Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I want my links to appear in bold, like this link to a story from Ms. News about a new welfare reform bill:

The bill, which passed 230-192 largely along party lines, would increase work requirements for mothers on welfare from 30 to 40 hours a week with strict limits on the amount of time spent in classes or job training – and only a small increase in child care spending, from $4.8 billion to $6.8 billion per year. In addition, the bill includes $1.5 billion over the next five years in spending on programs that promote marriage and sexual abstinence.
It goes on to say that on Valentine's Day, a group of "welfare brides" protested the bill, which would, as the quote says, require women on welfare to spend 10 more hours a week on job training/work/classes and would allot a ton of money to sexual abstinence programs. Fine, but aren't low-income women, especially those with children, in a double bind? They're seen as ungrateful ignoramuses who have baby after baby in order to get more money from the government, which, oh, of course they spend on beer and cigarettes!--or, maybe they say okay, I'll get married (in some cases, to a man who hits me), which will make people recognize me as an upstanding, respectable citizen. I can just hear some people integrating that into the welfare stereotype--using that "welfare bride" catch phrase. Yeah, I know that in the story from Ms. News, the "welfare brides" concept was used in an ironic way, but I'm thinking that these marriage incentives are only going to further disenfranchise these women and perpetuate stereotypes that are in place by bringing a literal (and twisted) reading of "welfare bride" into the existing stereotype.