Michael Brendan Dougherty writes about his experience growing up as the child of a single mother. His story highlights the ongoing struggle of all single mothers, the challenges of marriage and family more broadly, and the so-called fixes proposed by the sexual revolution.
But his story asks some questions not often asked by the Melinda Gates’ of our day. What do single women truly want or need? What indignities do they still suffer that we may not even see?
Specifically, Dougherty wonders whether the social taboos of the past stigmatizing single mothers, now characterized as “retrograde and ugly” by the proponents of the sexual revolution, were actually better for women than the unspoken indignities foisted on single mothers and their children today.
From my perspective the sexual revolution liberated men to abandon the mothers of their children, defining fatherhood down to an alimony payment and maybe state-defined visitation. Women like my mother were expected to raise families entirely on their own emotional and financial resources, however meager. The answers given to the problems that this social revolution caused tend to be curt and unhelpful: contracept better. Or as my mother was ominously told by
some upon my conception, “Just take care of it.” Those seem like the “retrograde and ugly” moral sentiments to me.
Just because I turned out fine doesn’t mean that everything is fine.
His piece reminded me of this excellent new video by HLI challenging Melinda Gates’ recent pledge of $1 billion for contraception around the world. Are women in the developing world truly better off if they simply learn to contracept better? What indignities did the sexual revolution force on women that nobody is talking about?