When Single Motherhood is a Crime


9. Single Mom Jourdan Dunn

20-Year-old British model Jourdan Dunn is a single mom.  When asked about her son, she once said; “I will always put Riley before anything else because I’m a mother first, everything else comes after.”

So I happened upon this on Style Bistro.  I was a list of Supermodel Moms.  Innocent enough, you may say?  Not so fast!  Why is it when the list features a Black Supermodel, an adjective is used to introduce her.  The adjective that I speak of is “single”… as in Single mom Jourdan Dunn.  The connotations of the single mom label in reference to Black women inculcates: sexual irresponsibility, promiscuity and the lack of sexual morality that is synonymous with representations of Blackness in the media.

The other part that stands here is that Ms. Dunn’s age is also detailed.  In fact, these are the types strategies applied to conjure the notion of poverty politics in which: 1) children having children is a problem and, 2) these children are being had for the sole purpose of going on public assistance.  What this does is reinforce the racist belief of the “welfare queens” who not only refuses to work, but is living high off the hog thereby draining the government of it’s financial resources.

But Angelina Joile is a “single mom”.  And she has six children at that!  Yes, she has “selflessly” adopted children from foreign countries (that’s another blog post), but she had two to three biological children of her own, and has yet to get married to the father of her children.  But she is not admonished for being a single mother.  As a matter of fact, she is lauded for her so-called “humanitarian” and is portrayed as strong…a powerhouse example of new-age femininity.

Interestingly enough, this list features more than one single mother, however Style Bistro refused to point this fact out.  The model Arizona Muse for one is a single mother.  She had a child in her late teens, early twenties as well, following a similar trajectory as Ms. Dunn, I suppose.  Luckily for her and her son, they were featured in J.Crew together. Other single mothers features on this list include: Kate Moss, who recently got married and is a renowned coke head (great role model for girls!); Brazilian Isabeli Fontana, whom I believe was married and divorced to her child’s father in less than a year’s time; Miranda Kerr, who recently divorced Orlando Bloom; and let us not leave out Heidi Klum who divorced from musician Seal.  What I find very interesting about the Heidi Klum/Seal union is that the pair began dating while she was pregnant with another man’s child…very tacky, wretched behavior in my opinion.  Naomi Watts is also on this list, but I thought she was an actress? A Thierry Mugler fragrance ad does not make a model, but this is not the primary reason I mention her.  She too, is a single mother who has two children with her baby daddy Liev Schreiber, whom she lives with.  I see many dilemmas in this set up, but that is my own grievance.

So with all the single mothers on this list Jourdan Dunn was the only one featured as Single Mom.  Could it be that the representations of single motherhood across the color lines is lopsided?  My guess is a resounding YES!  Single motherhood does not necessarily constitute a female raising her child(ren) alone or that she is taking advantage of government entitlements.  Women the world over are not just encouraged to have children at a young age for fear she will grapple with infertility in her later years,  but that in this day in age women are more than capable to raise children without a man.  So let’s say, a young supermodel who makes buckets and buckets of money decides to have a child, how irresponsible is this considering she is financially secure? Allow me to also point out that Ms. Dunn only has one child and went straight back to modeling once her son was delivered.  What this does is illustrate a very mature attitude and strong work ethic, especially when considering her chronological age.  This young woman should be commended for her fortitude and resolve, not be stigmatized by a global system that works to insidiously target representations of Blackness in the public arena.

The perceived slight toward Jourdan Dunn really stands as a condemnation in disguise.Tsk! Tsk!  And the devil has the absolute audacity to be moralistic.   So when did it become a crime to be a single mother?  Oh…when a Black woman is raising a child on her own.  I thought that certain types of people were more superior than those of darker hues?  I thought those of the melanin deprived constituency had an unflappable moral constitution that prevented them for engaging in such lecherous and disparate behaviors? However, we should all regard the practitioners of racism white supremacy as universal moral arbiters?