Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why The Hate-On For Octuplet Mum?


Last night, I was noticing a magazine headline about the "Octo Mom"...and I realized, I keep hearing about this mother who had a few kids...and the headlines are always vile...so I asked Stagg "Why all the controversy about this Octo-Mom?". There are some stories that get such ridiculous airplay and fetistic media coverage (like Michael Phelps alledgedly smoking a bong)...and this poor parent ...WHY?

The article that drew my attention last night wonders "are those new-mom nails?". Like she isn;'t supposed to have long nails with a baby? Are you kidding me? If long nails were a strange phenomenon then all of Hollywood would have to give up having kids. I've had a manicures and long nails since I was a teenager...they have almost always been painted black...and trust me, back then there wasn't any black nailpolish. I used black paint laquer!

Probably the worst insult one can give someone in the United States isn't the word "cunt". It's "bad mother". Being a bad mother is the lowest most reprehensible insult in the United States...and why have we delegated this mother to such a status?

Why do people hate this parent so much? Why is this even a news story?

Because we are a sexist asshole society.

Above is the Duggar family who has a reality tv show called 17 and Counting. People love this family so much and no one is calling them names.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 is a wildly popular reality program following parents who had assisted fertitlity pregnancies. They have 8 kids and the whole world loves them. The family has media sponsorship, donations, they have had trips to Hawaii given to them, even the mother had free plastic surgery given to her to return her tummy to pre-birth size and flatness. Yet we attack Nadya Shulerman for having kids and having donations:Some kind of right-wing capitilist anger says she is going to be the burden to society!


"Octo-Mom vs. Angelina Jolie: Who's the Hotter MILF?" (make sure that pregnancy, motherhood is sexualized and relates to men by labeling them "mothers we like to fuck")

(this quote is from a real bitch, her own mother...maybe this is part of the reason the Octo Mom is looking for unconditional love in babies and children?) "Angela Suleman, 69, said, "Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having [babies], but not the normal way." (Oh right, women are supposed to have careers that reflect "mothering and nurture", kindergarden teacher is the classic job allowed to women. And "the normal way"? Family planning issues of fertility and birth control aren't narrowing the options for women and parents but ever expanding challenging the notion of "normal" and tolerance...and "family" in mostly positive beautiful ways. )

"octopussy" (it's one thing as a James Bond satire...but really? We are allowing this gender stereotyping?)

"obsessed with children" (everyone loves children and kids...that is natural and healthy!)

"battles with depression" (what people with depression aren't supposed to have kids? Or they are supposed to only have a socially sanctioned number of kids?)

"OBSESSED OCTO-MOM ALWAYS HAD A 'BORN' IDENTITY" (if she is emotionally or mentally ill, isn't this a hate-crime making fun of her?)

The emails and letters threatened both Ms Killeen's personal safety as well as that of her former client Suleman stating that her "client's uterus should be ripped out" and that Ms Killeen should be "put down like an old dog." Ms Killeen filed a criminal report over the weekend and provided them with all the information of the threats. Telegraph

This is a mans world even to this day. god forbid a woman has kids without a man...on her own...and loves children: she must be a freak.

Our society in an unconscious mass movement has become hateful in order to control birth rates and population growth. Why don't those reality tv families approach the media and stand up for this poor woman's life? Even her mother is a super bitch and complaining to the press all the time.

Did you know that the more money we make and the more education we have...the lower the birth rate? This is a natural pendulum we see in developing countries contrasted with economically suffering countries. This is not true though for the very rich. People used to have many children in order to create a farming employment fleet. We needed lots of kids because living near livestock and farming introduced cross-species diseases to agricultural communities. Hunter-gatherers have less children as they had less diseases and infant mortality, and breastfed their babies longer.

Now Hollywood rich adopt and have multiple babies. Rich people can afford to have lots of kids. All kinds of overacheiving divas are having twins, Julia Roberts, Rebecca Romin, Angelina Jolie, Diana Krall, and adopting kids. Does this mean instead of a woman having the right to decide her family planning options she is only free to conceive or abort or raise kids if she has money?

