Jennifer Aniston has been taking a lot of flack for the comments she made during a press interview about her new movie Switch, which opened Friday. Fox News Anchor Bill O’Reilly attacked her for glamorizing single motherhood and “throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don't need a guy, you don't need a dad.” What O’Reilly can pretend not to get, that the filmmakers fortunately do, is that it’s dads themselves - not Aniston - who are giving young girls that message.
In a Los Angeles Times preview article about the film, the creative team discusses what many single moms already know. Women – like Aniston’s character Kassie - choose to become mothers on their own, not because they know a glamorous life is ahead of them. Single moms raise their kids alone because a lot of men have a hard time coming to terms with growing up and accepting their roles as fathers. I don’t know what Kassie’s backstory is but if she was raised by one of the 9.8 million single moms in the United States, she knows it's doable, so can you blame her?
Wally, played by Jason Bateman is described as paralyzed by the idea of commitment and as someone who undermines relationships with “satirical barbs so sharp he should come with a warning label”. At her insemination party, he swaps the donor sperm for his own Aniston unknowingly inseminates herself with it. The rest of the film is mostly concerned with Wally coming to terms with his actions. Ultimately the film is about men who can't be honest with themselves or the people around them. Men whose maturity levels are shown up by a child.
Conservative America is fixated on placing the family’s destruction and the diminishing role of father’s squarely on the shoulders of single mothers. Single mothers are blamed for the quality of the prison population. They’re blamed for sponging off the system and bankrupting state governments. Usually they’re also blamed for the father’s unwillingness to stay.
Sure there are cases where women will do anything to sabotage a father’s paternal rights but most of the single moms I know have had to stop waiting on the guys who abandoned their families because the responsibility was too overwhelming.
What ultimately is the root of the increasing number of single mothers in America – a number that has been steadily growing since the 1970s has little to do with women who chose to have families on their own. In actuality single mothers by choice make up a very small percentage of the population of single mothers.
Mothers are raising their children alone because of the inability of fathers to step up, take responsibility and stay.