Stereotyping single mothers in the US
The birth of a human being is always cherished and considered to be one of the happiest moments in a couple’s lives. But when the scenario changes and it comes to the terminology of ‘single mother’, there is a different story that has been weaved over the latter half of the century. The topic of single mothering has always been a controversial one all over the world and this phenomenon has had changes over the period of years in the United States of America.
The concept of single mothering technically is where a female is the sole guardian of a child and it can be attributed to being a divorcee, a widow, a teenage pregnancy, or a pregnancy by choice without marriage. Somehow as humans, we have developed a tendency of stereotyping anything and everything that a complacent society can’t digest. In the early years the term single mother in the U. S was largely associated with females accosted with a teenage pregnancy or females bearing children out of relationships.
Because of this previous attitude, a single mother was always subjected to problems as they would be left without any support from family as being a single mother especially a teenage one or from a relationship was considered to be taboo in the early part of the 20th century. This proscribed was responsible for a large no. of abortions that took place during that time. As time passed by and as the power of media and television started conversations, on the topic of being a single mother and it started being used in debates.
There was slow transformation of the topic from a taboo subject to a controversial one. Artists from the industry right from actors to musicians played their part in highlighting single motherhood with their music and sitcoms. The fictional character ‘Murphy Brown’ had received a lot of glare from moralists and received lot of flak for its open display of single mothering. Times have changed now and today being a single mother is not looked down and is not stereotyped as the way it was before.
In the initial times the major stereotype that was associated with a single mother was doing a mistake and today the stereotypes has ended as many females chose to be a single mother. The following will explain a few reasons why today females choose not to abort and in fact purposefully become single mothers by choice: ‘Career- oriented women prefer not to marry. At the same time, they would like being a mother. Many adopt a child. Some do conceive without the vows of marriage. Sex outside marriage is much accepted now.
Women find it convenient to retain their individuality. They need not conform to the much accepted norm of being married’ (Courtesy: ‘Single motherhood-no more a taboo’. May 21st 2008. Retrieved on June 21, 2008 from http://women. ygoy. com/2008/05/21/single-motherhood-no-more-a-taboo/) Today women in North America are much more confident about their rights and society. Today media too is supportive of a single mother and females are ready to take the responsibility of motherhood without having a partner to support them.
Today females are identifying themselves as single mothers very openly and proudly. Stars like Fantasia who composed the much debated song ‘Baby Mama’ are cult figures for single mothers as she openly pays tributes to single motherhood in her song. Movies like ‘Juno’ are actually showcasing teenage pregnancy and single motherhood of these teenagers and are shedding light on the current situation. Today the topic is how much ever not liked by moralists, single motherhood in teenagers is becoming a fact that everyone has digested like a hard pill.
The situation today is best explained by the current scenario where seventeen teenage girls of a school decided to become pregnant under a ‘pregnancy pact’. Today modern America is an open minded society and though it has its difference of opinions in society, but it still doesn’t put a leash on the issue and leaves the choice well within its citizens. Single mothers today are proud of their achievements as they get financial independence and social independence and many of them even get artificial insemination to get pregnant and become a single mother, also the society is more caring towards them then it previously was.
Countries like India which have the biggest democracy in the world has accepted single mothers only in the very cosmopolitan cities. There too females are subjugated to an amount of problems. But in rural India this topic is still taboo and abortions are rampant within the country. There are even cases of honor killing that are registered as fathers couldn’t tolerate their daughters becoming single mothers. U. S society is very liberal compared to that of the developing nations of Asia, and the stereotyping that goes in an Indian society for being a single mother is way backward to an open American society.
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