George Lucas adopted three kids, but we don't see spoofs of him on SNL (where spoofs of Jolie are a staple sketch). Steven Speilberg and his wife Kate Capshaw have 7 kids.

But one enigmatic low income woman "obsessed with children" is the bane of our society...

We don't like women to be single mums, we don't like women to be opinionated, we don't like women to talk back, and even friends and family will betray a woman if she says or does things we don't like, but would accept from a man. We don't even like women to notice sexism. We don't like women to decide their own fertility, and we extend this hate to gays who are "effeminate"...so they have to fight to have children, to adopt and to be married.

Instead of bitching about this woman having some kids why don't we get university to be a subsidized option for young adults?

Because we are all sexist assholes...and all of us are culpable for allowing this kind of hate-on in order to control women's behaviour.

23 comments:

writer-reader said...

while I agree with some of your comments regarding the sexism in our society, and the impact that has on the reporting of this story, I have to disagree with your basic premise--I think this woman is really over the edge. I haven't followed the coverage very closely, but yes, I think it's completely irresponsible to bring another eight children into the world (who, as it happens, are not objects to verify any parent's self-worth) when you do not have the wherewithal to provide for the six you already have. This was a CHOICE, and I think, a very bad one. It does make a difference that she will clearly continue to need public assistance, so yeah, if you have money, you can do basically whatever you want. (But for the record, as you already know, I think Angelina Jolie is pretty much an asshole as well.)

And the surgical alteration of her face, which is obvious, is just another indication to me of how immature and unstable she clearly is.

Ugh! I hate this story for so many reasons, but I refuse to applaud this woman's actions, which will have profound, life-long effects on all those children, while she uses them to get the "unconditional love" she's "always wanted."

It is egotism run amuck.

Jason Messinger said...

Thanks for shedding some of the ugly light on this horrible phenomenon. The 'Public' fueled by the 'Media' loves the idea of moral outrage. This gives the people expressing the outrage the sense of moral high-ground, while obscuring their own hypocrisy, and the very real moral outrages no-one seems to care about (homelessness, poverty, lack of minimal medical care for the poor, corruption and greed, etc.) An interesting articlle in the current March article of Harper's focuses on this: School for Scandal: The Larger Meaning of the Sordid Little Tale
http://harpers.org/archive/2009/03/0082423

Wandering Coyote said...

Candy, I have to agree with Writer-reader.

You may not have read what this controversy is really about.

Nadia had 6 children to begin with, and is already on social assistance. She purposely went out to get in-vitro to produce yet more children, and now has 14 kids in total that she cannot provide for. The other families you mention didn't already have 6 kids to begin with that they couldn't afford to feed.

I agree that as a society we should mind our own business when it comes to reproduction - in most cases. But I also don't believe the tax payer should be footing the bill for someone's selfishness and irresonsibility.

Melly said...

Ahh, "Writer-reader" sent this to me and I must comment as well.

I agree with all of the points about motherhood/sexism, etc. And sure, Jon & Kate receive perks as a result of TLC. But the children on these shows (neither of which I watch) are loved and nurtured by their parents.

The free stuff? It's the networks, advertisers and other organizations desiring easy publicity who are paying for it. They have their own agenda.

Octo-mom is a few cards short of a full deck. She started a website to raise money for her babies. She went on a PR blitz. Why? If she's so concerned about being a loving mother why don't we see her fully focused that and not on herself?

Who is going to pay for her bundles of joy? We are. And why should we have to? Frankly, I'd prefer my money in my own pocket so I can provide for MY OWN children someday. Because that's the responsbility I'll assume when I choose to become a parent. My responsbility - not someone else's.

Candy Minx said...

