Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jeb Bush Thought Publicly Shaming Unwed Mothers Was A Swell Idea

Image via YouTube

Jeb Bush passed a law when he was governor of Florida that required unwed mothers to publish their sexual history in the newspaper in order to give their babies up for adoption. Bush was nostalgic for a simpler time -- when women were publicly shamed for engaging in sex out of wedlock. Not kidding.

The Huffington Post published an excerpt from Bush's 1995 book, Profiles in Character. In a chapter called The Restoration of Shame, Bush argued that what we really needed to cure the "ills" of modern society was a little public shaming:
"One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful."
Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlett Letter? The main female character is forced to wear the letter "A" for having a child out of wedlock. Basically, she has an affair that produces a child, and she becomes identified only as an adulterer her entire adult life, even though she lives the existence of a saint who does nothing but keep to herself and do charitable work. Oh, and when she dies her tombstone only bears an "A" too. Bush loved this idea. He said, "Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots." Oh, yeah. Let's go back to that. Good times.

Back to the  "Scarlett Letter Law" that was in place in Jeb Bush's Florida: he refused to veto the bill in 2001, so it became law and wasn't repealed until 2003 when it was successfully challenged in court. For two years, a woman who could not name the father of her child was forced to take out an ad in a local newspaper if she wanted to place that child up for adoption. The Daily Beast reports that these ads "listed her name and description as well as the name and description of each possible father and the locations were the baby could have been conceived."

Bush is notoriously anti-choice, but thought it was a good idea to put up roadblocks for women who were just attempting to find stable homes for the children they brought into the world. The Daily Beast notes that the abortion rate skyrocketed in Florida after the law was passed: "there were almost 2,000 more abortions in the first six months of 2002 -- after the legislation went into effect -- than in the first six months of 2001."

Why is this story surfacing now? Because Bush is one of the Republican frontrunners for nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign. It's terrifying to think that someone who decades ago thought public humiliation and shaming were an effective way to promote social change is a serious consideration for our next president. When you are anti-choice and also anti-easy access to adoption of unwanted babies -- what does that say about you? It says you just want to criminalize a woman's sexuality.

Women carry a responsibility that men never will -- the physical repercussion of failed birth control. Not every pregnancy is wanted. It's hard for a lot of people to wrap their brains around that -- but women bear a physical responsibility that men never will. It's terrifying to think we may once again be in a position to be under a president who is okay with essentially criminalizing a woman's sexuality.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Forget About Likability

"I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women and self-professed feminists to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy because you have to be likable.And I say that’s bullshit. 
So what I want to say to young girls is forget about likability. If you start thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that’s going to ruin your story so forget about likability. And also the world is such a wonderful, diverse and multifaceted place that there’s somebody who’s going to like you, you don’t need to twist yourself into shapes."
---Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mercury Is In Retrograde And I'm Forgetting Stuff

I got so busy, I neglected to mention my new job! I left Mommyish in March and am now writing and handling social media for Scary Mommy! It's beyond great. Great. Great. I love it.

So I will try to link more posts, but if you want to follow my writing you can see it on Scary Mommy and the Scary Mommy Facebook page.

Mercury is in retrograde, y'all. Big time. I wish I had time to get into that now, but I don't want to add to the madness.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fart Noise


Here's a little something I wrote about Gwyneth's #FoodBankNYCChallenge for Scary Mommy...

Gwyneth Paltrow Lives On A Food Stamp Budget For A Week And Annoys The Entire Internet

I guess the headline should have been "tries to" live on a food stamp budget...

ESPN Should Fire This Woman So We Can All Teach Our Kids A Lesson About Bullying


ESPN reporter Britt McHenry clearly wasn't happy when her car was towed. But, wow. She criticizes the tow lot attendant's education, weight, teeth... This is all just bad.

What a horrible person.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mom Awesomely Live-Tweets Son's Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Class

A mom went to her son's abstinence only sex-ed class and live-tweeted it. The rest is history.