A Modern Ye Love Story: We're Still Saying "Out of Wedlock"? Jessica Tholmer

Do you guys know what year it is? Just checking, because sometimes I write the wrong year still and my boss is like, “Jess, it has not been 2011 for almost an entire year, so can you pay attention when you are recording our money in the bank book?” Ugh, fine, I just lose track sometimes, you know? You know when childhood felt like yesterday, but it was really 15 years ago? You know when someone says something like Jurassic Park 3D is coming out to celebrate its 20th anniversary, and you’re thinking, “Nah, that isn’t true because I saw that movie three times in the theatre when I was…oh.” Or you know when someone is like, “Kim Kardashian doesn’t deserve to be pregnant, what about her sister who is actually married?” and you think…wait, what year is it?

Let’s take it from the top.

In case you don’t have a Twitter, Facebook account or, you know, the Internet and missed this groundbreaking news, Kim Kardashian, the star of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and her rap artist superstar boyfriend Kanye West announced tonight that they are expecting their first child together.

In my/our defense about celebrity gossip, etcetera: we all have our guilty pleasures, this we know is true. Sometimes, as human beings, we become overly interested in lives that are so unlike our own that we cannot help but dive in and observe, mindlessly. When certain celebrities are living their lives particularly for us to be there with them–like with a “reality show” called Keeping Up With the Kardashians and the other Kardashian spinoff shows–it is not the most ridiculous notion to maintain an interest in other people’s lives. Escapism comes in many forms. Sure, it is probably a lot more appropriate to lose yourself in the depths of a novel written by John Steinbeck or Mark Twain, but Kim Kardashian is about as fictional as Tom Joad, am I right?

As we already know, we love trainwrecks. Though I personally believe in my heart and soul that Kanye West is a phenomenal musician with an intelligence and edge that I truly appreciate, I will also give it up for his outbursts and humble myself in admitting that he is quite the character. As for Miss Kardashian, well. She is fun to watch for all the reasons that you like mocking your least favorite coworkers over a happy hour margarita the size of your head. But I do genuinely believe she loves her family, and I think that is pretty darn sweet.

Now that we got all of that out of the way, no matter how you feel about West or Kardashian respectively, I noticed something among the swarm of news sources, entertainment websites, facebook statuses and tweets dedicated to what we, as a society, have dubbed #kimyebaby or #yebaby for short.

Kardashian and West are not legally bound to one another. This was the last thing I thought of; in fact, I still do not think much of it, for it is the year 2013. Women have the freedom to decide whether or not they want to marry, whether or not they want to have children, whether or not they want to have the father of their child present in their baby’s life. Call me crazy (and I am so certain some of you will), but I can guarantee you that a child born out of wedlock is born with the same chance to survive–even to excel–in life that a child born to a married couple has.

I was born to a married couple. Shortly after I was born, my dad’s severe addiction got the best of him and he decided to be an alcoholic, not a father. My mother worked three jobs, struggling constantly to raise four children entirely on her own. She now boasts when she speaks of her daughter, her only girl, the one who helped raise the younger kids, who put herself through college, who now uses her voice for good and for good ol’ fun. I am a wise young woman, born to two people with a signed marriage certificate.

My littlest brother was born out of wedlock. His father also suffered severely from addiction issues, unfortunately succumbing to them and passing away when my baby brother was too young to lose a parent. At 18 years old, Levi is smarter than I am. He debates more thoroughly than I do. He has opinions stronger and deeper than I have. He taught himself how to read music and play the guitar and he is now a key member to an up and coming band that I believe will go places. If not all of them, Levi will.

The only difference between the two of us is the fact that Levi has an insane amount of talent (he also draws, reads quickly, can spell any word you throw at him, has perfect grammar/punctuation and has a biting wit), whereas his older, born-into-wedlock sister has very little. I am not being modest. Trust me, I’m a regular Kanye West. I am being honest.

Me: born to married parents, grew up without a father.
Brother: born to unmarried parents, grew up with a father, for at least some of his life.

There are thousands of scenarios. Some kids were born to married parents that divorced when they were ten and left them torn and confused for the rest of forever. Some people were born to married parents who loved each other and stayed together forever. Some people were born to unmarried people who loved each other and stayed together forever. I could go on forever.

So what does the legal act of marriage have to do with it? Absolutely, I believe that a child can truly benefit from having two parents that love each other in his or her life, but again, I must ask: what does marriage have to do with it? We have plenty of couples that are still not legally able to marry throughout most of our country, and I guarantee their children will differ in no way than a heterosexual married couple’s children.

Marriage is an agreement solidified by the law, and nothing more. You can love without a legal contract, and in fact, I kinda think you should.

You can raise a child without a legal contract, and plenty of people do. Judge Kardashian and West for being the utmost lavish people you can think of, but do not judge them for deciding to have a child together without a marriage license.

In fact, let us rid of the word “wedlock” altogether. It leaves a creepy taste in my mouth.

Congratulations to Kardashian and West! Please consider either naming the child after yours truly, or at least think of me when you need someone to nanny your babe. Or shine her diamond rattles or something.

Image via Vibe

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  1. I love your guys’ comments, but I was particularly speaking about the fact that there were a LOT of people commenting on their marriage status. ALL good points, though!

  2. I don’t agree. She still still technically married, but only because Chris/Kris doesn’t want to divorce. So I am glad for her not being bound by that paper and taking matters in her own hands. Who know how long they’ve should’ve waited until the divorce was finalized?

    People refuse to get divorced all the tima as a sort of bullying. So I don’t see a problem standing up to that.

  3. I was thinking the same thing last night Kassie! She is still technically married to Kris, Chris–whatever; their divorce hasn’t been finalized yet, so she is in a way cheating on her husband. And I personally don’t care if anyone has kids outside of wedlock (my staunchly Christian cousin did when she was sixteen, and her mom still recognizes her as her child). What I do care about, is the child’s welfare. And based on how Kanye and Kim act. that kid is in for a world of feeling entitled when they aren’t, and whoring it up for the camera.

  4. I agree 100% with the argument that you are making.
    However, I think that the public’s judgement of Kim K having a baby “out of wedlock” has less to do with her not being married to Kanye and more to do with the fact that her divorce with Kris Humphries has not been finalized, and she is technically still married to another man.
    I honestly don’t think Kim is being critiqued because she is not married to her baby-daddy… celebrities do it all the time – look at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie! I believe the judgement is coming from having a child with someone, while “technically” still being married to someone else.
    Just another spin on things!
    And again, I totally stand behind your initial argument. There are countless, endless, definitions to the word family, and where you come from certainly doesn’t define you as a person, or limit your potential.

  5. The only reason I care at all about this is my deep respect for Kanye West’s art. But I digress.

    I watched hundreds and thousands of repetitive jokes on this topic on Twitter last night (I use the word “joke” loosely) and while I agree wholeheartedly with your argument (I grew up largely without a dad from the age of 5 and turned out decent), I believe the issue most people have is not with the legitimacy or officialness of Kanye and Kim’s relationship, but her gross lack of dedication to any relationship, responsibility or cause re: 72-day marriage, no job ever, dead cat, etc. A child is a lifelong labor of love and Kim is (to the public) seemingly someone who knows little about either. I am, of course, judging as an outsider playing devil’s advocate. No one should judge someone else’s personal choices, but Kim, as a public figure, has voluntarily signed up for a lifetime’s worth of that. This kid will be just fine and I hope he/she surprises us all.