Wow, I was out all afternoon and what an amazing feeling to see such thoughtful comments here...thank you! Part of the fun and growth in life is agreeing to disagree!

Writer-reader, I was very excited to see your comments here, thank you! I remember you not too fond of Jolie. For me, this story isn't so much if I agree with Nadya's choices...but how the public and media has responded so cruel. Jolie has less kids that Steven Speilberg. I have no idea if they are all obsessive...I would venture that all parents, or most parents are immensely obsessed with their own children...and most people have kids for exactly the same reason. It feels good to love a child and family. As for ego...well the last thing the ego likes is children they take attention away from the parent, heh heh! Trust me, there is no ego boost in running around after a kid. I am not applauding Nadya's actions or choices...I'm pointing out the difference between a MARRIED couple having 17 kids reception...and a single woman having lots of kids. Why isn't there social outrage at The Duggler Family?

Jason, thank you, it sounds like you and I are on close to the same page on this topic. I'd love to see all the tabloids donating money to poor families and creating music programs etc. instead of making a mountain out of this molehill.

Hi Wandering Coyote, thank you, I probably don't know very much about this womans story. what I do know...she sounds like a fascinating person to me. she's a college graduate, is interested in social work and is going back to finish her graduate degree. She had a insurance settlement which she was using to raise her children and a subsidy from a social program. I don't have a moral issue with people getting welfare and subsidy. It doesn't bother me at all, but I realize I am unusual in this. I have known a few people, some of them friends of mine...who have mental and emotional issues who have trouble keeping a job. They get welfare and it doesn't bother me at all. They have no physical ailments, but don't work...so if they can get money to not work...why can't a mother or a family? Who decides how many children any given family can/should have? Where is it written that we should stop our families at 1, 2 or five children? It may not be as many kids as I would choose to have...but the one basic natural law we all have in this life is our biological purpose...to recreate. It's probably the ONLY thing we know as an animal about ourselves. Our biological purpose and meaning of existence is to have children...and probably as many as we can.

Melly, thank you for visiting! I haven't come across any evidence of Nadya being a bad mother or her family being less nurturing than Jon & Kate or The Dugglers. All families depend on the support, compassion and assistance of their community and family or friends. It doesn't matter if you have one baby or 17, like the Dugglers. Maybe Nadya is not playing with a full deck, but if that is so...I still don't believe anyone else has a right to decide how many children either mentally handicapped, or with Down's Syndrome, or despite a low income, or I.Q. a family should have. But...from what I see in the press, this woman is educated and wants to work in her community to help it through social work. I have no idea of her I.Q. or what kind of stats she had university...but she has more education than me! I am all for people donating things to other families no matter how many kids they have...I believe that is a priviledge and a blessing to donate time and gifts. I see people start blogs all the time trying to raise money. In fact a very famous blog was called "one red paper clip" and the guy wanted to trade his paper clip for a house. He got all kinds of press for it, he traded the paper clip for a pen, the pen for a coleman stove, the stove for a snow globe etc etc. He now has a house! I've seen people ask for money on blogs and in the street ll the time. I don't have a moral problem with it, it's their karma, not mine.

:)

Anonymous said...

MINX you are full of shit as usual

Candy Minx said...

Dear Anonymous, you are going to have to get to the end of a long line of people ahead of you. Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that I'm not full of shit. Don't worry, when you finally get to the front of the line I'll give ya a cookie.

I seriously, absolutely, don't care how many kids other people have or how much money they make etc. I don't care if a parent has a manicure or not. It's an over reaction to an interesting fertility accident. Freak out over the doctor, not the mother. Freak out about the heartless society.

There are real problems out there.

Wandering Coyote said...

Yes, but a person with a mental or physical disability doesn't have a choice to stop being disabled, do they? I don't have a problem with people getting social assistance for those reasons, either - I'm one of them, in fact. But Nadia had a choice, and I don't think the state or the taxpayer should be on the hook for her poor decision-making.

