Saturday, August 28, 2004

The World's Worst Parents

I read this post at Eschaton this morning and the commentary to the post, and it led me to World O'Crap's column which proposes a competition to find the Worst Parents.

The column portrays three mothers as nominees, among them at least two conservatives, and gives examples of their bad child-rearing practices. One of the mothers, a Christian fundamentalist comes across as especially scary to me. Not because of the specific physical punishments she recommends (though they are pretty awful, too) but because of the overall impression I get from reading the quotes from her book that anything less than the total demolition of her child's individuality would be a defeat to her. Her daughter seems to be well on the way to a submissive, unthinking Christian womanhood. Scary, scary stuff, to watch when someone is being erased, especially as the erasure is completely legal, even praiseworthy, in the eyes of much of the society.

So yes, read the World O'Crap column. Then tell me why all three nominees for bad parenthood are women and where the fathers of their children are in this competition. Do they bear any responsibility for what their spouses are doing (if they are bad mothers)? Is an absent, emotionally nonexistent father not a bad parent? Why do the fathers get a free ride here? I'm thinking about the Christian fundamentalist mother, in particular, and wondering if she isn't just carrying out the orders of her preacher husband. Yet he has not been nominated as a bad parent. Hmmm.