Mindy Kaling went on a publicity tour last year, speaking with multiple publications about how “empowering” it was to choose the path of solo motherhood.
Mindy welcomed her daughter in 2017 and welcomed her son in late 2020 as a professional, single woman choosing to raise her children without a father. Kaling has prided herself on being a hardworking single mother raising her kids on her own. “I hope you find a partner if that's what you want, but if you are thinking about having kids, and you are waiting for that to be the reason, I just want to encourage you to not feel like you need that. It has been the biggest difference in my life. It's brought me the most unadulterated joy in my life. If I hadn't made that decision, I would be kicking myself,” the actress told Parents magazine. She also added that she’s raising her children as feminists.
Jennifer Aniston has made similar comments in the past, diminishing the role of dads, saying, “Women are realizing it more and more, knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have a child.” Then there are the numerous starlets flaunting their solo-motherhood lifestyles on Instagram, making things seem glamorous and easy while avoiding posting anything negative about their situations. These celebrities are framing solo motherhood as a form of female empowerment.
Single-Mother Households Are Far More Likely To Live in Poverty
There are many problems with this, however. Sure, wealthy, influential celebrities with sky-high bank accounts and night nannies (Kaling herself has a reported net worth of $35 million dollars), might find choosing single motherhood “empowering,” but impressionable girls and young women who copy celebrities will most likely never have the resources that a celebrity has...and fathers ARE important!
64% of Millennial women have given birth outside of wedlock.
The U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households, and 86% are led by mothers. The harsh reality is that single-mother households are far more likely to be living in poverty than married-couple households. According to a Johns Hopkins research study, 64% of Millennial women have given birth outside of wedlock. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2018 was 34%, nearly five times higher than the rate for married-couple families which was only 6%. 1 in 3 single moms spends over 50% of their income on housing. 27% struggle to afford shelter. 40% of single moms in the U.S. have jobs that provide low wages and no paid leave.
Almost one-third of single-mother families are food insecure. 2 in 3 single moms receive reduced price or free meals. Among the homeless families in America, more than 80% were headed by single women with children.
Fatherlessness Contributes to Many of Society’s Current Problems
The statistics go on and on. Yet there’s another problem with celebrities promoting solo motherhood as “empowering” — they’re suggesting that fathers aren’t important. According to research, involved dads are EXTREMELY important and we should be promoting the significance of fathers, not downplaying it!
Fatherless families contribute to many of today’s society’s problems. 24.7 million children in the United States live in a home where their biological father is not present. That equates to 1 in every 3 children in America. 93% of our inmates are male and more than half of the youth in prison grew up without their father. Children who live in a single-parent home make up 63% of suicides compared to children who live in two-parent homes.
1 in 3 children in America lives in a home where their biological father is not present.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 85% of children who exhibit some type of behavioral disorder come from a fatherless home, 90% of youth who decide to run away from home come from a fatherless home, and children from fatherless homes account for 75% of adolescent patients being treated in substance abuse centers. Children from fatherless homes are twice as likely to drop out of school before graduating than children with a father in their lives.
Daughters from fatherless homes are four times more likely to get pregnant as teenagers. Girls without fathers are twice as likely to suffer from obesity. They’re far more likely to struggle with bad relationships, eating disorders, and depression. Even after controlling for income, youths in households with no father still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in father-mother families.
Daughters from fatherless homes are four times more likely to have children as teenagers.
Fathers are extremely important if we want safer communities. Children with involved fathers are significantly more likely to have higher self-esteem, do well in school, exhibit great social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as criminal activity and drug use. The absence of fathers leads to more crime and more poverty. Instead of honoring the importance of fathers, our society promotes, normalizes, and encourages the further destruction of the family.
I’ve called out Mindy Kaling several times on Twitter for repeatedly framing solo motherhood as “empowering” to her impressionable young fans, so I was delighted to hear that she recently took a few steps back at the #WOW2021 parenting event. “Being a single mom is not for everyone” she said, adding that she’s “only able to do it” because she waited until she was able to have resources like a full-time nanny. She also noted that her dad is retired and is able to help out with raising her kids and be a strong, male figure in their lives. That’s a step in the right direction. I hope other celebrities recognize the great responsibility they have when promoting parenthood to our girls and women.
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