I blame the teenage mothers

Never a frown, is there Gordon Brown? Unless you’re frowning at teenage mothers that is.

(Thanks to Cath Elliott for the text from the speech.)

And I do think it’s time to address a problem that for too long has gone unspoken…

That’s right, Gord, it’s gone unspoken. Because nobody ever blamed teenage mothers before.

the number of children having children. For it cannot be right, for a girl of sixteen, to get pregnant,

She just “gets pregnant”? What, by herself? What, teenage mothers have some kind of parthenogenesis going on?

be given the keys to a council flat and be left on her own.

Because why Gordon? Why can’t it be right? What are you so afraid the teenage mother will do?

And why all this talk of council flats anyway? Some teenage mothers rent privately, some live with their parents, some live with their partners (you didn’t say, Gordy, but are you talking about all teenage mums or just the wayward girls?) Surely you can’t be calling up that old trope “teenage mothers get themselves pregnant just to get a council flat” can you? To appeal to the Daily Mail reading contingent? No, can’t be that.

From now on all 16 and 17 year old parents who get support from the taxpayer

So, that’s all of them then? I mean, child benefit isn’t means tested but it comes from the taxpayer. And note the change from “mother” to “parent”. Is it parents, Gord? Or just mothers? Can you make yourself clearer please?

will be placed in a network of supervised homes. These shared homes will offer not just a roof over their heads,

“Will be placed” Gordon? That doesn’t sound very consensual to me, do these wayward girls young welfare queens teenage mothers teenage parents get a say in the matter?

These shared homes will offer not just a roof over their heads

Roof over their heads – but wouldn’t a council flat, you know, the same council flat you talked about earlier, wouldn’t that come with an added roof?

but a new start in life where they learn responsibility and how to raise their children properly.

They can’t be responsible without your help, Gordy? Without government help? Ah, here we come to the crux of the matter. Teenage mothers are all clearly irresponsible. After all, they couldn’t have chosen to have babies, at least, not for the Right Reasons. They couldn’t possibly be capable of bringing them up by themselves.

They need Golden Brown’s help via his network of borstals care homes to learn how to be Good Citizens and bring their babies up the NuLabour way. Maybe Claire Verity, Supernanny or Gina Ford can get them to tame the little tyrants and have them singing D:Ream to them to help them sleep through the night by two weeks.

ETA: when your policy is sounding suspiciously like BNP policy? It might be time for a rethink, Gordylocks.

Girl’s Mother Caused Polanski to Rape

With Roman Polanski having been arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding US arrest warrant, the rape apologists have been coming out in droves.  However, we here at I Blame The Mother care about mother-blaming.  Luckily for us, the rape apologists have got that covered, too.  They figured out that Roman Polanski would not have raped a 13-year-old girl except for the girl’s mother!  Here’s Joan Z Shore, Co-founder of  Women Overseas for Equality (Belgium), over at the Huffington Post laying it out for us:

The 13-year old model “seduced” by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies.

As Amanda Hess, in her column over at the Washington City Paper, comments about Shore’s description:

So, Polanski is just a really special guy who was practically forced to have sex with that 13-year-old girl by her mother.

Brynn Caffey puts a slightly different spin on the mother-blaming in his comments on an article he wrote at the Bilerico Project.  He starts with this comnment:

Finally, her mother. What mother would let her 13-year-old daughter go on a photo shoot alone with a Hollywood director? And twice?! As a mother, I can tell you I would not, without a shadow of a doubt. This does lead one to question if her mother was knowingly looking to eventually profit from the encounter.

and follows it up later with this comment in case we missed that he was accusing the mother of deliberately sending her underaged daughter to get raped:

What is open to question is whether [the girl's] primary victimizer was Polanski, or her mother. If the latter, it would certainly not be the first time a parent deliberately coached their child on how to behave and what to say afterwards, then callously pushed her into an exploitative situation with a Hollywood celebrity hoping it would result in a sexual encounter from which she could profit—financially or in other ways.

(Note: For those confused by my referring to Caffey, a mother, as “he”, this is because he is a transgender man.  I’ve also edited out his use of the girl’s name in his second comment.  I see no reason to continue victimising her more than has been and continues to be done.)

I prefer Caffey’s mother-blaming rape apologism to Shore’s not only because it’s more direct in the blaming, but because it always gives me an extra warm feeling when it’s a mother invoking motherhood to blame another mother.

Mothers who work have unhealthy, unfit children

Clicky clicky!

Back to this old argument again. A new study has discovered that children who have working mothers *shock horror* consume sweetened drinks between meals and even worse use their computers or watched television for at least two hours a day compared to the children of “stay at home” mothers who spend less than two hours on these activities. Wow! Who’d have thunk it, HOLD THE FRONT PAGES IT’S BREAKING NEWS. Kids like fizzy juice and tv.

