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Single by Chance, Mothers by ChoiceHow Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family$
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Rosanna Hertz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179903.001.0001

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“Where Do We Fit?”

(p.54) Introduction
Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice

Rosanna Hertz

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces Part II of this book. It begins by noting how David Letterman used humor to shirk fatherhood's responsibilities before his child was even born. His comments bespeak a larger ideal concept of being a dad, an ideal that he may fear he cannot measure up to because of his age. Letterman reveals both what the American family is supposed to look like, as well as his own personal failure to live up to those expectations. The chapters that make up Part II underscore the power of cultural norms to define how families should be. Often norms are revealed only when they are broken. Single-mother families not only reveal deeply held beliefs both about family membership and family content but also offer to people the opportunity to rethink the confusion surrounding genetic and social kinship in America, since there is no longer a tight fit between the two.

Keywords:   David Letterman, cultural norms, single-mother families, genetic kinship, social kinship, America

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