Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I apologise, I had breakfast at MacDonalds this morning. Nasty capitalist world dominating institution that it is. It does rather good Sausage and Egg Muffins. I sat down and got my laptop out, and whilst it was firing up, I looked around. The place was literally full of young, poor, single mothers - whiling away a few hours with their legions of pre-school children. I must be getting old but a thought popped into my head - "What is the world coming to?" or more specifically "Is this what feminism has acheived for us?"

I'm sure its not what the suffragettes and early feminists envisaged for us they were trying to release us from domestic slavery, to give us choices. Instead we have the right to stay home with our kids on the breadline. With the freedom to work nights pole dancing and get a boob-job.

But its not the young middle class girls who find themselves in this predicament, it is the young working class girls. There is no shame in being a single mother now, and women are equal to men. They can go out, get drunk, have anonymous sex...

The young middle class girls I assume supported by Mum and Dad as ever have a termination or two, get through uni, live with their boyfriend for 5-10 years and if they're lucky he marries them. Then they can have a couple of kids and she has a get out clause via the current legal system to be supported by him until the children grow up. Lucky?? alternatively he could realise just as her ovaries are packing up that he doesn't want marriage and kids, at least not with her, and leave her possibly unfulfilled but probably with career in tact.

What honestly is the incentive for men to get married and/or have kids? They can have a lover, a fellow wage slave, home comforts, they can say they're not ready for kids or commitment, they can go on like this for decades.

For women the picture is rather different. If you leave your run too late you may never be a mother, if you get pregnant young and single with an impoverished man and don't terminate the pregnancy you sentence yourself to a lifetime of hard-labour (single parenting) and scupper all your chances at education. So the minority, smart university educated women go Jane Austen style - and snare themselves someone who has career prospects and can support you in the style you would like to become accustomed to. Who could blame them? Cohabitation is all very well, the court will recognise de facto relationships but nothing is quite as concrete as a good old wedding certificate.

Being an educated, middle aged, single parent, I increasingly find myself sympathising with both young poor single parents and fathers in single income families.

Later: I had a couple more thoughts. For the younger poorer girls it is often a rational choice too. Have a baby and get out of home and be supported by the government if there is no dad around.

But here's the thing, many Western goverments have the following philosophy about children:

If the husband can't pay, then the dad should pay, if the dad can't pay then the step-dad should pay, if the step-dad can't pay then the government will pay.

How is this empowering to women? maybe in my case.... if none of the above can/will pay she can pay herself.

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