And yes, the doctor is culpable in this situation, too. I totally agree there.

Candy Minx said...

Well, Wandering Coyote...guess what people say behind the backs of people getting assistance for emotional or mental subsidy? They say they are lazy. I don't agree with that...but do you know how many arguments and discussions I have had defending people who get welfare for being diagnosed and labeled by a doctor as mentally unable to work? LOTS...and you don't want to know all the things people say... It's brutal how people judge those people on benefits. Brutal. As ugly as judging a woman for having children. I also know lots of people with emotional or mental health issues who persevere and go to work everyday. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is to decide if the system is being used for the advantage?

I have no idea if Nadya is mentally ill, depressed, so far as I know...there is no illness for wanting to have lots of children. I actually think it's a beautiful desire.

These kind of fertility multiple births are ACCIDENTS. Doctors take chances as do patients with a crap shoot gamble on hoping at least one of the fetuses will "take". I actually am worried about those cute little octuplets...I hope all of them survive. They've been through a lot!

I don't think the woman's choice is either right or wrong...it's personal. WE DON"T know her. We don't know almost anything about her.

Meanwhile...people are paying for tv ads and loving a MARRIED couple for having 17 children. These are NOT rich people...they probably couldn't afford 5 kids.

The outrage against a single mum doing the exact same choices is very very telling of something. I say it's sexist. But I also understand if others don't see it that way.

And by the way...aside from a very small population segment in industrial countries...most people can't afford to have kids. Most of my friends got pregnant by accident, didn't think they could afford children...and shit, they probably couldn't ha ha...but people find a way.

If it weren't for a bottle of wine, most people might not have had any kids...so why do we care that this woman has decided to have quite a few?

At this point after all the cruel barbs against this women, I hope she does get some money and toys etc donated. She's earned it after this media siege. God knows if she'd gotten pregnant "the normal way" her mother would be calling her a slut.

Wandering Coyote said...

Candy, I've been on assistance for about 2.5 years and I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF JUDGMENTS PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE ME - TRUST ME.

Candy Minx said...

Well then I guess you probably know better than anyone how Nadya must feel and what it feels like to be judged by people without empathy and based on gossip.

Wandering Coyote said...

You bet.

I also know that one person can barely make it month to month on what disability pays, so I keep my legs together and my ovaries from ovulating so I don't have to raise a child on a piddly amount of money - because growing up well below the poverty line is no way to raise one child let alone 14.

Wandering Coyote said...

An interesting lesson has come out of this Candy. If you're interested.

Candy Minx said...

Wow.

Um, wow.

You know...I just only now came to my blog and saw your comment about not having sex and being low income. And then the comment saying you had written something at your blog.,,,

I'm glad you expanded on the comment about not having children, about living on a limited income and wrote more thoughts coming out from the discussion.

I am sorry if discussing a hot topic/red flag topic upset you, but at the same time, it sounds like you may have been triggered to a positive observation about life, yourself.

When I read about the feeling you have that you have to fight off intimacy and have made a decision to not have intimacy in your life because of your finacial situation...I was shocked and I felt so so much for your state of mind...and concern.

The first response I had though was...love is free.

Love doesn't cost anything. If you don't want to date, that is one thing...but it would be absolutely free for you to volunteer with children or with a church. You could GIVE love without spending any money.

Second, if you felt that bankrupt about your situation...volunteer work would not seem likean attractive option to someone feeling so cut off from intimacy...maybe...?

And three...maybe your finacial situation is a good eccuse to stop your self from developing your life any further.

And I feel like you might have painted yourself into a corner.

I believe you need to find a way to give love...make cookies for a low income day care centre. Tell some friends you want to donate cookies to less privedged children,and some books and ask them to donate some groceries (sugar, butter) and books to the children and you will deliver them. Something like that.

Depression is directly linked to anger. Anger and depression are the same thing.

Anger can leave the body in several ways one by exercise, two by avoiding sugars and starches, and by learning and thinking and practicing compassion and forgiveness.

