Bitch Ph.D. reads a two-year-old book, Promises I Can Keep by sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, and it makes her think:

The poor single moms interviewed “have mainstream, even conservative ideas of what marriage should be, and they don’t want to get married if they don’t trust that the men will be faithful, help provide for their children, not be abusive, etc. … The women also have mainstream, conservative ideas about the value and importance of children–so much so that they often think of abortion as irresponsible. Which is an interesting and profound realization, I think, and one that those of us who are pro-choice would do well to think very hard about. A lot of the time we argue for abortion rights as if we were doing so on behalf of poor women; we need to realize that many poor women are not themselves pro-choice, and that if we really want to advocate for them, we should start by listening to what they have to say.”

(Hmm — calling basketball stars “hos” is irresponsible, but that doesn’t mean the First Amendment should be trashed. Similarly, the rights to own a gun or to choose abortion aren’t qualified by the fact that they’re sometimes exercised irresponsibly.)

“For the middle class and the wealthy, it makes a lot of economic sense to postpone having children. We’re wrong, though, to prescribe waiting to poor women, for whom there are no economic disincentives to early childbearing. For these women, early childbirth is, at worst, neutral, and at best a positive improvement on not only their economic but also their emotional and mental well-being. We’re used to thinking of what we have to teach the poor; this book does a great job of showing us what the poor have to teach us about parenting, childrearing, and looking at things from a more genuinely feminist point of view–one in which children really are a central part of life, rather than an optional choice.”

Do you like this definition of feminism? Or Linda Hirshman’s?