This story has of course been picked up by the mainstream media and various talking heads have lamented the loss of the good old days when Dad would be the breadwinner and Mum wore an apron and had dinner ready for 5pm. How is this news?! And more to the point, when this country’s abysmal financial state has us with a budget deficit of 12% of GDP in the current financial year what more is expected of us because as we all know, as far as this Government are concerned we should all be working outside the home and spending money to fill the massive hole we’ve been dug into thanks to the credit crunch.

Of course another facet to this argument is that the report also asked about exercise versus sedentary activities. Could it be that years of media coverage of PEEDOS EVERYWHERE may well have resulted in parents being afraid to let their children have the freedom to play outside of the home without constant monitoring? No, of course not. It’s the Mothers’ fault for going to work. Bad Mothers.

You couldn’t make this shit up.

It’s only equality if the government can’t exploit it

When I was linked to this story on the Daily Fail yesterday, I assumed that it had been exaggerated because after all it was in the Daily Fail. Right..? Sadly not, as the same story was also published by the BBC:

…the case of two police officers told they had broken the law by caring for each other’s children.

Ofsted said the arrangement contravened the Childcare Act because it lasted for longer than two hours a day, and constituted receiving “a reward”.

It said the women would have to be registered as childminders.

Now let’s just clarify this here. Two women working in LAW ENFORCEMENT – where I’m fairly sure you have to be CRB-checked and be generally sensible people – have been told that babysitting for one another in their own homes so that they can go to work without being crippled by childcare costs is a REWARD and therefore contravenes the Childcare act.

Let’s just run that one again. A mutual agreement – which sees two young children cared for by someone who they are close to, who is both a parent of a similarly-aged child AND who is CRB-checked & trained to respond to emergency situations – is a reward and they have now been told to cease this arrangement unless they register as childminders and succumb to inspection by Ofsted.

I… I don’t even know where to start on this one so we’ll go for ye olde favourite, responsibility.

What has encouraged me over the last 24 hours has been the anger displayed by other mothers, fathers and grandparents responding to this. I have personally been long concerned that this Government does not trust parents to make decisions for their own children, that laws are enacted with scant consideration to those it covers. Ludicrous rules enforced in the name of “Health & Safety” have left our children incapable of assessing risk for themselves or – for the most part – able to play naturally without inhibition or worry about breaking the rules. But – and it is a big but – what gives Ofsted the right to intervene in a situation that is common practice the length and breadth of the nation? Ironically, it turns out that if Mother A had taken Child A to Mother B’s house to care for the children there (and vice versa) it would have been a non sequitur because the role of the carer changes from childminder to childcarer

Of course, if those women had accepted their subservient roles and stayed at home with their children instead of working then there would be no issue. I mean, how very dare they desire to leave their children to go out to the workplace? The government provides tax credits to contribute towards the costs of childcare, isn’t that good enough for these Mothers? So I throw it open to you – do you think this action is fair and equitable? Or absolutely ridiculous?

I think I’ve made my feelings quite clear on the matter but just in case – Mr Brown, stop blaming the Mothers.

“A Nation of Wimps”: guess who’s to blame!

(Obviously we are discussing the United States of Asshattery America. Because what other nation is there?)

Reader Vittra offered us today’s thrilling selection, which, though it’s old, was too horrifying full of shit what the fuck were they smoking good to pass up.

Psychology Today declares we are “A Nation of Wimps”. We are stupid, weak, learning disabled (only not really, because learning disabilities are fake, and accommodations for same are actually “cheating”), depressed, anxious, incapable, incompetent, impatient, and immature, and they spend more paragraphs than I care to count disparaging and insulting American youth for being that way. And can you guess who they blame?

Is it a culture that encourages litigation — by the lack of universal health care, by a justice system having nothing to do with real justice, by a class divide so deep and corporations so powerful that awards in the millions are barely slaps on the wrist for the “losers”, and the only way out of poverty for the “winners” — at the cost of common sense, community, and actual caring?

Is it corporations themselves, or commercialization (their means of control) — or the very idea of unregulated capitalism itself from which they arise –, which place short-term profit and appearance ahead of long-term prosperity or real meaning?

Is it the carving up and dissolution of communities, the worship of the “nuclear family”, the unwillingness to open ourselves up to receiving or offering assistance?

Is it a culture that pressures performance above health, production above personhood, technological “advances” above humanity and art?

Is it the school environment itself, which is eliminating recess and free time left and right, introducing academics younger and younger, and is structured so as to eliminate the free will and autonomy of the student — or the policies and politicians which are pushing for said academics and restrictions, requiring more and more testing at younger ages?

