Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Wedding, No Womb: A Middle-of-the-Road Perspective

*Note: This post has zero stats on how good/bad children of single mothers are, how they fair in life, comparisons between single parent & two-parent families, jail stats, economic info, nada.  If you're looking for all that, I'm sure you'll find a lot on both sides of the argument by simply following the #NWNW hashtag on Twitter. This post is STRICTLY the opinion of Tori D., and I reserve the right to change that opinion or stay stubbornly mired in it, should I choose to do so.*

A few week ago, I saw posts popping up about No Wedding, No Womb, an initiative that some black bloggers--mostly women, from what I saw--started as an effort to reduce the high percentage of out of wedlock births. Seems noble enough. Of course, in typical Tori D. fashion, I couldn't get any thoughts together in time, so I dropped it. I figured it would pass relatively unnoticed anyway, so why post something when it's dying down? But um, it didn't.

Within the weeks since #NWNW appeared in the Twitterverse, it has morphed into an ugly battle. From the opposition, I've seen tweets calling NWNW self-hating because it "puts down black men" and picks on poor black women, insensitive to homosexuals, a put down from people on moral pedestals, illogical, anti-feminist in that it ignored a man's role & responsibility and the assertion "these bitches are dykes." I hadn't followed the battle that was going on, but these were the tweets that were flooding my timeline. So when I finally go back to see what #NWNW supporters had to say, there was an onslaught of attacks towards those who were born or had kids out of wedlock instead of defense of their stand.

What the hell happened?

It amazes me (though at this point in my life it really shouldn't) that people could see the same thing with such starkly different perspectives. Granted, I have not read all--or even a majority--of the posts that were written for NWNW. The few that I did read told personal stories and didn't come off as belittling to me. But then I thought about it a little differently: Would I be offended if I were the result of a casual fling, or even a relationship that just didn't result in marriage? Would I be pissed if I'd had a child outside of marriage? Would it somehow be less infuriating if it wasn't just directed at black women? How would this whole movement affect me? Clearly I don't have an answer as these are all hypothetical. Honestly, I can see both sides, especially when they bring in different elements that I had not initially considered when NWNW came into play. However, I think a lot of people (on both sides of the argument) are letting feelings and personal circumstances color how they receive the message, or causing them to not receive it at all.

So what's the Tori D. interpretation of NWNW?
Have a baby when you are ready. Practice safe sex. I know many people don't go looking for trifling, no good people to have babies with (male or female), but being selective about who gets the goods and what you do to prevent pregnancy could mean a world of difference for you. Now what constitutes a "suitable" mate? Well that's on you boo. But consider whether you know and like/love the person well enough to potentially have to deal with them for the rest of your life--wedding or not. No shade to those who had OOW children; things happen. Even if you do background checks on potentials, use condoms & birth control religiously, it could still happen, and the dad could still be an ass regardless of who/what he is. But actively try to reduce those chances until you decide you want to bring a life into the world.

I guess that's more "My Womb, My Way" instead of "No Wedding, No Womb." At the end of the day, I believe the intentions behind NWNW were good. But what's that famous saying? Oh yes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." From the sidelines, it looks line NWNW went to hell in a handbasket.

Anyway, what's your take on the NWNW debacle? I'd love to hear differing opinions on it (without the constraints of 140 characters!)

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