By Natasha Yerramilli | Contributing Writer
The Intercultural Center’s event, “Not All Heroes Wear Capes,” talked about the struggles of a single parent and the intersectionality of identities amongst these individuals. The event was facilitated by Chantal Ysip and Ramya Ramamoorthy, who are both Student Leaders Initiating Diversity Education (SLIDEr). The event took place on Wednesday, March 1 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., and included a panel where students and faculty had the opportunity to speak about their experiences with single parenting.
One of the activities the event had was to make up a list of all the things a parent has to do to take care of their child. Some people put practical things, like feeding and bathing their children. However, many did not mention the emotional aspect of keeping them safe and loving them unconditionally. This placed an emphasis on how there are so many underlying factors parents need in order to take care of a child.
Some people’s lists were very long, with one listing up to 44 different aspects of being a parent. The title of this event was appropriate because it explained how being a single parent is like being a hero, considering all the work they have to do.
One of the attendants, Aubrie McKeever shared, “I liked learning more about single parents and the difference between solo parenting and single parenting. I also thought it was sad how single fathers are under appreciated.” Solo parenting is when the child only relies on one parent. Single parenting is when there is one parent but there are other people loving the child, like the parents, grandparents, or siblings.
It is very financially expensive to raise a child, and as a single parent it’s hard to work or do anything else because you have to be there at all times for the child. There was a video showing all the things that a single parent appreciated, like just being alone for an hour, taking a shower, or just relaxing. They also talked about how it’s hard to date when you have a child. As a single parent, a lot of their time is taken up raising a child.
The event also shared how fathers are glorified for being a single parent, but women have been doing this throughout history and don’t get as much appreciation.
Single fathers also don’t get as many resources as single mothers, so it is still a struggle on both ends. For example, there was one video where a father showed other fathers how to style girls’ hair, saying that it’s not about the quality of the hair, but about a parent spending time with their daughter.
The event emphasized how a father can be very impactful to a girl’s confidence and how they see men in their life. The importance of their role is something that we don’t think about much in society where everyone says you need a mother.
There’s a notion that fathers are not as important, especially with how single fathers are portrayed on social media. Society says that they don’t know what they’re doing and they can be irresponsible, which undermines the struggle that single parents face.
There was also a panel of people who were single parents or children of a single parent, and they shared their inspirational and eye-opening experiences.
The panel was one of the highlights of the evening, and the slideshow that was presented by the facilitators was very educational and informative.
Overall, it was a very educational event and the lessons about working hard and putting other people’s needs before yours are lessons that apply to all us.