids as well as family ties to other tribes.

    Marco Polo and his father were amazed that during their travels men kept offering their wives and daughters as sexual partners. Some people think it was because they thought the travelers were angels or something. They may have thought that for a very good reason.

    If strangers from faraway lands come by the chances are their genes are very different from your own. If your wife and/or daughter(s) get impregnated by one of these strangers, the result is heterosis:

    The physiological vigor of an organism as manifested in its rapidity of growth, its height and general robustness, is positively correlated with the degree of dissimilarity in the gametes by whose union the organism was formed … The more numerous the differences between the uniting gametes — at least within certain limits — the greater on the whole is the amount of stimulation.

    IOW – a big splash of chlorine in the family gene pool.

    This might cause an uneducated person to conclude that there was something special about those strangers.

    • HELENK says:

      that is funny

      have you heard about a show that is supposed to start on july 10 on comedy central called “Drunk History”? just saw a preview on hulu plus. funny

  12. myiq2xu says:

    What a co-inky-dink:

    • wmcb says:

      Heh, pretty funny! This part is kinda bullshit, though:

      So “dating” wasn’t really a thing then. Dads did the dating for people.

      Marriage was a business arrangement that two men would make, their bargaining chips being their sons’ inheritance and their daughters’ dowries.

      Nah. It wasn’t the dads. The dads were the final authority, and did the formal exchange. But it was the mothers and grandmothers and aunts who did the matchmaking and the arranging and scouting for prospective mates. Dads didn’t do that shit, they just rubber stamped or vetoed it. Did this woman never read any Jane Austen or Edith Wharton? Or can she just not resist overstating her case against the evil slavemongering patriarchy?

      • myiq2xu says:

        I’m guessing the kids had some input too.

        • wmcb says:

          Yes. Look, I am sure the social system was abused by some families and awful uncaring abusive fathers.

          But in reality, most fathers love thier kids and want them to be happy. Most were not just trading their kids like cattle – they were actually trying to make a good match. I daresay most men of the time had no desire to piss off their wives and sons and daughters, either – regardless of what legal protections did or didn’t exist for them.

          Sometimes feminists make the mistake of assuming that because the law did not prevent men and husbands from being abusive assholes, therefore ALL the men were abusive assholes. Um, no. That’s never been true in any civilized society. People can *gasp* be kind, loving, wonderful people without the govt there to tell them they must. Especially in the context of family.

          I’m thrilled women have legal protection now. And I’m well aware that many women got treated like shit in past centuries. Not disputing that at all. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want some damn *accuracy* about the past. Hell, life sucked for EVERYONE (including men) by our standards in, say, the middle ages. Let’s compare apples to apples re: how much more it sucked for women (and it did.) So, was it awful that a woman’s husband could smack her if he wanted? Of course it was. Just remember that at the time, the man’s boss was perfectly free to deck him on a whim as well.

  13. wmcb says:

    I was musing today over my love of SciFi, because I’ve been reading tons of SciFi ever since I discovered Heinlen when I was about 10 or so. I think it has had a huge effect on me in many ways, but a new one occurred to me today:

    In indirect ways, it has influenced my political and social thinking. Because even though I have, in real life, only been exposed to our existing competing political systems and cultural rules, in my head I have been exposed to all manner of human (and alien) society.

    In my head, I’ve lived in worlds with bizarre religions, various monetary and trade systems, with strong traditions or fragile ones at risk. I’ve watched worlds and societies die from the unintended consequences of well-meaning politicians, and also evil ones. I’ve seen worlds where corporations are government and it’s bad, or corporations are government and it’s normal and people are pretty happy. Depends on what the rules are. I’ve seen the necessity of cooperation, and the dangers of too widespread and complex a system – because when it fails it reeeaaaaally fails.

    And even though all those worlds were fiction, I think it has made my brain much more adept at thinking outside the box. It’s made me more curious about various ways to organize society that might work. But at the same time to realize how important and enduring are a cultures traditions, or a tribe’s sense of identity, and to have a care when tinkering with them.

    May sound crazy, but I think SciFi has made me both more open to ideas in theory, and more cautious about them in practice.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Human societies vary depending on the conditions. There is a complex interaction between society, technology and human values. If humans ever successfully colonize space their societies will evolve/adapt to maximize survival under those conditions.

      • wmcb says:

        Yep. I just think reading all that stuff for so many years has given me a mind intrigued by all that complex interaction, and the various possibilities.

        • yttik says:

          Reading is probably the best education somebody can give themselves and it’s free. I’m going to suggest that a big part of inner city problems come from a lack of reading. LOL, I’ll go so far as to say that if more people were just absorbed in a good book, there wouldn’t be as much teen pregnancy.

    • votermom says:

      Are you on goodreads wmcb? I should look you up….

      • wmcb says:

        Nope. I tried it when it first came out, but I’m laaaaaazy about reviews and stuff. I’d rather read the next book than talk about the one I just read. 😀

        • votermom says:

          I’m not there a lot, but I find it useful to
          a) keep track of what I’ve already read so I don’t accidentally borrow the same book from the lib
          b) look up reviews for books from readers who more or less have similar tastes as me to see if it’s worth borrowing
          c) to rant about books that piss me off LOL

          I’ve been trying to decide whether to change my goodreads name to votermom – I have been trying to keep my other hobbies separate from my political handle – still haven’t decided …

  14. foxyladi14 says:

    My Hubby and I stayed together for the sake of the children
    No it wasn’t the little ones it was us two big Children. 😆

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