And...maybe trying put your self in a situation, like a church dance, like a community fundraiser, like a curling bonspiel you might meet some people who would go on a date with you.

A date can be a cup of coffee, going to the library or walking around a bookstore.

Dating doesn't mean you have to have sex...and having sex doesn't menan you automatically are going to get pregnant.

Instead of making all these rules about how much sex or love costs...how you don't want to get pregnant and lock your legs together...

That quite frankly Wandering Coyote...doesn't seem to be working for you...why not do something wild and crazy and do the opposite.

Go help some underprivelged people...for free! Go meet someone and ask them on a date...for free!

intimacy doesn't cost money...but it does cost healing and release from anger....and letting go of the ego that wants to control our happiness and stop us from feeling true love.

Big hugs to you and much love

Tough ol' Candy

Gardenia said...

Wow! That being said - my feelings have been mixed. I am fascinated with this woman - little has been said about her reality other than judgements and reproduction methods and choices. The fact that she is well educated intrigues me. The fact that she survives emotionally and feeds all those kids somehow and the children all survive (I hope the new babies survive - they look so tiny and fragile) fascinates me.

As a grandmother I can understand why her mother is at her wits' end. When these little ones come and mom needs help, our hearts expand to accomodate them, but not necessarily our stamina! It does not mean we love any less, in fact we love MORE - mostly. (Not all grandmas I realize)

Your post opened a new line of thought for me - I have been noticing sexism in another place (will email you - its on line) that rather interests me - but your post blasted my eyes open in this case.

Previously I thought the flap was about our tax dollars going to help this woman and children - but then I haven't heard of such hate mail over our other tax dollars given to some pretty insane issues. Many of which have been in the news - where do banks get off telling us taxpapers that its none of our business what they used our tax dollars for?

I think you have hit the nail on the head about the sexism. Despite those who do really feel its about the public assistance, I think the bottom line in the true hate mail and hate going this woman's way is sexism.

Most of us women when we have our children, do it on blind faith that we will be able to take care of these kids somehow. We don't always get planned babies and responsible fathers, but we love them anyway and would die for them if called upon to do so.

A divorced friend of mine with four little children told me that she didn't plan to have her husband leave her for someone else and forget he had helped create four little children. Of course she didn't,

I personally think the woman who prompts all this controversy transcended some social boundaries (conception methods) and I often wrestle with the concepts of scientific conception but that is my own personal thing and I don't get off into a rage or write hate letters to folks who have scientific births. The actual Rage is something deeper - like Ku Klux Klan kinda stuff that prompts such extreme hatred, beyond personal opinons and you are right to condemn that and point out that perhaps sexism has something to do with the hate - perhaps sexism and maybe its class based too, although Angelina has been blasted as well so that kind of maybe transcends a class bias.

Personally, I believe all mothers should be paid by the government to stay home at least two years with their babies (boy do I get in trouble when I say this) and then, yes, they need education, education, education to make a living - as all our young people do in this world that has changed so drastically in the last 30 years or so. We also need centers for children and youths of single working mothers where there is some guarantee of safety and supervision for children. I think us "taxpayers" besides moral issues, would come out better with reduced crime rates on that note.

So many people have children for so many reasons other than truly altruistic reasons. I for one, remember the days, when birth control was not much of an option.

Then, my personal belief as a Christian, is that no person in this whole world is an accident. If I believe what God says in His Word, then He knew us before we were born - that is what it says - so really, each human being is sacred and supposed to be here. The situation that each human arrives into - well, we will never know the whys of that on this plane of existence.

Keep writin' - keep thinkin' -

Candy Minx said...

Great comments Gardenia, this topic does really make one wonder about what the definition of family is, who should decide on who should or shouldn't have children.etc etc.