Is it the laws and legislations and interfering “do-gooders” that actively prosecute those parents who are attempting to raise “free range kids”?

Is it any part of the kyriarchy, of the culture families are immersed in, of the institutions they are required to navigate?

Of course not. Else I wouldn’t be ranting about it here.

No, the litany of loserhood Pscatology Today* unleashes on the unsuspecting reader is blamed entirely and solely on the parents.

From the first line (shaming “mommies” and “daddies” for playing with their kids) to the last (declaring parents selfish and shortsighted for being anxious about their kids, as though parents are incapable of worrying both about their own children and children everywhere), the article lets us know on no uncertain terms that we and we alone are to blame if our children have depression, or anxiety, or learning variations (which are fake anyway), or go wild in college.

I was going to take a moment for nuance  here — mention that I’m a big fan of benign neglect, for instance — but the author never did. It took me far too long to get through it (much of my spleen was vented on the subject on Twitter: pity my followers), hoping for some hint of rationality, of recognition of social factors, of broader perspective, but their dogged determination to blame the mother was so admirable that in the end I decided to imitate them. I guess my immature, indolent intellect (as evidenced by my lifetime struggle with bipolar depression) just wanted the easy way out.

I blame my parents.

*Sorry, couldn’t help myself. It’s just so full of shit.

Like beating yourself up? This book may be for you

Do you like having people tell you how horrible your kids are?

Do you enjoy being told that you are a bad parent?

If that is your idea of a good time, this book by Larry Winget may be for you. It reads like the bible of motherblame. From the press release:

ABOUT “YOUR KIDS ARE YOUR OWN FAULT” (Gotham Books; January 2010; Hardcover; $26.00).

This is not a fix-your-kid book. It’s a fix-the-way-you parent book. You owe it to your kids to parent with a plan. As Larry explains, “Why am I writing this book? Look around. Our kids are a mess! They are overmedicated, over-indulged, over-fed, over-weight, over-entertained, under-educated, under-achieving, under-disciplined, disrespectful, illiterate brats with a sense of entitlement that is crippling our society. And it has to change!”

Along with in-depth research and experience from raising his own kids, Winget makes sure you “don’t expect to change your kids’ behavior, unless you are willing to change your own.” He uses the same tough love approach that has made him a bestseller to make sure you are teaching your kids the right values to become productive adults and live a successful life.

WINGET tells you things you don’t necessarily want to hear or admit to, such as:

–You tell your kids they’re special. They’re not!

–You make your kids the most important thing in life. They’re not!

–You turn to medicine to fix everything. Don’t be lazy!

–You set a bad example. Your kids follow it.

Winget forces parents to take a good look at their own behaviors and make a change. He offers five basic principles but suggests it isn’t a matter of just doing them; it is how well you do them that counts.

This Winget guy sounds like a wing nut to me. On his website (not deserving of a link…look him up if you want) he calls himself the “pitbull of personal development” (FWIW I don’t like pitbulls). His other book is called “No Time For Tact”, which he very obviously demonstrated by bringing out this parentblame book. It sounds like it breaks all of the rules of appropriate parenting advice by trying to shame people into whipping their kids into shape. He is also on twitter and predictably is not following anyone and doesn’t reply to anyone…all one way communication. Just the guy I want to teach me to be a good person and a good parent.

I’d love to take my copy of The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris, which concludes “as for what’s wrong with you: don’t blame it on your parents” and whack him with it.

Thank you to Meagan Francis from The Happiest Mom who called out this idiot on twitter and forwarded the press release to me by e-mail.

Get raped in front of your kids in a parking garage? Your fault.

This one is a few weeks old by now, but a very unfortunate and current example of the classic blame the rape victim.

A woman was raped at gunpoint in the hotel parking garage in front of her two children at the Marriott Hotel in Stamford Connecticut.  The woman’s attacker is serving a 20-year prison term for the 2006 attack, but in the woman’s lawsuit against Marriot the company claimed that she:

failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities.

Not only is this blaming the rape victim and blaming the mother, but in my opinion it is also Marriott admitting that its hotels are no safer than the worst neighbourhoods out there. Why would anyone stay at a hotel like that? You might as well just grab a mattress and throw it on the ground in an alley in a violent area.

To make matters worse, Marriott also wanted to be sure that everyone knew exactly which mother to blame, when it indirectly disclosed her and her children’s identities by seeking subpeonas for people like her pilates instructor, friends and tennis partners, house cleaner and baby sitter.

The company later retracted its “blame the victim” defense after it realized the extent of the backlash. Too little, too late.

Read more:

Marriott hotel in US withdraws blame-the-victim defense in gunpoint parking ramp rape (Associated Press)

Marriott is a Disgrace: A Loyal Marriotteer No More (blog post on Dirt & Noise)

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