June 9th, 2011
Why are Americans Obsessed with the Casey Anthony Trial?: “A man killing his child is bad, but it doesn’t have the same resonance [as a woman killing her child]. We have very gendered views about parenthood and tend to think that women are better suited to raise children — they’re more nurturing, more connected — but this violates those assumptions.” says Robin Simon, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University who studies the effects of social relationships like parenting and marriage on emotion and health.
On one hand, that storyline is unbelievable. On the other, it highlights the enormous responsibility inherent in becoming a parent. “I’m not saying I empathize with her,” says Simon. “What she did was monstrous. But you can understand how the stress of parenthood could really get to somebody.”
Perhaps society bears some of the responsibility for so poorly preparing people for parenthood. Having a baby is hard — even when the baby is very much wanted. “Our culture portrays parenthood in a romantic way, but it’s messy and exhausting and demanding,” says Simon. “It’s really important the message get out that this is difficult.”