I think it's very bizarre that people thik mentally handicapped people shouldn't have children...welfare mothers shouldn't have children,...

perhaps the mother Nadya has some emotional issues...if we stropped people from having children because we thought they had emotional issues many of us ourselves wouldn't have been born!

A number of people have said they think there is something wrong with her...isn't that all the more reason she should have donations and financial help...for food, for lodging and for therapy? Isn't that all the more reason to approach the womans story with compassion?

I myself came from a poor family...and I've always been dead broke...but I try not to let money govern my inner life and dreams. You do the best you can.

Some people have more money than god, and they are sociopaths and are cruel to their children...we don't always know th whwole story?

Maybe a poor mother would be a more caregiving mother than a rich mother...who knows the answer?

Who is perfect?

Who should decide how each of us lives?

SME said...

I certainly don't hate this woman or think that she'll be a bad parent - she clearly loves having kids around, and even has an education in child development. But I do think it's irresponsible to have 14 kids without being employed, and I think it's a shame the kids probably won't have a dad. Dads are great, and can help take some of the burden off moms. I feel privileged to have had a father.
I also think it's reckless to implant so many embryos (6, I believe) all at once. This isn't even standard fertility practice; most drs limit the implantation to two or three embryos, to avoid just this situation. Not too many women want to be walking clown cars.
There's also the issue of overpopulation. Having more than a dozen kids doesn't seem like a good idea when it comes to sustainability and our environment. I think it's ridiculous for the Duggars to have so many kids when they could have had, say, 6 kids and then adopted or fostered 6 others.
I'm all for reproductive freedoms, but there has to be common sense involved in family planning. Nadya Suleman doesn't seem to have much of that.

tweetey30 said...

We are biased here but then again why have 14 children you arent supporting?? I mean I can see one or two and get what you can get but when on Welfare you can only get so much a month.. I know this from past experience. A lady I babysat for a long while ago ended up having like 10 kids and got cut off from her welfare checks at a certain amount. she thought she was going to keep increasing her money until she had more than enough and that wasnt the case.

I love kids too but I dont think I would go and have 14 of them.. The "Normal Way" or through "Fertility"... Yikes..

Gardenia said...

In this "age" it seems like family takes many forms - I have noticed that (since I'm a grandma) more and more grandparents seem to be pitching in, helping raise grandchildren. Which I think is fabulous if you can remember who the parents are and have good boundaries.

More "non traditional" families are popping up - I think mostly its about LOVE - one can grow up in a traditional family and still be an emotional orphan!

It's not a perfect world. We can't start telling people they can or can't have children - if they are treating the children well..or even less than well.

One of my best friends years ago had 12 children - one died as a baby. Her husband was no help - he stayed gone most of the time, returned home ocassonaly to make another baby - she grew a garden and fed them year around - there were times I had to buy one or the other of them a pair of shoes so they could go to school - somehow she got by and raised them all to be good people....and started a new career when they were grown - amazing! Mostly absent dad was a charismatic beautiful "tortured" soul - talented, kept the family out at the farm, isolated, eventually drank himself to death.

* (asterisk) said...

Personally, I think two kids is more than enough these days. Anyone in a first-world country having more than that is putting a strain on the environment.

And if you cannot even support them financially you are putting a strain on govt and therefore other individuals.

Why the fuck should I pay for the upkeep of someone else's family, when they keep breeding and I have opted out of that system?

Fourteen kids is just ridiculous. And the doctor(s) involved must shoulder some responsibility too. But clearly the mother is an idiot and/or has "issues", to use something of a euphemism.

But to the broader point of living in a sexist society, yes I'd agree with that. And "we" are bitching on her manicure to say, "Shit, her priorities are fucked!" But we all knew that already... except perhaps for those people who only get their news from glossy gossip rags.

L.M. said...

Candy, according to this CBC article, your observations may not be so far off the mark.

Personlly, I'm even repelled by twins, so i wouldn't be able to look at this issue very clearly.

(Yuck, twins, two screaming freaks)

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