Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dear Prudie Goes For Slut-Shaming

I guess I can't act too surprised if your advice column is named "Dear Prudence." A recent column had a letter-writer concerned about her niece and a pit bull.

Dear Prudence,

My sister is 20 years old, has an 18-month-old daughter, and is a great mother. She doesn't have much money, so she recently moved in with a new roommate. The roommate has a pet pit bull. I met the dog a couple of days ago, and while she is very sweet, she also seems to be pretty nervous. I know I was a new person to this dog, but overall what I saw was potentially a very dangerous situation for my niece. I told my sister that, and she told me that she trusts the dog and thinks she's well-mannered. She said that the dog and her daughter get along well, the dog doesn't mind if the child pokes her, and that the dog lets the child sleep in her dog bed sometimes! Is this one of those situations where I can't tell her what to do, so I should leave it alone? Or should I call child protective services?
So what followed could have been a pretty standard answer. Or should have been.


Dear Uneasy,

No wonder the dog is nervous. Suddenly a small human is sticking fingers in her eyes and sleeping in her bed. You're probably sweet and well-mannered yourself, but surely you would lash out at someone who invaded your home and poked your orifices all day. That a pit bull is involved adds to the potential damage if the dog strikes back, but even a placid basset hound could be provoked to take a hunk out of a toddler's face under these circumstances. When a dog uncharacteristically attacks a child, often the aggressor was the child who simply didn't understand that you can't pull on a real dog's tail the way you can your favorite stuffed animal. Your sister is a 20-year-old single mother; that alone indicates she still lacks the ability to understand how acting on her impulses can lead to life-changing events.

Why is being 20 and having a kid shows you lack impulse-control? Oh it's because clearly you are a slut who can't keep her legs crossed. There is no other way in interpret that sentence. Prudie (which, again, what did I expect when prudence is so close "prude.") is tsk, tsking her for being 20 and having S-E-X.

Did she stop and think that maybe the condom broke. Maybe her birth control just failed. Heck in some parts of this country they would think that baring and raising the child is proof that she's not impulsive. Does Prudie really feel like she needed to get into the circumstances of the child's existence to offer advice?

UPDATE: Prudie responded to my email. She writes:
I didn't call her a s--t, I said she clearly lacks judgment, which she clearly does. I think our out-of-wedlock birthrate is a tragedy and I wish more people spoke out about it to make young women consider the consequences of their behavior.
Which I responded what is this "their behavior" you are speaking of? Having sex out of wedlock? Or getting pregnant?

2 comments:

Habladora said...

Good for you for calling Prudie out. I guess she does get paid to moralize, but seriously, reinforcing the sexual double standard and painting all young mothers as being 'loose women' is a pretty low way to pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

A single 20 year old mother is someone who most likely doesn't have financial stability or the emotional support needed to raise a child in a level headed and stable environment. I should know. I have had multiple friends in this situation, and they have all had to struggle and not been the best parents they could have been because of the cicumstances. They do the best that they can, but sometimes doing the best with what you have doesn't cut it when you don't have enough.