Single Mother Stigma

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by Blair Brown Single mothers are the unsung heroes of the human experience. Single mothers are made to apologize for their existence on a daily basis.Everyday they endure the unnecessary and unwarranted scrutiny of society. Meanwhile, single fathers are praised as unselfish, caring, and superhuman.

The "Single Mother Stigma," that society imposes on members of the community raising children on their own, holds with it all of the hate-filled baggage of misogyny. Still, we are all immediately aware of the stereotypes that continue to be attributed to single mothers. In general, society has little respect for single parent households.

On the one hand we recognize the bravery of single mothers during Mother's Day or when their child is acknowledged for their accomplishments. However, this praise is limited to the narrative that the child overcame the "condition of being raised by a single mother." On the other hand we ignore, pity, and dismiss these members of our community as broken, irresponsible, or even"bad for society."

It remains acceptable in our society to tell a single mother that she is failing her children by being employed, while the alternative is to shame her for being a stay-at-home parent. This is an abhorrent habit our society must be cured of. I want today to be the last day that society tells a woman that her ability as a parent is measured by the presence or absence of a partner. Today should be the last day that misogyny wears the disguise of a concerned member of the community that doubts her ability to be a parent. Today should be the day that women are no longer questioned for their existence.  This day should be the last day that a family is defined as "a man and a woman in a heterosexual relationship raising their biological child."

The problem with our society is not single mothers, it is the special brand of sexism that denies their families from being recognized as legitimate and whole.