Many of these women have their children pimped out, in child porn, working as drug mules, and stealing…and they are placed in the same prison population as women who have done none of these things.
However, you do not take a manipulative approach: if it is bad for some, then it has to be bad for the whole.
And that is hardly the case.
We do not know how many of these women have abandoned their children, and only think about exploiting her motherhood once the reporter came marching along looking for some propaganda to spew.
If we had an actual journalist looking for reality and truth, this isn’t how you approach the subject.
You do not willfully manipulative and distort facts to make a false case, and then try to use the misdirection of a Neo-Victorian narrative to do it. There are so many holes and contradictions in this colour-heavy piece of garbage that it is useless.
I am not unfamiliar with doing a story about women in jail. I did one for Elle Canada about fifteen years ago about women who broke the law to please a boyfriend.
The piece was edited, and the editor took out a crucial profile without my knowledge, but let me explain what I did.
First, I spoke to a dozen people who were classified as experts in various areas of my subject of interest. This gave me a crude roadmap. I then went digging to find individual cases of specific women, and I researched about fifty women just to look for patterns. I read court transcripts, articles, and conducted interviews.
I then looked at fifty more who did not fit the profile, but were in jail for other reasons. They were my control group so I could compare and contrast their situation with my group of interest.
I didn’t make grand sweeping generalizations, but then I interviewed about a dozen women who fit the bill, and then I went with four women.
Unfortunately, my editor removed the last one, and I was not pleased.
While the other three women I spoke to were sympathetic, the last one was not.
None were blameless. One had no children. None should have been there for twenty years, but they should have been punished. The state was not wrong in punishing them, but mandatory minimums were obscene.
But one had a son and dated a drug dealer. Another one was a mother who took up with a prisoner, left her husband, and opened a business where he killed someone and then talked her into confessing to the crime. The third did not have children, but was involved with a drug dealer as well.
I had sympathy all the same for these three, but it was the fourth that was a caution against seeing the situation in a Victorian way.
The fourth was a teenaged killer who murdered an innocent stranger in her sleeping bag to prove to her boyfriend that she loved him. When I spoke to the D.A. about her, he warned me that she was an out and out psychopath.
And, boy, did he have her number.
She was in her twenties by then, and could not understand why she was in jail when she was “daddy’s girl.” She murdered an unarmed sleeping stranger on the say so of her boyfriend, and to her, that should have been reason enough to get off. She thought her sentence was profoundly unfair, and she had all sorts of reasons and excuses, and used a lot of that neo-Victorian propaganda to spin her tale of woe, that sounded very similar to the New Yorker article.
It was bullshit, and in my story, I laid out the facts without her own self-serving spin, but it was taken out, and I had no clue until after publication, but if I had known, I would have pulled out my article. The fourth was critical to understanding that you do not break out the violins just because you want to pretend you are moral, woke, and sensitive.
A lot of people are going to spin a story to gain sympathy, and make themselves look like victims, even if they are the villains and the primary architects of their own ruin. They dust off their children and parade them only when it suits their purposes, but they could not give one flying fuck about them.
A more responsible piece would not be spinning any story. Take fifty women with children who are in jail, and get the facts of each one.
Not just how howling sad it is that their children are separated from their mothers. That’s a confirmation bias right there.
But what kind of mother was she before she was arrested, and no, her version is just her interpretation.
Were those children in foster care, for instance? What do teachers and neighbours know? What do social workers know? You have privacy obstacles, but it is funny what you can dig up when you are determined to find the truth.
I would talk to psychologists and social workers as well as police, judges and D.A.s about the different categories of mothers they come across, and then start to grid my profiles with my information.
I would also talk to activists and advocates of these women.
But I would not be “picking sides.”
What you will find will be far more complex that the simpletons of the New Yorker will puke.
And you have to present the shades in a single piece.
Some children will be very sad and lost, but for others, it will be a blessing in disguise.
And you have to find out why and face that reality that not everyone who gives birth has the right to be called a mother.
Because women are people. Some are good, some are bad, and some are whatever the wind takes them.
Women, just like men, are the captains of their own ships.
My grandmother was alone during the Second World War. She had a limited education, no family, it was war, violent, and anarchy.
She didn’t stoop to illegal activities. She didn’t harm other people. She became a nurse during the war, and saved lives.
Even when there was no options, she made the one that counted, and she raised my mother, moving to Canada, and getting a job on the day she arrived without having connections or knowing a lick of English in a country that looked down on Eastern Europeans, labelling them DP — Displaced Persons.
Whenever I start getting to sympathetic to someone’s sob story, I think about her, and then get snapped right back to my senses.
North America has countless social services and organizations to help people when they are down. There are jobs here. There is free education. There is a bounty of opportunities that never in the history of mankind were there — in a world where there is Internet access and you can even fucking crowdfund if you need money for an emergency.
So in 2018, there are no excuses. None. If these were truly neo-Victorian ladies, they would be gravitating to those safety nets.
And they are not.
It is time we stop spinning garbage narratives to manipulate people, and start presenting empirically-tested information to paint a realistic picture of the world.
People feel sorry for themselves as they wallow and make excuses why they are acting in ways that is beneath them.
If you have true morals and sympathy, you do not enable that vile behaviour, but take away the crutches of narratives, and start presenting facts.
Not the rancid garbage the sheltered goobers at the New Yorker like to spew because they can’t function as moral humans being and try to build fortresses of lies to poison the information stream…