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.”
P.S. Suck it, Huckabee.
This post brought to you by Dawn. (Editor’s note from Rachel)