Suck it, Huckabee.

4 Mar

So, here’s the thing. Full disclosure. I was born out of wedlock. At the age of 17, my parents, both of whom were still in high school, had a newborn daughter to take care of. Plenty of people told my mother that she should have an abortion or give me up for adoption, but she didn’t. She had the support of my father (they married the following year and are still happily together) and her family, and here I am. Two more kids later and my family is incredibly close — I couldn’t be happier.

I realize that this isn’t always the case, and I’m sure we’ve beat a lot of statistics. But you know what?  Regardless of the numbers, my mother made a choice. Well, she made several. And so did my father. They chose to have unprotected sex, my mother chose to keep me, they chose to get married upon turning 18 because they were—and still are—madly in love.

But if anyone—man or woman, in love or not—wants to have sex before marriage, that’s their choice. Having a baby when you’re a teenager or a single parent might not be the most glamorous thing, but since when is life about glamour? Life is about the choices you make and doing what’s best for you. Marriage may still be something important in our society, but sex is a primal instinct & desire and there’s no way around it. It’s going to happen, so maybe we should be a little more open about it and teach the younger generation about it instead of bitching and shaming people who are just being human.

Yeah, I’m talking to you, Huckabee. You said this on Monday (thanks, WaPo):

“You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine. But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock [sic].”

[Ed note: Many people like Mr. Huckabee love to shame women for having sex out of wedlock, but they don’t want them to have access to abortion, or access to health care, or access to food stamps, or access to anything, really, that they need to get by. So if you want to acknowledge, Mr. Huckabee, that single moms and their children need help, great. But have the morals to stand behind them and actually give them some goddamn help.]

Apparently, this was an interview with Michael Medved, who responded to Portman’s statement that her fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, gave her the most wonderful role in life by saying he “didn’t give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring!” Yeah. Sure. Because a shiny piece of jewelry and marriage are all women have to look forward to in life. Gag me.

And now, the Huckster is backtracking. Oh, you didn’t mean to insult Natalie Portman and all of the single mothers out there? Well, you insulted a hell of a lot more people than that. Women who have sex before marriage run the risk of revealing their actions publicly if they happen to get pregnant. What about men? They show no outward signs that they’ve bumped uglies. And what, if a woman gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby (not that you think abortions should happen anyway), she should automatically marry the man?

I disagree. I don’t think that any of that bullshit is true, and I don’t think that Natalie Portman’s pregnancy is glorifying having children out of wedlock. I think that Natalie Portman’s pregnancy is inspiring as hell to a lot of people. Here’s this incredibly intelligent, talented, generous, and funny woman with an Ivy League education, an Oscar, an amazing career, who is engaged to the love of her life and about to become a mother. Hot damn, if that doesn’t encourage people to reach for their dreams and embrace their life choices, I don’t know what does.

My mother might not have an Oscar and she didn’t go to Harvard, but she made her own choices, dealt with her decisions, and took life as it came at her. She’s brave and strong and a hell of a woman. (Happy birthday, Mama! Thank you, for the choices you made.) I’m glad that she had the freedom to make those choices and my parents did what made them happiest, rather than simply getting married because I came along.

Not everyone has the resources and support that my mother had. As my smart and lovely friend Jeneice said, when sharing this story with me:

Also, his stuff about most single moms being uneducated and poor isn’t…because of us glorifying wedlock. That’s a bigger problem rooted in so much more than women running around and having sex. Maybe we should look at why these populations are so uneducated and single. Maybe we should work to provide them with more education, more assistance, and/or something other than abstinence-only education instead of using them for your benefit when you want to shame others. But nooooooooooooooooo. Why don’t you work to fix the problem, Mr. Huckabee, instead of trying to shame a woman who can handle it because of her job and education? GAH. GAH. BRAIIIINNNNN. Ugh.”

Ugh, indeed.

P.S. Suck it, Huckabee.

This post brought to you by Dawn. (Editor’s note from Rachel)

5 Responses to “Suck it, Huckabee.”

  1. Wendy Probst March 5, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Basically, I concur with this assessment. I too got pregnant at the age of 20 with my fiancee and we too got married and had a wonderful family…WE both were in the military and worked hard to maintain our family. We have been married 21 years this year and I for one am outraged at such close mindness of Huckabee.

    “Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock [sic].”

    Okay so you pinpointed women as being on government assistance, no job and uneducated…May I remind you it takes two to make a child and most women must stay and raise the child alone, because the father takes off to play his scholarships in school, or finds another woman to get pregnant and continues to procreate as if his life depended on it, however, if we have laws to put non child support fathers in jail, Does this not constitute a deciding factor in where the problem lies in society? Before you open your mouth about mother’s why don’t you let the all American Father’s that it is not alright to get a woman pregnant and just leave her holding the baby? And perhaps, if the states would get more adament on child support and consquences of choices of pregnancy then perhaps so many women would not have to be on government assistance…Who should be liable for a baby born out of wedlock, the mother alone or the father as well. Therefore the government should not have to raise these children by the support.
    It is my body and if I want to have sex I will. Gone are the days of men just having mistresses and wives and getting everyone of them pregnant. Women are aloud to also follow their primal instinct. We already are underpaid, and underappreciated by the male gender. By the way, you(all men in general)would not be here if it weren’t for us women.

  2. Shakeeta W March 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I read this too and was more than pissed that he would say something like that! I actually made his statement part of a Facebook status of mine and went on to prove him wrong by saying that my mother was a single mother, was never on welfare, isn’t poor, and is about to receive her BA this May. It’s truly sad that people think that just because you didn’t grow up with both parents that you will grow up to be nothing. But I guess it’s easy to say that when you grew up in this perfect suburban two-parent household and never had to do an honest day’s work in your life! Also, the “child out of wedlock” thing is just ridiculous. My daughter was born before her father and I got married but the marriage only changed things on paper because we had been living as a married couple for about 3 years at the point and we are still very happily together :)

  3. Jaime VanEnkevort March 9, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    This is a great post. I love that you embrace all aspects of a woman’s choice in this regard: the right to have an abortion, the right to take advantage of adoption services, and the right to embrace the natural aspect of womanhood, distinctly unique to us. I think that many people who advocate women’s rights get caught up in the right to abortion when the choice to keep the baby is just as difficult. Both choices do often carry very negative stigmas in society; it seems, sometimes, that no matter what choice a woman makes, regardless of how healthy for her body or lifestyle, someone is standing on the side with a critical eye to demonize the choice.

    Thanks for promoting women everywhere. I’m having a baby in May and found the part about your parents very empowering – nothing good comes easy.

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